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In a first for me, a hotel has cancelled my booking because they are all set to leave the Hyatt portfolio. While this would not make the top ten list of travel disruption these days, my travel cloud has a silver lining. I am scheduled to be in Yerevan, Armenia, to attend the Extraordinary Travel Festival (first of its kind) in October, and had booked myself at Hyatt Place Yerevan, a Category-1 property in the Hyatt portfolio – well, at least until July 31st, 2022.
Back in January, I had booked 3 nights at Hyatt Place Yerevan, on points, 16,500 points to be exact. Over the weekend, on July 24th, I received an email from the hotel informing me that they would no longer be affiliated with Hyatt. The wording of the email could not be more confusing, as the first paragraph stated that ‘Reservations for all future dates will be honoured..’
Hyatt Place Yerevan will cease to operate as a Hyatt Place branded hotel, effective August 1, 2022, and as of this date, the hotel will no longer be affiliated with Hyatt. The hotel will continue normal business operations throughout this transition and remains dedicated to providing exceptional service to guests during the process. Reservations for all future dates will be honored and may be made through Hyatt channels until July 31, 2022, 11:59 p.m. Gulf Standard Time.
However, the following paragraph in the email suggested that World of Hyatt (WOH) members would not be eligible to receive program benefits. Did they mean no breakfast, no upgrades? It was ambiguous, and open to interpretation at best;
After the hotel ceases to be affiliated with Hyatt, as of August 1, 2022, World of Hyatt members will not be eligible to receive World of Hyatt program benefits when staying at the hotel, including earning and redeeming World of Hyatt points or enjoying World of Hyatt benefits.
I am glad I procrastinated over the weekend, as the email from WOH consumer affairs on July 25th offered better notice – that all points stays would be cancelled;
World of Hyatt members with award reservations for stays at this hotel after July 31, 2022 may contact Hyatt’s Global Reservations Center at 1-800-344-9288 or visit hyatt.com for alternative redemption locations.
I called the Globalist Line fully expecting a cancellation and refund of my points. What I was not expecting was the prompt escalation to a manager, the representative wasted no time in acknowledging the notes on my reservation, and patched me through. The manager confirmed the unfortunate news of the property leaving the Hyatt portfolio, and apologized for the inconvenience. Since there was no other Hyatt property in the city (or country) to accommodate me, the manager proactively offered 25,000 Hyatt points as compensation, in addition to the full refund of my points used for the original booking. This was a pleasant surprise, and yet it wasn’t, if you know what I mean. Hyatt customer service is by far the best support I have experienced with hotel chains. I was more than happy to accept the offer, and get down to making alternate arrangements for my visit to Yerevan. The cancellation email, points refund (16,500), and the compensation (25,000 points) promptly showed up in my account within seconds of hanging up. Brilliant.
Bonvoy to the rescue
As things stand, Bonvoy is a solid secondary program for my needs – I use their LARGE ‘footprint’ to offset Hyatt’s limited availability, often. And turns out Armenia is no different – while Hyatt is losing the only property in the country, Marriott has 3 properties for members to choose from, 2 in Armenia. I went with the ‘cheaper option’, and booked the ‘Armenia Marriott’ for ~$250 USD/night. As an added convenience, this Marriott hotel is also the venue for the Extraordinary Travel Festival in Yerevan (Use my code PMB for a $50 discount on tickets) so I will be a lot closer to the events during my stay.
As a WOH Globalist member, I feel well taken care of. They are not perfect, but they try and often get things right. And this instance was no different – the communication was swift, proactive, and the outcome left a positive impression.