SidebySide Hotel Program Comparisons
Below you can view an overview of two hotel programs, side-by-side.
To change the displayed programs, click on the link to Edit this page and follow the instructions provided within.
Hyatt Gold Passport (Edit)
The Hyatt Gold Passport program is unique compared to other major U.S. hotel programs. Hyatt remains the only hotel loyalty program that refuses to allow members to gain elite-level status through the use of program partners, thus protecting against "dilution" of its elite-level benefits. Such protection allows Hyatt to ensure outstanding service exclusively for its very best customers, with benefits that include concierge level ("Regency Club Floor") access, complimentary suite upgrade and even free amenities upon your arrival. The type of travelers who maintain Gold Passport elite status tend to be business travelers who primarily travel to the same city where a Hyatt is located and build their loyalty with one or two specific hotels.
Membership is divided into three levels. When a member initially joins the program, they enter as a Gold level member. Gold level members are automatically booked into rooms on the Gold Passport floors, most likely a higher floor (such perks can be a lifesaver at properties prone to inner-city noises) with extra conveniences such as in-room coffee maker, in-room minibar & hair dryer. Gold members receive five points per dollar spent. The Platinum level, achieved with 13 stays or 25 nights per calendar year, comes with one complimentary suite upgrade for stays less than four nights, 15% bonus points for every stay, check cashing up to $200 and also a complimentary upgrade to the Regency Club floor on a space available basis, along with complimentary access to the Regency Club lounge per management discretion. The Diamond level, the highest of all levels, achieved with 25 stays or 50 nights per calendar year, allows virtually guaranteed access to the Regency Club lounge, but complimentary upgrade to the Regency Club floor on a space-available basis only. When the latter is not available, a Diamond member may request to be booked into a corner room, which is often roomier than the standard room and has a better view. It also comes with additional perks such as late checkout (up to 5 p.m. in some locations), 30% bonus points, complimentary suite upgrade on a space available basis, check cashing up to $300 and free "Welcome Amenities" upon arrival. Amenities differ from hotel to hotel, but almost always include things like a cheese sampler platter, fresh fruit bowl, chocolate truffles, a bottle of champagne, red and white wine, and a variety of juices and soda, all delivered to your room at no charge. The Regency Club lounge offers beverage service along with complimentary continental breakfast service, hors d'ouvres and snack service along with late night snack (cookies).
A great feature of the Gold Passport program is the ability to accrue nights towards your elite status even when staying on award nights, as long as there is an incidental charge charged to your room. For most people this is as easy as making a daily phone call to the office or home, or having breakfast at the hotel. Additionally, these charges accrue five points per dollar spent as well. Another beneficial feature that no other hotels have is the use of 1-800-CHECKIN to remotely check in to your destination up to 12 hours in advance of your arrival, ensuring that you have your pre-assigned room with your room preference in mind.
From the moment an elite member checks in, the front desk representative can see the elite notation on his/her reservation record, along with past Hyatt stays, location, time and duration of stay. While everyone at the front desk is trained to provide an equal level of service to every guest, they are more than willing to bend the rules for those in the Gold Passport program -- not just the elites. Aside from the loyalty program, Hyatt properties are impeccably maintained, with renovations and room updates done every three years to keep up with the current trend in the hospitality market. The employees tend to be respectful of guests, well-trained and patient. Hyatt Gold Passport runs the "Nights After Nights" promotion annually, which rewards Gold Passport members with a free night stay after three nights of paid stays. This is competitive with Starwood's "Free Weekend" promotion and many Gold Passport members report that it is easy to redeem this award, even at semi-popular destinations. The new Web site is user-friendly and offers online award redemption capability, which eliminates the need to carry around a paper certificate. And, members can use the Web site to confirm hotels that have award rooms available on a given date.
In addition to the fact that it is relatively hard to accrue points at the Hyatt, due to its lack of an affinity credit card partner, rooms at the Hyatt can be expensive, so unless you're travelling on your company/client's dime, this can be a drawback. Gold Passport recently inflated its point requirements, making it more expensive to stay using awards. The point structure seems to be more strict than others due to the fact that Hyatt does not operate "second-class" or "business-motel" properties (e.g. Hilton has Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn has HI Express, Marriott has Fairfield Inn, Starwood has Four Points). Hyatt has also recently divided its properties into classes for redemption purpose, so hotels in popular resort destinations receive a higher class number than hotels in less popular destinations. While this is fair enough, some of the hotels are ill-categorized.
Another gripe is that it is almost always impossible to redeem awards at popular destinations (though this is common for other chains as well). I believe the lack of the number of properties Hyatt owns (compared to Hilton, Marriott and Starwood) contributes to the law of supply and demand, since Hyatt only operates in large cities and popular worldwide vacation destinations. All in all, however, this "feature" adds to the exclusivity of the program and makes anyone who has reached the higher level of membership truly feel they have gotten their money's worth.