The 2016 Festivus Airing of Blog Grievances has a new leader. A couple of weeks ago it was United which killed points travel. Today it is Hyatt which decided that my style of loyalty is not good enough for them. Last year, I completed the Hyatt Diamond Challenge which gave me status through February 2017. This year, I’ve been running all over the globe trying to meet the 25 night requirement to requalify for Diamond through February 2018. And what do I and those of my ilk get as reward for our checking in and checkout out of hotels more than we would like? What do we get for planning our gallivants partially based on whether there is a Hyatt there? Nothing come March 2018.
That’s because the only way for us ‘stay’ qualifiers to reach Globalist (the terrible name for Diamond in the new program) is to book 55+ nights or spend $20,000 at Hyatt hotels. That’s not feasible. Where in the world are Hyatt hotels? Not in a lot of places. Unless I become a Hyatt House resident, I’ll never meet this requirement.
I get why Hyatt is doing this in the sense that vagabond customers like myself are not as profitable as the road warrior whose company pays for him and the whole team to stay at a Hyatt over and over. But what about small business owners who can’t use the corporate card to charge their way to status? What about travel enthusiasts who want to explore the world? How are we supposed put our aspirations first and retain status?
We can’t. And more importantly, we no longer should care to do so. Next year, I’m not going to spend hours on Excel trying to figure out how I can tabulate 55 nights at Hyatts while simultaneously finding places in the world that fit my travel schedule. Hyatt can keep its free breakfast. I hate breakfast! Hyatt can keep its suite upgrades. I love my Chungking Mansion in Hong Kong!
This new rewards program will have unintended consequences. Revenue may go up but the intangible asset known as goodwill will suffer because those who love Hyatt for its Hyattness will be replaced by indifferent customers who do not care if they’re staying at Courtyard or a Choice Hotel, so long as the company is paying. That’s not loyalty. That’s short-sighted stupidity.