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Hyatt Sweetens Milestone Rewards, Guest of Honor Goes (A Bit) Sour

Beyond its ultra-valuable points program and a novel way to earn free nights, Hyatt does something the other big hotel chains can't match: Guest of Honor, allowing top-tier Globalist members to share their status perks with loved ones when booking award stays. That unique program is getting a makeover in the New Year – and not the good kind.

Hyatt announced on Thursday it's ending the Guest of Honor booking free-for-all Globalists have enjoyed for years as of Jan. 1. Instead, that option is getting folded into the hotel chain's Milestone Rewards, allowing members to earn back the Guest of Honor perk to use up to 10 times a year. It's part of a broader shakeup to those rewards, as Hyatt adds more perks to pick from as members rack up stays throughout the year.

The obvious downside is that Guest of Honor won't be an automatic, unlimited perk … but Hyatt isn't cutting top elites off cold turkey – a spokeswoman confirmed it'll give Globalists five Guest of Honor awards to kick off 2024. And there's one tremendous upside: Starting next year, the Guest of Honor benefit will be eligible for paid stays – not just award reservations booked using points.

Any Guest of Honor reservations made before Jan. 1, 2024, will be honored. Globalists can lock these in by emailing or calling their dedicated concierge … until next year when that functionality finally goes online!

 

What's on Tap for Hyatt in 2024

Hyatt had been hinting at some big news for weeks. I'll be honest: We feared the worst.

Was another round of painful award chart hikes coming? Would Hyatt finally follow the lead of Hilton and do away with its award chart altogether – with free nights starting as low as just 3,500 points per night – altogether?

Breathe easy, Hyatt fans: That's not happening – at least not yet. The changes Hyatt unveiled are mild by comparison, focusing on a revamp of its Milestone Rewards program. That's Hyatt's way of continually rewarding members as they rack up qualifying stays (or points) throughout the year, including occasional rewards in between the ranks of Hyatt status.

Here's how it'll look in 2024.
 

hyatt milestone rewards chart

 

More on Guest of Honor Changes

Making Guest of Honor a part of this system is the biggest change – and the biggest blow.

As it stands, Guest of Honor is an underrated perk. It allows travelers with top Globalist status to share most of their perks with friends and family on an award stay: free breakfast, waived parking fees, a good shot at an upgrade, and a great chance at 4 p.m. late checkout. Guest of Honor bookings aren't just good for a single night – you can book up to seven days.

Rather than giving travelers who have unlocked Globalist status (which requires 60 nights or earning 100,000 base points in a year) a free pass for as many Guest of Honor bookings as they want, it becomes an award that has to be earned in 2024.

As you can see above, you can earn up to 10 Guest of Honor awards throughout the year. But that requires a ton of stays with Hyatt. Consider this: Globalists who can currently book an unlimited number of Guest of Honor stays will be able to do so just three times under this new framework.

The upshot is that Hyatt members who haven't made their way to Globalist status can now unlock a Guest of Honor award after 40 nights with Hyatt – then turn around and treat themselves with it, if they want.

 

Hyatt Regency Tokyo King room

 

Hyatt is throwing Globalists a bone, though:

  • Current Globalist members will get five Guest of Honor awards as a one-time gift to kick off 2024
  • Lifetime Globalists will also get five Guest of Honor awards each year, starting in March 2025

While it'll be much harder for Globalists to repeatedly share the love, three changes to the Guest of Honor are a tremendous positive.

Starting in 2024, even paid stays are eligible for Guest of Honor. That's a huge reversal: Currently, Globalists can only book a stay for a Guest of Honor when redeeming World of Hyatt points.

Hyatt members who book a Guest of Honor stay will soon get an elite night credit for it themselves. That's not the case today.

And the process of actually booking these stays for friends and family will get much easier, too. A Hyatt spokeswoman confirmed members will be able to make Guest of Honor reservations online in 2024, replacing the current system that requires a phone call or email.

Combined with those five Guest of Honor awards to ring in the New Year, 2024 should be a great year for Hyatt Globalists sharing their perks. Beyond that, it could be a different story.

 

New Rewards & Bigger Perks for Ultra-Frequent Hyatt Guests

From suite upgrade awards to free nights and bonus points, Milestone Rewards are a clever way to treat frequent Hyatt guests as they climb the ranks of status with 20, 30, or even 150-plus nights a year. More options are on the table in 2024.

Here's a quick glance at some of the new Milestone Rewards on tap next year:

  • 2K Next Stay: Earn 2,000 Bonus Points on a stay at Hyatt Place, Hyatt House, Caption by Hyatt, or UrCove properties.
  • More FIND Experience Credits: Hyatt is adding more of these wellness experience credits, from $25 to as much as $300
  • Miraval Extra Night: Book one night at a Miraval resort and you can tack on a second night for free
  • The Ultimate Free Night Award: Stay 150 qualifying nights and you can get a free night certificate at any participating Category 1-8 hotel, any Category A-F all-inclusive resort, or any participating Miraval resort

 

miraval berkshires
Miraval Berkshires, photo courtesy of Hyatt

 

More options are always better, but the rewards are certainly sweetest for the crowd spending 100-plus nights a year in Hyatt hotels.

For starters, you get a second Hyatt free night certificate eligible for any Hyatt Category 1-7 hotel, eligible to use at the best of the best properties around the world. The first comes when you earn Hyatt Globalist status with 60 qualifying nights.

After that, there's a round of additional rewards for travelers who stay 110, 120, 130, and 140 nights. At each rung, travelers get another Guest of Honor award plus their choice of either 10,000 Hyatt points, a suite upgrade award, or one of those new Miraval extra night perks.

The cherry on top comes at a whopping 150 nights with the best Hyatt free night certificate of all: The so-called “Ultimate Free Night Awards” eligible for practically any Hyatt property on the planet. From Park Hyatts in Beaver Creek, Colorado or Zurich to the all-inclusive Secrets Impression Moxché and even Alila Ventana Big Sur, anything goes.

 

Alila Ventana Big Sur
Alila Ventana Big Sur, photo courtesy of Hyatt

 

Bottom Line

Well … that could have been much worse!

Hyatt is revamping its Milestone Rewards for travelers who rack up 20-plus nights a year. The valuable Guest of Honor program is taking the biggest hit next year, though there are enough upsides that it could be a positive for some.

 

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