By now you’ve probably heard the announcement that Hyatt is eliminating the Hyatt Gold Passport program and replacing it with the World of Hyatt program (rendering much of this website obsolete in the process)
But did you know that the manner in which this was done was a violation of Hyatt’s own Gold Passport Terms and Conditions?
These Terms and Conditions clearly state that six months prior notice is required to terminate the Hyatt Gold Passport program:
The mail regarding the change to World of Hyatt was received by me on November 1st, 2016; by their own Terms and Conditions, they should not have to ability to terminate the Hyatt Gold Passport program until at least May 1st, 2017. As I have yet to receive a valid notice with proper notification, that date as of this writing is now May 5th (and counting)
When asked about this, a Hyatt Representative attempted to claim that this was merely a “change” to existing loyalty program, not a termination, so the above clause does not apply. However, this goes against all communication sent out by Hyatt up to this point, including:
1. The original mail notification of the changes, clearly showing that World of Hyatt is a “new” loyalty program.
This message also exists on the World of Hyatt program website referenced in the first paragraph of this post.
2. The press release announcing the change, stating that World of Hyatt is “a new global loyalty program” and that Hyatt Gold Passport was ending on February 28th, 2017.
3. The notice from Jeff Zidell, VP of Hyatt Gold Passport, on Flyertalk, announcing World of Hyatt as “your new loyalty program, which will replace Hyatt Gold Passport® on March 1, 2017″.
4. The World of Hyatt Terms and Conditions, which clearly delineates Hyatt Gold Passport and World of Hyatt as separate programs.
How Will This Change Affect You?
As the full changes to Hyatt’s are long, complicated, and beyond the scope of this article, I will for now simply focus on the case of Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond members being transferred to World of Hyatt Globalist membership.
While there are several disadvantages to this conversion, the two biggest ones from the standpoint of former Diamond member are:
1. No more 1,000 point per stay Diamond amenity
2. Much tougher requalification standards. While Diamond members require only 25 stays or 50 nights within a calendar year to requalify for the status, Globalist members require either 60 nights or 100,000 base points, both significantly higher hurdles.
So a former Diamond member will, over the course of 25 stays that does not meet either of the new Globalist requalification requirements, lose enough points for a free night’s stay at Andaz Tokyo AND enjoy considerably reduced benefits the following year compared with what a Diamond member would have received.
BUT…if the termination of Hyatt Gold Passport is invalid, it stands to reason that you will still be entitled to those benefits until a valid termination of the program takes place.
This is just one example. I would suggest that you review Hyatt’s Gold Passport and World of Hyatt websites to review the changes and determine how they will affect you
What Can I Do About This?
For now, nothing has changed, so there is no reason to do anything drastic. What you can do is express your concern with how this change was given without proper notice, in a respectful email to the Hyatt Gold Passport folks at email@example.com. Additionally, Gold Passport Vice President Jeff Zidell has published his email address on Flyertalk, so you may also make your concerns known to him as well. Hopefully, Hyatt will hear our collective voices and make this right.
However, if things have not changed come March 1st, 2017, then that is when these invalid changes will begin affecting us. From that point on, you should keep track of all of the benefits that you should have received under the Hyatt Gold Passport program for your stays (e.g. 1000 point Diamond stay amenities, qualification towards Diamond tier for the following year, etc.) and continue requesting that Hyatt honor the old program that had not been terminated.
If you have sustained tangible losses, and have exhausted all efforts to resolve the issue with Hyatt directly, you have two options to pursue the matter further:
1. Hyatt Hotels Corporations is incorporated in Delaware, so you would need to file a Small Claims suit in the state of Delaware. While it is possible to file by mail from out of state, you or your counsel will need to appear in a Delaware court for the case. More details on how to proceed can be found here.
2. If it is too difficult to bring the case to a Delaware court, you may be able to use the Better Business Bureau to arbitrate a settlement. There is no cost to file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, and everything can be done online.
I do have faith that neither of the above actions will be required of us. In my experience, Hyatt has always been fair and reasonable about acknowledging its mistakes and rectifying them. So if enough of us bring the matter to Hyatt’s attention, I am sure that we can make the transition to the new loyalty system fairer for everyone.