09 Apr World OF Hyatt Confuses Explorist Club Lounge Access Award
Hyatt Gold Passport is now World OF Hyatt and there is nothing we can do about it. The program is still in the early days and it will take some adjusting to before we really figure out the benefits gained and lost… and by we I mean both us points enthusiasts and Hyatt employees!
I used to hold Diamond status in the Gold Passport program – though this was given, rather than earned, during the generous status match opportunity in 2016 – and now I have landed myself Explorist status.
While I would have loved to keep top tier Hyatt status, I just don’t make enough paid stays during the year, let alone bank them to all one hotel chain!
So, I am an Explorist. It will take me some time to fully comprehend what this status means for me in the way of benefits, but there has been one perk I have been able to test out so far, and that is the Explorist Club Lounge Access Award.
Before I share my specific experience, let’s get some background…
What is an Explorist Club Lounge Access Award and how do you earn one?
Well, per the Word OF Hyatt T&C:
“Upon receiving or re-qualifying for Explorist status, Explorists will receive four (4) complimentary awards redeemable for Club lounge access (“Explorist Club Lounge Access Awards”)”
So, as an Explorist this year, I am able to free award into Club lounge access 4 times. Sweet! Again, this is status that I didn’t really earn in the first place, so 4 free Club upgrades sounds pretty good to me! I love me some Club Lounge access and these awards also include free breakfast – quite the value for a BIG eater like myself!
And my favorite part of about the Explorist Club Lounge Access Award is when you can use them…
When can you redeem Explorist Club Lounge Access Awards?
“Explorist Club Lounge Access Awards are valid on nights for which the Member has paid an Eligible Rate or has redeemed points for a standard-room Free Night Award, Suite Free Night Award, or a Points + Cash Award, up to a maximum of seven (7) consecutive nights.”
Sweet! The majority of my Hyatt stays are award stays booked on points transferred in from Chase Ultimate Rewards, so the ability to use the Explorist Lounge Access Awards on them is ideal for a traveler like me!
My Experience – Redeeming an Explorist Club Lounge Access Award on a Category 1-4 Free Night Award
The World OF Hyatt program is new. I have not read up much on all the new T&C’s and have decided to just figure this thing out as I go…
I recently stayed 1 night at the Category 2 Hyatt Regency Osaka. As an Explorist, I knew I had 4 of these Explorist Club Lounge Access Awards burning a hole in my pocket, and I was eager to test them out!
Ok, so I realize this was not the best time to be using one of these awards…
First off, the awards are valid on stays up to 7 days – this was a one night stay. Additionally, the Hyatt regency Osaka does not exactly have the best Club Lounge or breakfast offerings, and this could go much further at a more lux Grand Hyatt property somewhere around the world!
I didn’t care. I wanted Club Lounge access, and I wanted that free breakfast! So, I did what I always do when I want something from Hyatt… I took to Twitter and direct messaged Hyatt Concierge!
Interesting… I was in fact redeeming a Category 1-4 Free Night Award earned as a Chase Hyatt cardholder.
I went back and referenced the WOH Terms & Conditions and sure enough:
“Not valid in connection with any Free Night Award other than those identified above, including, without limitation, Hyatt Credit Card premium and anniversary Free Night Awards, 5-brand Free Night Awards, Category 1-4 Free Night Awards or any other promotional Free Night Award.”
Drats! Seems that I wouldn’t be NOM-ing on any free breakfast after all…
Or would I?
Attempt #2 – The Tweet to Hyatt Concierge
Since I struck out in the direct messages, I decided that this time I would tweet for all the Twitterverse to see, then perhaps Hyatt would hear my plea and throw me a bone!
Great Success! Free breakfast to all and to all a goodnight!
While I was initially denied – and rightfully so, based on the explicit exclusion of this redemption based on the T&Cs – it seems that I just happened to get in contact with an employee as confused by the new WOH program as I!
Check-in at the Hyatt Regency Osaka
While it seemed that things were all in order with my reservation and the Explorist Club Lounge Access Award was attached to my reservation, I had this funny feeling that I would run into some issues at check-in. The Twitter conversation was just 1 day before check-in and again, this was explicitly against the T&Cs, so I wasn’t sure the system would allow such an action.
I was right. The employee at the Hyatt Regency Osaka check-in counter had no record of my Club Lounge access, or the fact that I was redeeming one of my four Explorist Club Lounge Access Awards.
I didn’t push the issue as I knew it was outside the terms, however, the hotel reacted with customer service in mind and honored my request based on my previous Twitter conversation. Thank you, Hyatt Regency Osaka!
That means free breakfast for me!
And in the mix-up it seems I still have my 4 Explorist Club Lounge Access Awards available in my account!
We are all still figuring our way around the new World OF Hyatt rewards program. And by “all” I mean customers and employees alike!
I miss my Diamond status and the free breakfast and lounge access that came with it, but I like the fact that with my Explorist status can still have that access, even if it is only 4 times.
What has been your World OF Hyatt experience so far? Do you feel like Hyatt employees have a good understanding of the program changes?