The news came out the other day that Hyatt is changing their Diamond Suite Upgrade policy for when they can be used. This certainly made quite a few people upset as it could make things difficult for reserving suites with the expiration date now being observed. However, Hyatt may make a change on when the new Diamond Suite Upgrades are issued, so let’s take a look at it.
Hyatt Changes Their Generous Diamond Suite Upgrades
Hyatt has had a very generous suite upgrade program for their Diamond members for quite a while. Here is how it works:
- Diamonds receive 4 suite upgrades per year
- Each upgrade can be used for up to a 7 day reservation
- Upgrades can be used on Points+Cash reservation as well as all qualifying, paid reservations
- Upgrades can be booked for stays that take place after the expiration date
The Change – Expiration Date For Diamond Suite Upgrades
That last part is the one that is changing for next year – the ability to upgrade a stay that takes place after February 28 even though the upgrade certificate expires February 28. Starting in 2017, Diamond Suite Upgrades will expire at the end of February – both for booking and for the stay to be completed.
Here is the official word as reported by View From the Wing:
Diamond members enjoy many exclusive privileges including suite upgrades at the time of reservation four times annually on eligible paid nights. On March 1, 2016, Diamond members will receive four new Diamond Suite Upgrade Awards, and we want to provide clarity on an upcoming modification to the redemption period.
What’s Changing? Suite awards issued on or after March 1, 2016 must be redeemed for reservations with a checkout date prior to the expiration date of the award. Suite awards not redeemed prior to the expiration date of the award will be forfeited.
What’s not changing? Suite awards issued prior to March 1, 2016, must be redeemed by making a reservation no later than the last day of February 2016 for future reservations. In the event one of these Suite awards is redeemed for stay dates beyond the expiration date and the reservation is cancelled after the last day of February 2016, the Suite award will be forfeited.
These changes will be reflected on our website and within our Terms and Conditions on February 1, 2016.
Adherence To An Expiration Date
To be honest, it was very generous in the first place to allow expiring certificates to be booked for future travel. Other travel providers, like airlines and SPG, have their upgrade certificates expire and you cannot use them for travel that takes place after that expiration date. So, Hyatt was being quite generous in letting suite upgrades be used for a massive amount of time, even when the member was no longer a Diamond and even though the upgrade certificate had expired before that.
The Upsetting Part
This new change simply aligns the expiration period that they have to be used by their expiration date and the stay has to be completed by then. The big part that has people upset is that new Diamond Suite Upgrades (the ones that will need to be used for travel from March 1 and onward starting next year) are currently issued on March 1. That means that people that like to plan out their travel in January for the year will now not be able to use a suite upgrade certificate until March 1, and that makes securing those suites for March – May not as easy before. That is especially true if you are going to peak travel destinations during vacation timeframes, etc.
Timing On The Issue Of Diamond Suite Upgrades
When I heard about the change, I contacted Jeff Zidell, SVP of Hyatt’s Gold Passport program, and asked him about the possibility of changing the date when the new upgrades are issued to maybe something like January 1 or at the time that the member requalifies for Diamond status for the next year. This is what he said:
I think it’s fair to say that we hope to eventually time issuance of DSU’s with Diamond requalification, but the timing on that change has not yet been determined.
This change to the expiration of suite upgrades does not go into affect until 2017 so I would hope and anticipate that this change would occur sometime before then. This is the part that most members likely have an issue with so it will be good if the issuance of the Diamond Suite Upgrades is moved back, whether it is to the start of the year or when the member qualifies.
Solves The Problem Of “Too Many Diamonds”
When Hyatt opened the doors on Twitter for matches from a variety of programs to Diamond, one of the things that many existing Diamond members were worried about was the drying up of Diamond Suite Upgrade availability.
This change (or adherence to the expiration date in place) will essentially eliminate that problem from happening going forward. As I wrote about before, it is unlikely that the majority of those who received the matches will actually qualify for 2017. That means that the Diamond Suite Upgrade pool will be empty and starting over for 2017 – no certificates from matched members who did not qualify being used, especially when they are no longer Diamonds.
As I plan on requalifying for Hyatt Diamond again this year, I really hope that the date issuance of the Diamond Suite Upgrades is moved up so that plans can be made earlier than March 1. Hyatt realizes that the current date of issuance will present issues for members and they are looking at making a change, so I expect something to come from it.