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A Defection to Hyatt: Experiences & a Guide for ex-Starwood/Marriott travelers

A Defection to Hyatt: Experiences & a Guide for ex-Starwood/Marriott travelers

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Old Feb 15, 19, 11:46 am
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A Defection to Hyatt: Experiences & a Guide for ex-Starwood/Marriott travelers

I put my money where my mouth is, and have done 11 paid nights in a row w/Hyatt (and have 7 more coming up in March). I have a few legacy dirt cheap Marriott AAA rates, and my Florence/Venice trip where I'm staying at the great LCs, but other than that I will only do Marriott now going forward when burning points or when there is no convenient Hyatt (which inevitably will happen). As a LTT who would get close to $20K spend, but also don't really see any value now w/how Marriott has destroyed the Ambassador program, I basically have zero loyalty to Marriott going forward.

I had to start from scratch as I couldn't get the Hyatt Visa (over 5/24), my TA got stiffed on a match for me, and there are no public challenges/matches. But I'm now a Discoverist (10 nights) and should hit Explorist (30 nights) later this spring. Globalist doable when I can eventually get the Visa.

What I've learned and liked:
  • Hyatt IT is mostly flawless. SPG good but better. You check out, and you have an email w/a link to your folio 5-10 min later, and can download in the future. I can check-in and I am always notified when my room is ready. You can search multiple rates at once. Nice map function. I actually get email confirmations when I book. Basically, a total 180 from the S-show that is Marriott IT.
  • I earned a free night already (redeemed for a $400 room rate) by staying at 5 unique Hyatt brands (and can earn another free night with 5 more, though that will be tougher)
  • I have gobs of Chase URs, and transferring to Hyatt is actually a good deal (unlike Marriott)
  • Free internet (basic) at all properties so far, and now I get premium internet
  • Most properties have had free bottles of water in the room for me
  • Have done a couple HPs so far, and they are much nicer IME than the craptastic CYs I have always found myself in
  • Stayed in a very cool urban HH this week - like a slightly more mature & functional Aloft
  • Acquisitions/partnerships with Two Roads, SLH, etc. is expanding the geographic / uniqueness property reach
  • Green program points (not all properties participate) still 500
  • Globalist can be done w/~45-50 nights if you get the Visa and put some decent spend on it
  • I like the new interval rewards (every 10 nights basically in-between status levels)...smart to create "little victories" for the consumer
  • New promo just came out, and it's fantastic (points even on award stays!). Marriott, meanwhile...(crickets)...
Some potential issues:
  • I always made Starwood work location-wise, but Hyatt does still feel lighter still, so I have added ~10-15 min onto my travel commute at times picking a Hyatt
  • May not see a suite for a while (though easier to book w/points than Marriott)
  • Even when I hit Explorist (30 nights) I will have only earned a fixed amount (4 total) of lounge access passes (good for any duration of stay IIRC). But less of a need for me since when on business travel I have never cared for the Marriott lounge fixation, and would rather go spend $10 at a Starbucks.
I am curious to now experience the brand with increasing levels of status too. And am very excited for future PH and Andaz stays!
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Old Feb 15, 19, 11:59 am
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Welcome! I must say, it's refreshing to have the perspective of an experienced "newbie".

I also came from Marriott a few years ago (back when Hyatt offered a status match for a day) and have never looked back. I still have to stay at Marriott for some of my work travel, but practically all of my discretionary hotel stays have gone to Hyatt.
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Old Feb 15, 19, 12:02 pm
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Originally Posted by UA-NYC View Post
  • I earned a free night already (redeemed for a $400 room rate) by staying at 5 unique Hyatt brands (and can earn another free night with 5 more, though that will be tougher)
First off, great thread!
This has to be past promo, "Brand Explorer". I am curious if you would earn additional night in March from new "Milestone" award, which they will start counting from Jan 2019.
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Old Feb 15, 19, 12:03 pm
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Thanks! Looks like this was quickly moved to the Hyatt forum I intended it to stay in the Marriott forum, because frankly I know there are a lot of "us" (especially ex-Starwood folks) who find a bit of kinship with Hyatt. But if it ends up here, and some SPG/MR folks see it, that's fine too.
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Old Feb 15, 19, 12:06 pm
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Originally Posted by Alexsth2011 View Post
First off, great thread!
This has to be past promo, "Brand Explorer". I am curious if you would earn additional night in March from new "Milestone" award, which they will start counting from Jan 2019.
Thanks!

Yup it's Brand Explorer for my free one.

I assume I would earn the Milestone award at 30 nights too (cat 1-4 night + the 2 lounge passes)
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Old Feb 15, 19, 12:34 pm
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Originally Posted by Alexsth2011 View Post
First off, great thread!
This has to be past promo, "Brand Explorer".
I think that promo isn't "past" -- it continues, no?
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Old Feb 15, 19, 12:37 pm
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I'm a long time Hyatt loyalist - I'll make Lifetime Diam Glob later this year or early next - so I'm not going to argue with much of what you said. What stuck out to me, though, was your statement " Hyatt IT is mostly flawless ." Maybe it is compared to Marriott - I'm a Lifetime Plat there after combining with SPG - but I don't have any recent experiences with their IT. This forum is full of issues with Hyatt IT and it's pretty much of a joke here. Just within the past month, there was a period where it was impossible to book an award stay online and another period of time where one's future reservations weren't displayed. Luckily, the reservations weren't lost, you just couldn't view them. Every year there's questions and discussions about how stays over the night of 31 December are credited, and the way Hyatt IT does it ends up biting people in the *** every year.

I have a few other quibbles, too.
- The "Green Program" or points for foregoing housekeeping, is not common. I think I've run into it 3 times in the last 2 years of stays at more than 50 different properties.
- The latest promo is OK, but far from fantastic, even when comparing to recent promos. For us old timers, we can only dream of the truly fantastic promos Hyatt ran a decade ago ...
- Many HPs are former AmeriSuites properties from Hyatt's acquisition about 15 years ago. A fair number of those are showing their age and are pretty mediocre. Newly built HPs can be nice, but overall, I find that HPs are very comparable to CYs (unless you like HP's poor excuse for a breakfast)

Anyway, welcome to Hyatt. I'm glad you've liked what you've found so far and I hope it continues to work for you.
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Old Feb 15, 19, 12:47 pm
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A similar thread here: Explain Globalist vs. Marriott/SPG platinum?

Here's my slightly updated commentary from that thread

I'm a lifetime SPG Plat (and now a Bonvoy lifetime tit) and have had Hyatt Diamond/Globalist for maybe 5 years now. I had to take a lapse one year because there were no Hyatt's where i was travelling to but am very much back on the Hyatt bandwagon.. For me the benefits of Hyatt...

1. The ability to confirm suite upgrades at booking when travelling with family is huge (vs between five days out and never with SPG SNAs). And these are stay-based not night based. The only property where i've seen games played on this front is the Andaz Maui and I still managed to stag a suite over thanksgiving for five nights.

2. As stated elsewhere there are no games with breakfast. Breakfast is free. period. None of this "well you can do the buffet but if you want hot items you have to buy up to it" or "you can get a bagel, coffee, and yoghurt at the coffee shop as your plat amenity" nonsense that happens way too often with starwood. And to my knowledge, there is also no games with "excluding resorts."

3. Some of the aspirational properties for Hyatt are very much our style. The Andaz Maui is easily our favorite property in Hawaii. Love the Park Hyatt in Buenos Aires. Lots of great SPG properties too but nice to have options.

4. For the most part, i just feel like i'm treated better. The phone agents tend to be friendlier and more effective at cutting through hotel hiccups. The properties tend to treat globalist as a bigger deal. And one example of the perks mentioned above... that stay at the Andaz in Maui. Breakfast was i think 45 per person, valet parking was i think 35 a day, and resort fee was 35 a day. All of that was free, no questions asked. So for five nights, we saved $800! Starwood we would have only gotten the breakfast...maybe.

5. Two last notes on earning and burning. First, i also almost exclusively transfer Chase UR to Hyatt as that is the best value. Second, there are very few properties in Hyatt's top tier. Maybe 7. This is how SPG's top category started out when they introduced it but the number of hotels that are in SPG's top tier have grown rapidly over the years. (updated to add that Hyatt 2019 category changes are also pushing things higher)

The biggest downside is the footprint for hyatt is small so it definitely doesn't work for everyone. Hard to keep Globalist if you are constantly going to places without Hyatts. And while we really like the aspirational properties for point redemption, that footprint is also limiting (but getting better by the day as Small Luxury Hotels are added for redemption). But if your travel patterns allow, it has worked really well for me. Other than footprint the only thing i can think of that Bonvoy has over hyatt is fifth night free. But in the grand scheme of things, certainly not a deal breaker. Which is why hyatt probably has not bothered matching it.
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Old Feb 15, 19, 12:54 pm
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Originally Posted by Alexsth2011 View Post
This has to be past promo, "Brand Explorer".
Brand Explorer is not a past promo; it's still one of the benefits of the WoH program. I think many find the 5 brands relatively easy to get. I recall it took me less than 2 months to get the 1st free night, and I got to 9 brands soon after. I've been "stuck" there since the summer of 2017. Given the free night is a "once in a lifetime" for each set of 5 brands, I haven't been in a hurry to get to the 10th. Maybe it will be easier with Hyatt's recent acquisitions ...
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Old Feb 15, 19, 1:09 pm
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I largely agree with the comments here, although the older cookie cutter HPs (from the chain that Hyatt purchased) can be depressing. Yet there are some wonderful unique HPs too, such as those in converted historic buildings or just designed to have more style. I would tend to compare HP to aloft, and one big advantage of HP is that rooms almost always have a comfortable place to sit as well as a real desk, unlike the alofts that just have the bad desk chairs for the counter under the window and the bench thing between the windows that I use as a luggage rack.
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Old Feb 15, 19, 2:13 pm
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Originally Posted by Alexsth2011 View Post
First off, great thread!
This has to be past promo, "Brand Explorer". I am curious if you would earn additional night in March from new "Milestone" award, which they will start counting from Jan 2019.
It seems very unlikely (though possible). The Brand Explorer never reset, so if you did 10 different brands the first year, you didn't get another cert (or two) from the second year.
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Old Feb 15, 19, 2:56 pm
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Former SPG that converted to Hyatt three years ago. Very happy and glad I made the choice.

Agree w/most EXCEPT the complainers or people obsessed with how good it was "in the past." Save the stories for the grandkids and move on... No company gets it right every time, but Hyatt has a better track record than the vast majority of companies I deal with... I can't imagine going back to Marriott or Hilton (or anywhere else) at this point and hope they don't change (or God forbid, merge) anytime soon.

Personally I think many HP's represent a terrific value for what you get. Everything is relative, but for (typically) half the price of a full service you get a nice mini-suite room, and a breakfast that is a) much improved and b) at or above anything offered for "free" at any other similar property. PLUS even though they are mostly franchises, the service I get at them is also usually quite good. No they aren't Park Hyatt's (which I also love) but for the price they deliver value (even the old Amerisuites ones, IMHO).

As for promos, the current one offers up to 50% returns on a $100 stay at a HP or HH (w/Hyatt card). It doesn't get any better than that...
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Old Feb 15, 19, 3:12 pm
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I used to complain about Hyatt IT, but it's much better than Marriott's, especially the app. I especially appreciate how Hyatt app retains prior searches so you don't have to reenter all the info each time you search.

Marriott IT has just been one cluster after another.
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Old Feb 15, 19, 3:51 pm
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
I used to complain about Hyatt IT, but it's much better than Marriott's, especially the app. I especially appreciate how Hyatt app retains prior searches so you don't have to reenter all the info each time you search.

Marriott IT has just been one cluster after another.
It's crazy how bad Marriott has become. When they first announced the SPG merger (and Hyatt promptly offered a status match) I jumped to Hyatt, but then had a bit of buyers remorse when (it appeared) Marriott was going to be so generous with SPG people... my how times have changed. So glad Hyatt ISN'T matching - the last thing we need is a flood of fake Globalists...
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Old Feb 15, 19, 4:05 pm
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I have always loved Hyatt, but iím not sure if the footprint will work for me. I donít want to end up mid Tier on both Hyatt and Marriott. Iím very curious to see how the SLH partnership evolves.

Marriott have got me for one more year while I lock in Lifetime Platinum and probably qualify Ambassador for one more time, but if there is no improvement I am open to giving Hyatt a try..
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