In contrast to the announcement of its upcoming award-price increases, which it made on the Friday before a long weekend—a tired old P.R. ploy to bury the bad news—Hyatt chose a Monday to go public with a package of three upcoming changes to its Gold Passport program that members are more likely to applaud.
Beginning January 7—the same day the award-price increases will kick in—the following other program changes will also take effect:
Points + Cash
As can members of most other hotel loyalty programs, Gold Passport members will be able to combine cash and points to book room nights. So, for example, a room at a Category 1 hotel that normally requires 5,000 points for an award night can be booked for 2,500 points plus $50; a Category 2 room will be priced at 8,000 points or 4,000 points plus $55; and so on, up to a Category 7 room, which will go for 30,000 points or a combination of 15,000 points and $300.
Points + Cash stays cannot be booked online. Members must call Hyatt to book.
On the upside, the stays do earn credit for the cash portion. And the stays are eligible for elite credit and promotion credit.
24-Month Points Expiration
The program’s current consumer-unfriendly 12-month points-expiration schedule will be doubled to allow program members a more reasonable 24 months to complete a transaction that will extend the life of their points. As with other programs, almost anything that results in an increase or decrease in a member’s account balance counts as a qualifying transaction.
Finally, and of interest to the fewest Gold Passport members, Platinum and Diamond members will receive a 20 percent discount on standard room rates throughout 2014.
Reader Reality Check
With both negative and positive changes in the pipeline for Gold Passport, how is your loyalty to the program affected?
This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.