Here’s a rabbit hole that I’ve been drowning in recently. I wanted to share what I learned, including reasons why I have had to follow up on many of my Hyatt stays recently.
To be very clear, I’ve had similar experiences with other hotel groups, but I’ve been mostly staying at Hyatts lately, which is why this post is focused on World of Hyatt.
Do Side Expenses earn Points at Hyatt Hotels?
There is often confusion about which hotel expenses qualify for point earning. For example, World of Hyatt offers 5x basis points per dollar spent, but which expenses qualify? We know the room rate applies, but what about food or drink in the hotel restaurant or park or pet fees or excursions or resort fees?
In addition to earning World of Hyatt points for your room rate, you can also earn World of Hyatt points for eligible incidental expenses. The World of Hyatt Terms and Conditions indicate that allowable incidental charges vary by hotel, but generally include:
- Resort and destination fees
- Additional cleaning fees
- Expenses for spa, food, drinks and lounge (except in points of sale that are not operated by the hotel or resort)
- Other fees like laundry, dry cleaning, and phone calls
It should also be noted that points are not awarded for the purchase of alcoholic beverages in certain countries and countries, as well as in certain properties.
In other words, my interpretation is that the only major categories of hotel expenses that should consistently not be eligible for point earning are taxes, tips, and possibly excursions and other arrangements booked through the hotel but provided by third parties.
Hyatt restaurant expenses should be considered as eligible expenses
Are Hyatt Hotels booking incidental expenses correct?
First, let me explain why this is important to me. I am currently living in hotels full time and am working my way to World of Hyatt Globalist lifelong status. The status of a lifelong globalist is based on earning one million basis points, so it is purely sales-based.
If I want to spend money at Hyatt, I want those expenses to qualify for my status in life under the terms and conditions.
From a loyalty program perspective, it also makes sense to reward side expenses. Logical or not, I am much more likely to spend money in a hotel knowing that I will be rewarded for doing so, as I consider earning points to be the equivalent of some sort of discount based on how I rate each currency.
Given that spending at Hyatts is the bulk of my budget, I checked the folios much more carefully each time I stayed to see how the items were posted. Unfortunately, I find that I’m consistently not earning as many points as I think I should.
When you check out, you can immediately see how much money you are earning points for. The “Eligible Editions” are listed at the bottom of the folio. This is the amount multiplied by five to determine how many Base Points you will earn (the “Eligible” section is if you want to redeem points at Hyatt’s Dining & Spa Awards).
To name just a few examples:
- In a hotel, my “eligible expenses” were lower than the pre-tax room rate and did not include ancillary costs
- Most of the time, I’ve found that I don’t earn points on side expenses, from eating and drinking in hotel restaurants to pet fees and room service
In my experience, for the most part, points for side expenses are not booked correctly
So what’s the solution?
I can’t figure out exactly where the breakup is here:
- Do hotels purposely categorize things as ineligible so they don’t have to pay for points to be awarded?
- Does something happen at the end of World of Hyatt that results in points not posting properly?
- Is that just an oversight because no one is addressing this?
I find the World of Hyatt program to work in good faith, so I don’t think this is intentional or malicious on the part of the program.
As a member, this is about how vague the terms are:
- The spirit of the terms about spa, food, beverage, and lounge expenses that are considered eligible expenses seems pretty straightforward, but then why is this an issue over and over again?
- Points are not awarded for purchases of alcoholic beverages in “certain jurisdictions and countries” and “in certain properties”. So what are they?
- The terms and conditions state that eligible incidental costs “vary by hotel” and “generally” include certain things, but leave the matter very open
I brought this to the attention of a Hyatt contact (who is always very helpful and attentive) and here is the answer, in part:
Member assistance with program issues is a great service that My Hyatt Concierge representatives provide to those members who meet Milestone Reward qualifications. We encourage all other members to contact World of Hyatt through their nearest Global Contact Center, chat, or email. These inquiries are usually answered within 7 days of checking out.
To understand the characteristics of restaurants and spa outlets participating in World of Hyatt Earning and Redeeming, we encourage members to learn more about our range of restaurants, spas, and more here.
Please note that not all sales outlets in every property may participate and recommend that you confirm eligibility with the hotel. When staying at the hotel as a registered guest, it is always best to bill Folio Dining and Spa to ensure that participating Dining & Spa outlets receive credit. In addition, all sheets state eligible fees.
Where am i?
- Whenever I had a dispute, I emailed My Hyatt Concierge and they quickly fixed my issues and adjusted the points. Note that not all Globalist members have access to My Hyatt Concierge, but that it is linked to the Milestone Rewards program
- When I asked the front desk of hotels if a point of sale was eligible to earn World of Hyatt points, I sometimes got blank looks and sometimes was told yes just because I didn’t pretend to post
To be clear, I only track in situations where there are significant discrepancies. If there’s a few dollars (or even ten dollars) difference, I don’t want to waste anyone’s time, but when we talk about a lot more, I think it’s worth following.
Always check your folio to make sure the points are published correctly
While this is hardly the most pressing problem in the world today, I figured I’d share what I’ve learned about getting Hyatt points over the past few months. In theory, you should be earning World of Hyatt points on a majority of your random Hyatt expenses. Unfortunately, I’ve found that there are some systematic issues, and in at least my experience, I don’t typically earn World of Hyatt points for a majority of my side expenses.
Ultimately, I solve this problem by contacting My Hyatt Concierge and then it gets resolved pretty painlessly. However, it seems certain that this is a bigger problem that could be addressed as there is clearly a difference between how things work and how things actually work.
If nothing else, this is a reminder to always check your folio and make sure you are earning the correct number of points (approximately) to stay at.
What is your experience with the correct scoring for side expenses at Hyatt hotels (or other hotel loyalty programs)? If you haven’t been paying attention by now, take a look at some of your previous folios as I am curious to see how widespread this problem is.