During a recent post about Marriott’s dwindling benefits for elites, many commenters highlighted the same argument against Hyatt – the only problem was, they were usually wrong. Here’s why.
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The Tired Trope
“Hyatt is nice, but they just don’t have the footprint.” [Every Globalist rolls their eyes in unison.]
I encounter this response a lot. When there’s a question on a travel group or comments on a post about Marriott’s forever diminishing benefits (now welcome bonus points don’t apply at the Le Meridien Santa Monica because of COVID), loyalists to other brands claim that the reason they tolerate fewer benefits and stay at more select-service hotels is that Hyatt simply doesn’t have enough properties to satisfy their destination needs.
It’s a tired trope but is continually trotted out by those that would be better to admit, they simply prefer Marriott, IHG, or Hilton properties and haven’t shopped the market lately.
Sheer Number Is Not Helpful
Many argue that Marriott’s nearly 8,000 hotels, Hiltons 6,000 plus, or IHGs 7,000 are why they have to stay with those chains. However, using an absolute number of hotels is probably not a good indicator. If there is a Courtyard across from a Fairfield sharing a parking lot with a Residence Inn – is that 3x better than having a single Hyatt Place? You have a brand option from the chain in the area, I’m not sure that quantity then matters.
Here’s a map of Orlando with Marriott (114), Hilton (63), IHG (35), and Hyatt (11) hotels.
The question that remains is this: Can you book stays within your preferred chain where you wish to travel?
At 114 hotels, Marriott emphatically answers yes as does Hilton with 63. However, looking at those maps and comparing them, they all essentially overlap. Being home to a ton of hotels is great, but they are all right next to each other and there is a Hyatt that correlates closely in location and brand.
As with the other brands, Hyatt Hotels Corporation has something that fits most market segments: Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress, Hyatt Regency Orlando, Hyatt Regency Orlando Airport (full-service business hotel), Hyatt House Across from Universal Studios (extended stay), Hyatt Place (select-service.)
Where World of Hyatt members will struggle to spend their free nights in this specific market are luxury hotels like Thompson Hotels, Joie De Vivre, Park Hyatt, Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Centric (mid-range), Hyatt Residence Club (for families, timeshares, and long-term) and of course the all-inclusive chains like Hyatt Ziva and Hyatt Zilara though none of the other chains offer all-inclusives in this market either.
But Marriott, with its 114 properties has just two high-end luxury properties and one (JW Marriott) was only recently added. Hilton has a Waldorf-Astoria, but that’s it. Outside of this market, it’s true you may only find a luxury property from Hyatt (like the Park Hyatt Saigon in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) or only a select service property (Hyatt Place Tegucigulpa) – but it’s few and far between in cities where you couldn’t possibly stay with the brand.
The line that you just can’t find a property in the chain is thin.
Hyatt’s Partnership with SLH
The Hyatt hotels number of branded properties (now over 1,000 in 69 countries on six continents) does not factor in SLH (which adds nearly 40% additional footprint) whereby guests can continue to earn Hyatt points and redeem them. If we are talking about true footprint, this would have to be a factor. In London, Hyatt has just six branded hotels but 19 total properties available as part of that program. Marriott, for example, has 58 in London, Hilton lists 66. Looking at those properties, I don’t see a massive difference between Hilton and Marriott, but I am also not left out in the cold by Hyatt.
Further, while Hyatt doesn’t manage and franchise SLH properties, for the traveler, the experience is pretty much the same. Elite benefits are honored just as they would be in Hyatt properties (though 2pm late check-out instead of 4pm), guests can redeem World of Hyatt points and earn them for stays – there’s little reason not to consider them as part of the chain. For most guests, the exclusion of SLH as part of the brand is really down to semantics.
Necessary Footprint vs. Unnecessary Footprint
There’s a necessary footprint and an unnecessary footprint. For decades, Hyatt had zero hotels in Rome, none in Madrid, and just one in Bangkok. Those are places where you just have to have a greater presence (and they now do.)
That said, driving the many highways of the US, every other exit seems to have a Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn Express, or a Courtyard – is that the kind of footprint that’s needed? I’d rather have fewer properties (with coverage in every major market) at a higher quality level than just having a hotel to ensure no one has to get off a roadway exit alone.
The impression given, however, is that there are entire swaths of the map where loyalty to Hyatt would leave guests without any option. That’s not really true anymore, at least not in a way that it once was valid. Confusing the Holiday Inn Express properties that dot Interstate 80 from coast-to-coast and the Hamptons that fill every exit in Iowa along the way doesn’t really translate to an inability to book a Hyatt in places you’re likely to stay.
Ignores The Value of Elite Benefits
Choosing to validate the number of properties over mid-tier to luxury properties in major destinations is also a mistake due to elite benefits. For a top-heavy chain like Hyatt, elite benefits like suite upgrades, included breakfast, guaranteed late check-outs, and even simple welcome amenities add up to a lot of value for guests. Those are benefits that guests don’t have to fight for at the front desk with Hyatt.
Marriott Bonvoy, in specific, has a never-ending list of exemptions for when and where they apply, and a nearly comedic challenge with franchisees to honor them. I really appreciate that Frequent Miler put together this breakdown for Marriott’s breakfast benefit, but the fact that Greg has to include a table of contents and then the following sections should tell you everything you need to know:
- No Breakfast for You Brands (6/30)
- $10 Breakfast brands (3/30 but two of those have asterisks because additional policies apply)
- Free Breakfast Brands (16/30) of which half (8) are SPG brands – nearly the entire chain by acquisition
- List of exempted hotels that should otherwise qualify (19 properties that should provide it by brand but don’t)
- Free Breakfast For Every Guest (5/30)
Hampton, Fairfield, and Holiday Inn Express fill a need in certain locations, and some of these continue to offer free breakfast for all guests as does Hyatt Place, but there’s often little need for a late checkout along America’s highways and byways, they may have suites but they don’t really matter in the way that they do at a Park Hyatt or an Andaz.
Last week, I mused that much of the blogosphere was fascinated by IHG’s unannounced but promised changes to its loyalty program and how those presumed changes would possibly only bring the brand level with Hilton and Marriott if they all turned out to be true. I also pointed out just how few properties in that change were of a luxury ilk so when comparing Hyatt who could arguably claim more than 40% of its World of Hyatt eligible properties as moderate to luxurious.
It was easy to put Hyatt in a corner for having a relatively small footprint and point out obvious missing destinations in the chain’s portfolio. But through partnerships and acquisitions, this tired trope no longer rings true. Fans of brands like Marriott can’t truly suggest that there simply aren’t Hyatts in the places they want to frequent, and they certainly can’t assert that the benefits are more consistent nor generous with Bonvoy. It makes me wonder what Bonvoy loyalists will suggest next for why they continue to absorb the mistreatment Marriott inflicts instead of jumping to a much nicer, more generous ship. Only time (and Twitter) will tell.
What do you think? Is Hyatt’s footprint still a concern? Are you a Bonvoy, Rewards, or Honors loyalist who has a credible other reason to stay with those chains?
For me it boils down to my travel locations for work. I tend to have to go far flung, desolate places for work on a weekly basis and the Hyatt footprint simply does not cover it, or if it does, I am not within a reasonable distance from the client site. Marriott covers this type of location better than Hyatt and typically better than Hilton as well, there is always a Fairfield/Courtyard/TownPlace Suites in desolate towns in the midwest, always.
For business travelers that tend to be in large to mid-size cities, Hyatt does work well, and trust me I wish I could make Hyatt work. My client right now the closest Hyatt property is over 50 miles away, but there is a Fairfield right in town, 9 minutes from my client’s facility.
Out for a Sunday troll I see?
A few points:
– Hyatt Place/House expansion is light years more relevant to corporate travelers than SLH. “You stayed at an $800/nt boutique luxury hotel instead of a $200/nt Residence Inn because you wanted status benefits? You’re fired.”
– Also, SLH isn’t terribly relevant for the US. It’s more relative outside the US but Hilton or Marriott’s footprint outside the US isn’t as strong as inside (duh).
-Time is a cost, too. It’s not that hard to find metros where you’re going to spend an hour or more extra traveling to and from a Hyatt as opposed to a Marriott/Hilton/IHG that’s near a customer site (or whatever). Huh, do I want to spend an hour commuting into the city center and paying $50 for parking at that downtown Hyatt Regency or pay $0 for parking and be at the hotel in 5 minutes at that Residence Inn near the customer site/tourist attraction/relative or friend I am visiting?
Yes, I get the shots at Marriott, IHG and Hilton. Hyatt is a better chain IF you can muscle up the stays AND the footprint works for you. They’re still lagging the big boys.
@Eponymous Coward – I would counter that SLH is entirely relevant to those who end up staying in Hyatt Place/House all year and want to stay some place amazing with their family, at least that’s how I have to use them for corporate stays. Agreed on SLH being relevant ex-US, which makes my argument for Hilton/Marriott vs Hyatt being better for those markets. Time is absolutely a cost and I concede that their limited footprint may not have a perfect location with the exact property needed for your exact stay, but my point was that the argument that there’s simply no option is no longer true.
And I agree that Hyatt is still lagging in terms of pure number from the big boys and needs some breadth in some cities, but Bangkok might be a good example of what’s possible. Just the Grand Hyatt for so long, and then within about five years they’ve added a Park, Regency, Place, and several SLH too.
A big fat nope. Families arent stsying at andaz or slh now.
As an intentional Globalist and somewhat accidental Titanium, there is absolutely no comparison between the two programs: Hyatt wins without even trying. Do I wish that Hyatt had more full service hotels in more markets? You bet! The thing is, with Hyatt being the last one standing on offering valuable elite benefits consistently, I’m willing to go out of my way to show Hyatt my loyalty.
It’s called “The Halo Effect”. People choose arguments that support their foregone conclusions and ignore those that don’t.
Everyone can push reasons their hotel chain is best, but these aren’t neutral, logical evaluations, they are cherry picked justifications.
Hotel chains want us to be loyal to them so we voluntarily provide them a fixed money stream.
I am loyal to me, just as they are loyal to themselves.
Such a sad fanboy posting. Many of the people who say Hyatt footprint is not adequate – I’m one of them – came to the conclusion because in our experience the footprint is not adequate. I don’t have a secrete handshake affiliation with one somewhat shady corporate chain over another. Honestly, don’t love of any of them. Loyalty and love are not the same and Hyatt simply does not have enough locations to justify loyalty. Using Orlando as your case study was pretty weak given most chains have many locations in Orlando. Nearly all US hotels for all chains are in a pretty narrow range. They are ok to mediocre. There isn’t a hotel lounge in Denver that I wouldn’t be perfectly happy to skip. No free egg McMuffin for breakfast, darn. The bigger differentiation in experience is ex US and the limited number of Hyatts tend to be badly overpriced for what they offer. To anyone who stays mostly in US hotels, you are nuts get drawn into loyalty programs for anything other than the reward points. The extra “services” that come from arranging your travel around one corporate chain were laughable before pandemic and nearly worthless now. Just stay in the best location for your trip at the best price. Most of the time that won’t be a Hyatt. If it is, great. Say hi the Kyle.
@Miamiorbust – I am an unabashed, unashamed Hyatt loyalist. That said, I also previously had SPG Platinum, Marriott Titanium, IHG Spire and Ambassador – and I currently hold Hyatt Globalist (Stays), Marriott Gold (AMEX Plat), and Hilton Diamond (stays.)
I wouldn’t disagree with you with regards to a Denver hotel lounge – but that reflects some of your inexperience with Hyatt. If you were at the Grand Downtown (or any full service) you would be in the restaurant ordering breakfast, room service, or to-go. The “egg mcMuffin” is Hyatt Place fare only which Marriott, Hilton, and even the lowly IHG offer at the same select-service properties.
But let’s talk about the outside of the US presence. That’s where Hyatt beats the snot out of the competition in most cases from a quality perspective. I mentioned London coverage but you didn’t mention that in your comment. That said, I also believe in staying where you want to – but any time you’re in a Hyatt, I’ll buy you a coffee.
Appreciate your respectful answer. I’ve stayed at Grand Hyatt Denver. The rooms are pretty tired but I did appreciate Pelton bike in gym. And it was competitively priced. Can someone explain the history of the running track? I had breakfast at Sam’s 5 minute walk from Grand Hyatt. More interesting people watching, decent-to-good food and even allowing 10-minute roundtrip walk time faster than a typical hotel restaurant. Given a choice at a US city hotel – and I’m typically on expense account so for breakfast I’m more mindful of time than modest cost of breakfast for one person – I find more enjoyment and often faster service at a near by coffee shop. Elite benefits shine in regions with great lounges or at resort properties I’d actually visit. Neither of those apply in the US. Personally, I still find marriott more useful in Europe and IHG or hilton/conrad in east Asia. In most other regions elite benefits are not exciting enough to change my behavior. Bonus point promotions are more likely to impact my decisions.
Perhaps style is in the eye of the beholder… I love the Grand Hyatt Denver. I like the dark colors of the lobby, and I always get upgraded to a suite on a high floor. They never seem tired to me, but hey, I guess that’s just me.
I am Hilton diamond, platinum elite Marriott, and globalist Hyatt so I have a good sampling of the major chains. Since the vast majority of my travel is overseas I don’t see quite the diminished benefits the domestics see with Marriott and Hilton.
But even internationally Hyatt is the winner hands-down. Footprint is not that much of a concern of mine, but if he doesn’t have the foootprint I will simply stay at a Marriott or Hilton. But I will always choose a Hyatt over the other brands simply because of the much Higher percent of the time you can actually realize full elite benefits. Especially the sweet suite upgrades which to me is the most important thing.
I’ve been in this travel game a long time, and it took me years to transition through the chains and realize the Hyatt globalist program is significantly better than anything else since SPG is now gone.
When travelling outside of the USA, do you check the prices that Hyatt’s local competitors charge? There is limited value in a suite upgrade if the Hyatt standard room is priced at the same level as a junior suite in a hotel of comparable quality a few hundred metres away.
Not relevant to me. I rarely pay for a Hyatt room. Only if the rates are very low compared to point value. I’m sitting on 1.6 MM Hyatt points.
Besides, if I went with that hypothetical competitor, I would not get lounge privileges, free breakfast probably, as well as night credits toward tier benefits. Also no 4 pm check out nor concierge personal service for any issues that may come up. Much to lose going with those competitors with Globalist status.
How do you maintain Globalist status if you rarely pay for rooms? Do you mean you rarely pay privately?
@Carl – I know you’re speaking to Fathiss and not me, but I can answer in case they don’t. World of Hyatt redemptions now count too, so if one has 1.6MM points that could potentially fuel 5.33 years (320 nights) at Category 1 without ever spending a dime on the room stay.
Also, going with those unknown competitors is a gamble. I have gone that route in the past and have been disappointed more often than not. With Hyatt there’s no risk. I know the quality of the brand.
For the places I travel most frequently for work, Hyatt is a non-option. In the case of my most frequent domestic destination, I can choose between a Holiday Inn Express that’s across the street from my company’s facility, assorted Marriott and Hilton brands about a half hour drive away, or the nearest Hyatt property nearly 3 hours away.
For my most frequent international destination, I have an Intercontinental and a Hilton within walking distance, but no Hyatt. There is one SLH property, in a less desirable nieghborhood, asking nearly double the price.
For many of us Hyatt’s smaller footprint is very much a showstopper.
You must be working in the boonies
I’m a Hyatt globalist and a travel writer – I often find there are no Hyatts where I need them to be although I prefer Hyatt by far over other chains. There is no Hyatt at EWR (Newark, NJ airport) – the closest is 12 miles away in Jersey City which is too far for the area when you have an early flight. There are no Hyatts in Scotland, only 1 in the entire Republic of Ireland. Those are just a few examples I run into this issue a lot, in places that aren’t “in the boonies.”
@K.C. Dermody – Thanks for reading. Unfortunately, this exactly highlights the SLH issue – there are SIX hotels in Scotland you can book with World of Hyatt points or earn them (and your status benefits.) While at least one of them is a literal castle, there are several others that are more reasonable and direct with the Nira Caledonia in central Edinburgh running just £159 for a random search of dates later this month for a very posh room. And while the Hyatt presence in Ireland is thin, when searching you’ll find FOUR on the Emerald Isle, one in Galway, three in central Dublin – one of which is a branded Hyatt.
And that’s kind of my point. In your examples, you cited one Hyatt in an area where you can use your points, or earn them and receive the same service and benefits at 10 properties. That’s why I say that arguments against Hyatt are usually wrong.
Clown try looking for category ones in the US
Depending on where you travel, Hyatt’s footprint is severely lacking (which, to be fair, you do acknowledge). In my case, we have family in Egypt and travel to Cairo frequently, with an occasional stop in Sharm El Sheikh. Since losing the Grand Hyatt on the Nile, their footprint in Cairo is pitiful with a good chance that choosing one of their properties is going to add hours of traffic to your daily schedule. In Sharm El Sheikh, they recently lost their Hyatt Regency. This, for a large portion of my travel, Hyatt might as well not exist, and I say that as someone who generally prefers Hyatt when available.
@Edward – I was just shopping Cairo and thought their brand new property, Hyatt Regency Cairo West, looked unreal. https://www.hyatt.com/en-US/hotel/egypt/hyatt-regency-cairo-west/hberc
You’d know better than I would, but to be clear about the point of this post was that they might not have the exact location, and the exact brand you’re hoping for, but those that argue against footprint is usually that there isn’t an option at all. Which in Cairo, would not be the case. But again, I’ve never been there and it could be in an inconvenient location.
Sorry to hear the Hyatt in Sharm El Sheik is no longer a Hyatt. I stayed there two years ago and loved that property. Great morning sunrises!
Cairo Hyatt footprint was an issue for me. I stay at the Hilton Pyramids out of town. Great point value there.
Hyatt small footprint is relevant. To me it’s just not that relevant. It does not diminish the value of Hyatt compared to other chains in my mind. It’s just that when it is relevant I stay at the other chains.
But I think Kyle’s overall point is valid. That is the argument against Hyatt’s value compared to other chains is greatly diminished due to footprint is not true to most of us travel enthusiasts. But it certainly can be in an individual case if your travel only takes you to a place where Hyatt is not there or inconvenient.
I often visit my mom in Maine (like now). There’s only one in the state and she don’t live in Portland.
Love Hyatt but the footprint issue is absolutely a problem. Not sure how you can even make that argument.
Let me give you another example of a theme-park centric city – Hershey, PA, home of Hersheypark (and the chocolate factory, of course.) Maybe not the behemoth that is Orlando, but still a very large tourist attraction in this area.
Within 10 miles, according to their apps:
– 9 hilton properties
– 9 marriott properties
– 0 hyatt properties (nearest is in Baltimore, 1.5 hrs away)
There’s a perfect example of what people are talk about with respect to Hyatts limited footprint. This is coming from someone who prefers hyatts whenever i travel.
@Michael – As a Pennsylvanian for a decade, I have never been to Hershey but your point is well taken. I do think this falls a little bit into the category of “along Interstate 80” type spots (though I am aware this is closer to 81 and 76 and directly on neither.) I was looking more at entire countries where Hyatt traditionally had zero and now has at least AN option. Omaha, Nebraska is home to one of Hyatt’s two US call centers and only got a Hyatt Place in the last 5-6 years, but for the last few decades (I have known some employees as I grew up in Omaha) Kansas City was the closest place to redeem their free night. Belize was a zero and has several options, Milan had just one for years and now has more, those are huge whiffs in years past that have been rectified.
For the record, Hyatt House Lancaster is set to open soon and that’s 27 miles away. There’s also a “Beldon Farms” in the pipeline that I can’t find any information on opening somewhere in PA.
I’ve just recently de-Bonvoyed(?) myself as a Titanium Elite, liquidated my points to Aeroplan, and am looking at Hyatt for my new brand. That said, I think your point about colocation is misguided. Yes, there may be 3+ Hilton or Marriott properties sharing a parking lot, but that still should count as 3+ properties because they attract different customers with different pricepoints. You absolutely cannot discount an extended stay property simply because it’s next to a full service property, especially if all Hyatt has (if anything) is a Grand Hyatt or Hyatt Regency.
Newsflash: many of us have to, or want to, stay in places that don’t meet your ‘major market’ definition.
Case in point: I am planning a trip to Africa, and Hyatt are nowhere to be seen, even in hugely important cities like Nairobi where the likes of Accor and Hilton have multiple properties (yes, there is a SLH hotel there; their cheapest room costs more than double what I will be paying at the 5-star Mövenpick). I fancy a long weekend in Bilbao during the summer, there are zero Hyatts in a metro area with more of a million people (in other words, about half the size of your Orlando example). When I go to Thessalonika (similar size), I can stay at a Hyatt as long as I don’t mind being miles away from the city- it’s an airport hotel (admittedly, other chains aren’t really prominent there either).
And then there’s the issue of price points. My flight to Africa departs from Lisbon, and I thought I would take the opportunity to spend a couple of nights there beforehand. The Hyatt regency Lisboa hasn’t opened yet, the cheapest rates for when it does open in a few months time are about 40% higher than the Sofitel, double the price of the new Curio Collection property, and almost 2.5 times the Moxy rate. Hyatt do not have a cheaper option in town- if you don’t want to stay in a five star hotel (and pay 40% more than the going rate for it), you are out of luck!
The fact that Bonvoy is a lousy programme doesn’t mean that Hyatt has a compelling proposition for people that go to a variety of places for work and/or leisure.
That should’ve read ‘more than a million residents’ obviously.
@PM – To your point, yes, it may be expensive for the SLH in Nairobi, but it’s not “none available” and part of my point was that the World of Hyatt properties are almost half premium at this point. That means nicer stays but more expensive. The benefit is that converting Chase Ultimate Rewards is that you earn at an elevated rate but can convert as few as 25,000 points for a $1,000/night property. Doing the same for Marriott or Hilton would simply require far more points to stay. However, the Movenpick is neither of those anyway so I’m not sure that makes your point.
You’re right about Bilbao, but prove my point in the case of Lisbon. You’ve mentioned the Hyatt Regency Lisbon is open yet, but four other SLH properties offer World of Hyatt benefits, point redemptions & accrual, and a fifth is set to come online soon. That’s kind of my point, they do now have the coverage, but it’s premium and many do not think of SLH when they think of where Hyatt properties are located.
You sound like a hyatt shill how much are you paid or any benefits in the interest of transparency. I love hyatt btw but you sound like an idiot trying to defend the holes people point out.
‘Premium’ isn’t the word for SLH properties. They are super high end- I understand there are those who have unlimited points to burn, but, when it comes to the cash rates, we’re talking prices approaching four and five times the price of your typical 4-star hotel. To me, these places might as well not exist- even though I can technically afford to pay the prices, I cannot see the value so I would only consider staying there on a honeymoon or something, and likely end up getting annoyed by the slightest of issues (I don’t think I could escape a mentality along the lines of e.g. ‘I am not paying €500 per night for a slow wifi connection’). At that level of spend, points are bound to be a secondary consideration and elite-equivalent perks can probably be secured through the likes of virtuoso.
When it comes to the likes of Hyatt Regency, that can be described as premium, but, again, the rest of the market is not covered. There’s an obvious attraction if we are talking resorts, but at city hotels, people tend to spend most of their time outside either in meetings or sightseeing/people watching. so again the added value over an upper midscale hotel can be limited. But, even if you do want to stay at a premium establishment, there’s no point in choosing a Hyatt and hoping for an upgrade if its standard room is about the same price as the junior suite at the Sofitel.
Live in quebec city, canada. Footprint is definitely a problem for us. No hotel in our city of 800k people. None in montreal. Closest hotel is 5hrs away in ottawa. Next closest city would be toronto at 8 hrs away.
@GEO – Quebec is still a zero, but Montreal has a pair opening soon, Hyatt Place City Centre looks to go first and were taking reservations for a random week in August this year (I don’t know when it actually opens.)
I’m a Hyatt Globalist who doesn’t travel for business and rarely flies (especially the last two years). I put a lot of effort into staying exclusively with Hyatt to keep up my qualifying nights, but the footprint doesn’t make it easy. Sure, it’s easy to find a Hyatt on vacations to Florida and road trips to mid-sized metro areas. But when I visit family in smaller cities, the nearest Hyatt is 100 miles away. And on 8-hour road trips, when I want to stop reasonably close to halfway, the only available properties add an hour to my drive — especially since they dumped some of the crappier Hyatt Places.
I guess I’m not the typical customer, but no other chain comes close in terms of value, so I continue to go way out of my way for Hyatt. What I really wish they could acquire is some of the super-basic hotels around isolated, <200K-population cities. And definitely some of those rural oases just off the junction of two Interstates. I'm sure most feel it cheapens the brand to have low-end properties in unglamorous locations, but my expectations are proportional to the location…and if I ever finally give up on Hyatt, this will be the reason.
I travel mostly for leisure to Dubai, the South of France, and Spain. Hyatt’s footprint in Dubai is incredible, which is how I achieved Globalist status for the past 3 years. However apart from there, I almost never stay with Hyatt. They only have two hotels on the entire Cote d’Azur, of which only Martinez is interesting, and it’s almost comically expensive during high season, and while I will be upgraded to a suite there, it’ll be on the back side of the hotel, with a (cough) “city view”. Just getting upgraded to a standard room with full sea view is impossible, best I’ve ever achieved is std partial sea view.
Hyatt does have a few SLH properties in France, but I won’t get upgraded there, right? And those can usually be had for less by booking direct. Booking via Hyatt, you are literally paying for the points (and won’t receive any other benefits).
In Spain, I was going to write that they don’t have a single property near the coast, but I checked now, and dozens of “Alua” properties popped up. What’s that all about? They definitely weren’t there last year.
You know I love playing contrarian when you go full metal Hyattist, so here I go again…
My criticism of Hyatt fanboys doesn’t center around arguing that Hilton/IHG/Bonvoy offer better elite benefits or have superior programs. They don’t.
I think you’re giving short shrift to the footprint issue (I’ll get to that in a second), but it’s not really the driving force, either.
No, it boils down to how you (and Matthew, and Lucky, and other hard core Hyattists) twist yourselves into pretzels justifying spending thousands of dollars more a year for hotel stays, including wasted money on mattress runs, “because suite upgrades” or “because Park Hyatt Vienna breakfast”. Several of the examples you’ve tried to counter with prove my point, like trying to justify staying at a Hyatt Place in Lancaster for a family trip to Hershey. Adding 20 miles in commute time each way is a big deal to a lot of people – I don’t want a 30 minute+ drive to get back to my hotel after a day of my son running around me in circles at a theme park. So is spending 40% more cash to stay at a Hyatt Regency in Lisbon compared to a competitor. Y9u can counter with suite upgrades or the chance to redeem points at SLH overseas – but when I travel, either alone or with the family, we’re typically at one location for 2-3 days and not in our room all that much. So what’s the justification for paying $1,500-2,000 a year more in base rates (by your own admission) and potentially staying at inconvenient locations that add an hour of commute time for a fancier room I’m not even going to spend much time in? Besides, if I want to stay at SLH, I’ll just go find a Virtuoso rate that delivers similar benefits often at substantially lower cost.
If what you gain from your Hyatt loyalty is what floats your boat, great, but it’s not a value proposition that works for everyone. Or I would even argue, most travelers if you honestly do the math.
2021 I mattress run 14 nights on a $37 per night new opened Hyatt Place with 500 bonus points per night to hit 60N real Globalist, in the end I was like paid $300 for C1-7 FN and 4 SUA, so jokes on you actually.
Also I thought Lucky had 200+ Hyatt nights last year and was close to Lifetime Globalist?
I am a Hyatt Globalist myself, but also used to travel for work in small towns where there really was next to zero Hyatt footprint. I ended up in a Hampton Inn 85% of the time, which is why I have both Hilton Diamond and Hyatt Globalist (which only came this year from having to stay at a Hyatt House while my home was being renovated for 3.5 weeks and the double points promo of early 2021.
I am going to Ayr, Scotland, Stockholm and Oslo this summer, and my Hyatt choices are either completely nil, or quite inconvenient with the exception of Stockholm which seems to have barely adequate coverage with the JdV partnership, whose rooms seem more like Ikea hostels than anything comfy. Thankfully, they’re priced as a Cat 1, so if I was looking for something that tiny, it’d be a decent option. To be fair, nobody has decent coverage in Oslo except Radisson.
“ The impression given, however, is that there are entire swaths of the map where loyalty to Hyatt would leave guests without any option.”
Putting aside the fact that having one option in a major city (where it can take an hour or more to get from one part of town to another) hardly make a hotel a viable option in many cases… there ARE still entire swaths of the map where Hyatt falls short. Hyatt’s website says they have hotels in 56 countries—fewer than half as many as the competitors you discuss.
But, even more to the point, who are you arguing against? I’ve yet to see anyone say,”No really, I just prefer chains with less rewarding loyalty programs.” I think most people probably would prefer Hyatt if their footprint worked for their travel needs, but frankly the footprint is an issue for many of us. That’s true no matter how many hotels they add in Orlando and London.
“I think most people probably would prefer Hyatt if their footprint worked for their travel needs, but frankly the footprint is an issue for many of us. That’s true no matter how many hotels they add in Orlando and London.” – 100% agreed. I really don’t get how anyone could argue that Hyatt’s footprint isn’t an issue, because it is in MANY markets.
Take me, for instance. I travel a lot across all US-states – including many rural communities – and you can almost always find a Hilton/Marriott/IHG property that represents an okay value proposition. In 50%+ of the cases, I book a suite (if the price difference is small-ish, which it often is), and breakfast is usually included (if not, I just go to Dunkin’ or Panera or Einstein Bros.). IF you can find a similar Hyatt property, it’s usually more expensive, not nicer and offers no additional perks. In fact, I would argue that your run-of-the-mill newer Hampton Inn & Suites is better than your run-of-the-mill Hyatt Place, while being less expensive. It’s, at least, not worse or more expensive, and I feel that I usually get treated pretty okay as a Hilton Diamond member (earned through stays).
When I travel outside of the US (which I often do, since I reside in Europe), I find that a) it’s much, much, much easier to find a highly rated Hilton or Marriott property than it is to find an equivalent Hyatt property where I’m going, and b) suites at Hilton/Marriott properties are oftentimes no less expensive than a standard room at a Hyatt property. I may also add that c) Hiltons and Marriotts outside of the US are often very good at providing upgrades. So, regardless of wether or not Hyatt is a better loyalty program or not (which it obviously is), I’m almost always able to book a suite at Hilton or Marriott with a rate including breakfast for the same cost as a standard room at a Hyatt property in the same city, rendering the added benefits of Hyatt elite status more or less useless.
Perhaps I’ve also just been lucky, but I’ve personally yet to encounter a Hilton or Marriott property that treats me badly. I’ve experienced a couple of so-so experiences, but I’ve always been able to get it resolved by contacting Hilton’s or Marriott’s customer service via email.
Why do you assume that most people complaining about Hyatt poor footprint are based in the US and/or only travel inside the us?
I am globalist myself and I am tired of travel blogs assuming that the world is only limited to North America
I love Hyatt and generally agree with your argument but there is something to the notion that their footprint is spread thin. When we traveled to Bend Oregon had to stay at a Marriott b/c of no Hyatt property. To go to Flagstaff had to stay (with free room vouchers to be fair) at a Residence Club in Sedona. In certain markets-especially second tier ones- they really lack a footprint comparable to IHG, Hilton or Marriott.
@James Barkin – Good news, Hyatt Place Flagstaff is in the pipeline. Bend, Oregon is not in the pipeline but has a population of 100,000 so that would be someplace where I would be comfortable not having a Hyatt option over other places that may serve more visitors in the future.
I have a wroksite in downtown Pittsburgh. What Hyatt can I stay at in downtown? Multiple Marriotts there. I also have a worksite in downtown Detroit? What Hyatt is in downtown Detroit? Multiple Marriotts there too. These are major cities.
I have a third worksite in Florence, SC. What Hyatt is there?
Hyatt has a small footprint. I am a Globalist but damn I have to work at it. Titanium is easy peasy.
Kyle, the fact is that Hyatt does NOT have the footprint of Marriott, Hilton or IHG. I love how you use Orlando as the example for your argument. Well, Orlando isn’t typical. It’s the biggest tourist destination in the world. Nor would looking at big cities do any good here. Sure, if your business is in the Chicago Loop or Manhattan or LA, Hyatt has you covered no problem. But try having business trips to places like Birmingham or Chattanooga or Syracuse or suburban Minneapolis (not near Mall or America) or Tulsa or Akron or Waco, etc, etc. These are the kinds of places that I often have to go and Hyatt’s footprint is too lacking to be loyal to them. Maybe there’s a Hyatt affiliated hotel in some of these destinations, but there will be maybe one or two. Even in major metros, I’ll be traveling to a suburb and find that Hyatt skews toward downtowns and airport areas. There may be a Hyatt Place near where I have to go, but that’s not the case for 3 of my next 4 trips. Meanwhile, I’ll have 20 Marriotts and 20 more Hiltons to look at in these metros. And that’s the point.
It is worth remembering that the HUGE difference between Marriott, IHG, and Hyatt is that Hyatt owns and/or manages the vast majority of its full-service hotels. Only Hyatt’s limited-service properties are heavily franchised. That’s a huge, huge difference from Marriott, where 70% of its hotels aren’t managed by Marriott. At IHG, I think only Kimptons and some Intercontinentals are managed by IHG.
Best comment yet. The other two are trump lines. Slap a label on it nothing to do with it. Pritzher own a large portion of it. Not labelsm
Great point with the Orlando map, i’ll give you credit to that. There’s an issue though. When traveling abroad, not only is Hyatt footprint small, but outrageously priced. Cities like Vienna, Prague, Rome have a couple of Hyatts, but usually category 7 or even 8. So it makes a perfect aspirational redemption, but not a practical one for, let’s say, a 1 month paid eurotrip. Big fan of Hyatt, but you can expect to pay more than double in a lot of large cities.
I LOVE Hyatt, and I find it incredibly easy to gain and redeem rewards at a great value, but the footprint issue is absolutely a problem. Hyatt is my first choice in large cities, but in smaller markets, Hyatt may have one property (if that), but one property might not be in an ideal location, and it’s probably a Hyatt Place. It’s hard to justify staying 20 minutes further from where I need to be when I could stay in a Fairfield across the street from where I’m going for less.
Even in larger cities it can be a problem. In your example of Orlando, there’s not a single Hyatt property downtown. I’m going to an event at the Amway Center and we were originally booked at the Regency but for less money we could stay in the downtown Marriott and walk to our concert. Hyatt has a decent amount of properties in major cities, but there are often gaps that push me towards Marriott out of sheer convenience. Hyatt also tends to not offer many properties in less expensive leisure destinations…one of my favorites is Jekyll Island, GA. The closest Hyatt is in Jacksonville…meanwhile Marriott has a Westin and a combo RI/CY, all on the beach. The benefits are undoubtedly better with Hyatt but I’m getting to the point where staying in my preferred location is more important to me.
Not surprised to see so many comments!
I’m a Hyatt guy – got married at one and will never willingly leave. However, let’s be clear that while their footprint has improved incredibly in the 10+ years I’ve been loyal to them, it’s nowhere near Marriott/Hilton (not including the random towns with Courtyard/Fairfield/Hampton Inns sharing parking lots).
Europe availability is much improved with the addition of SLH, however Hyatt really needs to build out their footprint in major cities, in EU and abroad. The fact that there is only 1 (extremely high end) option in Copenhagen and ZERO hotels in Brussels is astonishing to me (Regency should be in both cities at the least!). Furthermore, still nothing in Montreal as they’ve apparently decided to take 5 years to build the Centric and Hyatt Place.
In conclusion, footprint greatly depends on what’s available where you travel the most. Hyatt has greatly improved (remember when Hyatt Aruba was their only location in the caribbean??), however they still have a long ways to go and anyone who thinks otherwise is either delusional or just lucky to have their destinations match up with Hyatt availability.
Hyatt Globalist is grossly overrated versus Marriott and Hilton.
1. so much harder to obtain globalist than marriott platinum or hilton diamond
2. NO room upgrade benefits at hyatt place and hyatt house (which chains represents a lot of their expansion)
3. may hyatts label a lot of their rooms as Premium and thus not eligible for room upgrade
4. in europe i find their prices are very high in relation to hotel quality
5. unimpressive club lounges in many of their hotels with only light snacks in evening while many marriotts provide dinner
i am not even trying for globalist anymore.
@Jos – My response to your comments will go in order of yours.
1. It is definitely harder to obtain Globalist given the footprint, but the benefits are better.
2. Hyatt House does have upgrade options, Hyatt Place does not. That said, comparatively, Marriott and Hilton are also dominated by Select Service property chains as well and in a higher percentage of their offering.
3. This is simply not true. There have been some cases like the Andaz Wailea that plays around with this and gets outed on a consistent basis. However, experiencing the brand in about 20 countries at just about every service level, this has not been my experience at all. There are hundreds of Hyatt reviews on this site, it’s easy to refute this claim. I would add, however, that Marriott struggled with this in my experience far more often particularly at Starwood properties folded into the brand.
4. This is anecdotal. I can’t see the W London as a comparative advantage over Andaz Liverpool Street neither for cost or quality, the list goes on.
5. Again, I find this claim dubious.