[I’m about to be kinda harsh on Hyatt, but I have had some wonderful stays at their properties, specifically the Park Hyatt New York and the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek]

Silver, Gold, Diamond.

Gold, Platinum, Platinum Pro, Executive Platinum.

Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond.

Discoverist, Explorist, Globalist.  Wait what?

The Park Hyatt Paris Vendome

Hyatt recently renamed their award program in an attempt to disguise reduced benefits for nearly all of its members.  It used to be called Gold Passport, which wasn’t very smart branding, for reasons I’ll explain in a bit.  But then they replaced it with a mishmash of confusing jargon that confuses even the most savvy points and miles nerd: a calamity known as World of Hyatt.

So where shall I begin?  Let’s leave out all the tangible stuff like how they got rid of qualifying on stays and generally cut benefits for everyone.  Let’s also leave out their poor font choice.  Let’s actually start with every other award program.

Award program levels

An important part of an award program is organizing tiers (and their corresponding benefits) in a way that’s easy for customers to understand.  Just about every award program in the world does this.  You don’t need to do a lot to help a customer understand that Gold is better than Silver and Platinum is better than Gold and Diamond is better than Platinum.  While that order of operations may not jive with current precious metal prices, it’s just what people are used to.

This commonality is why Hyatt’s old program needed to change its name.  Calling the program Gold Passport wasn’t good because it already included a precious metal in the name of the program.  I had Platinum status in the old program, so, for example, people checking me in at a hotel would say “I see we have your Gold Passport Platinum status on file.”  That’s needlessly confusing.

But the World of Hyatt is worse.

The three status levels in the World of Hyatt program (once you get into the status levels) are Discoverist, Explorist, and Globalist.  I performed an extremely technical and scientific survey asked some people who sit around me at the office what those words possibly mean and got the following responses:

Discoverist: “explorer”

Explorist: “Columbus”, “the same thing as whatever that first word was”

Globalist: “international”, “the opposite of Trump”

[shortly thereafter from one of those surveyed] “Who came up with those, those aren’t actually words”

To whoever at Hyatt came up with those terms:

Make your programs easy to understand

The problem with these words is that no one naturally understands what they mean.  People understand Silver, Gold, Diamond.  That’s easy.  Using made up words for made up status levels puts the onus on your customer to educate themselves on the benefits of their status instead of actually enjoying said benefits.  Not only do they have to learn the words (two of which sound completely made up and the other, globalist, is used as a political adjective) but there’s nothing inherent to the terminology that tells me an Explorist is a higher level than a Discoverist.

And yes, I’ll get into the weeds a little on the grammar here but you can handle it.  The first two levels are based on verbs which mean pretty much the same thing (explore and discover), the third level is not.  Words matter.  How the heck am I supposed to naturally know that an Explorist is “better” than a Discoverist?

To be fair, it’s not just Hyatt who is at fault here.  I criticized American’s new Platinum Pro level when it was announced based on two reasons:

  1. Platinum Pro sounds like a membership you’d purchase at a local car wash
  2. The word Platinum is now present in 3 out of the 4 AAdvantage status levels (Platinum, Platinum Pro, and Executive Platinum).  That’s confusing.

The onus shouldn’t be on the customer.  If your customer doesn’t understand how your program works, they’ll simply move to another program.  The high-value customers everyone really wants aren’t going to take the time to learn the ins and outs of a new program and its made up words, they’ll just switch to Starwood like grown-ups.

Back to Hyatt

What probably happened is they wanted to promote an adventuresome spirit among their membership base.  They want their members to know that wherever your adventures will take you that Hyatt most likely will not have a property nearby (since their footprint is the smallest of the big chains now).  Whatever they were thinking, you do that sort of thing in a marketing campaign, not your award program!

Don’t be idiot sandwiches Hyatt.  The Gold Passport program, despite the name, was a solid program.  The World of Hyatt is a world in which nobody wants to live.  It’s confusing and disrespectful to the time of your customers.  Please go back to the way you used to do it, with tier names if nothing else.


This good ol’ fashioned rant brought to you by an extra cup of caffeine and a traffic jam on the way to work this morning.

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