Following the revamp of the loyalty program earlier this year, World of Hyatt has just announced that free night awards will count towards earning and retaining tier status from 01 January 2018. Previously only Points + Cash awards count towards tier status and allowing free nights to go towards this annual requirement is a much-welcomed change. Additionally, World of Hyatt is also extending the validity dates for certain free night awards from 120 days to 180 days from the date of issuance.
A free night award in a Category 1 hotel only requires 5,000 World of Hyatt points and even though it is now rare to find such properties, allowing members to have these free nights count towards tier-qualification is a step in the right direction (albeit a little late in the game) especially for members in the Asia-Pacific region where we do not have a co-branded credit card.
As you may already remember, the newly-revamped World of Hyatt program that only came into effect this year requires 60 elite-qualifying nights for members to hit top-tier Globalist (previously Diamond) status and 55 elite-qualifying nights for members to retain it each year. This is especially difficult for members in the Asia-Pacific region since we have lesser properties to choose from (even though it is slowly expanding here with properties like the Andaz Singapore and the Hyatt Regency Danang Resort and Spa). Holders of the Hyatt Credit Card (not available this part of the world!) got instant Discoverist status (which typically requires 10 elite-qualifying nights) and even got the chance to fast-track to Globalist for just 20 nights in a one-time offer.
Overall a nice move for the World of Hyatt program but I am interested to see how they intend to capture more members to stay loyal to the program especially in Singapore and the greater Asia-Pacific region. Other hotel loyalty programs that count award nights toward elite status include Hilton Honors, IHG Rewards Club (even though it does not count towards Accelerate), Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest.