Just before our beloved Hyatt Gold Passport program was gutted, stuffed and mounted on the wall, I was able to redeem 125,000 GP points for a 5 night stay at the Andaz Maui in Wailea. Say what you will about management’s maneuvering to reduce the number of “base” rooms on property, or their general dislike of us freeloading Diamonds, but this is one of my favorite hotels for 2 reasons: ease of access from the U.S. mainland and the fact that it’s one of the few hotels on Maui that will actually set out a chair and umbrella for you on the beach. (Go ahead. Call me lazy.)
This was my third time to the Andaz on Maui since the property opened in 2013. All of my trips there have had highs and lows, but my most recent stay ended with an awkward exchange between myself and the front desk staff. Here’s how it went….
After a pleasant 6 days and 5 nights in our upgraded Oceanview King room, it was time to head back home. I approached the smiling front desk staff with my $200 Hyatt gift card in hand, I told them that I’d like to check-out, gave them my last name, room number and they informed me that my total bill was $215. The other two employees working the front desk leaned over to make sure that my total wasn’t a mistake (or at least that’s how it appeared), but dismissed it once they saw I stayed on points. One of them commented that was one of the smallest bills for a near week-long stay that they had ever seen. I took the remark as a compliment and handed them my gift certificate to apply.
“Enjoy the Points Stays While You Can”
Okay, I’ll admit, this next part made my stomach sink. Before I walked away, one of the employees said in a joking tone, “Enjoy the points stays while you can. They won’t be around much longer.” I said, “Come again?” They replied, “With the new World of Hyatt program, you’ll no longer be able to redeem points at our hotel.” Playing kind of dumb, I asked them why they were changing the policy, to which they said it was just the rules of the new program.
Who Told You That?
I started pushing back on them a bit by asking who told them about this new rule. They said their Manager told the team that this was going to be the policy after Gold Passport became World of Hyatt. He also mentioned that other high end properties like the Park Hyatt New York, Maldives, Sydney and Paris were also no longer going to accept points! By this time, I knew they were being fed misinformation, so I asked to speak to the GM or Manager on duty to confirm this. They said they could go talk to him for me and ask him to verify. After 5 minutes, she came back and said, “My manager has confirmed that this will indeed be our new policy.” Again, I asked to speak to him myself, but was told he was busy and unable to talk.
What’s Going On Here?
I eventually gave up and decided to call Hyatt’s Customer Relations team. They are the customer service team with all the power, so if you’re ever not getting the answers you want from the first line phone rep, ask to speak to them. The Customer Relations Agent I spoke with discussed the situation with her manager and assured me that the front desk had misspoke. I was relieved and thankful that this was all a misunderstanding.
Do I believe that this was a ploy on management’s part to deter guests staying on points? No. I’d chalk this up to poor communication from both the GM and his superiors at Hyatt Corporate. This whole World of Hyatt roll-out has been very confusing and there are still kinks. For instance, it took me 30 minutes last week to add an Explorist Club Certificate to an upcoming reservation. Nonetheless, this experience at the Andaz was really bizarre. However, with the new program now in place, I’m questioning whether or not I even want to continue my loyalty with Hyatt at all, given that I will most likely never qualify for Globalist status based on stays alone.
Have you experienced the growing pangs of World of Hyatt first hand? Share them below.