Similar to the RewardsPlus program between United Airlines and Marriott, yesterday Hyatt and American Airlines created their own partnership to capitalize on frequent flyers. After all, most people who fly will need a hotel, too, once they land.
I think the Hyatt/American partnership is potentially more rewarding. RewardsPlus is just a vehicle to offer reciprocal status matches for top-tier members and a slightly higher exchange rate when transferring miles or points between programs. I sometimes even forget it exists. Hyatt and American offer a new benefit you can’t get from RewardsPlus.
First, those who already have elite status with either of World of Hyatt or American AAdvantage (or both) can earn one bonus Hyatt point for each dollar spent on American Airlines flights. You still earn your normal American AAdvantage miles.
This is not much of an impediment as World of Hyatt status is very easy to earn: the Discoverist tier requires just 10 nights or a Hyatt credit card. (People who don’t have status with either program don’t enjoy this benefit.)
Second, some elite members can participate in a fast-track program to earn status in the partner program with a lower qualifying threshold. No specific details of the fast-track program have been released, but you do need to link your accounts to be eligible. This is available to:
- Executive Platinum, Platinum Pro, and Platinum members of American AAdvantage
- Explorist and Globalist members of World of Hyatt
Finally, ConciergeKey members, which are part of an invitation-only program at American AAdvantage, receive complimentary World of Hyatt Globalist status.
Fast-Track Status Examples
My wife doesn’t have Hyatt status, but she does have a free trial for Platinum status with American AAdvantage; I linked her account and was able to see her promotional offer for reaching the World of Hyatt Explorist tier.
- Register by October 1, 2019 to receive Explorist status for 90 days.
- Stay ten qualifying nights at any Hyatt hotel or resort within 90 days of registration to maintain Explorist status through February 28, 2021 and earn 4 Club Lounge Access Awards.
A key point here is that she doesn’t have to register yet, but once she does the clock will start ticking. Her Platinum status expires tomorrow, and because she’s eight months pregnant I don’t see how she’s going to complete 10 nights this summer. I’ll check again this weekend after the Platinum status expires to see if the offer is still available. Maybe it will be worth registering this autumn.
I then took a look at my accounts. I don’t have American status, but I do have World of Hyatt Explorist status (as a result of a match from MGM’s M life program). That was also successful, but the terms of my offer from American weren’t yet available. Instead Hyatt gave me this message:
Your elite status in World of Hyatt gives you an exclusive opportunity to fast track to AAdvantage® elite status. Log in to your AAdvantage® account to learn more. Please allow 1-2 days from the time of linking to view this offer in your AAdvantage® account. Be sure to register by September 30, 2019.
Update: I checked back, and there is now an offer for complimentary Gold AAdvantage status visible in my American Airlines account.
Like my wife’s offer from Hyatt, the clock starts ticketing once I register, and I would have three months to earn any of $1,000 EQD, 7,000 EQM, or 8 EQS to keep the status through January 31, 2021.
In some ways this is similar to the partnership between Hyatt and MGM Resorts. You can double-dip and earn World of Hyatt points in addition to your usual M life Rewards points when you stay at eligible MGM casino resorts in Las Vegas. Some high-ranking members can also get reciprocal status matches, though this perk has been downgraded a bit in recent years.
The point is, Hyatt’s partnership with MGM doesn’t make you split your loyalty. The partnership with MGM’s M life is an additive benefit. That’s what we see here, too, with American AAdvantage, although it is targeted toward people with elite status. That’s unfortunate as I feel it doesn’t do a lot to motivate ordinary travelers who don’t have status. Maybe it’s a practicality issue, as existing frequent flyers are the most valuable, but there does seem to be opportunity to improve the program later.