Travel Tuesday: Hyatt and MGM are Ending Their Partnership
One of the great ironies of travel loyalty programs is that, in many cases, you can actually leverage your loyalty status across other brands as well. Thanks to status matching, I’ve been able to enjoy a number of travel perks I certainly didn’t earn on my own. Unfortunately, some previous opportunities have been going away as companies seemingly grow wise to these tricks. And now, another status match hero I’ve relied on is going away as well.
MGM and Hyatt have announced that they’re calling it quits on their strategic relationship. The change will be effective September 30th and could affect customers with checkout dates after that. More details about what the conscious uncoupling means for customers can be found on Hyatt’s site.
UPDATE: On July 17th, MGM announced a new partnership with Marriott Bonvoy. Details are slim for now but it sounds promising. Below is my original post about what the Hyatt partnership offered.
So why is this a big deal? Well, up until now, the two brands had a reciprocal relationship that benefitted customers of both brands. Those with World of Hyatt status could match that to MGM Rewards and vice versa. This offer grew even more valuable when MGM revamped its Rewards program to include such perks as waived resort fees for those with Gold status or higher.
But it gets even better thanks to a quirk in the system. Since MGM Rewards status renews at the end of January each year and World of Hyatt’s renews at the end of February, clever elites could continually keep their status even if they didn’t actually meet the requirement for re-upping. Basically, when your MGM ran out, you could match your Hyatt account to regain it. Then, when the Hyatt clock hit zero, you’d take your newly re-christened MGM status back to Hyatt. Just don’t ask me how I know this…
Okay, truth be told, my route to (unearned) MGM Gold status was even elaborate — but this element had been the longest lasting. And while I did make use of the Hyatt Explorist status once on a trip to Chicago, it was the other end of the equation that was more beneficial to me. That’s because, while I visit Vegas with decent frequency, the means of earning MGM Gold status have changed so greatly that achieving it on my own would be quite difficult. Thus, tapping the Hyatt-MGM merry-go-round trick was a great option.
Is it possible that “gamers” like me may be at blame for ruining this relationship for legitimate elites? I suppose so — but, if that was a major point of contention, it seems that there would be ways to stop it. For example, Caesars has been cracking down on those matching unearned status from Wyndham, which is why I’ve sadly lost my Diamond status there. I won’t pretend to know the details of what such a fix might take, but it’s clearly something that can be done. In reality, though, it’s far more likely that MGM is looking for a different hotel brand to partner with.
Regardless of the reasoning, I’m sad to see this Hyatt-MGM
opportunity relationship end. Personally, this news does make me want to visit Vegas one more time before my status does disappear — I’ve got to continue the Content Bonanza™ after all. Hopefully that will happen but, if not, so long, MGM and Hyatt status. And as Fall Out Boy would say, thnks fr th mmrs.