What to Know Now

Hyatt has a new loyalty program starting in 2017 and a big part of qualifying can now be tied to how much you spend with the hotel chain. The Chicago-based company is partially moving to a points system where base level members earn five points per dollar spent with the chain (elites get bonuses) and where balances earned per year will dictate status — top tier is only 100,000 points.

Travelers can also still qualify for elite status with hotel nights (not stays), though top tier status, which is now called Globalist instead of Diamond, is earned at 60 nights and not 50. That’s two whole months in hotel rooms.

Driving the change? According to Skift’s Deanna Ting, Hyatt’s CMO says it’s “the opportunity to build a stronger community of loyal travelers.”

Stronger, maybe, and most certainly a whole lot smaller. Comments on the Flyertalk thread centered around World of Hyatt, the new program, are already up to 37 pages and the thread is just warming up. It’ll be interesting to see how many Hyatt loyalty members stick around for the transition.

Social Quote of the Day

@pizzainmotion I knew [the Cubs] were going to be humiliated. Now it’ll be painful humiliation. It’s like trying to figure out World of Hyatt…

@joesentme | Joe Brancatelli, Business travel expert at joesentme.com 

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Airlines

This Is Why Southwest Airlines Is No Longer an Investor Favorite: For decades, Southwest Airlines has been an investor darling. That’s what happens when an airline reports 43 consecutive years of profitability, all while avoiding bankruptcy and keeping costs lower than the competition. But that’s beginning to change. Read more at Skift

Here’s How to Redeem 2.5 Million Delta SkyMiles for Four Hours in a Private Jet: Last year, Delta Air Lines Inc. unveiled a unique experiment in upgrades. It gave its very frequent flyers a chance to book a seat most can only dream of — on a private jet. For a few hundred dollars more, the dream could become reality. The carrier later backed away from the offer and is now transforming it into the ultimate frequent flier point spend. Read more at Skift

American, United and Delta Finally Invest in Business Class. Which Is Best? For business travelers flying in and out of the U.S., this may be the most exciting travel news all year. Read more at Skift

Spirit Airlines Is Thinking Smaller Under New CEO: Under CEO Bob Fornaro, the former Air Tran CEO who took over in January, Spirit is evolving. It’s still a no-frills ultra low cost carrier and it continues to make a major chunk of its revenues from fees for everything from onboard drinks to carry-on bags. And it’s still flying a lot big aircraft between major cities. But increasingly, Spirit is thinking smaller. Read more at Skift
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Airports

Dubai Airports CEO: Heathrow’s Not-Yet-Built Runway Is ‘50 Years Too Late’: The U.K.’s government’s decision to expand London’s Heathrow airport is about “50 years too late,” according to the chief executive officer of Dubai Airports, which is building one of the world’s largest aviation hubs. Read more at Skift

The Future of Airport Security Is CT Scans and Smarter Lines: High-definition, three-dimensional CT scans of luggage may soon replace static X-ray images at airports as part of a wave of new technology designed to speed up security lanes while improving detection of weapons and explosives. Read more at Skift

After Years of Delays, UK Government Gives Go-Ahead For Heathrow Expansion… Again: Prime Minister Theresa May’s government gave the green light to a 16 billion-pound ($20 billion) expansion of London’s crowded Heathrow airport, ending years of prevarication over what has become one of the most contentious issues in British politics. Read more at Skift

Friends with Mobile Phones

Tech

How to choose the best travel credit card: There’s no such thing as the single best credit card, but there is definitely the best credit card for you. And right now is one of the BEST times of year to consider getting a new card. Why? Because with the holiday season ahead of us, it’s easier than ever to meet minimum spend requirements in order to get those fat sign-up point bonuses. Read more at Travel Skills

Millennials Are Now the Most Frequent Business Travelers: Young employees are traveling for business more than ever before, according to a new report, and their buying habits are completely different than their older peers. Read more at Skift

Before You Take a Road Trip, Do This: Make sure your vehicle is ready, and be prepared for emergencies. Read more at The New York Times

Citing Security Concerns, U.S. Officials Block Anbang’s Purchase of an Iconic Hotel: A deal by China’s Anbang Insurance Group Co. to purchase a landmark Southern California hotel near a major naval base from Blackstone Group LP was called off following opposition from U.S. national-security officials, according to people with knowledge of the decision. Read more at Skift

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Hotels

Grand Design for West Elm Hotels Features Smaller, Second-Tier Cities: The home-design retailer West Elm is taking its brand into the hotel industry, with plans for hotels in five cities: Detroit; Indianapolis; Minneapolis; Savannah, Georgia, and Charlotte, North Carolina. Read more at Skift

Choice Hotels Eyes an Unfamiliar and New Upscale Market: Choice Hotels International, a hotel company known for its portfolio of brands that primarily occupy the economy and midscale space, is looking to expand into the full-service space beyond its soft-brand collection, Ascend, and boutique-inspired Cambria hotels & suites brand. Read more at Skift

Hyatt Hotels Is Replacing Its Old Loyalty Program With a Brand New One: Beginning March 1, 2017, the Hyatt Gold Passport program, which counts approximately 20 million members, will cease to exist and, in its place, a new hospitality loyalty program will emerge: World of Hyatt. Read more at Skift

Wyndham Expands Loyalty Program to Its Vacation Rentals and Timeshares: Weeks after its unsuccessful attempt to attract Starwood Preferred Guest members away from Marriott Rewards and SPG, Wyndham Rewards is announcing a major expansion to its loyalty program in an effort to boost its membership numbers. Read more at Skift

Tips and Comments

Can be sent to gm[at]skift[dot]com or to @grantkmartin

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Photo Credit: Hyatt's new loyalty program will replace it's existing, traditional one in March 2017. Hyatt Hotels Corp.