World of Hyatt members can now use points to book an AFAR Experience. At 200,000 points the cost is pretty high, but for many the experience may be worth it.
Chicago-based Hyatt Hotels has added the ability to book custom experiences through its new World of Hyatt loyalty program.
The functionality, called Member Experiences, is initially kicking off with a partnership with AFAR to build out a boutique trip to Tokyo, Japan from November 10–13, 2017. Members of World of Hyatt can book the trip, which does not include airfare, for 200,000 points (or 300,000 for two tickets). A typical award night booked at a Hyatt family property costs between 5,000 and 30,000 points, while suite nights can cost up to 48,000.
Though Hyatt’s new experiential program will eventually cover a variety of adventures, the hotel’s initial effort is an extension of the AFAR experience package that’s already in place. Launched in 2011 by the travel media company, the Experience extension of AFAR operates boutique tours that take travelers deeper into a region’s culture, often pairing travelers with unique local personalities and topical venues.
Hyatt’s planned Tokyo package will be no different. According to the page’s advertorial, travelers will “get to dine with innovative chefs, discuss art with its curators, and learn from local experts who are engrained in the fabric of Tokyo” over four nights and three days. Travelers can also pay for the journey for $3,900, meaning that they don’t necessarily need to be World of Hyatt members, though all of the nights will be spent in the brand’s hotels.
This also isn’t the first time that a hotel loyalty program has worked to create custom experiences for its members. Starwood’s SPG Moments has long led the industry in curating special experiences for its guests from private parties to members-only concerts while Hilton and Marriott have put forth similar efforts.
American Express and Chase have recently offered boutique experiences.
Despite being a laggard, Hyatt has still shown that it’s willing to make the effort to compete and create a special program for its guests. Earlier this year, the chain rocked the hotel loyalty industry when it transitioned to a loyalty-based program, potentially giving some loyal customers a reason to defect away to other brands. With more boutique channels in which to use points, there may now be a reason to stick around after all.
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Photo credit: Hyatt relaunched its loyalty program earlier this year and it has expanded it to allow bookable branded experiences. Hyatt / Hyatt Hotels Corp.