Hyatt closed my account and took all my points

By | May 6th, 2017

Worthey Brisco’s plans to spend all of his accrued Hyatt points on a relaxing vacation came to a screeching halt when he tried to sign in to his account.

His balance: zero.

In fact, his account was closed. Now he wants to know if we can retrieve his lost points.

Brisco’s case is a cautionary tale that if you choose to participate in “free” loyalty programs, make sure that you familiarize yourself with the terms and conditions of your participation. Because those terms are the final word in any dispute.

Brisco turned to our advocates for assistance after he signed into his account for the first time in several years.

“Just found out today that my Hyatt Gold Rewards account was closed back in January because of 24 months of inactivity,” he told us. “Unlike another person who complained to you about his Hyatt account being closed last year, I received no notice. I lost over 89,000 points.”

Brisco valued his claim at $6,000.

Hyatt values the points at zero — no cash value.

Because there is no official tool to determine the value of any loyalty program’s points or miles, their actual value remains mysterious. It is typically up to the consumer to attempt to figure out the most advantageous way to redeem those points.

Of course, if your points are forfeited, zero is the number.

Unfortunately, for Brisco, the terms of participation in the Hyatt Gold Passport program makes it clear what happens if there is no account activity for 24 consecutive months:

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“Starting January 1, 2014, Hyatt Gold Passport accounts that accrue 24 consecutive months of inactivity will be closed and all Hyatt Gold passport points in that account will be forfeited at that time.”

But what if your plans don’t include a stay at a Hyatt hotel within that time period?

Those terms also point out alternative ways in which a participant can can keep their account active and protect their points without an actual hotel stay:

Active members can remain active in the program by i) receiving Hyatt Gold Passport points via authorized means, ii) receiving credits with a Travel Partner or M life Tier Credits for a stay at a Hyatt hotel, iii) redeeming Hyatt Gold Passport points, iv) transferring a Free Night Award, v) converting Hyatt Gold Passport points to miles in a Travel Partner program, vi) purchasing or combining Hyatt Gold Passport points, vii) having an open Hyatt Credit Card in the member’s name.

When we looked through Brisco’s paperwork, we found that his inactivity with Hyatt had begun in 2013. As per the terms, Hyatt was acting within its prerogative to close his account. A nonparticipating member is not of high value to a company. So it’s easy to assume why they would want to relieve themselves of such “participants.”

As per our own Frequently Asked Questions, our advocates declined to take Brisco’s case. We do not advocate lost loyalty point cases. If you choose to participate in such programs, be aware that you must play by the rules set up by the company. There is no governing authority over these free programs, and the company will only refer our inquiries back to their own terms.

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Brisco then took his complaint to our forums, where he received sympathetic, but similarly bad news.

We are sorry when we hear of a consumer losing out on their hard-earned points or miles. There are ways to win at the loyalty programs game, but you must be aware of all the rules. In this case, Brisco’s unawareness resulted in the loss of all of his points. And, as much as we would like to help, we can’t retrieve them.

Do you think loyalty programs should be permitted to include an expiration policy?

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  • finance_tony

    He valued 89,000 points at six THOUSAND dollars!??! That’s close to an order of magnitude greater than they’re actually worth – anywhere from a penny to less than 1.5 cents each. Hope this helps the OP feel better.

  • Mel65

    Loyalty means you are a regular user of a product or service; 2 YEARS of non use negates that. He didn’t lose anything he paid for; it wasn’t a gift card or something. He lost an accrued benefit tied to program requirements and patronage. It isn’t “nice” but it really shouldn’t have surprised him.

  • Bill___A

    He stopped being their customer. Loyalty points are not a savings account. On another note, I wonder if will begin a policy of not taking any case where a company has abided by their “terms and conditions”. I see so many times the words “take another look” which to me, means, see if you can make an exception to your terms and conditions…

  • Blamona

    20,000 points per night at a $180 nightly Hyatt is under $600. Did he add an extra 0?

  • ctporter

    Just yesterday I got an email from Hyatt warning me NOT to lose my points and reminding me that I need to have some activity within the 24 month period. They went on to tell me what I could do to show activity. Keeping your contact information up to date in all the various programs is important if you really want to take advantage of them.

  • Harvey-6-3.5

    While I feel the OP’s pain, I’m more likely to get a free magazine from loyalty points than anything of value, so I value them at zero. If I end up getting more, it becomes a pleasant surprise.

  • sirwired

    Meh; they call them loyalty programs for a reason… Somebody that hasn’t stayed in over three years isn’t exactly going to make some list of Most Valuable Customers.

  • michael anthony

    Back in the day, these programs were easy to understand and easy to use. Now, there’s so many rules, they become a nuisance.

    I truly would remain loyal to one carrier, hotel chain, etc, if they could come up with an easy to use rewards program that actually offered benefit to both. Kind if like a RETRO REWARDS type of program. Like I said, back in the 90s, upgrades were easy as pie to use. Book a ticket or reserve a room, also a piece of cake.

    A guy can dream…….

  • 42NYC

    Correct. And once they make one exception they’ll be encouraged to make it again and again.

    I get this isn’t the most friendly policy but it is understandable and was disclosed.

  • LonnieC

    I’ve had very good luck with the Hilton Honors AmEx card (free). I use it for most purchases, so there’s always some activity. And I’ve been able to exchange points for Hampton Hotel stays many times. Most (all?) of the Hampton rooms can be booked with points, so there’s no problem getting the room where and when I want. So far, so good. Just sayin’.

  • Annie M

    If he hadn’t stayed at a Hyatt since 2013, he certainly isn’t a frequent user. I’d also like to know where he figured out his point valuation.

  • greg watson

    I recently redeemed 130,000 points with a major airline. The ‘cash value’ worked out to less than 1/2 cent / mile (.0043 cents). That would be ~ $400. Cheer up Worthey, you didn’t lose as much as you thought you did !

  • Bill___A

    I meant I wonder if they would apply this policy to the other cases where the company has abided by their terms. I see many stories not related to FF programs where the customer was absolutely in the wrong, but they have “unforeseen problems” and could the company possibly take another look. I would certainly like to see the advocacy used for people who have “really” been wronged by a company.

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