David Bayer’s Hyatt points are gone forever.
“Hyatt recently closed my Gold rewards account and deleted 64,423 points,” he says.
It’s not as if he wasn’t warned.
“I only received one undated letter from them telling me that my points would be removed for inactivity,” he explains. “I contacted them by phone nine days after their deadline. They refuse to reinstate my point, even after I corresponded with the office of the president by regular U.S. mail.”
Bayer wants our help retrieving the 64,423 points.
This is both an easy case — and a hard one.
It’s easy because both Hyatt and Bayer are in agreement. His account was inactive. Hyatt warned him. He missed the deadline. Case dismissed, right?
The Hyatt Passport terms and conditions are crystal clear: “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 there’s more. Here’s what may have made a difference:
- If Bayer accumulated some of those points before 2014, which is when its points-expiration policy went into effect, he might have a case. Then again, Hyatt reserves the right to change its program any time, for any reason. (It’s in the terms.)
- If he can make a case that Hyatt didn’t give him enough notification of his expiration, that might also affect our decision to get involved. But he says Hyatt notified him. By the way, it doesn’t have to notify you. As some of our more cold-hearted commenters have said, it’s your responsibility to check your balance and activity.
- If Bayer had contacted Hyatt closer to the deadline — within hours, not days — then he might have a stronger case for reinstating the point. But nine days? Come on. The points must not have been so important.
A quick look at the Hyatt site shows he’ll lose up to two weeks’ worth of award nights (please, please don’t call them “free” nights like the site does. Bayer earned them.)
Our advocacy team decided to let this one go. The removal of Bayer’s awards is an opportunity to make a clean break from the destructive loyalty lifestyle. He will probably never make the mistake of collecting points again, and over a lifetime of purchases, Hyatt has done him an incredible favor.
Bayer is now free to book the best room for his money instead of worrying about points. He’s no longer one of the lemmings.
Breathe the free air, David. Breathe the free air!
But our advocacy team also shares Bayer’s agony. He earned those points fair and square. They were his property. Now Hyatt gets to strip the points from his account because he waited too long? Come on.
Imagine you purchased a car and it sat in your garage for 24 months while you traveled. Your dealership found out about it and repossessed it because of a little clause in your purchase agreement that says it can take the car back if you didn’t use it. Wouldn’t that upset you? Wouldn’t that strike you as patently unfair?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Loyalty programs needlessly separate the “haves” from the “have-nots,” create a class of entitled, spoiled consumers, and are rigged so that if you’re an honest participant, the company always wins.
Bayer learned that lesson the hard way. But there’s a lesson for you, dear readers. Don’t let this happen to you.