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Hyatt Explorist status is the mid-tier status of the World of Hyatt Program. Unlike the lower tier status, Discoverist, you won’t be granted this level of status with the Hyatt credit card and will have to do a little bit of work to earn it. Here’s a look at the benefits of Hyatt Explorist Status and whether all that work might be worth it.
Hyatt elite levels
Here’s how Explorist stacks up to the other Hyatt tiers.
- Discoverist (10 qualifying nights, 25,000 Base Points, or holding 3 qualifying meetings/events per year.)
- Explorist (30 qualifying nights, 50,000 Base Points, or holding 10 qualifying meetings/events per year.)
- Globalist (60 qualifying nights, 100,000 Base Points, or holding 20 qualifying meetings/events per year.)
- Lifetime Globalist status (Earn 1,000,000 Base Points over the course of your program membership)
How do you earn Hyatt Explorist status?
As you can see, you can earn Explorist status by getting a minimum of:
- Thirty (30) Tier-Qualifying Nights OR
- Earn fifty thousand (50,000) Base Points
Note that Hyatt goes by nights and not stays for elite qualification.
Your status will be good through February of the second Calendar Year following qualification. So if you finish 30 stays in May of 2018 you will retain Explorist status through February of 2020 (the second calendar year).
You can also try to jump on a status challenge when they are available. For example in late 2017, Hyatt allowed Discoverist members to earn Explorist status by staying 10 nights and could have even earned top-tier Globalist status with 20 nights within the span of 4 months. This opportunity was only open to Hyatt credit card holders, however, so if you intend on climbing the Hyatt ranks it might be a good idea to get that card.
When choosing points for a stay, Explorists will receive a 20% point bonus on the Base Points earned on the Eligible Rate and Eligible Incidental Charges incurred during such stay.
Keep in mind that Point bonuses are Bonus Points, not Base Points, and do not count towards the Member’s elite status qualification.
Hyatt allows members to earn 5 points per dollar spent at Hyatt properties so an additional 20% bonus means that you’ll be earning 6 points per dollar spent. At a valuation of 1.5 cents per point (which is admittedly on the low side), this amounts to a 9% return on Hyatt purchases. 9% back is pretty solid return rate as it beats out Hilton Gold and SPG Gold and comes close to Marriott Gold. At a valuation of 2.0 cents per point, that’s a 12% return which is excellent for mid-tier status.
Upgrades to best room available
Explorists will be offered the “best room available” at the time of check-in at Hyatt hotels and resorts, excluding suites and Club lounge-access rooms. The best room available will be determined by the applicable hotel or resort in its sole discretion and may vary from stay-to-stay. The “best room” may, but will not necessarily be, of a room type/category higher than that booked by the Member. Not valid at Hyatt Place, Hyatt House, or Hyatt Residence Club hotels and resorts or at M life Resorts.
Upgrades for mid-tier elite status are often hard to predict. Hyatt explicitly excludes suites and club lounge-access rooms but it’s not unheard of to be bumped to one of those rooms. One important thing to know is that upgrades for Explorists are not limited to rooms within the same type of category.
Explorist Club Lounge Access Awards
One of the most notable perks of Explorist status is that if offers you four complimentary awards redeemable for Club lounge access (“Explorist Club Lounge Access Awards”). There’s quite a lot to unpack about this benefit, though. Here are a few basic things to know about these awards.
- Explorist Club Lounge Access Awards are valid for one (1) year from the date of issuance and must be redeemed in connection with reservations with a checkout date before the expiration of the Explorist Club Lounge Access Award.
- Explorist Club Lounge Access Awards can be tracked through the “My Awards” section of the Member’s account.
- A Member must redeem an Explorist Club Lounge Access Award prior to check-in for the underlying reservation. While the terms state this, some have had success adding these lounge access awards to their reservations later on down the line. To redeem these awards, you can call: 800-228-3360.
Can you use Explorist Club Lounge Access Awards at any property?
Explorist Club Lounge Access Awards are redeemable only at participating Hyatt hotels and resorts that have a Club lounge and are not valid at Hyatt Place, Hyatt House, Miraval, Hyatt Zilara, Hyatt Ziva, or Hyatt Residence Club hotels and resorts, or M life Resorts. Keep in mind that many top properties like the Park Hyatt and Andaz do not have lounges.
Can you use Explorist Club Lounge Access Awards on award nights?
It’s really important to remember that this perk is limited to nights booked with points, cash, or cash + points. Free night certificates awarded via the sign-up bonus of the Hyatt Visa Card or its anniversary night are not eligible nor are other free nights described below.
Here’s what the Terms & Conditions state about using these awards:
- Explorist Club Lounge Access Awards are valid on nights for which the Member has paid an Eligible Rate or has redeemed points for a standard-room Free Night Award, Suite Free Night Award, or a Points + Cash Award, up to a maximum of seven (7) consecutive nights.
- These certificates are not valid in connection with any Free Night Award other than those identified above, including, without limitation, Hyatt Credit Card premium and anniversary Free Night Awards, 5-brand Free Night Awards, Category 1-4 Free Night Awards (defined below) or any other promotional Free Night Award.
Do the Explorist Club Lounge Access Awards get you upgraded to a Club level room?
This is point of confusion for many so it’s important to know. These awards only grant you access to the club lounge and do not entitle you to an upgrade to a Club level room.
Do the Explorist Club Lounge Access Awards get you breakfast?
This benefit may allow you to receive a free breakfast when the lounge is offering one but it does not entitle you to a free breakfast anywhere else, such as a restaurant at the property.
The Terms & Conditions state state:
Breakfast will not be provided to a Member at participating hotels or resorts without an accessible Club lounge. Club lounge access is subject to availability and space limitations.
So it’s even possible that you could be denied access to the lounge due to space restrictions. I’ve heard of people searching the website for Club level room availability when they’ve been denied access due to “space limitations” and bringing that up to the hotel staff, but I’m not sure about the overall success of that.
This is the one major knock against Explorist status that I have. With Marriott and Hilton mid-tier status I receive complimentary breakfasts and even lounge access (depending on the program/location). With Hyatt Explorist, you’re limited to access 4 times a year and you’re still not 100% guaranteed a breakfast and you can’t get access to the lounge when using most free nights certificates.
72-Hour Room Availability
Hyatt Explorist offers a guaranteed 72-hour room availability but subject to many restrictions, however.
- Explorists will be guaranteed a room at Hyatt hotels (subject to the exclusions detailed below) for their own personal use when making a paid reservation directly with Hyatt at least seventy-two (72) hours prior to arrival (local time for the applicable hotel) that is guaranteed with a valid credit card.
- This guarantee is only applicable when the hotel is otherwise entirely sold out (including all suites), is valid for one (1) standard guest room, and is subject to the applicable hotel’s reservation requirements (e.g., minimum length of stay, special packages, and meal plans). Rooms secured under this provision are only available at the Standard Rate.
- This guarantee is not valid during any period of extraordinary room demand and is subject to blackout periods set out by each hotel.
- Guaranteed availability for Explorists is not valid at M life Resorts, or at Hyatt Residence Club resorts, any Hyatt hotel with a casino or any Hyatt resort.
Earn a Free Night Award: Category 1-4 Hotel
- Upon completing 30 Tier-Qualifying Nights or earning 50,000 Base Points in a Calendar Year, Members will be provided with one standard-room Free Night Award redeemable at a category 1-4 Hyatt hotel or resort.
- The Category 1-4 Free Night Award is valid for 180 days from the date of issuance and must be redeemed for a reservation with a checkout date before the expiration of the award.
- While this award requires the same Tier-Qualifying Night and Base Point accrual requirements as are required to achieve Explorist status, the Category 1-4 Free Night Award is not provided as a benefit of Explorist status and a Category 1-4 Free Night Award will not be provided to Members who receive Explorist status through any means other than satisfaction of the Tier-Qualifying Night or Base Point accrual requirements. This means that if you earn Explorist via a status match or challenge you’re not eligible for this award.
- The Explorist Club Lounge Access Awards cannot be used with these free nights.
Special Reservation Phone Line
Explorists have access to a Hyatt reservation telephone line exclusively for use by Explorists. Explorists can find contact information for the dedicated reservation line by logging into their account.
Additional Explorist Benefits
Explorists also receive the same late checkout, dedicated check-in area, complimentary premium in-room internet access, and daily bottled water benefits afforded to Discoverists below.
Premium internet access
At Hyatt hotels and resorts offering premium in-room internet access, Explorists will be offered complimentary access during all stays. Not all properties offer premium in-room internet access. Premium internet access may be wired or wireless and varies by hotel or resort. Complimentary premium internet access is not offered at Hyatt Residence Club resorts or at M life Resorts.
A lot of Hyatt properties will already offer Hyatt members complimentary internet but it’s the enhanced “premium internet” that’s the real perk here. An issue with this perk is that not all properties will offer both a standard speed and a premium speed internet option so you might not be able to take advantage of this perk.
Dedicated Check-In Area
At participating Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Regency, Hyatt, Hyatt Centric, Hyatt Zilara, and Hyatt Ziva hotels and resorts, Explorists will have access to a dedicated check-in area for elite Members. In practice, I find these lines are only in operation half the time and at other times they’re not needed because the lines are so short. Every now and again the lines are really bad and the dedicated check-in line for elites can come in handy.
2:00 PM Late Checkout
Upon request, Explorists will receive a 2:00 PM late checkout (local hotel time) on day of their departure at Hyatt hotels, provided that (a) late checkout is subject to availability at hotels with a casino and Hyatt resorts; and (b) late checkout is not offered at Hyatt Residence Club resorts or M life Resorts.
Along with preferred room upgrades, late check out is a pretty solid perk. Being able to relax in your room the final morning of your stay feels great and it’s pretty normal to see restrictions for it at resorts. Still, other programs like Marriott offer late check out to 4pm for mid-tier status which is more convenient.
I personally prefer Marriott and Hilton mid-tier status to Hyatt because I can get lounge access and free breakfasts on a more consistent basis and it’s not restricted to 4 times a year or limited to non-free nights. Other benefits like late check out are also more convenient with other programs since they are later. And finally, there’s no quick short cut via a premium credit card to Explorist status like there is to Marriott and Hilton mid-tier status, so for me Hyatt Explorist status leaves some to be desired.
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Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the digital smart wallet, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. His content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.