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:
“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.
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.