Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information.
There are lots of ways to fast-track hotel elite status and elite-like benefits. For instance, many hotel credit cards confer automatic elite status. You can also get elite-like benefits by booking through the Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts program or Chase’s Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection.
But here’s another option: booking select Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) stays through World of Hyatt.
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In 2018, Hyatt and SLH launched a partnership, enabling World of Hyatt members to earn and redeem points at participating SLH properties and get several value-added benefits. These benefits include many extra perks — including free breakfast for two, early check-in, late check-out and a room upgrade — for all World of Hyatt members, subject to availability.
The partnership extends to over 350 properties worldwide; you can see the current list of participating SLH properties on Hyatt’s website. Most are in Europe, but there is also a decent number in Asia and North America, including one on a private island (Calala Island in Nicaragua).
Today, we’ll look closely at all the benefits World of Hyatt members get at participating SLH properties. We’ll also discuss how you need to book your stay to get these perks, as not all bookings are eligible.
World of Hyatt benefits at SLH properties
You can earn World of Hyatt points and elite night credits on all SLH stays booked through Hyatt as you normally would (albeit not on incidentals). That means at least 5 points per dollar spent before factoring in any World of Hyatt elite bonuses or promotions.
You also can redeem Hyatt points and Hyatt free night awards at participating SLH properties as you normally would. However, note that some SLH properties are priced as top-tier Category 8 hotels and aren’t bookable with a Hyatt free night award.
Instead of the standard World of Hyatt benefits, all members enjoy the following on-property perks regardless of their World of Hyatt membership tier status:
- Daily complimentary continental breakfast for two.
- Complimentary Wi-Fi.
- Early check-in at noon (based on availability at check-in).
- Late check-out at 2 p.m. (based on availability at check-in).
- One category room upgrade (based on availability at check-in).
Note, while elite members will get their standard points bonuses (10% for Discoverist, 20% for Explorist and 30% for Globalist), no other elite benefits apply. Globalists can’t redeem suite upgrade certificates here nor get waived resort fees.
Interestingly, the benefits when you book an SLH property through Hyatt are even more generous than you’d get when booking with SLH and using its Invited loyalty program. The Invited program only offers free breakfast and upgrades to Inspired members and above, which you can earn after spending three nights in a 12-month tier period with SLH.
Related: I’m about to lose Globalist status: This is why my future travel plans include Small Luxury Hotels
Booking SLH stays through Hyatt
In late 2021, Hyatt introduced a dynamic pricing system. World of Hyatt’s award charts now use peak, off-peak and standard categories. As such, award night costs at SLH properties vary depending on whether the dates you want to book are peak, off-peak or standard.
Whether you are paying cash or redeeming points, you must book your SLH stay through Hyatt to get the partnership benefits discussed in this guide. Unfortunately, you might not always get the lowest rate when booking through World of Hyatt. And sadly, SLH properties are not subject to Hyatt’s best rate guarantee.
You can see this in action by looking up a stay at the Brick Hotel in Mexico City. For a one-night stay on Nov. 15, 2022, Hyatt is quoting a nightly rate of $598 ($699.08 including taxes and fees) with free cancellation until two days before arrival.
If we booked directly with SLH, we could book the same room type with the same cancellation policies for $455, including taxes and fees.
Ultimately, your best bet is to compare rates when booking SLH properties and then decide whether the premium — if there is one — is worth the extra benefits and Hyatt points.
Related: Try this if you can’t find the Hyatt award you want
Maximizing your SLH bookings
The best way to maximize your SLH bookings is with the World of Hyatt Credit Card or the World of Hyatt Business Credit Card. As with other Hyatt bookings, cardholders earn 4 points per dollar spent at participating SLH locations on top of their usual World of Hyatt earnings.
If you’re considering adding the World of Hyatt Credit Card to your wallet, it’s currently offering a sign-up bonus of up to 60,000 bonus points: 30,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 on purchases within your first three months from account opening, plus up to 30,000 more points by earning 2 bonus points per dollar total on purchases that normally earn 1 bonus point per dollar, on up to $15,000 in the first six months of account opening.
Meanwhile, the World of Hyatt Business Credit Card currently offers a sign-up bonus of 60,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in your first three months from account opening. Plus, you can earn two tier-qualifying nights per eligible night from Aug. 23, 2022, through Dec. 31, 2022, if you apply by Oct. 6, 2022.
Another way to boost your Hyatt balance quickly is by transferring points from Chase Ultimate Rewards. Ultimate Rewards transfer to World of Hyatt at a 1:1 ratio. If you need to add some Chase Ultimate Rewards to your current balance, here are some current sign-up bonuses that may help:
Of course, you’ll also earn rewards with all of the cards mentioned in this article when you make purchases with your card. These cards are an excellent way to earn Hyatt points long after you’ve snagged your sign-up bonus.
Related: What is World of Hyatt elite status worth?
Although not always the cheapest option, booking participating Small Luxury Hotels of the World through World of Hyatt can be incredibly compelling. You’ll get elite-like benefits and earn valuable World of Hyatt points, often at little to no extra cost. Plus, Discoverist and Explorist elites will enjoy better benefits on SLH stays than they normally would at other Hyatt properties.
Additional reporting by Ehsan Haque.