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Howard Stutz

Business partnership between MGM Resorts, Hyatt begins to gain popularity

22 July 2013

LAS VEGAS -- Hyatt Hotels may not operate a resort complex on the Strip, but that doesn’t mean frequent customers of the worldwide lodging chain are on the outside looking in.

Members of Hyatt’s loyalty program have access to hotel rooms at a dozen Strip-area resorts, including the MGM Grand Las Vegas, Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Aria Resort & Casino and Bellagio.

The month-old business partnership between Hyatt’s Gold Passport program and MGM Resorts International’s M Life is starting to gain recognition among customers of both companies.

“I think we’re just beginning to see the tip of it,” said Jeff Zidell, Hyatt’s senior vice president of loyalty marketing, who attended a celebration for the partnership Thursday evening at The Mansion at MGM Grand.

The agreement between the Hyatt and MGM Resorts loyalty programs is not the first for casino industry; Intercontinental Hotels and Las Vegas Sands Corp. have a similar deal involving The Venetian and Palazzo.

However, the MGM-Hyatt arraignment is certainly the largest.

Hyatt customers can exchange their accrued points for stays at MGM Resorts’ Strip casinos. They can also earn points for their nongaming spending habits at the properties. Similarly, MGM Resorts customers can earn M Life credits by staying at Hyatt Hotels and resorts around the world.

Hyatt operates more than 450 hotels worldwide. The properties included in the MGM Resorts portion of deal cover some 40,000 hotel rooms.

“I hate using the term ‘win-win,’ but this partnership truly is a benefit for customers of both companies,” Zidell said.

Hyatt has a brief history in Las Vegas.

The company opened the Hyatt Regency Lake Las Vegas Resort, Spa and Casino in December 1999, but eventually sold the property to Loews. The property is now called Westin Lake Las Vegas.

Hyatt was initially tied to the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas as the hotel operator under the project’s original developer, but that deal eventually collapsed.

Hyatt currently operates the 202-room Hyatt Place on Paradise Road next to Hofbräuhaus.

As for gaming, the Hyatt has casinos attached to properties in Lake Tahoe and Aruba and a Grand Hyatt-branded hotel is part of the City of Dreams resort complex in Macau.

Zidell said Hyatt hasn’t given up the thought of one day operating a Strip resort.

For now, however, the MGM Resorts partnership provides customers with a gaming destination outlet.

“Las Vegas has always been an important location for our customers,” Zidell said. He added the partnership with MGM Resorts was developed after gaining input from Hyatt customers.

Zidell said the program was an “innovative” partnership between the lodging and gaming industries.

Hyatt is also expanding its footprint worldwide. On Friday the company announced an agreement to invest $325 million into a subsidiary of Playa Hotels & Resorts. The investment covers 13 Playa-branded all-inclusive resorts in Mexico, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic.

Six of the properties will become affiliated with the Hyatt family umbrella, which includes seven different brands.

“This investment is consistent with Hyatt’s stated intention to opportunistically deploy capital in ways that meaningfully increase brand distribution in targeted markets,” Deutsche Bank gaming analyst Carlo Santarelli told investors. “Although it represents another meaningful investment in Mexico, we read it more as a function of wanting to be in key resort markets than as a specifically targeted play on Latin America.”