Hyatt Hotels has begun offering its
top-tier members of loyalty program complimentary membership in
Clear, a registered-traveler program designed to expedite airline
passengers through airport security.
Hyatt, which is the
first hotel chain to offer such a service to its guests, declined
to disclose how many Hyatt Gold Passport members are at the Diamond
level, which would qualify them for complimentary Clear
partnership with Verified Identity Pass, the company that operates
the Clear program, Hyatt said it intends to extend Clear
memberships to other Hyatt guests later this year. There are more
than seven million guests enrolled in the Hyatt Gold Passport
Clear, a program
sanctioned by the Transportation Security Administration that
utilizes biometric technology to speed frequent travelers through
airport security, is currently in use only at Orlando International
Airport, although it is slated to launch this spring at airports in
San Jose, Calif., and Indianapolis.
Hyatt said it
intends to set up Clear enrollment stations in select hotels when
the program is implemented at other airports. Hyatt believes it has
This is Hyatt being
ahead of curve, said Thomas OToole, senior vice president of
strategy and systems at Global Hyatt Corp., Hyatts parent company.
I think awareness of the program has been growing rapidly in the
last couple of months as it has gotten greater exposure in the
I think the more
people become aware of the program, the greater their level of
interest and, frankly, I think thats what we have tapped
OToole said Hyatt
guests have expressed keen interest in joining Clear since it
announced it would offer complimentary membership for top-tier
Guest interest has
exceeded our expectations, OToole said.
Our intention is to
develop programs to let other Hyatt guests earn complimentary
memberships going forward, OToole continued. In talking with
[Verified Identity Pass], they have a very aggressive plan for
expansion to a number of other airports in 2006. (See box
Offering the Clear
service falls in line with the chains larger objective of serving
its guests before they arrive at a hotel, said OToole.
It fits perfectly
with a series of initiatives that we have under way here to
expedite and improve the travel experience, he said.
Hyatt will soon
introduce a service that allows guests to check-in via the
Internet, along with an e-concierge program that will allow guests
to book activities and services prior to arrival.
Pass estimates that the average wait time for Clears 15,000
members, who pay a $79.95 annual enrollment fee, is 14 seconds,
which can save them up to 29 minutes of wait time in security lines
at Orlando International Airport.
In January, the TSA
reaffirmed its intention to approve similar, qualified, private
registered-traveler programs by June. The TSA said it intends to
expand the biometric data collected to include 10 fingerprints to
better confirm a travelers identity.
The program would
also encompass a redress process for individuals denied access to
everyone loves the idea
Traveler moves forward, it remains a source of
At a recent Senate
Commerce Committee hearing, advocates, including airport and
business traveler groups, said Registered Traveler would bolster
airline security by allowing the TSA to focus on a smaller haystack
of passengers to identify possible terrorists and other criminals
that might attempt to board commercial airlines.
But the airlines
countered that the government should focus on security programs
that better screen all passengers, not just a certain
advocates urged the government to scrap Registered Traveler
altogether, arguing that airline security would be better served by
investing in technology and systems that would prevent weapons and
explosives from getting onto airplanes, as well as better
intelligence-gathering to track known terrorists and their
reporter Michael Milligan, send e-mail to [email protected].