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This is part of a series on using points for premium rooms and suites. Other posts include: Maximizing Starwood Points for Rooms and Suite Upgrades, Maximizing Hilton HHonors Premium Room Rewards and Room Upgrade Rewards and Maximizing Marriott Rewards Points for Room and Suite Upgrades.
Types of Upgrades
Hyatt offers Gold Passport members two types of upgrades using points.
1. The first one is to use points to upgrade on paid stays. At certain hotels and based on availability, you can use points to upgrade to a Regency/Grand Club room for up to 4 nights for 3,000 points total, or to a suite for up to 4 nights for 6,000 points total.
When redeeming Regency Club or Grand Club upgrades or suite upgrades at a resort property, you must pay a minimum of the Hyatt Daily Rate for a deluxe room, however at non-resort properties you only have pay a minimum of the Hyatt daily rate for the cheapest room available to be able to use points to upgrade. These awards are not available at Hyatt Place properties, while at Hyatt House properties, this option is only available to upgrade to two-bedroom suites. Since the price to upgrade is the same regardless of if your stay is one night or up to four nights, it makes more sense to do this on 4-night stays to reap the most value.
2. The other option Hyatt offers are their Upgraded Rooms and Suites redemption awards using just points. Depending on the Hyatt hotel category, you can redeem the points for Regency/Grand Club rooms and suites and the rates range from between 2,000-5,000 points more per night than a standard redemption for a Regency/Grand Club room, or 3,000-11,000 points more for a suite. When searching for these, I found a lot less availability than the previous option where you pay for the room and then use points to upgrade. That’s because outright points redemptions are based on availability, and some hotels do not offer it at all.
The best way to find out if the hotel you want to stay at allows you to redeem points for upgraded rooms and suites is to call up Hyatt’s Gold Passport desk at 800-228-3360 and ask since these awards can’t be booked online. If you are wondering what suite each hotel offers for these awards, in all the cases I found, it was the same one as using a Hyatt Diamond suite upgrade certificate, so it seems that these suites come from the same inventory as those. One good thing about this is, since the upgrade awards are done at time of booking, this a way to get a confirmed upgrade ahead of time, unlike some other programs such as Starwood’s Suite Night Awards for SPG Platinum elites, which you don’t get confirmed until only 5 days prior to your stay.
So let’s take a look at some examples and see when it might make sense to upgrade using points on a paid stay versus booking an award stay in an upgraded room or suite just using points.
1. The Hyatt Regency Atlanta is a Category 3 hotel where a standard room goes for 12,000 points per night. Looking at room availability from November 4-8, rates for a standard King were $179 per night and the Crowne Suite was going for $304 a night. However, for these dates, they were offering both the option to upgrade with points from the lowest standard paid rate, as well as the option to book a suite only with points.
If I wanted to upgrade from the paid rate, I could then use a total of only 6,000 points and upgrade my whole stay to a Crowne Suite, which was a $125 premium over the cheapest room. So points to upgrade would give me a value of 8.3 cents per point since I would be saving $500 by using 6,000 points.
If I didn’t want to shell out any money at all and just use points, I could book the suite outright for 18,000 points per night, compared to a standard room for 12,000 points per night. So instead of using 6,000 points total, I’d be using 6,000 points per night! In this case, my points would be worth only 1.7 cents each since I’d be using a total of 72,000 to pay for a stay worth $1,216.
In this case, it is a much better deal – literally 5x better! – to pay the basic rate then use 6,000 points to upgrade for four nights, plus you earn elite status on paid stays- not on award stays (I really hope Hyatt changes this in the future).
2. The Andaz West Hollywood, where I stay almost every time I am in Los Angeles, is a Category 4 property where a standard room goes for 15,000 points per night. Looking at room availability from December 5-9, rates for an Andaz King room were $275 per night and an Andaz Suite King room was going for $375 a night.
For these dates, I could use a total of 6,000 points, (which equates to 1,500 per night) to upgrade from the King to the King Suite – saving $400 in all, a value of 6.66 cents per point.
There was no option on these dates to use only points to book a suite award night, however, if an award redemption had been available, it would have cost 23,000 points per night, equating to a value of 1.63 cents per point, so not the best value. If you’re short on points and can pay the cash, paying for the standard room and using just 6,000 points for the four nights to upgrade is a much better way to stretch your points further. Especially when award availability is limited.
3. The Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort and Spa is a Category 5 hotel where a standard room goes for 18,000 points per night. Looking at room availability from October 21-25, rates for a premium King were $235 per night – but remember, because this is a resort property, you can only upgrade from a deluxe room. So for those dates, a Deluxe King was going for $285 per night, and a one-bedroom King Suite was going for $360 a night. For these dates, they were offering both the option to upgrade with points from the lowest paid rate on a deluxe room, as well as the option to book a suite all on points.
If I wanted to upgrade from the paid rate, I could then use a total of only 6,000 points and upgrade my whole stay to the one-bedroom King Suite,which was a $75 premium over the cheapest room, so using points to upgrade would give me a 5 cents per point value since I would be saving $300 by using 6,000 points.
I could book the suite using just points for 27,000 points per night, but that’s 9,000 points more per night than the standard room. So for four nights, it would cost an extra 36,000 points over the standard room, whereas booking the cheapest room and upgrading, it is only 6,000 points for the four nights – a 30,000-point saving over booking the suite with just points. That said, in the first scenario, I’d still be paying the $235 rate for 4 nights – almost $1,000, so it’s only good for people who have some cash to spend but are still trying to stretch their points.
4. The Andaz 5th Avenue in New York City is a Category 6 hotel where a standard room night award requires 22,000 points. Looking at room availability from October 14-18, rates for the cheapest room were $495 per night and an Andaz Suite was going for $745 a night. For these dates, they were offering both the option to upgrade with points from the lowest standard paid rate, as well as the option to book a suite all on points.
Assuming I could pay the $495 rate, it would only cost 6,000 points to upgrade my whole stay from the Andaz King to the Andaz Suite for those four nights, saving me the $250 per-night premium. My points on this redemption would be worth a whopping 16.7 cents per point value!
The hotel also had the option to book a suite night award with points for 33,000 points per night (132,000 points total), but that’s 11,000 points more per night than the standard room and a total of 44,000 points more – that’s enough for two award night redemptions at a top-tier Hyatt like this one or the Park Hyatt Paris Vendome. My points would also be getting me just about 1.6 cents each in value on this redemption. Not worth it to me.
Overall, it was difficult finding many upgrade award options at all. I had to call the Diamond Line, and the agent literally had to check multiple hotels in each city for a time frame of several weeks to find any availability. However, of the hotels I found, more of them had the option to upgrade a paid stay for 3,000 or 6,000 points than to redeem points directly for a club room or suite.
In general, because of the way upgrades on paid stays are calculated, this option almost always yields a better value than redeeming points outright for a club room or suite, especially if you’re planning on staying more than one night. I just want to point out again that it’s 6,000 points to upgrade to a suite on a paid stay whether you want it for one night, or up to four nights, so to maximize your value, this is best used for stays of four nights, which all the examples above showed. If you are running low on Diamond Suite Upgrades, this is a great way to upgrade to a suite, or even if you are just a Gold Passport member and looking for an upgrade, then using points to upgrade can definitely save you a lot of cash.
Do you have experience upgrading with points, or booking premium rooms and suites outright with points? Feel free to share your experiences below.