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Last week, I wrote up my predictions for future airline mile and hotel point devaluations and one of the programs I mentioned was Hyatt Gold Passport, which has to be one of the best values out there with top-tier redemptions requiring just 22,000 points – a system that was just too good to be true. Well, turns out that Hyatt feels the same way because they announced via this FlyerTalk thread that Gold Passport would be revamping its award chart and raising award night requirements starting January 7, 2014.
You can find out all the official details here, but here’s what VP of Hyatt Gold Passport Jeff Zidell had to say:
As you know, Hyatt and the Hyatt Gold Passport program continue to grow and evolve, and from time to time we need to make programmatic changes. We don’t take these decisions lightly, and we do our very best to make sure that we communicate changes as quickly as possible to minimize the impact on your future travel plans. Today, I wanted to let you know about a set of Award Chart changes that will take place on January 7, 2014.
We are introducing a new Category 7, which includes six Park Hyatt hotels in Beaver Creek, Milan, Paris, Sydney, Tokyo and Zurich, and requires 30,000 points. We are also changing the number of points required to redeem a Free Night Award for standard rooms and upgraded rooms in select categories.
In addition, 38 hotels are shifting between categories. This includes 21 hotels moving to a higher category and 17 hotels moving to a lower category. Existing reservations for stays starting January 7, 2014, will receive a refund for the point difference if the hotel moved to a lower category.
Lastly, the points required to upgrade your paid stay to a Regency®/Grand Club® room or suite will now be on a per-night basis.
As always, we will continue to make redemption as easy as possible with no blackout dates. And if we have a standard room available at any location, on any day of the year, you’re more than welcome to reserve it with your Hyatt Gold Passport points.
Please navigate to this url for more information…
I wish you safe travels.
With my warmest personal regards,
Senior Vice President, Hyatt Gold Passport”
There is so much bad news here!
First, let’s take a look at the award charts. Here is the current one:
As you can see, the announcement didn’t contain the whole story. In addition to adding a new top-tier 7 category, award nights in category 5 will jump from 18,000 points per night to 20,000 points per night and those in category 6 will now be 25,000 points per night instead of 22,000 points per night.
So here are the increases in points on standard room award nights by category:
Categories 1-4: No change
Category 5: 2,000 points
Category 6: 3,000 points
Category 7: New, but 8,000 points from what the hotels that are included would previously require.
In terms of premium rooms and suites, those in categories 2-6 will also now require many more points for award nights – in some cases just 1,000 more points per night, but in others, up to 7,000 points per night as in the case of Category 6 suites.
It will also cost you more points to redeem for premium rooms or suites on paid stays – right now you can get up to 4 nights in a Regency/Grand Club room for just 3,000 points and a suite for just 6,000 points – another too-good-to-be-true value that Hyatt is clamping down on by starting to require 3,000 points per night for Club rooms and 6,000 points per night for suites – a devaluation of up to 75%!
Before we all get hysterical, let’s take a look at what this actually means, though. Category 5 award nights are just 2,000 points more, Category 6 nights are 3,000 points more and then there are only 6 hotels (albeit some of my favorite Park Hyatts including the ones in Milan, Paris, Tokyo and Zurich, and the Sydney one where I plan to stay next year – thank goodness I already booked my room!) jumping up to Category 7 – so it could have been much worse.
Here are the hotels moving up/down categories:
|Hyatt House Chicago/Naperville/Warrenville||2||1|
|Hyatt Place Chicago Warrenville/Naperville||2||1|
|Hyatt Place Cincinnati-Northeast||2||1|
|Hyatt Place Dallas/Grapevine||2||1|
|Hyatt Place Fort Worth/Cityview||2||1|
|Hyatt Place San Antonio Airport/Quarry Market||2||1|
|Hyatt Place San Antonio-Northwest/Medical Center||2||1|
|Hyatt Place Columbus/OSU||1||2|
|Hyatt Place Dallas/Arlington/Grand Prairie||1||2|
|Hyatt Place Dublin/Pleasanton||1||2|
|Hyatt Place San Antonio North/Stone Oak||1||2|
|Hyatt North Houston||3||2|
|Hyatt Regency Incheon||3||2|
|Grand Hyatt Jakarta||2||3|
|Grand Hyatt Sao Paulo||2||3|
|Hyatt Place New Orleans Convention Center||2||3|
|Hyatt Place South Bend/Mishwaka||2||3|
|Hyatt Place West Palm Beach||2||3|
|Hyatt Regency Osaka||2||3|
|Park Hyatt Chennai||4||3|
|Park Hyatt Hyderabad||4||3|
|Grand Hyatt Melbourne||3||4|
|Hyatt Regency Cambridge||3||4|
|Hyatt Regency Louisville||3||4|
|Hyatt Regency Perth||3||4|
|Hyatt Capital Gate, Abu Dhabi||5||4|
|Hyatt Regency Changbaishan||5||4|
|Andaz West Hollywood||4||5|
|Hyatt Chicago Magnificent Mile||4||5|
|Hyatt Place New York/Midtown South||4||5|
|Park Hyatt Melbourne||4||5|
|Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa||6||5|
|Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe||6||5|
|Hyatt Regency Maui||6||5|
|Park Hyatt Changbaishan||6||5|
|Andaz Liverpool Street London||5||6|
|Hyatt 48 Lex||5||6|
|Hyatt Union Square New York||5||6|
|Park Hyatt Beaver Creek||6||7|
|Park Hyatt Milan||6||7|
|Park Hyatt Paris Vendome||6||7|
|Park Hyatt Sydney||6||7|
|Park Hyatt Tokyo||6||7|
|Park Hyatt Zurich||6||7|
Book Award Stays Now
So you have until January 6, 2014 to book at the current rates, and I’d encourage you to do so since, if your hotel moves down a category, you’ll be credited with the difference, whereas if the hotel moves up a category you can still book at the current rate until then. You can also change your reservation at the current rate until February 15, so there’s a little bit of breathing room there.
Hyatt Credit Card Questions
If you have the Hyatt Visa from Chase, you get 2 free nights as a sign-up bonus and you should still be able to use those at any Hyatt including the new Category 7 ones, but that has not been definitively confirmed. Your cardholder anniversary Category 1-4 free night will remain the same, but if you’re thinking of booking booking a current Category 4 hotel that’s going to move up to Category 5, like the Andaz West Hollywood or Park Hyatt Melbourne – do so before January 7 since after that they will not be eligible properties.
Chase is a major partner of Hyatt and pays for the points it distributes to cardholders, so they have a big stake in the value of the Gold Passport program, and it’s important that you let the bank know that these devaluations really impact consumers. Hopefully they will relay that negative feedback to Hyatt, and possibly effect some positive change.