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Reminder: Book Your Hyatt Awards Before Tuesday’s Devaluation

by on January 3, 2014 · 9 comments

in Hyatt

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Back in November, Hyatt announced some major changes to its Gold Passport loyalty points program that will take effect on Tuesday, January 7, 2014.

Screen shot 2014-01-03 at 8.48.27 AM

You can find out all the official details here, but here are the specifics:

Hyatt is introducing a Category 7 redemption (30,000 points per night, up from 22,000) that includes six Park Hyatts:

I recently stayed at the Park Hyatt Milan- great value at 22,000 points and still at 30,000- though lock in the cheaper rate if possible

I recently stayed at the Park Hyatt Milan- great value at 22,000 points and still at 30,000- though lock in the cheaper rate if possible

Beaver Creek
Milan
Paris
Sydney
Tokyo
Zurich

Here is the rest of the new award chart:

Hyatt's new award chart goes into effect January 7, 2014.

Hyatt’s new award chart goes into effect January 7, 2014.

As you can see, standard award night requirements are also getting more expensive for Category 5 and 6 properties. 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.

Hyatt also announced that 38 hotels are shifting categories. 21 hotels moving to a higher category and 17 hotels are moving to a lower category.

One other major change: the points required to upgrade a paid stay to a Regency/Grand Club room or suite will now be on a per-night basis. Until Tuesday, 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 for the whole stay. After Tuesday, Hyatt will require 3,000 points per night for Club rooms and 6,000 points per night for suites – a devaluation of up to 75%!

It wasn’t all bad news, though. The following week, Hyatt issued another announcement that it would be adding Points + Cash awards that would count towards elite status, extending points expiration and instituting elite discounts of 20% off the Hyatt Daily Rate. Here are the new Points + Cash rates:

Hyatt Cash PointsCategory 1: 5,000 points or 2,500 points + $50 – valuation at 2 cents per point
Category 2: 8,000 points or 4,000 points + $55 – valuation at 1.375 cents per point
Category 3: 12,000 points or 6,000 points + $75 – valuation at 1.25 cents per point
Category 4: 15,000 points or 7,500 points + $100 – valuation at 1.33 cents per point
Category 5: 20,000 points or 10,000 points + $125 – valuation at 1.25 cents per point
Category 6: 25,000 points or 12,500 points + $150 – valuation at 1.2 cents per point
Category 7: 30,000 points or 15,000 points + $300 – valuation at 2 cents per point

So with Points + Cash awards, you’re paying half the normal award night in points and paying the rest in cash – which goes up in increments of about $25 per category, with a few notable exceptions like Category 2 and Category 7, and depending on the category you redeem for, you’re basically “buying back” your points (or paying a co-pay to keep them) at a rate of between 1.2 cents – 2 cents each.

In those terms, Category 1 and 7 are not the best deal – especially with that mammoth $300 co-pay in Category 7 (by contrast, Starwood’s top-tier Category 7  co-pay is $275), and your sweet spots are in Category 5 and 6.

Like Starwood, Points + Cash awards will count towards elite status (though award stays still will not), and you will also still earn points on the cash portion of your co-pay.

To make these reservations you have to call Hyatt at 1-800-228-3360 in the U.S. or Canada, and your points will be deducted immediately, and you’ll pay the cash portion when you check out – just like Starwood’s system works.

Hyatt Platinum and Diamond members logged into their accounts should also see a new “My Elite Rate” when searching for reservations that will be 20% off the daily rate on any standard room in 2014 (subject to availability).

Pre-Devaluation Booking Strategy

The Park Hyatt Tokyo is one of my favorites- book before Jan 7 to lock in 22,000 points a night

The Park Hyatt Tokyo is one of my favorites- book before Jan 7 to lock in 22,000 points a night

 So with all those changes coming down the pike in the next few days, I’ve been getting a lot of reader questions about what it means for their Hyatt points as well as their Chase Ultimate Rewards points since if you have the Sapphire Preferred, Ink Bold and/or Ink Plus, you can transfer those Ultimate Rewards points at an instant 1:1 ratio to Hyatt Gold Passport and you might want to think about doing so in order to book awards soon. I wouldn’t per-emptively transfer all of your Chase points to Hyatt, because I still think there is great value in the United program even after they devalue on February 1. It really all depends on how many points you have any what you want out of them.

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 a refund of the point difference, whereas if the hotel moves up a category you will have to book at the new point level after January 6. However, in that case, if you do book before January 6 at the current rates, you can change your reservation at the current rate (so no point increase) until February 15, so there’s a little bit of breathing room there.

The Park Hyatt Beaver Creek is the only category 7 I haven’t stayed in (after my upcoming trip to Sydney), so I’m looking at booking that property, but you can only book until January 3, 2015 and there is limited availability. Also note that this property seems to have a 30 day cancellation policy- even on points stays, so if you book in advance, make sure you cancel within that period to get your points back with no penalty.

Credit Card
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.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Joe

    So, if I’m wanting to take advantage of the positive changes, like 20% elite and cash and points, I cannot begin to do so until 1/7, correct?

  • thepointsguy

    Correct

  • dh

    Assuming one has many Hyatt points and is likely to stay in some of the soon-to-be-Category 7 properties this coming year, is there any downside to booking speculatively now and locking in the current award booking rates at a bunch of properties over the next few months (other than the risk of failing to observe the cancellation policy)? I would think if there’s a chance you’re going to visit Milan or Paris next fall, for example, you’d want to book now and just cancel later if you can’t work out the rest of your plans. Again, assuming you follow the cancellation policies, I’d think you’d be no worse off and potentially save ~27% of your points if you manage to make those dates work for your travel. Am I missing something?

  • CCR

    As The Points Guy wrote – and Hyatt states, any modifications made to reservations after February 15th will “follow the terms of the new Award Chart, effective January 7th.”

  • NYCBK123

    Thanks for this reminder! If it wasn’t for this blog and some others, I wouldn’t have even known about the devaluation! Does anyone know if you can combine cash/points and an award stay in the same booking? For example, I have my free anniversary night on the card but would like to pay cash for a second night. I also have enough points for the second night in lieu of cash.

  • GAM

    Booked a night in Milan in May. I’m sad to see the rate increase of many of my favorite Park Hyatts, but many remain incredible redemptions, even at 30,000 points/night.

  • David F

    Thanks for the reminder. Just booked 5 nights in Hong Kong and 4 nights in a suite in Phuket for November.

  • joeypore

    You’ve pretty much got it.

    The main thing I realized is that basically all you have to know is how many nights maximum you want to stay at a property (assuming you can front the points) and then just book some days and take the next 5 weeks to sort out exactly when you want to stay.

  • UrbanPhoenixInjunCAM

    Tryiing to book a room at Hyatt Scottsdale but the Hyatt site is down for maintenance. I guess they started the change early.

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