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Maximizing Hyatt Gold Passport for Family Travel

by on July 2, 2014 · 10 comments

in Chase, Family Travel, Hyatt, TPG Contributors, Ultimate Rewards

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TPG Contributor Jason Steele continues his series on family travel options in major hotel loyalty programs. Up this week: Hyatt Gold Passport.

Previously, we looked at family friendly hotel options within the Starwood brands, and readers commented that they wanted to compare that perspective to other brands. For starters, we’ll look at the Hyatt Gold Passport program to evaluate how it works for families.

The Park Hyatt in Beaver Creek Colorado offer ski-in ski-out service.

The Park Hyatt in Beaver Creek Colorado offers ski-in, ski-out service.

Family friendly features

The Gold Passport program is already one of the leading hotel loyalty programs thanks to its reasonable award chart and the ability to redeem points for any available standard room. Here are some of the benefits of this program that specifically cater to families:

1. Rooms that sleep four. Nearly all of Hyatt’s domestic properties offer rooms that sleep four. In most cases this means a king sized bed and a sleeper sofa, or two queen beds, but I occasionally found rooms with a king bed that list a maximum occupancy of four and offer rollaways. On the other hand, many properties overseas are not listed as accommodating four people in a standard room.

The Hyatt Ziva in Cabo San Lucas Mexico offers a standard room two twin beds or a King and a pull out sofa.

The standard room at the Hyatt Ziva in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico is a “junior suite” with two twin beds or a King and a pull out sofa.

2. Extra bedding for free. One of the problems I found with many Starwood properties is that they charge excessively for rollaway beds and cribs. What’s excessive? How about $70 per night just for a rollaway at the Sheraton Milan Malpensa airport! In contrast, all the Hyatt properties I looked at offered cribs and/or rollaways at no extra charge.

3. Reasonably priced suite awards. Once you accept that many overseas hotels simply weren’t constructed with standard rooms that sleep four, families with small children need access to larger rooms, since it’s expensive and inconvenient to split the family into two rooms. Unfortunately, the Starwood program charges double the points for suite awards. Hyatt usually prices their suite night awards at 60% higher than their standard rooms, although Category 2 properties charge 63% more and Category 3 properties charge 67% more.

Suites generally cost 60% more points than standard rooms.

Suites generally cost 60% more points than standard rooms.

4. Elite benefits that extend to the whole family. The real standout benefit of Diamond status in Hyatt’s Gold Passport program is the free breakfast option, which extends to up to four people staying in the same room. Platinum members of the Starwood Preferred Guest program are offered breakfast, but only for themselves and a single guest.

5. Children’s amenities. Hyatt offers its Camp Hyatt program at 17 different properties in the United States and Aruba. For younger children, Hyatt has partnered with Babies Travel Lite to let parents order supplies to be delivered directly to their rooms.

Other ways families can maximize their use of Hyatt Gold Passport points

Hyatt Ziva all-inclusives

Hyatt recently opened its Ziva all-inclusive resort in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, and all of its standard rooms feature bedding for four. The problem is that while the rooms cost 20,000 points per night, you’ll need to spend an additional 10,000 points for each child age 3 and up, even if you reserve a suite for 32,000 points.

A partial way around this is to use the free night awards offered as a sign-up bonus with the Chase Hyatt Visa card (not the annual free night). These awards include all four guests in the same room. The Hyatt Zilara in Cancun is an adults only resort, while there’s another Hyatt Ziva family resort opening in Jamaica later this year.

Hyatt Vacation Club Resorts

Hyatt vacation club resorts are 16 high-end properties in the United States that are offered as timeshares. These properties offer an exceptional value for award bookings with two bedrooms for 23,000 points per night and three bedrooms for 30,000 points. Unlike standard properties, awards are capacity controlled, so you’ll want to book your vacations in advance, and you may have to avoid peak seasons.

These vacation club awards can be a great value for families, but availability is limited.

These vacation club awards can be a great value for families, but availability is limited.

Suite upgrades

Sometimes it makes more sense to pay for a room rather than use your points. For example, when traveling outside the peak seasons, rates are often so low that you aren’t getting the best value per point spent. In those cases, you can upgrade to a suite for just 6,000 points per night. Diamond elite members also receive four confirmed suite upgrades each year, which are only valid for paid stays.

To fit our family in the Park Hyatt Buenos Aires, we had to upgrade to a suite.

To fit our family in the Park Hyatt Buenos Aires, we had to upgrade to a suite.

Conclusions

Hyatt is primarily seen as a business hotel brand, but it seems to be going out of its way to appeal to families at many properties. Hyatt Gold Passport points are also especially easy to acquire, since Hyatt is a transfer partner of the Chase Ultimate Rewards program. Hyatt’s domestic properties are a great family option since they usually sleep four to begin with, and the availability of free extra bedding at properties elsewhere makes the Hyatt program a good option internationally as well.

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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  • Cory Davis

    Just used my 2 free nights through the Hyatt Visa sign up bonus to book the Park Hyatt New York in September…CA-CHIIING! Roughly $2K in sign up bonus value

  • i_hereby_resign

    Nice! I did the same thing for October.

  • davep

    I started out with SPG but have been using Hyatt more in the last 18 months. Used sign-up bonuses (both wife and myself) for Park Hyatt Paris and Hyatt Regency in London, Ultimate Reward points for another week in London at the Hyatt Regency (in a suite with wife and son), points for a week at Park Hyatt Beaver Creek last New Years, am using my annual free nights plus Ultimate Reward points this weekend at the Hyatt Place in Manhattan and will be using more points for New Year’s at Hyatt Paris Etoile, also in a suite. LOVE LOVE LOVE the program – suite upgrades are reasonable and Club access in hotels that offer it is a fantastic benefit for breakfast, afternoon snacks and wine and water and sodas 24/7.

  • Darren

    I must be doing something wrong, I have had little luck with the Hyatt program. I recently stayed at the Park Hyatt Vendome and the Grand Hyatt Berlin as a diamond with my wife and four children. Park Hyatt Vendome, in particular, did what they had to do for Diamond, but nothing more. Provided breakfast only for the two people in my room (yes, this is what the program says). When I asked if this could be saved up and used for 4 breakfasts one one day, the FD agent did not know, said she would check and get back to me and I never heard from them again. Although we booked several months in advance, they assigned us rooms on 3 different floors. All of the other hotels on the trip (there were 10 all together) at least tried to give us rooms close together. I also got the feeling, although it may have just been me, that they were really not impressed to have to deal with 4 children in their hotel. All of the little service things, like people saying bonjour and some even remembering guest names, that I had read about in reviews, were clearly absent when we went in and out of the hotel.
    Having said that, they probably suffered by comparison to my expectations, which were very high, both from reading reviews and from the rates that they charge. They also suffered by comparison to the previous hotel I stayed in, the Waldorf Astoria Trianon Palace at Versailles, where we were merely golds, but had two rooms triple upgraded and one room upgraded 6 levels and were treated like royalty at every turn. Although this experience was extraordinary, I have found that in general, Hilton hotels have treated my family very well, almost always going above and beyond what they have to do within the Hhonors program. Every stay (Hilton Downtown Miami, DoubleTree Jersey City, Double Tree Suites Times Square as well as the Palace) they have gone above and beyond to take care of us and seemed genuinely happy to have us staying with them.

  • Sfmom

    Our family have become huge Hyatt fans as well. We’ve enjoyed the Park City property and a suite at the Park Hyatt Aviara, where the kids had a great view of the movie playing pool side at night. Looking forward to Thanksgiving in New York at the Hyatt Regency Times Square. We used our free night certificates for New York — unfortunately the Park Hyatt New York will not put four in a standard room, which was a little disappointing.

  • Yossi

    I am staying in the Grand Hyatt Shenzhen now, and I booked two rooms. They only will give me club access for one of the rooms and for only 2 people. Not four. I am Hyatt diamond.

  • Monica B

    Hyatt Chesapeake Bay charges for rollaways. They changed their policy much to our surprise after years of now being charged.

    Hyatt Place is great for large families – 2 beds + sofa bed plus the sofa is often so big you really could fit another person on there too!

    We are finding the Hyatt Resorts are becoming less child friendly. I definitely understand their need to control the lounges as many parents let their children run amok, but when I’m traveling with my daughter and we cannot even go in to get stuff to take with us, it stinks. Many times the child free time coincides exactly with the hours the food is out, i.e. there is no chance to go in there with your kids. This has happened to us in Palm Springs and the Chesapeake Bay Hyatt.

  • Darren

    yes, this has been my experience as well. If you were all in the same room, you would all be able to have club access, but because you gave them more money for a second room, you get less club access! This is the way the Hyatt rules are written and I find that Hyatt sticks pretty close to their rules.

  • Kent C

    Heard that you can get an adjoining room (Hyatt) for children at 50% off. Never done it but many talk about it. Also on the subject of beds, most Hyatts will only put one rollaway into a standard king due to fire codes. Even in Kauai in an ocean front SUITE with a king, one of my kids got the rollaway while the other slept on a small couch (no pullout). No 2nd rollaway allowed. Also don’t expect a king room will have a sofabed, many do not. Regarding SPG, I still haven’t found any standard rooms with 2 queens, only doubles which of course are meant for one person or two to a room. What adult wants to sleep with another adult in a double bed?

    2 adults and 1 kid is workable. 2 kids create more issues.

  • Susan

    I read the offer from the chase Hyatt card that : h Free Night Award is valid for use within one year from issuance for one (1) night in any available standard room at any Hyatt Hotel or Resort worldwide or participating M life resorts. Free Night Awards at Hyatt Zilara and Hyatt Ziva are based on single or double occupancy only. If i have 2 kids whose age 4&5 , do I pay 20000 points for each night we star there?

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