Book By March 18: Hyatt Award Chart Changes Affecting Family Travelers in 2019
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With just a few days to go before World of Hyatt institutes its 2019 award category changes on March 18 at 11:01pm CDT, it’s time to make sure you have the proper strategy in place. If your family wants to use World of Hyatt points or Hyatt Category 1–4 awards to book family vacations, we’ve rounded up a few choices you need to consider before (and after) the category changes.
This year, there are 130 Hyatt hotels going up in points cost and 129 coming down — which is far more balanced than the changes we saw from Marriott. Hyatt isn’t adding another category (they already did that in advance of Small Luxury Hotels joining the program) and they aren’t changing the points cost for each category (they already kind of did that to cash and points late last year).
But yes, this is the year that some longtime Hyatt family favorites increase their award rates, and some will cost you fewer points. We’ll outline a larger list of Hyatt properties that are likely of interest to families below, but first, here are the six biggest 2019 Hyatt award chart changes for families who like to vacation using World of Hyatt points or Chase Ultimate Rewards points transferred to Hyatt at a 1:1 ratio.
1. Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa Increasing to Category 5
The Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort in Florida makes for a tremendous long-weekend family getaway. It’s the kind of place where you can easily put some Hyatt Category 1–4 awards you earned from the World of Hyatt Credit Card to good use as three nights at the resort is the perfect amount of time.
Sadly, the property is increasing from a Category 4 to a Category 5, and thus out of range from the Category 1–4 free night awards. The corresponding award rate is going from 15,000 to 20,000 points per night. Considering the caliber of the on-property waterpark and included boat access to a “private” island, it is still a property worth considering but obviously not as good of a choice as when you could use some Category 1–4 awards.
Check out our full review of the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point to decide if it’s the right spot for you before the March 18 changes kick in.
2. Andaz Costa Rica Resort Increasing to Category 5
The only vacation destination my family visited in both 2017 and 2018, other than Disney World, was the Andaz Costa Rica — it was that good. Playing heavily into what made it worth a back-to-back repeat visit (first without kids, then with kids) was that it could also be booked with Hyatt Category 1–4 awards as a Category 4 resort. The other reason was the on-site barista and ceviche classes (only partially kidding, they are also that good).
Andaz Costa Rica has a tremendous breakfast spread that is included for those with Globalist status, has gorgeous pools built into the hill, a free kids club and a new included Beach Club located not far from the resort.
If that’s not enough, the resort also has five-star sunsets, free snow cones and included rollaway beds. It’s a real loss for this property to increase out of the Hyatt Category 4 zone, so lock something in while you can at that award rate.
Here’s a review of our most recent trip to the Andaz Costa Rica as a family.
3. Use a Category 4 Certificate in NYC(ish)
Families looking to use points in NYC for award stays at midrange hotels are already getting hit squarely by the Marriott award changes, but there is a bit of good news coming from the Hyatt changes as they pertain to NYC. Both the Grand Hyatt and the Hyatt Herald Square are dropping from Category 6 to a5, but even better than that is the Hyatt Regency Jersey City on the Hudson going from a Category 5 to a 4.
It’s true that this property is across the Hudson from NYC, but that small detail may be worth it if you want to use a Category 1–4 award as you can lock in 368 square feet with two double beds for just 15,000 points once these changes kick in. That is a compelling offer for families visiting the NYC area. The hotel is just steps away from the PATH rapid transit station that can take you right into Manhattan, and you won’t feel the squeeze of space where the rooms are much smaller at Hyatt Herald Square.
Being out of Manhattan also means enjoying great views of Manhattan, even from the indoor heated saline pool. It’s been years since families had a full-service NYC-area option for their Hyatt Category 1–4 awards, so this property dropping back into the mix for awards available to World of Hyatt Credit Card holders and those just looking to conserve points, is good news.
4. Hyatt Regency Maui Increasing to 25,000 Points Per Night
As far as Hawaii resorts go, the beachfront Hyatt Regency Maui was a steal at just 20,000 Hyatt points per night at a Category 5 Hyatt property, but it’s jumping up to a Category 6 that will cost 25,000 points per night. The somewhat nearby Andaz Wailea is also increasing, from a 6 to a 7, but frankly, the Hyatt Regency Maui is a much better match for many families.
The Hyatt Regency Maui has a fantastic pool complex with a splash area for little kids, a waterslide and even a swim-up bar in a grotto. There’s a kids club (for a fee) and a recently redone club lounge that can sub in for one to two meals per day for those with access.
The Hyatt Regency is also within walking distance to other properties, snorkeling and food options, so you aren’t resort captive. Here are some of our nearby food recommendations if you make the trip. Spending 80,000 points for a four-night stay here is better than the new rate of 100,000 points for a four-night stay, so lock it in for less while you can.
5. Waikiki Is Also Getting Cheaper
There are so many Category 1–4 free night awards swimming around World of Hyatt looking for good places to find value. Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach may not be as super-posh-awesome as other Hyatt properties in Hawaii, but it’s a stone’s throw to the beach. This property is only three years old and sees prices over $500 per night in the busy holiday season between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. But, standard award rooms are available. It’s hard to find much better value for your Category 1–4 free night award.
6. Stay Near Mickey Mouse for Just 12,000 Points Per Night
One of our favorite points-friendly hotels near Disney World in Florida is the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress. It did well in our data-driven study of the best points hotels near Disney and would have ranked higher if it was just 12,000 points per night when we did our rankings last year.
To be clear, this resort is not on Disney property and is not included in the collection of Disney Springs-area properties that get access to Extra Magic Hours and 60-day FastPass+ perks, but it has an above-average pool complex and an above-average Regency Club for those who want to keep food costs down.
While the location is clearly not apples to apples, think of it this way. A Club Level room at Disney’s Contemporary or similar can easily run $700 per night while an award room with club lounge access at Hyatt Grand Cypress will now be bookable for just 17,000 Hyatt points per night as a Category 3 property. Of course, if you have Hyatt Globalist status or access to an Explorist annual Club Lounge pass, then you just need to spend 12,000 points to stay in a standard room and enjoy the lounge once the property drops to a Category 3.
Here’s a review of the near-Disney hotel, though note it’s been a few years since that stay.
At the same time that Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress brings us Mickey joy, Hyatt House Anaheim Resort is a property on the other side of the country you may want to consider booking before the end of the day on March 18. This property is literally walking distance from Disneyland, less than three-quarters of a mile from the gates. The good news is that it’s still available as a redemption option for those Category 1–4 award nights. The bad news is that it will jump from 12,000 points per night to 15,000 points per night. Considering the prices you’ll pay for the very nice on-site hotels at Disneyland, a hotel with a living room and kitchen located just outside the park may save you the money you need to pull off an incredible Disneyland vacation this year.
Family-Friendly Hyatt Properties Decreasing in Award Cost
- Grand Hyatt Bali — 3 to 2
- Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress — 4 to 3
- Hyatt Regency Orlando — 4 to 3
- Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach — 5 to 4
- Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego — 5 to 4
- Hyatt Regency Jersey City on the Hudson — 5 to 4
- Grand Hyatt New York — 6 to 5
- Andaz Liverpool Street London — 6 to 5
- Hyatt Herald Square New York — 6 to 5
Family-Friendly Hyatt Properties Increasing in Award Cost
- Hyatt House Fort Lauderdale Airport & Cruise Port — 2 to 3
- Hyatt House Orlando Universal — 2 to 3
- Hyatt Place Orlando/Universal — 2 to 3
- Hyatt Place Washington DC/White House — 3 to 4
- Andaz Costa Rica Resort at Peninsula Papagayo — 4 to 5
- Grand Hyatt DFW — 4 to 5
- Grand Hyatt Seattle — 4 to 5
- Hyatt at Olive 8 — 4 to 5
- Hyatt Centric South Beach Miami — 4 to 5
- Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa — 4 to 5
- Andaz Mayakoba Resort Riviera Maya — 5 to 6
- Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen Resort — 5 to 6
- Hyatt Centric Park City — 5 to 6
- Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe — 5 to 6
- Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa — 5 to 6
- Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort — 6 to 7
- Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa — 6 to 7
You can view the full list of Hyatt category changes here.
There are some beach and ski properties on the list of hotels getting pricier that hurt. I’m not thrilled to see a hotel like the Hyatt Centric Park City jump from a 5 to a 6, after just being a Category 4 a couple of years ago. However, there are slivers of good news in these changes in places like New York City, Hawaii, London and Orlando.
You have until March 18 to lock in properties at the current rates — and remember you can supplement your World of Hyatt account with transfers from Chase Ultimate Rewards cards such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve and Ink Business Preferred Credit Card.
If the property you have booked is going down in award cost, Hyatt states it will automatically refund you the points difference once these changes are in effect.
Which properties is your family locking in with points before the 2019 award chart changes kick in on March 18?
Featured image by author
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