Bad news: World of Hyatt announces annual category changes ... and they aren't good
Even though it's Valentine's Day, there's no love from the World of Hyatt program today.
Hyatt has announced its upcoming annual category adjustments for its properties, and they're largely unfavorable for those who like to redeem Hyatt points, especially at some higher-end marquee properties.
Specifically, on March 22, 146 Hyatt properties will be changing categories. Of those, 76 hotels are moving to lower categories and 70 hotels are moving to higher categories. But don't let that breakdown give you false hope for this year's changes.
For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
This year, nine Hyatt properties will move from Category 7 to Category 8. While that top-end category isn't technically new, it has historically only been utilized for a small handful of Small Luxury Hotels of the World properties and Destination by Hyatt residences. The usual assortment of traditional Hyatt properties has previously topped out at Category 7, with a price of 30,000 points per night.
Now, with the movement of these properties from the Category 7 to the Category 8 level, and the March implementation of peak and off-peak pricing, what today costs a max of 30,000 points per night will cost as much as 45,000 points per night in a matter of weeks.
Inflation across the board is painful right now, but a 50% increase in the number of points required for some Hyatt properties in a matter of weeks feels ... especially high.
Further, several popular Category 4 hotels will move to become Category 5 properties. This is especially disappointing for those with Category 1-4 free night certificates earned with cobranded credit cards and as part of Hyatt's Brand Explorer perk.
The complete list of hotels that are moving categories is available here, but these are some of the main announced shifts that you should be aware of now:
|Property||Current award category||New award category (as of March 22)|
|Park Hyatt New York||7||8
|Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome||7||8
|Park Hyatt Sydney||7||8
|The Confidante Miami Beach||4||5
|Alila Ventana Big Sur||7||8
|Alila Marea Beach Resort Encinitas||6||7
|Park Hyatt Milan||7||8
|Gild Hall, a Thompson Hotel||4||5
|Hyatt Place Moab||2||4
|Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, Spa And Marina||4||5
|Hyatt Residence Club Dorado, Hacienda del Mar||4||5
|Hyatt Centric Center City Philadelphia||5||4|
|Hyatt Centric Key West Resort & Spa||6||7|
|Alila Napa Valley||7||8|
|Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort||7||8|
|Grand Hyatt Bali||2||1|
|Park Hyatt Kyoto||7||8|
|Park Hyatt Niseko Hanazono||7||8|
As you can see, many of Hyatt's best and most sought-after properties are moving up to Category 8.
Related: Ways to earn more Hyatt points
For context, last year, Hyatt moved just 11 hotels to different categories. This year, we're seeing nearly 14 times that many make moves.
As a refresher, here is the World of Hyatt award chart so that you can see the point pricing implications of these category changes for yourself.
As discussed, those with the World of Hyatt Credit Card will no longer be able to use your free night certificates at hotels that are moving from Category 4 to 5.
Notably, this includes Gild Hall, a Thompson Hotel, which was one of the only opportunities to use a free night certificate in Manhattan. It also includes The Confidante in Miami Beach, which has been a popular way to redeem free night certificates for a beach vacation.
Additionally, those who earn the normally very valuable Category 1-7 award via hitting 60 nights per year or otherwise now see themselves holding a certificate that soon won't be valid at a number of Hyatt's most aspirational spots.
What makes that particularly egregious is that these soon-to-be-excluded hotels are not boutique fringe members of the program, but instead are name-bearing flagship properties of the Hyatt brand. The World of Hyatt program tells TPG that there are no plans to introduce a Category 1-8 award at this time.
This announcement is a devaluation of World of Hyatt points, a trend that has hit a number of loyalty programs during the pandemic.
And while it appears that the number of properties moving up and down is roughly equal, a closer look quickly reveals that a disproportionate number of the hotels that are moving to higher award categories are the ones that are in the United States and the most popular European cities, while it's the hotels in the Middle East and Southeast Asia that are moving to lower award categories at a greater frequency.
If you plan to use your Hyatt points at any hotels that are moving to a higher category, you should make your reservations now. These changes go into effect on March 22 at 8 a.m. CDT.
Keep in mind that you can keep your reservation at its current award category by booking now, even it is for after March 22.