TPG special analysis: How Hyatt’s peak and off-peak pricing changed average award rates

Oct 28, 2021

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After several pandemic-related delays, World of Hyatt peak and off-peak pricing is officially here.

Any new award stays booked for travel from March 1, 2022, onward are now subject to the new redemption tiers.

As a recap, Hyatt award redemption rates now vary in price across dates, in some cases quite significantly. A Category 3 hotel could cost 9,000 points one night (off-peak) and 15,000 points the next night (peak), representing a nearly 67% difference. The proportion of that range can be even greater for Category 1 hotels, which now range from 3,000 to 6,500 points per night (though luckily, it isn’t as bad for other categories).

To our knowledge, World of Hyatt has not implemented a system to balance or control the number of peak and off-peak nights available, meaning a property could theoretically charge peak rates every night of the year. However, Hyatt has said that the majority of award nights will price at standard rates.

Today, we’re going to put that assertion to the test and try to find out just how significant these changes really are. Are hotels charging peak rates most of the time? Do off-peak dates come in at roughly the same frequency? There’s only one way to find out – run lots of tests.

To get a sense of how bad this change might be, we looked at award rates from some of World of Hyatt’s most-redeemed properties from around the world and scanned dates throughout the first six months that the pricing will be in effect to determine just how often each hotel was posting off-peak, standard and peak award rates.

Here’s what we found:

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In This Post

The methodology

With peak and off-peak award prices now in effect, Hyatt properties can now vary in points pricing depending on the forecasted travel demand for its geographic market on specific dates. As a reminder, here’s the new award chart for standard rooms:

Off-peak (% change) Standard Peak (% change)
Category 1 3,500 (-30%) 5,000 6,500 (+30%)
Category 2 6,500 (-18.75%) 8,000 9,500 (+18.75%)
Category 3 9,000 (-25%) 12,000 15,000 (+25%)
Category 4 12,000 (-20%) 15,000 18,000 (+20%)
Category 5 17,000 (-15%) 20,000 23,000 (+15%)
Category 6 21,000 (-16%) 25,000 29,000 (+16%)
Category 7 25,000 (-16.67%) 30,000 35,000 (+16.67%)
Category 8 35,000 (-12.5%) 40,000 45,000 (+12.5%)

Hyatt has also added peak and off-peak tiers to its multitude of other award charts, like those for suites and for all-inclusive properties. You can read more about all of the changes here.

Although we already knew what Hyatt’s peak and off-peak pricing would be, we didn’t know how frequently each property would use peak pricing compared to off-peak pricing. An equal distribution of the two would mean that the average award rate across the year would be equivalent to the standard rate (though still painful to peak season travelers). However, a higher proportion of peak dates would raise the average nightly award rate.

Naturally, we were concerned this would be the case at Hyatt’s most popular properties – similar to what happened with many Marriott Bonvoy properties when it implemented peak and off-peak pricing, and what we fear might happen as that program transitions to dynamic pricing next year.

To test our Hyatt hypothesis, we pulled award data from 25 World of Hyatt properties. We picked 17 of World of Hyatt’s 50 most popular hotels for points redemptions (for the 12 months ending June 30, 2021) and eight of the TPG team’s favorite hotels that didn’t make it on the most-redeemed list.

We pulled award rates from March 2022 (when the new pricing kicks in) through November 2022 (the end of the booking window) and counted the number of peak, standard and off-peak dates that were available to determine an approximate distribution. This means some of our numbers likely look better than they will when there’s a full 12 months of data available, since it’s likely the holiday travel months – which aren’t reflected here – will include peak pricing at many of the properties.

For the months that were available, we used this data to calculate an “average” award rate for each individual property and then calculated the overall percentage change from the standard rate. While our system is obviously not perfect in that it doesn’t come close to capturing all properties or dates, it still helped quantify the initial impact of the changes.

We used Hyatt’s new points calendar to gather the rates. Unfortunately, the calendar does not reflect actual award availability, so just because a night is listed as “off-peak” doesn’t necessarily mean that it is bookable with points.

Related: How significant is Marriott’s peak and off-peak pricing?

United States (mainland) hotels

Confidante Miami
The Confidante Miami. (Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

The five popular continental U.S. hotels we pulled data for were the Ventana Big Sur, an Alila Resort (Category 7), Hyatt Regency Monterey on Del Monte Golf Course (Category 4), The Confidante Miami Beach (Category 4), Hyatt Regency Orlando (Category 3) and Hyatt Place Delano (Category 2).

Here’s how they fared altogether, by percentage of nights at each rate:

  • Off-peak: 23%
  • Standard: 44%
  • Peak: 33%

Overall, there are far more peak nights than off-peak, and the majority of nights are not at standard rates. That said, the distribution truly varies by market, and some sites’ rate schedules are far less generous than others.

In our searches, we only found 10 off-peak nights at the Ventana Big Sur across the entire six-month period. That’s less than 4% of the calendar. Furthermore, only about 13% of the nights found there were priced as standard — the rest were peak. Based on this information, the new “average” cost for a standard room at this property is about 34,004 points per night — a 13.3% increase. In comparison, the Hyatt Place Delano saw just a 1.2% net increase.

It wasn’t all bad news. The Hyatt Regency Monterey saw a 0.9% net decrease in price while The Confidante saw a surprising 6.9% decrease. That said, The Confidante will likely have more peak dates around the December holiday period. The Hyatt Regency Orlando was basically unchanged.

Related: 16 incredible hotels you’d never know belonged to World of Hyatt

Hawaii hotels

Grand Hyatt Kauai
Grand Hyatt Kauai. (Summer Hull / The Points Guy)

Many Hyatt loyalists choose to redeem their points on a trip to Hawaii. Unfortunately, these redemptions have also become more expensive, but not by much. We searched rates for the Hyatt Regency Maui (Category 6), Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach (Category 3), the Grand Hyatt Kauai (Category 6) and the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach (Category 5).

Here’s what we found:

  • Off-peak: 3%
  • Standard: 88%
  • Peak: 9%

First, the good news. The majority of nights are priced at a standard rate. Further, the average nightly award rate for the Hyatt Regency Maui remained basically unchanged from the standard 25,000-point rate.

The average award rate for the Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach went up to 12,233 points (a 1.9% increase) and the Grand Hyatt Kauai came out to 25,399 points (a 1.6% increase). Meanwhile, the Hyatt Regency Waikki Beach saw a moderate 1% net increase, to 20,210 points per night.

Related: Book this, not that: Hawaii resorts edition

Caribbean and Mexico hotels

Hyatt Reserve Puerto Rico
Hyatt Regency Puerto Rico. (Photo by Jamie Oppenheim/The Points Guy)

Two other popular areas for redeeming Hyatt points are the Caribbean and Mexico. For these regions, our samples came from the Hyatt Regency Puerto Rico (Category 4), the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar (Category 5) in the Bahamas, the Hyatt Regency Aruba (Category 6) and the Hyatt Ziva Cancun. Although the Hyatt Ziva technically follows a separate award chart for all-inclusive properties, its award rates match those of a Category 6 hotel when booking for up to two guests.

In an interesting turn of events, based on current peak and off-peak dates, these properties generally offered a net positive outcome when it came to pricing for the months we were able to test.

  • Off-peak: 22%
  • Standard: 60%
  • Peak: 18%

The average nightly rate for the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar dropped by 2.5%, while the rate for the Hyatt Regency Aruba dropped by 1% and the Hyatt Ziva Cancun dropped by about 0.5%. The Hyatt Regency Puerto Rico did slightly increase in price, but by less than 2%.

Related: Best points hotels in the Caribbean

Asia hotels

Grand Hyatt Seoul. (Photo courtesy of Hyatt)

Although currently still largely closed to American tourists, Asia is normally a great place to get outsized value for a relatively small outlay of Hyatt points. For the most part, that should continue to be the case, though it will ultimately depend on the individual market and your travel dates. The hotels we pulled data for were the Grand Hyatt Seoul (Category 4), Grand Hyatt Sanya Haitang Bay (Category 3), the Hyatt Regency Liberation Square Chongqing (Category 1) and the Park Hyatt Hangzhou (Category 4).

Here’s what the data shows:

  • Off-peak: 10%
  • Standard: 76%
  • Peak: 14%

Most nights continue to be classified as standard, but there are more peak nights than off-peak. All of the properties saw a roughly 3% to 4% increase in price, with one exception. The Grand Hyatt Sanya Haitang Bay saw a whopping 6.8% net decrease in price. The average award rate calculated for the Grand Hyatt Sanya Haitang Bay was just 11,181 points per night, down from the 12,000 points per night standard rate.

Related: The best international Hyatt hotels you can book with 5,000 points

Aspirational hotels

Park Hyatt Paris
Park Hyatt Paris. (Photo by Andrew Kunesh/The Points Guy)

For this category, we moved away from World of Hyatt’s most-redeemed list and looked at some of our favorites that didn’t make the list. These are the more aspirational properties that fewer members are redeeming points for, but which have historically offered incredible value.

We pulled data from the following properties: The Park Hyatt NYC (Category 7), Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme (Category 7), Park Hyatt Tokyo (Category 7), Park Hyatt Sydney (Category 7), Park Hyatt Beaver Creek (Category 7), Andaz Mayakoba (Category 6), Andaz Papagayo (Category 5) and Alila Napa Valley (Category 7).

Much to our surprise, these properties have actually benefited from the implementation of peak and off-peak pricing. While the distribution varies by hotel, overall, there are far more off-peak nights than peak nights.

  • Off-peak: 35%
  • Standard: 44%
  • Peak: 21%

Unlike the Ventana Big Sur, the Park Hyatt NYC offers a fairly balanced distribution of peak and off-peak nights. The average nightly award rate for the Park Hyatt NYC came to 30,166 points — a roughly half a percent increase in price.

The biggest winners of the pricing changes were the Park Hyatt Sydney (2.1% net decrease), the Andaz Mayakoba (7% net decrease), the Andaz Papagayo (8.3% net decrease) and the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek (11.5% net decrease). The big caveat here is that the peak and off-peak calendar hasn’t opened yet for the winter months, which is when the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek is its busiest and most expensive. Based on the award pricing for the first few weeks of the tail end of the ski season in March 2022, we expect the resort to price at peak levels on many dates during the ski season.

The Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme saw the biggest increase in price. The average award rate is now 31,919 points — a 6.4% jump. Meanwhile, the Park Hyatt Tokyo and Alila Napa Valley saw much more manageable increases of 2.8% and 3.2%, respectively.

Overall takeaways

As a whole, at least for now, World of Hyatt award pricing changes are relatively mild when looked at on average. Here’s a look at the overall findings for percentages of rooms at each rate, based on our searches:

  • Off-peak: 19%
  • Standard: 62%
  • Peak: 19%

Based on data from this sample set, most nights continue to be priced at standard rates. Further, the overall distribution of off-peak and peak nights is fairly balanced. Of course, this varies by market and the hotel you choose to book.

In most cases, the redemption rates have changed by less than +/- 4%. That said, there are some outliers, such as the Ventana Big Sur, which saw a 13% net increase, and the Andaz Mayakoba, which saw a 7% net decrease. There are several properties that haven’t released any off-peak nights at all, like the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach.

Ventana Big Sur
Ventana Big Sur. (Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)

The less flexibility you have with travel dates due to school schedules, traditional holiday travel windows, etc. the more likely you’ll be the ones hit with the peak award chart rates at properties that have released more of those dates. That said, most hotels we searched did not mark the 4th of July travel period as peak nights. Additionally, many properties marked the Labor Day weekend as a standard or an off-peak period. So, you shouldn’t automatically assume that a “busy” travel period will be a peak period … or at least that doesn’t seem to be the case yet.

Entire months can virtually be peak or off-peak. Likewise, you can have a mix of peak, standard and off-peak prices all in the same week.

Related: Here’s how to quickly stock up on Hyatt points for your next vacation

Finally, remember that our data in this test was based on 25 hotels — 17 of the 50 most-redeemed properties and eight of TPG’s favorite aspirational properties. There are over 700 hotels across the Hyatt portfolio so your experiences will vary.

Further, just because Hyatt released the pricing information for the entire calendar doesn’t mean that there are actually rooms available for award booking every night. Only time will tell whether hotels become more generous with releasing award space with the new pricing scheme.

Bottom line

From a broad perspective, World of Hyatt’s implementation of peak and off-peak pricing seems not all that bad – and it sure beats dropping award charts in favor of fully dynamic pricing.

While our tests show it has resulted in slightly higher average award rates, in most cases, the net difference is small. Most nights we found continued to count as standard nights and at least you still know a range for an individual property’s costs so you can save up those hard-earned points for a dream trip.

Just know this distribution of peak and off-peak nights only applies to year one. Hyatt isn’t regulating how many nights can be designated as peak and off-peak ones, so time will tell whether it continues this relatively balanced distribution, or whether peak pricing becomes the new norm at certain properties or in certain regions. Additionally, we would expect the average award rate to potentially increase at many leisure properties once the 2022 winter holidays are loaded in the calendar.

Luckily, the new pricing scheme has no effect on Hyatt’s free night certificates. These certificates will continue to be tied to hotel categories rather than point values. You can redeem them on peak, off-peak or standard dates so long as they fall under the certificate’s supported categories, regardless of the number of points charged on that particular night within the category.

Also, keep in mind that if you had an existing award booking for a hotel where the rate changed to off-peak, you will be refunded the difference between a standard and off-peak night.

Featured photo of the Grand Hyatt Kauai by Summer Hull/The Points Guy.

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