The Good and Bad News From Hyatt Introducing Pricier Award Category
Yesterday, dark clouds started to build over the World of Hyatt as a new, pricier, eighth category was temporarily spotted on Hyatt's website. There were no hotels listed in this new category, but there was a 40,000 point per night award price attached. That is 33% higher than the current max of 30,000 Hyatt points per night charged for standard rooms at traditional Hyatt hotels (ie not their all-inclusive or wellness resorts).
It didn't take long for Hyatt to address this development by deleting the greyed out category from the website and share a good news/bad news response. The bad news is a Hyatt spokesperson confirmed that, yes, an 8th category that will cost 40,000 points per night is forthcoming.
The good news is that they went on to say there are no plans for any Hyatt-branded hotels or resorts to move to this new highest category. Now, I've been around miles and points long enough to be a skeptic when a category is created but statements are made indicating it will have limited use. Once it is there, it is there. However, I do trust Hyatt more than some when it comes to this sort of thing, so fingers crossed the statement holds true for a very, very long time.
The other element of good news in Hyatt's response is that they place the blame, or need (depending on your perspective), for the forthcoming new highest category on their alliance with the Small Luxury Hotels (SLH) of the World.
Hyatt states to TPG that:
As you know, we have been working toward launching an alliance with Small Luxury Hotels of the World that will allow members to earn and redeem World of Hyatt points at participating SLH properties in the future. Given the diversity and caliber of the SLH portfolio, we anticipate that some SLH properties will fall into a new eighth category on our award chart. We look forward to sharing more details when the alliance officially launches.
We have known since August that this alliance was coming "later this year", and it has had the potential to be pretty great for Hyatt members as SLH has a wide variety of properties with many concentrated in Europe and Asia. SLH even has some "private islands," such as the Baros Island Resort where TPG visited earlier this year.
Hyatt has had partnerships in the past, such as with Oasis, where you could use World of Hyatt points, but at a fixed cash value. Until now, we have not had any insight as to whether the partnership with SLH would operate in that fashion or whether the properties would fit into the traditional World of Hyatt award chart.
It feels like good news that the luxury properties will presumably fit into the World of Hyatt award chart, even if some fall at a new higher award rate. I have seen some SLH rates north of $1,000 per night, though there are also many in the $200+ range. That said, keep in mind that Hyatt already has villas on a private island in the Maldives on their existing award chart (and not even placed at the top tier), as well as some Park Hyatt properties that can cross that $1,000 per night cash rate threshold for standard rooms.
On the heels of the Small Luxury Hotels partnership is also Hyatt's planned acquisition of Two Road Hospitality and goal to have the majority of those 85 properties integrated into the World of Hyatt in 2019. While not all of these properties will make the leap to World of Hyatt, there are some high-end options on that potential list. In fact, there is even a whole stinking ship you can sleep on under the Alila umbrella.
I'm not thrilled with the idea of the World of Hyatt award chart adding an eight category, but there is no doubt that some new properties are heading Hyatt's way. It is potentially good news that the Small Luxury Hotels are headed toward a traditional award chart, but at least somewhat unfortunate that they won't all price under the existing categories.