The Andaz Maui Is Playing Sneaky Games With Award Availability

The Andaz Maui is probably one of the most popular Hyatt properties, both among those looking to redeem World of Hyatt points, and also among Globalist members looking for a special trip.

The Andaz Maui struggles to manage expectations, and plays games

Understandably the hotel has a hard time managing expectations sometimes. In the past the hotel has even sent proactive emails to Globalist members essentially telling them not to expect an upgrade.

While I can appreciate that struggle, this hotel also seems to go out of their way to play games. Over the years there have been all kinds of instances of the Andaz Maui playing games with award stays.

For example, a few years back they imposed an imaginary seven night minimum stay requirement on award stays, while that minimum wasn’t there on cash stays.

That’s just one example, though there are plenty of others as well.

The Andaz Maui’s latest award availability game

Reader @jace_mckenzie points me to the latest game that the Andaz Maui seems to be playing. Here’s the thing — some of the Andaz Maui’s games in the past have breached the World of Hyatt terms, but what they’re doing here is technically completely legitimate. It’s not within the spirit of the program, though.

Essentially the Andaz Maui is only selling base rooms (when paying cash or redeeming points) when staying for 1-3 nights, or 8+ nights.

If you want to stay 4-7 nights, the hotel simply doesn’t sell base rooms.

It’s not unusual for hotels to have minimum stay requirements sometimes, so as such the concept of a particular stay requirement isn’t unheard of.

However, the fact that they’re seem to have both a minimum and maximum stay requirement is something I’ve never seen before. Excluding 4-7 night stays seems pretty deliberate here, since presumably that’s how long most people want to stay at the hotel.

They can probably get away with this on cash stays pretty easily without hurting their business because the next category room is just $20 more per night, which isn’t a huge amount for a hotel that costs $500+ per night.

So it’s pretty apparent that this restriction is in place at the Andaz Maui to try and prevent award redemptions, because there simply isn’t another logical explanation. Award stays have no blackout dates as long as there’s a standard room available, so by not having standard rooms, they’re getting around that.

What I don’t understand here

The Andaz Maui has long done everything in their power to prevent people from booking award stays. What’s not entirely clear to me is why. It’s my understanding that with Hyatt (and most other global hotel chains), hotels are reimbursed in one of two ways for award stays:

  • Assuming the hotel is full (or nearly full), the hotel is compensated roughly at the average daily rate, so there’s no loss to the hotel for having award guests
  • Assuming the hotel isn’t full, the hotel is compensated some smaller amount that’s above the marginal cost of cleaning the room, but that’s about it

The Andaz Maui seems to have consistently high occupancy, so I can’t quite figure out why they’re so opposed to award stays? Anyone have any insights, is my understanding of how this works incorrect, or what? Feel free to email me instead if you have any anonymous info to share on this.

My only thought is that they have a huge number of award redemptions and often find themselves in situations where they’re mostly full, but not quite full enough to get the average daily rate reimbursement, in which case I can see why they’d be frustrated.

How to get around the Andaz Maui award restrictions

There are a couple of ways you can potentially get around these restrictions. The first is that you can just book back-to-back stays. In other words, if you want to stay six nights, just make two bookings of three nights each.

Alternatively, some report booking stays of eight or more nights, and then phoning up World of Hyatt to shorten the length of their stay. Sometimes this might require hanging up and calling again, but it does seem to be possible.

Bottom line

The Andaz Maui playing games with award availability is nothing new. I’m still not sure I understand exactly what their incentive is for doing so, but I’d love to understand, because it would explain a lot about the economics of hotel loyalty programs.

The good news is that it still seems possible to book stays of up to three nights or stays of eight or more nights, and then later you can hopefully modify those stays to beat the hotel’s ridiculous rules.

If you’ve tried to redeem points at the Andaz Maui, what was your experience like?

Comments

  1. I look all the time… I just plain never see any of any length. Though I am usually looking in February very high season. Meanwhile the Hyatt Regency on the other (better) side of the island is one of the best deals in the program at 20k points. Not the same property I know, but pretty good; great little club lounge for elites too. It was absolutely amazing when you had a real cash+points.

  2. maybe they have tracked those staying on award nights and found little to no spend on anything on site. and of cause they cant charge a Golb for resort fees or parking if its an award stay

    that said as long as we play games with the hotels and programs why cant they do likewise, whats good for the goose is good for the gander

  3. could one not just make a 3 night reservation and a separate booking for 1-3 nights to get a 4-7 day stay?

  4. Book Hyatt Residence Club Maui fabulous two bedroom and three bedroom residences with Hyatt timeshare points.

  5. Isn’t this property company owned? So, presumably they’re doing all this with corporate’s blessing. Makes it even more sad.

  6. +1 to what Daniel said — it’s ridiculous when “native” Hyatt properties are the worst offenders.

  7. I redeemed points last year for 5 nights. I should note that I made this booking within 3 weeks so maybe that played a factor in availability. I have tried booking again for this summer and I cannot find any availability for any days.

  8. Lucky, do you have a contact at Hyatt Gold Passport that you could ask why , given that it’s iwned by Hyatt, they accept this?

  9. It would be interesting to see the numbers for on-site spend for guests booking with points vs cash. Personally, we spend more on-site during award night stays because the room feels ‘free’ and it’s just not that painful to sign for some meals, drinks and spa when there is no line item for room/tax/resort fee.

  10. As a globalist who spends over $20k/year, I find this really frustrating. On my award stays at high-end Hyatts, I spend a lot of money on F&B, excursions, room upgrades, and so on.

    For this property, I just book consecutive 3-night stays and ask my concierge to trim the night(s) I don’t need and combine the reservations into one.

    I have been able to use suite upgrades the last few times here, which has been nice (if you like the pool suite, which has no views other than the pool).

  11. I do not think they are getting the full cash rate as reimbursement from corporate when the hotel is full. If they were World of Hyatt would be losing tons of money on peak redemptions. Loyalty programs are all set up to collect a huge margin between what they are paid for a point and what they pay to a hotel for a point. I think it is highly likely Hyatt hotels are getting well less than a penny per point (probably less than half a penny) you pay so it’s foregone revenue. We know that Marriott often pays the equivalent of 0.2 cents per point.

    This hotel probably also has a disproportionate number of redemptions since a very common strategy is to save up points from work trips and use them to book a resort vacation. So they may feel like they need to defend against award bookings more than city hotels, which have a lot of business travelers on cash bookings and don’t mind the occasional redemption booking as much.

    I don’t know where the rumor started that they get the cash rate when they’re full. Maybe they get something approaching what the cash night would be on an extreme off-peak night, but when they’re full, the *actual* cash rate would be way higher.

  12. I’m not going to sit here and brag about the decades of my spending with Hyatt
    But I’m a lifetime Globalist twice over to keep it simple
    In my decades with Hyatt there has never been a more corrupt if not criminal property gaming the system in Gold Passport or the new World Of Hyatt program
    While we like the property despite non luxury rooms we are willing to pay the resort fee and stay with the Marriott Wailea Beach Resort instead where we think the rooms are considerably nicer
    They also have redemption space on weekends quite easily
    where we have booked up to 3 rooms at a time
    As a result of Andaz Maui I will go from 120 nights a year with Hyatt to under 40 and the lions share now going to Hilton and Marriott where I am also Lifetime Diamond and soon to be Lifetime Platinum Premier when Marriott finishes its slow as molasses accounting

    Hyatt May allow the gaming of the system of Andaz Maui but unfortunately there is a permanent cost attached to that in hundreds of thousands in future revenue losses from this guest going forward
    I hope they have made the right decision I know we have

  13. Lucky, are you or anyone that reads this blog even remotely shocked by this??? Seems like business as usual at this property…………..sadly.

  14. If the hotel is owned by Hyatt corporate, it is possible that they view any points redemptions as a loss . Even if they get “reimbursed” the full rate, it is just shuffling money around between WoH and another Hyatt department. By playing games, they force people to spend their WoH points at other properties and hope that the WoH comes out ahead by having a low reimbursement.

    They must be making the bet that people staying here are coming no matter what and will pay cash if points is not available.

  15. I would think maybe guests who redeemed awards spend less on resort than cash paying guests? Not sure if that’s true. But from my experience, the friends who spend a lot on resorts don’t care about earning points.

  16. @SEAguy,

    I feel the same way. My family just completed a stay at the Andaz in Costa Rica and we spent a ton of money on food and activities since our entire stay was paid on points. I asked someone in management what their opinion was and they had the same philosophy. They loved when people did that since they were getting compensated by Hyatt anyway and people were spending way more at the property!

  17. I hate what they did to this property, and how they manage it. It used to be my “go to” for Wailea. I did actually get a WOH reward stay (with a suite upgrade no less) at the place last year, but the whole guest experience was just miserable. So now I go to the Kea Lani and have been happy.

  18. Evan +1. Nothing new here except a clever twist so property can shirk it’s obligations under WOH. It’s not unique to this property or WOH but we can thank Lucky for publishing the work around.

  19. @Lucky Hotels are compensated for award stays only if the occupancy is above 80% for that day. If it is below 80% the room is free and the owners of the hotels do not get a squat. My famliy owns some Hyatt’s so for everyone’s FYI.

  20. Having previously worked at another hotel chain, I can confirm that chain at least gives full average daily rate for that night when the hotel was ~95%+ full. Otherwise it’s just slightly above the marginal cost of cleaning the room.

    If Hyatt is the same (which I have no idea but would assume they are), then that shouldn’t be a factor here, barring the corporate-owned issues that people mentioned above.

  21. I’ve stayed there three times, the most recent a few months ago, and the service has gone massively downhill. They don’t need to allow points redemptions because it’s always full, and they don’t need to care about the guests because people stay there anyway. Plenty of other good options in Wailea, and on Maui overall.

  22. I was trying to see if I could be able to book 3 nights in March and in September and it did show availability.

  23. Just stay at the Fairmont Maui instead. All the rooms are suites that are awesome, and they have villas too if you want that. It has a huge family pool with slide and swim up bar, and a great “adult only” pool that is quiet as well.

    If you’re totally focused on staying at a Hyatt, just stay at the Hyatt in Kaanapali. It’s great. TBH, I’ve been hearing nonsense about the Andaz Maui since it opened just as you’ve described. I won’t give my business to a property known to play games and come up short with their service.

  24. I had made reservations for my son’s honeymoon 9 months in advance with My Hyatt Concierge, the hotel still screwed it up saying there were no suites available. Now I had confirmed and used the Diamond Guest program to boot. Hotel offered them a one day cabana pass and stale cookies but no suite. Since I had been with the Hyatt Concierge from day one he knew me called the GM himself then his bossed they tracked the manager down who happened to be at Hyatt Headquarters got him out of a meeting and made sure he took care of it. The hotel refunded all the points comp’d dinner for them. I made sure that Hyatt knew the completely unacceptable attitude of the hotel staff, am sure was not happy with my call. In addition to all this crap my company was a contractor doing the reflag! This use to be the old Renaissance if you remember

  25. It isn’t just this Hyatt property. I’ve personally had to wage war to get an award stay booked at the Andaz Savannah after obvious inventory manipulation.

  26. Unless it is just for redeeming points there are many much better places to stay in Maui other than the Andaz. Just next door the Four Seasons and the Fairmont are places I would consider before the Andaz.

  27. Sad that a native property is such a bad offender. Not as bad as the PH Sydney which flat out blocks award stays in the week over New Years.

  28. Lucky,

    There’s a few reasons why. The main ones are these two:

    1. There is a relativly later booking market to Hawaii. They can often sell the marginal room 3-4 weeks out for much much more cash then their ADR, which is what their reimbursement amount is based off. If the reimbursement amount is based off the price of last room sold, they’d be more willing to allow award stays. The opportunity cost of having an award room booked 8+months out is just too great, especially during peak California family inbound period where they know they can extract much higher rates closer in if they still had inventory available.

    2. Yes when they are full they get close to ADR level reimbursement from Hyatt. However it’s not quite the ADR, and this ADR is based off the previous year, not the current year, and includes all rooms, so the award stays in the previous year, especially those that are during periods they are not full, dilutes their ADR baseline for the following year. This in turn reduces the amount of money they get for awards when they are full in the future. For most hotels because award demand is more balanced and general demand profile is less seasonal, this doesn’t seem to have a huge impact. But for a property like this, it will cause a downward spiral. When their ADR gets diluted enough, it causes them to move down in category, which in turn will result in even greater redemption demand.

    This will probably never get fixed within the existing Hyatt contracting framework so you’d just have to live with it.

  29. I’m trying to book another hyatt that has same 8 day points booking policy. But It has a non refundable policy so I’m afraid to book and call to trin to 3 nights that I need. Does hyatt have a policy that I can cancel/change reservation same day I book it?

  30. I recently needed a five night stay for two rooms and using points from two different accounts.

    I was able to book 2 back to back 3 night stays then call back and removed the 6th night from each reservation with no problem. The only catch here is you need the extra points in your account to book the night(s) you don’t need.

  31. @issac

    How is a guest being provided what is publicly available to their respective loyalty tier playing games? Getting a published benefit while following the rules is just that, following the rules. Playing games means “cheating”

  32. Lucky, what do you think of Hyatt Regency Vancouver blocking standard rooms (and hence awards) for the entire months of June and July? I have a written confirmation from the manager that they are doing this in the name of tours/weddings/etc, and the Flyertalk thread on this property also discusses this. Do you think this is acceptable?

  33. The Tokyo Andaz has played the same game when it comes to requiring blocks of nights before being allowed to book an award.

  34. So is St Regis Maldives!! Would love you to do a post on how they are robbing people. Their website now says they are not accepting ANY award bookings!!!

  35. I believe this is all do to the fact that Hyatt lens the Andaz Maui. They’re just trying to maximize their profits.

  36. I booked a 4 night stay for May last week by booking 3 consecutive nights on the website, then calling and explaining the website issue, so Hyatt booked a one night. I accepted that “I may have to switch rooms the last night.”

    I tried booking 4 nights at the standard rate and using points to upgrade to a suite, but nothing is available per Hyatt Resetvstions even though all 5 of their different Premium suite categories are available for cash.

    What’s the best VBRO property for a 3 bedroom? Looking at Ho’olei (Hilton Wailea). Anyone have a better recommendation?

  37. When a hotel plays game; it better be avoided especially this one. I would never stay in this property because of this post.

  38. I think it’s about ancillary revenue. They were discouraging award stays even before they had to eat the resort fees and who else finds ways to defeat the high cost of parking there which doesn’t apply to award stays either.

    I think they should take the opposite tact here and embrace award stays but they obviously feel differently about it. I wish somebody could get the real story from the GM or WoH execs.

    -David

  39. This isn’t the only Andaz doing this. Check the Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills availability during the Rugby 2019 World Cup during 20 September – 2 November. I can’t find ONE single date that is available during my trip in October.

    I kinda feel conned here. I signed up for the Hyatt card you were raving about hoping to cover 2-3 award nights for 2019, unless I’m checking too soon or I’m checking too late, apologies then.

  40. While this may be the worst offender in the Hyatt chain, I’ve found that many Hyatts play these games one way or the other. It’s why I simply can’t just dump Marriott and go all in on Hyatt. I simply cannot trust this program to allow me to use my points when I want to use them. Marriott has its failings, but in general I can at least use the points when I have them wherever I want (subject to inventory restrictions that are usually not unreasonable). Hyatt, however, does stupid stuff. Take the Grand Hyatt in Berlin which mysteriously had a room available for three nights, but once I used a free night certificate, all of a sudden there were no rooms available for the final two nights. However, what’s this? They had club level rooms available for those two nights, so I could spend more than I expected (despite that room still showed up for the base rate for 3 nights over the same dates). Hyatt needs to get its hotels in line because it’s not worth being loyal to a hotel chain that doesn’t mind screwing you over. If Hyatt points continue to have these redemption issues, you really should consider discounting the value assigned to Hyatt points.

  41. Lucky, why don’t you ask Hyatt why this is going on?

    Being the “largest independently owned blog in the space” you must have a contact within the program?

    Help us get to the bottom of this! Just had a mediocre stay at the Marriott Wailea and would have much rather been at the Andaz, just not at $800/night.

  42. Stayed there a couple times in their first year or so of operation. Great little resort. Love the pools.

    But then they started playing games with suite upgrade certs by requiring 10 nights for an award stay.

  43. “feel free to email me instead if you have any anonymous info to share on this.”

    I am very confused as you don’t show your email is it the newsletter email or what as another says no reply?

    So how could I email you if I don’t have it.

  44. Andaz Papagayo with base rooms available.

    “Unfortunately, this hotel is not accepting World of Hyatt points or award during those dates. Explore our other rates or modify your search.”

  45. correction.
    their base rooms now don’t mention “view”.
    simple work around for the no blackout policy

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