Oh No: Is Hyatt About To Devalue Their Award Chart?

Update: For now, Hyatt is claiming the following:

“We have no plans for any Hyatt-branded hotels or resorts to move to a new Category 8.

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.”


I feel like for the past year it has been nothing but great news from World of Hyatt, between the introduction of a fantastic new credit card, the extension of the expiration date of free night certificates, free night redemptions now counting towards status, and more.

I guess that’s being balanced out a bit, because this week we learned of huge changes coming to Hyatt’s Points + Cash system, which will make this redemption option significantly less lucrative. Hyatt is also introducing premium suite upgrades, though the value proposition doesn’t sound that great. My hope was that the Points + Cash change was a one-off negative adjustment to the program, but it looks like there may be more on the way.

World of Hyatt Category 8 properties coming?

Summer Hull reports that earlier Hyatt’s website was briefly showing a new Category 8 for World of Hyatt, where a redemption would cost 40,000 points per night. No hotels were listed with this pricing, but rather it just showed in the dropdown menu and was greyed out. It was quickly removed.


This page briefly showed Category 8 at 40,000 points per night (through greyed out)

It goes without saying that them posting this was a glitch. The question is what kind of a glitch this was:

  • Was it a mistake that happened out of thin air, and the website showed it for no reason? That seems unlikely to me.
  • Is this a change that Hyatt plans on making soon, but they accidentally made it go “live” early? That seems pretty likely to me.
  • Is this a change Hyatt was considering at some point, but decided not to follow through on, despite having done the programming for? It’s possible.

As a reminder, here’s Hyatt’s current award chart:


Hyatt’s current award chart

Obviously this development would be disappointing.

Hyatt hasn’t devalued their award chart in five years

I do think it’s important to acknowledge that of the major hotel loyalty programs, Hyatt has done the best job of maintaining the value of their points and the hotels in various categories.

At the beginning of 2014, Hyatt devalued their award chart, where we saw them increase the cost of their top hotels from 22,000 points per night to 30,000 points per night. For context, here’s Hyatt’s award chart at the time:


Hyatt’s pre-2014 award chart

Since then — for the past five years — Hyatt hasn’t devalued their award chart, and beyond that, they’ve had very little movement in terms of which hotels are in which category (which is a way that other programs love to quietly devalue their program).

My best guess

My guess is that this is happening… eventually. I wouldn’t be surprised to see these changes in early 2019, though who knows, we may see them later.

If this happens, I’ll be curious to see how major of a shift they make. Will we see most hotels stay in the same category, with just a few hotels getting placed in the new Category 8? Or will we see a majority of hotels essentially move up a category, which would represent a significant devaluation?

These changes would be unfortunate, and they’d alter my valuation of Hyatt points. However, the program has made some improvements, including free nights counting towards status, being able to use suite upgrades on free night redemptions, and more.


Could the Park Hyatt Sydney soon cost 40,000 points per night?

What do you make of these potential World of Hyatt changes? Do you think they’ll happen?

Comments

  1. Hyatt will definitely devalue their chart. I don’t spend any nights on their properties since they came out with their new elite program. I can be someone at SPG but no one at Hyatt.

  2. It seems to me that all of these changes are perfectly consistent with Hyatt’s CEO view of loyalty programs as nothing more than “organized discounting”. In that context, it’s all about compressing your discount margin while still trying to maintain program “attraction” for consumers. I personally gave up on Hyatt when WoH debuted. I only have a budget of 70-80 hotel nights a year, and “spending” them on the new WoH hamster wheel just wasn’t worth it given the chain’s small footprint.

  3. You know why it’s been great news this year, Lucky? Because they had to. Because the woeful WOH program is weak compared to the old program, and their numbers must be down.

    Surely I’m not the only former Diamond who already switched to Starwood/Marriott or others?

  4. Former Hyatt Diamond and Globalist checking in. The only reason I stay loyal to the WoH is that I visit Australia once a year, and I like to stay at the Park Hyatt in Sydney; I stay on a combination of points or cash & points, as the cash rate is a little out of my budget.

    A change to 40k a night would kill this for me, so I hope it’s not true!

  5. If they do this I will definitely be moving over to SPG/Marriott. Their lack of hotels in so many places has caused me to think about moving anyway and this would probably push me to make a change. They just gutted the cash plus points as well. And 30K to 40K is a huge increase.

  6. Further devaluation of Chase UR. May not be their fault, but it’s their partner and was one of their top transfer partners, especially for hotels.

  7. It would def make me more over to Marriott/SPG properties far more often if it happens
    Hyatt is already widely overpriced on some awards
    One such example 20k a night for Hyatt Regency Honolulu
    with a bad Regency Club due to lousy low quality offerings
    that sells for 215 dollars a night yet charges 20k a night Huh?

    I will happily take the brand new Ritz Carlton for 10,000 point difference instead
    @ 60K/MR Program earns 10 points per dollar with a 75% bonus for Platinum Premiers plus promos credit card points and welcome amenity points
    Lets not forget that ago that last devaluation they virtually doubled most high end properties.

    That would put them out of the competition unless they pull the Hilton card where they overprice the awards and offer a ton or rich point promotions on and off the credit card leveling the playing field which was the deliberate strategy of Jeff Diskin

  8. Lucky, I have hundreds of thousands of Hyatt points that I will want to use if you’re correct and they devalue the points. My question is, historically, do they give you a warning (“i.e. new award chart as of “), or is it overnight and comes without any warning?

  9. Had been debating getting their credit card. Like Dennis above I have 70-80 nights a year and am 2 years from getting Platinum for life with Marriott. The CAT 7 properties (New York, Paris, Sydney, etc.) the only real carrots to this program and if they create a new CAT 8 then forget it.

  10. Hyatt’s real problem is the Chase relationship. Most of my Hyatt stays are award stays only. That doesn’t win loyalty to anyone but Chase.

  11. TPG is reporting that Hyatt states it would be for their new Small Luxury hotels and not Hyatt branded hotels.

  12. I still don’t get all these negativity of new WoH… yeah their foot print is small… they no longer give you the top elite on stays… 55 nights is tough to meet but now with an option to meet that using the credit card, I still think it’s the best hotel program out there. Which hotel program still let you redeem just 30k points at a hotel that’s going for $1000 a night? I tried to redeem my pile of useless Hilton points and often times, they want like 200k points per night on premium room… not even a suite. Give me a break… And no other hotel program gives you full breakfast for a family of 4… not some cheap continental breakfast with option to upgrade to full breakfast for $50 per person. We always travel as a family (2 adult/2 girls) and we believe in a big breakfast. Plus waved parking and resort fee even on cash booking, plus 4 confirmed suite upgrade at the time of booking. no other hotel program can match what I can get out of hyatt period. Under the promotion, I recently redeemed just 27k points a night at PH Paris Vendome during the peak season and free upgrade confirmed at the booking and that suite was going for $1500 a night. Hilton would have asked for 10x more points.

    yes, devaluation is coming. I’ve already booked few rooms at Andaz Maui using points (resort fee/parking all waved of course) and upgraded it to the pool suite for next summer vacation.. my girls love the pool suite and few nights at Grand Hyatt Kauai, also an excellent resort booked at cash and point rate which also can’t be matched by other hotel programs. Standard rooms at these Hawaii resort during summer break season always goes more than $500 a room giving us more than 2 cents a point value.

    no wonder these are getting devalued… there are too many out sized redemption opportunities with WoH program. Call me a Hyatt fanboy. I am a Hilton platinum too but I find my elite status and their points worthless compare to WoH program.

  13. There was some talk about them looking at Belmond, maybe something to do with that or the introduction of awards at SLH. Fingers crossed

  14. Wasnt this obvious when they jacked up the sign up bonus from 40k to 60k? I mean, come on, where do you think they would take the money for this from? I dont know by how much the overall amount of Hyatt Points out there has increased by this, but if it´s been 20% then we obviously need a 20% devaluation, otherwise someone´s gotta pay for this and this wasnt planned for certainly.

    If programs suddenly increase the way how you can earn their miles, something´s got to give.

  15. Are some of these Small Luxury Hotels of the World really more expensive than (say) the Park Hyatt Tokyo or the Park Hyatt Hadahaa?

  16. @tjp74 asks: “…I still think it [WoH]’s the best hotel program out there. Which hotel program still let you redeem just 30k points at a hotel that’s going for $1000 a night? .”

    The answer, of course, is Hilton Honors! Therefore, if the cost of award nights is the metric by which you rank WoH at the very top, consistency would require that you rank HHonors up there too! 🙂

    Here’s the proof using very simple math.

    An award night at a top Hyatt hotel requires 30K points/night for a $1000/night room.
    An award night at a top Hilton requires 95K points for $1000/night room [seems like a lot, right?].

    The ratio of HH points/WoH points per award night = 95K/30K = 3.2

    That’s on the REDEMPTION side.

    Now on the EARN side.

    A HH Diamond earns 20points/$ on revenue stays (excluding CC or promo bonus points, which would overwhelmingly favor the HH Diamond).

    A WoH Globalist earns 6.5points/$ on revenue stays (excluding CC or almost nonexistent bonus points).

    The ratio of HH points/WoH points earned per $ = 20/6.25 = 3.2.

    Bottom line: A top Hilton award COSTS 3.2x more points than does a top Hyatt award. However, a Hilton Diamond EARNS 3.2x more points per spend than does a WoH Globalist for the same spend. Therefore, Hyatt and HH awards cost EXACTLY the same in terms of “spend per free”, which is literally the monetary costs of award nights. A top Hilton award costs 3.2x more than WoH’s, but I earn my Hilton points at 3.2x the rate. Got it?:-)

    Q.E.D.

  17. Please update this. The Category 8 is for SLH properties. No Hyatt property will be put in that new category.

  18. Regarding the much-touted WoH Globalist free full breakfast, I asked this before and did not get a straight answer. My understanding of the WoH T&C is that the purported free full breakfast for a family of four is available in a hotel restaurant only at property without a club lounge. Otherwise, WoH breakfast is in the club lounge where it is rather limited (continental-like). Did I read that correctly?

    On the other hand, at many Hilton properties, HH Diamonds have the OPTION of having free full restaurant breakfast EVEN WHEN a property has an executive lounge, where breakfast is also served. That is universally true in Asia and at most properties (especially high-end ones) in Europe, but a hit/miss in the US.

    Just wondering…

  19. A WoH Globalist’s basic earn rate is 6.25points/$ and not 6.5/$, as I used both up there. One was a typo.

  20. I was wondering if a devaluation would happen with the recent changes, and finally just decided today to book Park Hyatt Maldives at 25,000 a night. I can always cancel for free, so this is a safe bet for me.

  21. One has to be equal opportunity to maximize value with these programs
    Every program has its jewel redemption and its clunker redemption’s
    In Las Vegas we are stuck with MGM properties who shy of free parking do next to nothing for Hyatt elites.
    No guarantee of late check out (unless you pay for it),no breakfast, massive resort fees etc
    I would much rather stay in the Waldorf Astoria (former Mandarin Oriental with a late check out as a Diamond with exceptional world class breakfast or Cosmopolitan as a Marriott top tier elite
    So I’m kind of with DCS some of the way.
    Hilton can really make sense and they are finally getting some amazing properties .
    But the HH premium room and suite redemption are obscene their one big caveat besides no guarantee of a late checkout at quite a few of their properties.I’ve been asked to leave at noon more often than not .The best thing about Hilton is breakfast in international properties
    They blow Hyatt out of the water in the good properties.Club or restaurant your choice
    Im really gaining momentum with Hilton overseas where they are more generous than Hyatt
    other than late check out
    And as much as I am a vocal critic of American Express for so many reasons The Hilton Aspire card has to be the best hotel credit card in the history of these programs
    I’m convinced Hilton Diamond will get diluted as everyone and their mother can get it for essentially no stays for free when you do the math
    Ordered the card and very excited and i’m already Diamond.
    Going to be much easier earning points with them than Hyatt
    In the US IMHO Hyatt still wins with higher quality breakfasts in and out of the lounge
    Hilton way behind tossing around the same insulting dollar amount coupons which is unacceptable as Diamonds should be treated better than a Gold

  22. To answer the earlier question there are great Hyatt Clubs with extensive offerings and some meager awful ones where the standard is poor
    Mostly the standard is reasonably good and consistent
    Overall quality wise Hyatt is almost always better than Hilton in the US at many properties
    I’ve been in many hundreds of both Hilton and Hyatt for decades
    International I see Hilton leading in Conrad’s and Full service Hilton’s

  23. I’m totally bummed I got the WOH credit card this summer for this small niche chain only to see them destroy P+C and now a devaluation coming. The WOH card will be cancelled after I use my free night certificate.

  24. If this is indeed being introduced for the SLH hotels then I’m sure sooner or later some of the top Hyatt hotels will move up to the category. I’ll bet money on it!

  25. @dwondermeant – Just a few random thoughts on selected items in your comment.

    — “But the HH premium room and suite redemption are obscene…”
    Unfair complaint because the HH T&C never promise anyone cheap ‘premium’ rooms or suites [although under the revenue system one can often find, and I have snatched such rooms almost at the cost of standard rooms]. Like in every program, STANDARD awards are what HH promises and offers aplenty and those cost no more than do WoH’s, even at top hotels as I showed above. When a Hilton property designates a room as ‘premium’, it is an explicit indication that it wants to discourage redemptions at that time. Other programs would simply show no award availability instead of designating rooms in a property as ‘premium’. You simply have decide for yourself which of those two situations (unaffordable ‘premium’ rooms or simply lack of award availability) is more annoying.

    — “…no guarantee of a late checkout at quite a few of their properties.”
    I do not rank late checkout very high among elite perks, but I have been a HH Diamond for almost a decade and have never been denied a late checkout request (in fact, I got approved for a 6pm late checkout 3 years in a row at Hilton Buenos Aires). Here is what might help you improve your batting average with respect to late checkout requests: make the request at check-in! It telegraphs to the hotel that it is something that you’d really like to have and gives them the time to work on accommodating your request. The approach has yet to fail me even once 🙂

    — “The Hilton Aspire card has to be the best hotel credit card in the history of these programs.”
    I wholeheartedly agree!

    — “I’m convinced Hilton Diamond will get diluted as everyone and their mother can get it for essentially no stays for free when you do the math”
    I wholeheartedly disagree! First, the Aspire card is designed so that it would do one no good unless one actively patronizes HHonors. Just being a Diamond through the card without spending real money on revenue stays would not get you the industry-leading 14x earn rate to earn points for award stays or allow you to take advantage of the $250 resort credit, etc. So, one’s gotta spend real money, which is not always easy for a lot of people out there. Second, many out there would also have a hard time justifying to themselves going for a “$450/year” card just be a HH Diamond. Therefore, HH Diamond through the Aspire will remain a ‘niche’ thing that only rewards-obsessed folks who frequent travel blogs or discussion boards and would know that the card does not actually have $450 AF and that it offers truly lucrative and unprecedented perks, might apply. Lastly and on the flip side, self-anointed ‘travel gurus’ did such a great job over the years convincing their readers about what a “weak” program HHonors is and how “weak” HHonors Diamond benefits are that many in-the-know who drank the kool-aid will never consider joining the program — so, there is at least one ‘public’ service that we can thank the ‘gurus’ for!

    G’day!

  26. You think I was kidding the other about my comments being “moderate”? I just wrote an innocuous one responding to @dwondermeant, which just disappeared. There seems to be a cutoff size above which ‘moderation’ is triggered…

    Hmmm…Wonder whether this a prelude to censorship at OMAAT?

  27. P.S.

    @dwondermeant – Re: the WoH breakfast benefit, here’s the synopsis that’s provided about it on the program’s website:

    “Relax in the Club lounge with CONTINENTAL breakfast and evening hors d’oeuvres daily. Or, enjoy complimentary full breakfast daily for each registered guest (up to 2 adults and 2 children) at Hyatt hotels and resorts without a Club lounge”

    which makes it clear that “full breakfast” is offered ONLY if a property does not have a club lounge. When there is a club lounge, CONTINENTAL breakfast is offered.

    In my book, that is a “weaker” benefit than Hilton’s in which Diamond members have the OPTION of having breakfast EITHER in the exec lounge (a smallish offering) OR in the hotel restaurant (full breakfast). One of the best arrangements I’ve seen was at Hilton Paris Opera where I stayed for 6 nights back in May. The exec lounge, which offers a limited breakfast, is right next to the hotel restaurant, making it easy for a Diamond to get desired items from a full breakfast layout in the restaurant and carry it all on a tray to consume in the exec lounge, which was generally sparsely populated and quite peaceful when I was there.

  28. Some very good points, DCS, particularly with respect to the earn and burn rate. Comparing just the amount of points required to redeem a free night without looking at the earn side is ridiculously short-sighted. A hotel’s loyalty program could require 150,000 points for a free night and still be better value than a Hyatt redemption, once the earn side is considered.

  29. If there is a major deval with Hyatt that may put the final nail into my relationship with chase. I haven’t been happy with the chase points program and their 5/24 nonsense. Amex has been stepping up their game.

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