World Of Hyatt 2020 Hotel Category Changes

Filed Under: Hyatt
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Update: World of Hyatt has postponed these changes until 2021.

It’s not unusual to see hotel loyalty programs adjust which hotels belong in which categories every year. For example, just last week Marriott Bonvoy announced their 2020 hotel category changes, and now World of Hyatt has announced their 2020 category changes.

Keep in mind this isn’t the only change being made to World of Hyatt redemptions this year, as Hyatt is also introducing peak and off-peak redemptions as of March 22, 2020 (the exact date for that being implemented has just been announced).

World of Hyatt 2020 category changes

World of Hyatt has just announced their 2020 category changes, which kick in for bookings made as of Sunday, March 22, 2020 (specifically at 8:00AM CDT). Note that:

  • Bookings made prior to the changes will be honored at the old rates, though if you make any changes to those bookings you’ll have to pay the new rates
  • If you make a booking prior to the changes at a property going down in price, you’ll proactively be refunded the difference in points starting March 22, 2020

No new categories are being added, and the number of points required at each category remains unchanged (not accounting for the introduction of peak and off peak dates). All that’s changing is which hotels are in which categories.

As a reminder, here’s Hyatt’s award chart reflecting the new peak and off-peak pricing (which will go live the same time as these category changes):

Category 13,5005,0006,500
Category 26,5008,0009,500
Category 39,00012,00015,000
Category 412,00015,00018,000
Category 517,00020,00023,000
Category 621,00025,00029,000
Category 725,00030,00035,000
Category 835,00040,00045,000

How many Hyatt hotels are changing categories?

In 2019 we saw an unprecedented number of hotels changing award category. Last year 259 hotels changed categories, with 130 shifting to a higher category, and 129 shifting to a lower category.

With World of Hyatt’s 2020 category changes, we’re seeing 217 hotels shift category:

  • 117 hotels are shifting to higher categories
  • 100 hotels are shifting to lower categories

All things considered I guess that’s not quite as bad — we’re seeing fewer hotels shifting categories than last year, and that’s not even accounting for the huge number of hotels that World of Hyatt has added to their portfolio (both through Small Luxury Hotels of the World, and through their Two Roads Hospitality acquisition).

On the surface the changes don’t sound that bad, given that we’re only seeing a net increase in redemption costs at 17 properties.

However, you can bet that the properties going up in price are a lot more popular with those redeeming points than those going down in price. That’s the name of the game with these changes.

How does Hyatt decide on these category changes?

Hyatt says that these hotel category changes are based on “current market conditions.” In reality I think it’s safe to assume that the categories are based on how much redemptions are costing Hyatt at particular hotels.

Keep in mind that most Hyatt hotels are mostly independently owned, so Hyatt’s loyalty program has to compensate individual hotels for each redemption. As a general rule of thumb, here’s how it works:

  • When the hotel isn’t full, the loyalty program compensates the hotel at some reimbursement rate that’s slightly above the marginal cost of servicing a room, etc.
  • When the hotel is full (think 90-95%+ occupancy), the loyalty program compensates the hotel close to the average daily rate, in recognition of the fact that the room may have otherwise been sold

For example, if a hotel has high rates but low occupancy, it might be in a disproportionately low category. Meanwhile if a hotel has lower rates but consistently high occupancy, it might be in a disproportionately high category.

It’s all about World of Hyatt’s redemption costs.

Which Hyatt hotels are changing categories?

You can find all the World of Hyatt hotels changing categories as of March 22, 2020, at this link, sorted by region. Beyond that, I wanted to share some highlights below, as I see them:

Lots of SLH properties join Category 8

Hyatt has a partnership with Small Luxury Hotels of the world, and when this was introduced, Hyatt also added Category 8 award pricing. Fortunately this hasn’t spread to any Hyatt managed properties.

We are seeing a total of 13 SLH properties move to Category 8, though, including 10 in Europe and three in Asia.

The Nobu Marbella is becoming a Category 8 hotel

Five Hyatts join Category 7

Category 7 remains the highest category for Hyatt managed properties, and we’re seeing the following five hotels move to Category 7:

  • Carmel Valley Ranch
  • Hyatt Centric Key West Resort & Spa
  • Andaz 5th Avenue
  • Hyatt Centric Park City
  • Grand Hyatt Tokyo

Ouch. That means the Park Hyatt New York and Andaz 5th Avenue are now priced the same, just as the Andaz Tokyo and Grand Hyatt Tokyo are now priced the same, even though paid rates are generally vastly different.

It looks like no Hyatt managed properties are moving from Category 7 to a lower category.

The Andaz 5th Avenue is becoming a Category 7 hotel

Some key Category 4 changes

Category 4 is a pretty important one for Hyatt, given that Hyatt issues Category 1-4 free night certificates.

The World of Hyatt Credit Card (review) offers a Category 1-4 free night certificate on your account anniversary every year. On top of that, there are more opportunities to earn these:

  • You can earn a second Category 1-4 free night certificate when you spend $15,000 on your card during your cardmember year
  • You can earn an additional Category 1-4 free night certificate when you earn World of Hyatt Explorist status (which requires 30 elite qualifying nights or 50,000 base points in a calendar year)
  • You can earn an additional Category 1-4 free night certificate when you stay at five different Hyatt brands; this is an ongoing promotion that launched on March 1, 2017, and it’s based on the cumulative brands you stay at, and isn’t tied to the calendar year

That’s why it’s worth highlighting a few of the hotels that are moving into and out of Category 4.

Here are some of the key hotels that are moving from Category 4 to Category 5:

  • Park Hyatt Zanzibar
  • Park Hyatt Saigon
  • Grand Hyatt Doha

Here are some of the key hotels that are moving from Category 5 to Category 4:

  • Hyatt Centric Brickell Miami
  • Grand Hyatt Seattle
  • Hyatt at Olive 8 Seattle
  • Hyatt Regency Amsterdam
  • Hyatt Regency Sydney
  • Park Hyatt Melbourne

The Hyatt Olive 8 is becoming a Category 4 hotel

Bottom line

Hyatt is changing the categories of 217 hotels as of March 22, 2020. This also coincides with when they’ll introduce peak and off-peak pricing.

Obviously whether or not these changes are good depends on your specific redemption patterns, though on the whole you can expect that the properties that are most redeemed at are going up in price.

What do you make of the Hyatt 2020 category changes? Are there any hotels that stand out to you?

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  1. Agree link doesn’t work. Fascinated that the Park Hyatt Melbourne is going down to same category as grand Hyatt Melbourne. Also astounded that the grand Hyatt Sydney was a 5.

  2. Seems like a atter of time before a number of Park Hyatt hotels move to category 8. I am shooting for a three night stay at Park Hyatt Paris and I’m budgeting for 135,000 required points…

  3. Hyatt points are looking less and less valuable every year. Death by a thousand cuts. If the value goes down too far I will probably ditch chase URs.

  4. Price changes depending on demand, so it’s pretty logical for points redemption to also change depending on demand.

    The category change for Andaz 5th Avenue seems to be hinting a change for Park Hyatt New York to category 8, likely during the next category change.

  5. @Bill, my question then is where you’d go? Free agent and pay cash for hotels? I am staying a lot at Hilton’s but the lack of an award chart is incredibly irritating. If Marriott figures out Bonvoy it could be an option, but I still think you will be earning Hyatt/Chase UR points faster than Bonvoy points when putting their award charts into comparison. From all the chains, I think Hyatt has done the least devaluations over the last 5 years and it is simply natural that they have to do something as their footprint gets bigger and it offers more opportunities for people to take advantage of the sweet spots.

    Certainly they deserve credit for communicating this open and with time for adjustment and not like so many others where things just happen overnight and unannounced.

  6. Makes me happy I was able to burn 2 Hyatt FN Certs + 15k for a 3 night stay at Andaz Papagayo at the old rates for this past January

  7. Not bad overall. Andaz Costa Rica has now gone from Cat 4 to 6 in 12 months. Fortunately, I’ve got a stay next month locked in at 15k.

    Otherwise, there’s a lot of give and take here. There’s some pretty solid value in some of the Hyatt House/Place changes for families that value location, with the Orlando and Riverwalk locations dropping down.

  8. Andaz Costa Rica was category 4 last year, and then moved to 5 this year. Now to category 6 beginning in March. So from being eligible to be booked w/ a free night award to category 6 in 13 months. Ouch.

  9. Checked the list very thoroughly and I’m very happy about Amsterdam and Australia. A couple “emerging” destination places within the U.S. seem to have gone up such as Louisville, KY, Scottsdale, AZ or the entire state of California, where a total of 9 properties went up a category and not a single one went down but all that isn’t too surprising. On the other hand it is surprising to me that all 4 properties in Dubai on this list went down given that the World Expo is happening later on this year so I didn’t expect any properties to be moved down and there is even a Hyatt Regency now in Cat. 1

    Quick question. If I would to lock in the current rate of a cat. 2 hotel at 8,000 per night, knowing that it will go down to 5,000 (standard) but not knowing whether it will go off-peak, remain standard or go to peak, will I simply be refunded 3,000 since I booked it before off-peak/peak changes took place? Or will they assess the new off-peak/peak rates and either refund me 1,500 points, 3,000 or 4,500? I was wondering whether one is able to lock in the future standard rate of a hotel that is moving down a category if one suspects that one will stay during a peak-rate period.

  10. @Laurel Yeah the Seattle moves are interesting. Those hotels did go up to Cat 5 last year. I think what happened is that the Seattle Hyatt Regency had just opened and probably had a lot of vacancy. So it opened at a Cat 4, while the other two bumped up to Cat 5, maybe to push demand to the Regency. Perhaps it’s all evened out now. Nice to see–that’s a lot of downtown rooms available with a free night certificate.

  11. Park Hyatt Saigon no big loss. It’s well maintained and has good service levels, but it’s as though the hotel was expelled to Vietnam and is serving out a sad sentence in a place it doesn’t want to be.

  12. My favorite quirk (sweetest spot) of Hyatt redemption is Hyatt House in Oak Brooke, IL. Category 1 when regular revenue stay is usually greater than $150 a night. It’s also my favorite hotel in Chicago area, where you not only have a suite, you also have a full kitchen. Well, it was too good to be true forever.

    Better book up all my possible stays before March 22nd for 2020.

  13. The one I’m surprised didn’t happen was Gild Hall in NYC going 4->5. That’s the only Manhattan Hyatt you can redeem a Cat 1-4 certificate at. That has to be a popular one to redeem at…

  14. Looks like Park Hyatt Hamburg is moving back to cat 4, after one year at cat 5. Should be back on the list of top certificate redemptions.

  15. @Nate: I was thinking that too. Then again, you can pretty often book rooms for under $200 a night so the category 4 reflects the points value better when put into proportion of the cash room rate, even more now with the off-peak and peak pricing.

  16. So the Hyatt Place Augusta is the same nightly rate now as the Park Hyatt Chicago? That’s insane, outside perhaps of the Masters.

    And the Hyatt Centric Key West is on par (points wise) as the Park Hyatt Sydney? Nonsensical.

  17. Andaz Papagayo hype is overrated….Howlers are cool, but really that place is just a so isolated. I felt trapped there paying excessive food prices without much escape. Walking down to the Marina restaurant was nice i suppose. Wasn’t terrible but not great if you ask me. Went to Grand Hyatt Kauai after and was pretty impressed with that place especially with club access.

  18. WOW – Hyatt Regency Amsterdam turned to category 5 during mid may 2019 form being category 4 – I booked my stay over the phone for my May 2019 stay the day prior the changes happens – and in 8 months they are changing back to category 4
    I love that Hyatt Regency Amsterdam – very nice and quiet location and very nicely botanical themed interior

  19. Miss old days when I could redeem 20,000 points for Hyatt Centric Park City when room rate was close to $900. Now is becoming 30,000 points, maybe still worth it during peak season.

  20. The Regency Tokyo was always a steal at cat 3. Sad to see it go up, but I least my stays for this year are already booked!
    It’s weird that Tokyo will have 3 Hyatts at cat 7 (Park, Grand, Andaz) when the prices between these vary greatly.

    Otherwise, good to see the PH Hamburg and the Regency Amsterdam back at cat 4!

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