Hyatt Confirms HUGE Changes To Suite Awards, Destroys Points + Cash Redemptions

A few days ago I wrote about rumored changes that Hyatt is making to Points + Cash awards, as well as the introduction of both upgrade and free night redemptions for premium suites. Hyatt has officially confirmed this information today, so let’s go through the changes.

All of these changes kick in as of November 1, 2018, so they’re just over a week away.

World of Hyatt free night redemptions in premium suites

Starting November 1, 2018, World of Hyatt members will be able to use points for free nights in premium suites. In all cases the cost of a redemption in a premium suite will be twice the cost of a redemption in a standard room, making it only marginally more expensive than a redemption in a standard suite.

Here’s a chart showing the new redemption costs for all room types:

There’s some other good news on this front. Historically you’ve had to redeem World of Hyatt points for a minimum of three nights in order to book a suite, while that minimum is being eliminated. You’ll now be able to redeem points for any length of stay for all room types, including standard and premium suites.

Furthermore, Hyatt will let you redeem points to upgrade to a premium suite when booking an eligible rate. While you usually pay 6,000 points per night to upgrade to a suite, the cost to upgrade to a premium suite will be 9,000 points per night.

World of Hyatt Points + Cash redemptions changing

One of the best uses of World of Hyatt points is for Points + Cash redemptions. This allows you to redeem half the number of points you’d need for a free night and pay a fixed cash co-pay for a redemption. These are capacity controlled by hotels. Here’s the current Points + Cash award chart:

Unfortunately World of Hyatt will be making a mostly negative change to this program. Going forward, Points + Cash bookings will require half the number of points of a free night, but will also charge half of the standard nightly rate.

Here’s the chart showing the new pricing:

This is a shame, since the standard rate pricing isn’t even typically the best rate that’s available, since it doesn’t offer you a AAA rate, member discount rate, etc. So you’ll generally be paying more than half of what the best rate would otherwise be.

On the surface the good news is that you’ll also be able to book Points + Cash awards for standard and premium suites. That sounds nice, though again, you’ll pay half of the points required, plus half of the suite cost. I can’t imagine this will prove to be an attractive option in that many cases.

Here’s the chart showing the new pricing for a standard suite:

And here’s the pricing for a premium suite:

My take on these changes

To me these changes are pretty disappointing. It has been nothing but great news from World of Hyatt lately, so this is some bad news at last. To me this change basically guts the value of Points + Cash redemptions, since in most cases redeeming for a free night will represent a better value, especially for those redemptions where you’re getting outsized value.

Just to give an example, one of my favorite hotels in the world to redeem Points + Cash is the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong. Currently a Points + Cash reservation here costs 12,500 points plus $149, which is an excellent deal.

For a random date I picked, in the future it would cost 12,500 points plus $230.

Alternatively I could redeem 25,000 points for a free night. With the new system, outright redeeming for a free night represents a significantly better value.

The addition of being able to upgrade to or redeem points for a premium suite sounds nice, though we’ll have to wait a bit over a week to see how hotels implement this in practice. Some hotels have been known to play games with how they define a standard suite, so my hope is that hotels don’t suddenly make the current standard suites premium suites, for example.

If you want to see how a hotel defines different suites, just take a look at the rooms for sale at a hotel. Typically Hyatt’s website lists which hotel is a standard suite, and which is a premium suite. I would expect premium suite awards and upgrades will be the most basic premium suite, which in many cases isn’t much more expensive than the standard suite.

To provide an example, let me pick a couple of hotels at random. Here are the standard and premium suites at the Park Hyatt Paris:

And the standard and premium suites at the Hyatt Regency London:

As you can see, in both cases the premium for a premium suite is minimal. I’m sure there are examples where the difference is bigger, and in those cases I hope that stays, rather than them creating a new category inbetween.

As a Globalist member this could be good or bad, depending on how you look at it. Globalist complimentary upgrades, as well as Globalist Suite Night Awards, are only valid for standard suites.

So my concern would be that we see a widespread change in how hotels categorize suites. On the flip side, if more non-Globalist members redeem for premium suites, it leaves more standard suites to be upgraded to.

World of Hyatt points are easy to efficiently come by

Going forward, the better value will be redeeming for free nights rather than making Points + Cash bookings. That’s at least a better situation than a couple of years ago, given that free night redemptions now qualify towards status.

While I realize we can’t generate unlimited points, the good news is that World of Hyatt points are the easiest hotel points to efficiently earn through credit card spend.

For one, The World of Hyatt Credit Card offers a huge welcome bonus of 40,000 World of Hyatt bonus points after spending $3,000 within the first three months, plus another 20,000 bonus points after spending a total of $6,000 within the first six months. The card is also worth spending money on long term.

World of Hyatt is transfer partners with Chase Ultimate Rewards, so you can transfer over points earned on cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® CardChase Sapphire Reserve® Card, and Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card. That would be my preferred way to acquire World of Hyatt points.

What do you make of these World of Hyatt changes?

Comments

  1. Are the new cash + points rates capacity controlled as well? I could see it being a slight positive if they eliminated the capacity controlled aspect. Also, they would be better suited to making the points portion of cash+points an option after selecting the rate one wants – it would keep the cancellation penalties, AAA/WoH discounts/etc., but it would just allow the member to pay half of the rate as points at checkout, with the points amount varying based on standard room/suite/premium suite.

    Also, hopefully Hyatt includes some requirements for how hotels can define their standard/premium suites.

  2. I think it’s safe to say that if you book a premium suite, you’re going to get the lowest tiered one available. It’s a shame considering that there is such a broad range of premium suites at some Hyatts (e.g. Park Hyatt Tokyo, where there are five different premium suites ranging from 140 square meters to 290).

  3. @Lucky
    Is there any option to use a Globalist Suite upgrade and then pay the difference between standard and premium suite in points to go up one level?
    Do you get to pick the premium suite you get booked into?

  4. Yea… I’m looking at the Nassau Grand Hyatt now. With my wedding booked there, I’ll get on the bookings C+P rates this week. Thanks, Lucky.

    But I don’t think the changes are all bad (as long as UR remain a transfer partner). We’re looking at the Park Hyatt or the Hotel Louvre when it re-opens to stay at during a portion of our honeymoon in France. Suites are now available when they weren’t previously. Depending on capacity controls, this could be a good redemption if you can book 9-12 months out.

  5. My biggest beef is that the hotels have gotten stupidly tickytacky in how they define rooms which is making this a much more frustrating game. As you mention a “premium suite” in most cases is just a suite with a slightly more favorable view. This will only cause more hotels to start playing this game.

  6. Will the change in C+P affect current reservations? I already have reservations for Grand Hyatt Kauai for March 2019 (already charged and paid for 2 nights per terms) and Park Hyatt in Hamburg for June 2019.

  7. Chase comes out with a new WOH card that gets sold hard and then guts the program a few months later. The gutting of loyalty programs after issuing new cards is getting old really quick.

  8. I don’t use points plus cash very often because I use citi 4th night free but with only 10 months remaining to cash that in I can see the value of points plus cash. However the ability to upgrade to premium suites is nice and I am overall very happy with Hyatt as a Globalist. This isn’t a huge devaluation.

  9. Lucky, your example doesn’t exactly show what you think:

    ” With the new system, outright redeeming for a free night represents a significantly better value.”

    If you’re paying 25000 for the whole award and 12500 for half, that’s exactly the same value whether points+cash or just points.

  10. @roundtree
    . The regular rate aspect vs hyatt member/aaa/senior rate means you are getting less than half of the rate for free (I.e for points) . Not to mention free parking on award stays for Globalists

  11. @roundtree
    Lucky values hyatt points at 1.5cents/p
    25000p = $375
    Old System 12500p + $149 = $336.5
    New System 12500p + $230 = $417.5

    That is why outright redemption is better value.

  12. As long as cost in points dont increase for award stays we will be ok. Being a Globalist and with parking as much as $50 a night in some places, always make sense to book full points. And if it is a low cost hotel just book cash. Hyatt points are easy to get with Chase cards (Lucky, post referral card here). What other options we have? Go to Marriott or Hilton 100.000 points a night?

  13. @Lucky

    Can we speculatively book a P + C rate now and cancel later, getting the points back if we decide not to use the booking?

  14. “…plus $149, which is an excellent deal.” now goes to $230 and that qualifies for the “destroys” adjective in the headline? Where does “reasonable” fit in that range?

  15. MarkG, if you think the costs of points for award stays won’t increase, you are very naive! Classic bait and switch. The next thing that will happen are hotels starting to go up in categories. Watch and see…

  16. @John…of course will happen some day! Look at Marriott, Hilton, or IHG. What I mean is that it is not happening NOW. Hyatt isnt creating a new more expensive category. Top tier hotels still cost 30k

  17. @dmodemd destroys is the proper adjective because under the new system, there is no reason you would ever book points plus cash. If the value of the points is less than the cost of the room, you will book all points. If the value of the points is more than the cost of the room, you would book all cash. Previously, points plus cash bookings were a good value because the cash portion was less than the value of points it was offsetting.

  18. Between this, which has to devalue Chase points even more after losing Korean as a partner, AMEX giving out insane points on common spend, then a week later Citi declaring “hold my beer” throwing points out the window for people to pick up on the sidewalk, the whole points landscape is all shook up.

    Hyatt still represents pretty good value as a transfer partner for Chase even with this devaluation (consider, 25,000 points for a regular Cat. 6 room versus say $500 w/ Hyatt compared to the same $500 room costing 2-3x as many points w/ Marriott at the same transfer ratio), but I got a reasonable amount of value out of Cash + Points in the past (oh, sweet Park Hyatt Vienna…) and was earning exclusively with Chase. Chase doesn’t really offer a good way to get to Europe in biz/first.

    But with AMEX and Citi points so much easier to earn, I do wonder if I’m better off earning primarily with them and, if so, which is better: AMEX with their large portfolio, frequent transfer bonuses, but lower earn rate; or Citi with their more niche portfolio, higher earn rate, but tech snafus like that time I almost missed a Virgin Atlantic booking because they couldn’t transfer my points over and they couldn’t figure out why. AMEX to me still offers more value, just because of the ANA chart. But the extra point/dollar makes Citi w/ Avianca potentially competitive in some scenarios.

    In other words, a big ass chart would be really helpful right about now.

  19. @Bogan : Hyatt is taking advantage of the fact that often people don’t have enough points to cover the whole booking so will need to add in cash. For that option Hyatt is building in a premium…. just like buying points. It is still a viable option for those short on points.

  20. The c+p deval is a bummer but , when you think about it, it’s not that surprising they’re devaluing it now. With Marriott and SPG merged and Marriott sticking to their crappy C+P scheme, I’m sure Hyatt saw that their own c+p was too good compared to the competition. Now, marriott’s and hyatt’s c+p are fairly comparable.

    I think when Hyatt introduced c+p, I think they did it with the intention of competing more with SPG since their c+p scheme was pretty valuable too.

  21. Agree it basically means C + P would never be used. If booking multiple nights better to combine a free night or two with a paid night (I get corporate discount for Hyatts that puts the HK Grand Hyatt at $304/night – so definitely not worth $230 + 12,500 points). But nice to have the option to upgrade to a premium suite when the regular suites are not available.

  22. I have several C&P’s booked are they not going to honor them? I like using C&P so sad they are hugely devaluing this tool. What are they going to do with reservations already on the books?

  23. Dear Hyatt- okay, don’t love it, but this isn’t going to discourage my ongoing Globalist status. But it would be great to sweeten the pot for your high value guests. Perhaps those 60/70/80/90/100 night tier-based additional awards should offer a one stay premium suite instead of a standard one. Give me an upside and a reason to choose the upgrade certificate. That is all.

  24. It looks like the points are going up for categories. For example, a category 4 is currently 12k. Now it says 15k. Is this correct? So its not just points plus cash but points by themselves too?

  25. This is ABSOLUTELY TERRIBLE for globalists. The point and cash change is not going to build my loyalty. I will be exploring other programs that rewards consumers for their business !!

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