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.
What do you make of these World of Hyatt changes?