On Sunday night Hyatt announced some exciting changes to their Gold Passport program, following the devaluation they announced to their award chart the week prior.
The major positive news on Sunday was that Hyatt will be introducing Points + Cash award bookings. The Points + Cash redemption rates look as follows:
Crunching the numbers, you’re essentially able to redeem cash in lieu of Gold Passport points at the following rates:
- Category 1 save 2,500 points for $50 (2.0 cents/point)
- Category 2 save 4,000 points for $55 (1.375 cents/point)
- Category 3 save 6,000 points for $75 (1.25 cents/point)
- Category 4 save 7,500 points for $100 (1.33 cents/point)
- Category 5 save 10,000 points for $125 (1.25 cents/point)
- Category 6 save 12,500 points for $150 (1.20 cents/point)
- Category 7 save 15,000 points for $300 (2.00 cents/point)
There are many things that make this awesome:
- Points + Cash bookings will be eligible for elite stay credits and nights
- Points + Cash bookings will be eligible for points accrual for the cash portion paid
- Points + Cash bookings will count towards Diamond trials
- Confirmed Diamond suite upgrades can be applied to Points + Cash bookings
So while you usually don’t earn points and can’t use a suite upgrade on an award booking, you can use them on a Points + Cash booking, which is huge, in my opinion.
Really the sweet spot in the above are for category six properties, since you’re basically paying cash in lieu of Gold Passport points at a rate of 1.2 cents per point. Previously Hyatt charged 22,000 points per night for category six properties, while now they’re charging 25,000 points per night or 12,500 points plus $150.
For easy math lets say you value Gold Passport points at 1.5 cents each. Under that scenario, the cost of redemptions is as follows:
- Category 6 award at the pre-January 7 cost of 22,000 points per night “costs” $330
- Category 6 award at the post-January 7 cost of 25,000 points per night “costs” $375
- Category 6 award at the post-January 7 Points + Cash rate costs 12,500 points per night ($187.50) plus $15o, making the total “cost” $337.50
While minor, the above total total doesn’t account for the 750 Gold Passport points you’d earn for the $150 you’re paying in cash, which is “worth” ~$11, making the final “all-in” cost of category 6 properties on a Points + Cash booking ~$326, cheaper than either the new or old redemption rates. And that doesn’t even account for the fact that you earn stay credits and can apply a suite upgrade.
Let me be totally clear, there are two big “catches” to the above. First of all, Points + Cash will be capacity controlled, so we’ll have to wait another several weeks before we see what availability is like. That could either “make” or “break” this new offering. Second of all, Hyatt did shift six hotels into the new category 7, so we’re coming out way behind with those properties.
That being said, under thew new chart there are plenty of amazing category 6 properties, including:
- Grand Hyatt Hong Kong
- Grand Hyatt Tokyo
- Grand Hyatt Cannes Hôtel Martinez
- Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa
- Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa
- Park Hyatt Chicago
- Park Hyatt Washington
- Ararat Park Hyatt Moscow
- Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill
- Andaz Liverpool Street London
- Andaz 5th Avenue
- Andaz Wall Street
- Andaz Maui at Wailea
So while on the whole the changes are negative, I’m really excited at the prospect of redeeming Diamond suite upgrades at some hotels I’d never pay cash for.
In a way Starwood and Hyatt have always had the opposite problems. Starwood lets you apply Platinum suite night awards on award stays, though their high end hotel award stays are disproportionately expensive. Meanwhile Hyatt has always had reasonable redemption rates for their high end hotels, though hasn’t allowed you to apply Diamond suite upgrades to those reservations. To some degree that won’t be the case anymore as of January 7!