More Thoughts On Hyatt’s Points And Cash Redemptions

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!

Filed Under: Hyatt
  1. Ben do the recent Hyatt program changes impact your plan to live in hotels that you blogged about last month?

  2. @ Scott — I don’t really think so. To be honest with the positive changes yesterday my valuation of Hyatt points remains roughly the same, so the value proposition doesn’t really go down.

  3. I’m a little confused. Some other bloggers (e.g., Gary) said that points plus cash bookings are not eligible for Diamond Suite Upgrades since they are essentially award bookings. What’s your take on that?

  4. I read on another blog that cash and points is not eligible for using suite upgrades (as it is considered an award booking)…hope I was mistaken!

  5. @ JetAway @ Michael — I confirmed this directly with Hyatt:
    “Since Points + Cash are elite qualifying and more like paid nights, can Diamond confirmed suite upgrades be used on P+C nights? Yes”

  6. Hyatt posted on frequent flyer forums today that cash and points were not eligible for Diamond suite upgrade certificates.

    I then got the same confirmation that Lucky did from Hyatt about them being eligible after all.

    I went back and said, “how does that square with Gold Passport posting today that they aren’t?”

    And I was told they are working on it.

    So I held off on posting the contradictory info, since these rates don’t exist yet. I hoped to know for sure today but imagine I will know with certainty tomorrow.

    I’m hoping that the confirmation Lucky and I received is right, and Hyatt’s online postings are wrong.

  7. For further comparison, I picked a random day (Jan 15, 2014) at the Park Hyatt Washington. The best non-advance purchase rate I found is the AAA Breakfast Rate of $368 / night. Subtracting the value of the points earned on that stay (and ignoring taxes) brings the cost down to about $340. So your points + cash final all-in cost of $326 saves about $14. To earn the 12,500 points needed for the points+cash stay, you would have to spend $2,500 at a Hyatt, so the $14 savings represents a 5.6% discount.

  8. Lucky, any idea what a Diamond upgrade would get you in the Maldives? I was going to use points, but i can use C+P and get into overwater or even pool and hope for a discount into the overwater that would be even better!!

  9. Can you use the 7k per night upgrade on their new Elite rates?

    I’d be more of a Hyatt fan if the suite upgrades at the hotels I aspire to (PH Vendome) weren’t reported to be so meager.

  10. You have to pay taxes on the cash outlay portion of points+cash, right? You ignored that in your calculations.

  11. @lucky I guess justSaying is talking about the Diamond challenge with requires 12 stays. 12 * 2,500 = 30,000 points and 12 * $50 = $600. To this (correct me if I’m wrong) I think the answer is yes. The only caveat is that you can only do this once.

  12. Lucky do you know when we can start booking these? The post by hyatt said they are available for stays after Jan 7 but no indication was given on when they would be available to book…

  13. @Lucky –

    I think that what justSaying is trying to say is that to qualify for Diamond, you need 25 stays. 25 stays in a Cat 1 would be:

    25 x 2500 HGP pts = 62500


    25 x $50 = $1250

    25 x $50 = $1250

  14. Lucky
    Do you get all Diamond benefits on a points+cash stay? Like would you also get the bonus points at check-in?

  15. @ Jason — You sure do. Elite benefits apply on all stays, even awards (including the welcome amenity).

  16. I’m not sure if I agree the sweet spots are at cat 6 or above.

    I have an upcoming stay at a cat 3. My Elite rate is $196. Instead, using C&P, I pay $75 plus 6,000 points, essentially cashing points out at 2 cents per pt.

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