World Of Hyatt’s Surprise 2021 Category Changes

Filed Under: Hyatt

World of Hyatt has just revealed that some more hotels will be changing category for bookings as of March 25, 2021, even though it was promised that there wouldn’t be more category changes this year.

World of Hyatt 2021 category changes

It’s normal for hotel loyalty programs to make annual hotel category adjustments. In October 2020 it was announced that World of Hyatt would only be making minimal changes for 2021. At the time it was revealed that only 12 hotels would be changing category for 2021 — eight would require fewer points, and four would require more points.

Rather generously, World of Hyatt lowered the categories of the following hotels immediately upon the announcement (in October 2020):

  • Stonebridge Inn, A Destination Hotel from category 5 to 4
  • Wailea Grand Champions Villas, A Destination Residence from category 6 to 5
  • Wailea Ekolu Village, A Destination Residence from category 6 to 5
  • Wailea Ekahi Village, A Destination Residence from category 6 to 5
  • Lichenhearth, A Destination Residence from category 6 to 5
  • Parker New York from category 6 to 5
  • Grand Hyatt Vail from category 7 to 6
  • Mauna Lani Point, A Destination Residence from category 7 to 6
  • Wailea Elua Village, A Destination Residence from category 8 to 7
  • Kaanapali Alii, A Destination Residence from category 8 to 7
  • Vail Residences at Cascade Village, A Destination Residence from category 8 to 7
  • The Lodge at Spruce Peak, A Destination Hotel from category 8 to 7

Then it was revealed that the following hotels would increase categories for bookings as of March 25, 2021:

  • Hyatt Regency John Wayne Airport from category 2 to 3
  • Hyatt House Nashville/Downtown-SoBro from category 4 to 5
  • Mar Monte Hotel part of The Unbound Collection by Hyatt from category 4 to 5
  • Park Hyatt Aviara from category 5 to 6

The Park Hyatt Aviara is moving to a higher category

We have now learned that a further seven World of Hyatt properties will be changing categories for bookings as of March 25, 2021:

  • Hyatt Place Houston Downtown goes from category 3 to category 2
  • Andaz Scottsdale goes from category 5 to category 6
  • Hyatt Regency Grand Reserve Puerto Rico goes from category 3 to category 4
  • Hyatt Regency Dharamshala goes from category 2 to category 3
  • Hyatt Place Delano goes from category 1 to category 2
  • Hyatt Place Fair Lawn/Paramus goes from category 1 to category 2
  • Hyatt Place Palm Bay/Melbourne goes from category 1 to category 2

The Andaz Scottsdale is moving to a higher category

These changes rub me the wrong way

While I don’t consider this change to be a huge deal, this still leaves a bad taste in my mouth (which in all honesty I’ll get over very quickly).

For one, I think World of Hyatt jumped the gun by telling us last fall that category changes would be suspended for 2021 with few exceptions. We were told that only four hotels would be increasing in cost, but now another six are increasing in cost. Obviously we’re talking about small numbers in absolute terms, but that’s 150% more hotels increasing in cost than we were expecting.

Then there’s the bigger overall issue — if you’re going to make category changes during the biggest pandemic the travel industry has ever seen, shouldn’t we overwhelmingly see hotels going down in category, rather than up in category?

In many ways World of Hyatt was doing itself a favor by not making category changes in 2021, given that the changes should have overwhelmingly been positive for members. But instead we’re seeing more properties go up in price with this latest announcement.

Mar Monte is moving to a higher category

World of Hyatt peak pricing coming July 2021

This is also just a reminder that World of Hyatt still plans to introduce off-peak and peak award pricing as of July 2021. This change was initially supposed to kick in about a year ago, but that was suspended due to the pandemic. Here’s what that pricing will look like:

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

Expect peak & off-peak award pricing at Hyatt properties this summer

Bottom line

10 World of Hyatt properties will require more points as of March 25, 2021, while one property will require fewer points. If you’re interested in a stay at a hotel going up in price, you’ll want to lock that in ASAP.

All things considered World of Hyatt has done an incredible job providing value and engaging members during the pandemic, so this doesn’t change my perception of the program. Still, I do find this to be a bit disappointing.

What do you make of World of Hyatt’s 2021 category changes?

  1. I don’t have a ton of heartburn over these changes. It would have been nice if more properties had gone down, but I think Hyatt is taking the approach of excluding 2020 rates and occupancies from the mix that informs future category changes. That seems fair enough.

    PS – You’ve got a typo for the Andaz. (Going from a 5 to a 5.)

  2. While I understand the negative sentiment that upping categories during the pandemic produces, I think a coming travel boom is likely, and thus in the scheme of things this isn’t unreasonable.

  3. The Puerto Rico hotel was a steal at Cat 3 but from what I hear they have lots of kinks to work out. Supposed to do large family vacation there over last Christmas but COVID plus the suites that were supposed to be ready never got built. Cat 4 isn’t terrible but this will go the way of the Andaz Papawhatever and be cat 5 soon. The Park Hyatt Aviara should move to 6 given the renovation. I’m still between staying there in early June with family or the new Alila Marea Beach. When you posted about the availability for points booking I did a week. Unfortunately since they were not opened my concierge couldn’t do a regular point stay then apply suite upgrade. Luckily I just spent the points to grab the oceanfront suite with the plan that once they open we should be able to get a regular room them upgrade but doesn’t look like the Alila wants to do points for ANYTHING right now. Remains to be seen if I will be spending 280,000 or 150,000 plus suite upgrade… I’m more concerned that the room still has a limit occupancy of 2 even though it mentions a sleeper sofa and I presume enough space for a rollaway bed. Hopefully I can get clarity before the Park Hyatt changes rates.

  4. Travel boom is coming and bloggers especially yourself Lucky has really been hyping up and spreading the word on World of Hyatt, you have introduced the benefits of hyatts to thousands of people myself included. So makes sense that more category changes are coming.

  5. @Ben, with the peak v non peak introduction, can you still use cat 1-4 free night anytime at cat 1-4?

    @Gene, unfortunately, so true

  6. @ Ben — if Hyatt doesn’t change their mind, would appreciate a reminder post about peak/off peak pricing.

  7. Mar Monte is a loss for SoCal peeps, it was a solid use of a Cat 4 certificate when driving up the PCH. Mar Monte is a cute old-tymy hotel in a nice location but IMHO doesn’t come close to being a Category 5 hotel: the Hyatt Huntington Beach Resort & Spa is also category 5 and outclasses it in every way: rooms, suite upgrades, beach, restaurant, spa, pools (plural), service, and waterslides. Most of Mar Monte’s rooms are rather small and spare. I’ll either pay cash on $150-ish and below nights at Mar Monte or stay at the nearby HIlton Santa Barbara using my free night certificates for that property.

    The sting of losing Mar Monte is moderated somewhat by the fact that the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego dropped from Cat 5 to Cat 4 a year or two ago: I’ll take that property and free parking in downtown SD over Mar Monte any day.

  8. I can’t speak for all of these new changes, but at least the Palm Bay/Melbourne (outside Orlando) is a relatively new hotel, and they probably didn’t correctly rate it when it opened. To me, I’m not sure why they’d list any new hotel in the US at a level 1.

  9. Been seeing on this blog and others that international travel is set to boom, explode etc, as early as the northern summer.
    Yet most airline execs are not anticipating traffic loads picking up to pre-pandemic levels until as far out as 2024.
    Their is a giant disconnect here; who is right?

  10. Hyatt Place Delano is the only Cat 1 Hyatt in the Western U.S., and will shortly be moving to Cat 2. It was great for a 22-night, mostly phantom stay recently to reach Globalist without having to get on a plane. I suspect plenty of other people had the same idea, so the opportunity is no more…..

  11. Personally, I am more impacted by the introduction of peak pricing than by redemption category changes at these specific properties. I was hoping for a stay at Park Hyatt Aviara that may not get booked before the points increase, but c’est la vie. As a Californian, I have stayed at Mar Monte a couple times under previous Hyatt brands. It’s not that special–definitely not Category 5 points special. Kendor is correct that the rooms are mostly small and in need of an update.

    BTW…wasn’t Hyatt going to downgrade the category of some of the Seattle properties last year before COVID interrupted everything? Whatever happened to those changes?

  12. It’s sad to find out Hyatt Centric at Fisherman’s wharf went up to cat 5 without notice. It’s not even on the list

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