In light of the evolving coronavirus situation, Hyatt has announced a more flexible booking policy, as well as some positive developments for World of Hyatt members.
Hyatt waiving change & cancelation fees
Hyatt is following the lead of Hilton and IHG with adjusting policies to allow for maximum flexibility:
- All reservations (including advance purchase bookings) for stays between March 14 and April 30, 2020, can be changed or canceled at no charge up to 24 hours in advance
- All reservations made between March 13 and April 30, 2020 (this is based on booking date) for any future arrival date can be changed or canceled at no charge up to 24 hours in advance
- For advance purchase rates confirmed before March 9, 2020, and for stays through June 30, 2020, World of Hyatt members can opt to receive 10,000 World of Hyatt points in lieu of a cash refund (this was announced several days ago)
Hyatt has a more flexible booking policy now
Positive World of Hyatt developments
In addition to a more flexible booking policy, positive developments have also been announced for World of Hyatt members. Below are some of the highlights.
Hyatt suspending points forfeiture
World of Hyatt points are ordinarily forfeited after 24 months of inactivity, though this policy will be suspended through May 31, 2020. I imagine that suspension could be extended.
Hyatt postponing peak and off-peak award pricing
World of Hyatt was supposed to introduce peak and off-peak award pricing as of March 22, 2020. With this, Hyatt would no longer have consistent pricing within each category year-round, but rather pricing would vary by date.
Hyatt will be postponing these changes until 2021.
Hyatt isn’t introducing peak and off-peak pricing right now
Hyatt postponing hotel category changes
Not only was Hyatt supposed to introduce peak and off-peak pricing, but they were also supposed to introduce category changes as of the same date. With that, we were supposed to see 217 hotels shift categories, with 117 properties shifting to higher categories, and 100 shifting to lower categories.
Hyatt will also be delaying the implementation of that to 2021, with five exceptions:
- The Park Hyatt Mallorca will move from Category 6 to Category 5
- The Hyatt Centric Park City will move from Category 6 to Category 7
- The Park Hyatt Shenzhen will move from Category 4 to Category 5
- The Alila Yangshuo will move from Category 4 to Category 5
- The Park Hyatt Ningbo will move from Category 3 to Category 4
The Alila Yangshuo is still changing categories
I imagine the four hotels still moving categories are having that done because the revenue impact is the greatest. In that sense it’s surprising to me that three of those properties are in China, where I would have assumed demand would be down, rather than up…
What about World of Hyatt elite status?
World of Hyatt has already extended status for those in Asia Pacific. For other regions, World of Hyatt acknowledges that adjustments will need to be made to elite requirements, but it’s too early to decide what those are (which I think is exactly the right way to handle this):
“Given the quickly evolving nature of the situation, it is simply too early to suggest revised elite tier qualifications and award expiration beyond members in Asia Pacific. However, we know that adjustments will need to be made, and we are committed to communicating these updates as we can.”
These are some positive developments from Hyatt, both for bookings and for the loyalty program. You can now book the advance purchase rate but still have flexibility, and on top of that award category changes and peak award pricing are all being put off until 2021.