Is Hyatt Bringing Value Back To Points + Cash?

Filed Under: Hyatt

World of Hyatt has today announced some positive changes to Points + Cash awards, after more or less destroying that redemption option in November 2018.

What is Hyatt Points + Cash?

As the name suggests, with Points + Cash you can redeem part World of Hyatt points and part cash towards the cost of a stay. This is a great concept if you don’t quite have enough points to outright redeem for an award, but still want to redeem some points.

Prior to November 2018, Points + Cash was almost exclusively how I redeemed my World of Hyatt points, while I haven’t made a single Points + Cash reservation since November 2018.

How Points + Cash worked prior to November 2018

Here’s the World of Hyatt Points + Cash chart for stays prior to November 2018:

As you could see, you could redeem a fixed number of points and a fixed number of dollars towards a stay, regardless of how much a stay cost in cash. Points + Cash was capacity controlled, but when available, often represented an excellent deal.

For example, Category 6 was a real sweet spot. I value World of Hyatt points at ~1.5 cents each, so to me:

  • An outright free night award costs the equivalent of $375 (25,000 points x 1.5)
  • A Points + Cash award costs the equivalent of $337.50 (12,500 points x 1.5 + $150)

How Points + Cash has worked since November 2018

What changed in November 2018 is that Hyatt no longer charged a fixed cash component for Points + Cash, but rather Points + Cash allowed you to pay 50% of the required points, plus 50% of the standard published rate.

This simply never made sense:

  • In reality the “standard rate” was typically more than 50% of the rate we’d otherwise book, since there are cheaper member rates, you’re missing out on Prive benefits by booking this way, etc.
  • If I was in a situation where I decided redeeming points was a good deal then I’d benefit from redeeming for the entire stay at that rate, rather than paying cash

From the perspective of World of Hyatt members who were actually smart about using their points, this redemption became totally useless.

An example of why Points + Cash isn’t a good deal

I understand the above is a bit abstract, so let me give an example that shows why Points + Cash is a bad deal right now.

Picking a random date at the Park Hyatt Maldives, I see redemption rates of 30,000 World of Hyatt points or 15,000 points plus $375.

If I booked Points + Cash, I’d essentially be paying $375 in lieu of redeeming 15,000 points, which means I’m essentially “buying” Hyatt points for 2.5 cents each, when I value them at 1.5 cents each. No deal.

The further issue is that $375 isn’t half of the rate you’d actually pay in cash. The hotel has a standard rate of $750 per night, but there is a member rate that all members have access to for $675. In reality you’re paying 56% of the rate, and not 50% of the rate.

“But lucky, not everyone has unlimited points.”

Fair enough. Even so, you’d be better off booking one night outright with points, and then one night outright with cash. Then you’d end up paying 30,000 points plus $675, rather than 30,000 points plus $750.

Hyatt adjusting Points + Cash in 2020

We already know that as of March 22, 2020, World of Hyatt is introducing peak and off-peak pricing (which applies to Points + Cash as well), and is implementing 2020 category changes. But that’s not all.

Changes are also coming to World of Hyatt Points + Cash as of March 22, 2020. Unfortunately don’t expect the glory days of Points + Cash, but Hyatt has announced that with the new system, you’ll be able to save 50-70% off the standard rate when using Points + Cash, rather than just 50%.

I still don’t think this will become something I’ll consistently use, though the variable percentage cash portion takes this from a redemption opportunity I’d never use, to one that I might sometimes use.

Bottom line

Hyatt gutted Points + Cash in late 2018, when the cash portion of the program went from fixed to variable. If you’re looking to maximize points and have a certain value you put to them, there aren’t any circumstances under which the current system makes sense.

The new Points + Cash program creates a system whereby it could sometimes make sense to use this option again, though only time will tell how many properties we see charging 50% of the points component and just 30% of the cash component.

Has anyone been using Points + Cash since that feature was devalued in November 2018?

Comments
  1. “Fair enough. Even so, you’d be better off booking one night outright with points, and then one night outright with cash. Then you’d end up paying 30,000 points plus $675, rather than 30,000 points plus $750.”

    I know this doesn’t apply to most readers (who probably have a lot of UR points), but not everyone has 30,000 Hyatt points. Some may have 15,000 Hyatt points earned through random stays through the years. Cash + Points works for them, because it is less cash out of their pocket.

  2. If you pay points + cash, you also have to pay taxes and fees on the cash portion. Depending on where you are in the world this could be greater than 20% more than the chart. So be sure to add that into your calculation to see if it’s a better deal than using all points.

  3. @ Anthony — This blog is all about trying to maximize points. Even if they didn’t have enough points, they should then buy points when there’s a promotion for 1.7-1.8 cents each to get to the free night level, and they’ll still come out ahead. Obviously my advice is intended for those who are willing to put a bit of effort into maximizing their rewards points.

  4. Damn. I had never thought about this and had still been using Cash+Points to conserve my points. Excellent point about 2 night stays – I have a 3 night stay coming up that I currently have booked with Cash+Points. I guess the thing to do would be to book one night with points, one night with cash, and the 3rd with Cash+Points? Am I missing something?

  5. Lucky – OK, but one of the biggest complaints about loyalty programs is that it takes too long to accrue enough points to get a reward. So redeeming the fewer points you have on hand (even at potentially lower value per point) make sense for some – so not useless. Not everyone is willing to buy points or knows how. Obviously the blog is more of an expert blog (thanks for that), I’m just pointing out alternate scenarios

  6. top notch analysis. This is what the regulars crave even though politics and click bait articles generate all your traffic. Great post Lucky.

  7. @Anthony, but that point only makes Ben’s suggestion an even stronger idea. You’re literally throwing away $75 in his example by booking both nights at a points + cash rate, not to mention taxes and fees like Rico mentioned above.

    I get the concept of conserving points… personally I aim to book at cat 4 hotels and lower over the cat 7 aspirational ones like I’m doing for an upcoming stay in Tokyo, but it still doesn’t excuse literally throwing $75 away.

  8. I’d love to see a post on the fact that taxes, often Up to 20% of the total bill, aren’t paid on points bookings. I used 30,000 points per night in Aspen recently, not only was the published rate $895 a night, but no taxes pushed the return per point even higher.

  9. “you’ll be able to save 50-70% off the standard rate when using Points + Cash, rather than just 50%.”

    Sounds to me like a mini-step in the direction of Hilton’s truly continuous C+P scale that offers nearly unlimited combinations of C+P between points-only all the way to cash-only, which, in my view, is the smart way to implement C+P. The casual point collector, with limited number of points. could simply use those points, regardless of how many they have, to offset the cash costs for a room.

  10. Globalists in World of Hyatt get free parking on all-points stays, which changes the analysis further when they’re staying in expensive urban locations. In a place like San Francisco, that equates to savings on parking fees of close to $70 a night. My habit as of late is to pay all-cash when I stay in Asia, and burn the points when I’m staying in America.

    What really “gutted” Points+Cash in my mind was actually a positive change: previously you got no elite stay/nights credit for all-points stays, but you could get that credit if you booked on Points+Cash. As of a year or so ago, World of Hyatt has changed things so you can get nights credit for all-points and promotional stays. The incentive to book combination stays went way down once that change was in place.

    What I notice is that the amount of dollars I point toward the Hyatt Corporation has been going steadily up with each passing year. In turn, the amount of value I feel like I’m receiving is also going up, hugely. Hyatt is sure doing something right if their ultimate goal is to harvest as many dollars in my wallet as possible.

  11. I have used some cash points once because at this hotel they will waive parking fees for cash and points, plus the tax rate made efficient. Only once since they devalued it

  12. As usual, DCS unnecessarily brings in Hilton.

    As usual, DCS is clueless

    This isn’t a sliding scale That doesn’t offer actual value.

  13. I agree that the value remains to be seen… I wonder if the 70% off will be related to peak and off peak periods.

    And sorry for the slightly off topic but does anyone know which property is pictures in the banner ?

  14. @Paul Let’s be careful with terminology when we say points stays are tax free. They are tax free to the WoH member. The local taxing authority still collects a tax. If the hotel is reimbursed say $100 for a reward night, then it pays hotel tax on the $100 revenue. The hotel is simply passing the tax bill onto Hyatt instead of onto the individual WoH member.

  15. @UA-NYC: And besides it being irrelevant, DCS also won’t mention that the change to the Hilton C+P program was actually a fairly significant devaluation of that program, because (for the bulk of hotels) the cash and/or points prices actually increased from the previous fixed levels.

    Of course, DCS, in his complete denial that Hilton could ever do anything bad, did nothing but insult me for pointing that out, which doesn’t change the reality that the sliding scale isn’t actually a positive enhancement in terms of redemption value.

  16. Such nonsense and cluelessness are truly appalling; and for one who got caught on this board launching crude insults to yet again accuse others of the same offense is even more pathetic.

    FYI: Mentioning Hilton’s C+P scheme is highly relevant and on topic in a post on…ready?…C+P awards!

    And, speaking of “devaluing” C+P awards, only one who is truly clueless would have failed to notice how Hyatt had gutted their C+P award scheme a couple of years ago (@Lucky alluded to it above). On the other hand, I’d done the math and shown that Hilton’s sliding C+P scale, in addition to being no worse than the program’s C+P scheme before they implemented the sliding scale, the new scale had put C+P awards on steroids, to offer nearly limitless options, which address precisely what I stated above — casual points collectors with not enough points to afford points-only awards.

    It’s gotta be full moon out there since the forum’s trolls are coming out of the woodwork. Gotta go!

  17. @DCS: “And, speaking of “devaluing” C+P awards, only one who is truly clueless would have failed to notice how Hyatt had gutted their C+P award scheme a couple of years ago (@Lucky alluded to it above). On the other hand, I’d done the math and shown that Hilton’s sliding C+P scale, in addition to being no worse than the program’s C+P scheme before they implemented the sliding scale, the new scale had put C+P awards on steroids, to offer nearly limitless options, which address precisely what I stated above — casual points collectors with not enough points to afford points-only awards.”

    And as I predicted, DCS would go on and tell everyone how awesome that Hilton’s changes to their C+P program were, when they, in reality, did something that was similar to what Hyatt did back in November of 2018.

    You know, when Hyatt “had gutted their C+P award scheme.”

    The reality of DCS “doing the math” is that he cherry-picked a few examples of hotels that proved his point, as is his usual modus operandi. The reality of the situation from the Hilton change, though, was that the old C+P scheme (which operated at 40 percent of the award cost in points, plus a fixed cash component) was generally a better deal for the consumer, because the fixed cash component was usually less than half of the BAR for the room. Now, to spend that 40 percent in points under the new scheme, you have to spend 60 percent of the room rate in cash, meaning that under the sliding scale, you are spending more in cash, points, or both in order to get the same room that you were getting before the change.

    DCS’s pathetic attempt to defend this change as a good thing also pointed out that the cash component of the rate now earns points, but what he failed to point out was that the number of points earned (even for a Diamond) could be obtained cheaper simply by buying the points directly from Hilton.

    The end result here is twofold:

    1) Hyatt has moved their C+P program closer to what Hilton had before they devalued it, which, to me, is an improvement; and

    2) DCS still feels the need to move the goalposts whenever he can in order to defend Hilton, no matter what they do.

  18. @DCS: “Such nonsense and cluelessness are truly appalling; and for one who got caught on this board launching crude insults to yet again accuse others of the same offense is even more pathetic.”

    You’re projecting again.

  19. @DCS: “It’s time to send in the orderlies, and
    please tell them not forget the straight jacket (sic).”

    More projection.

  20. Like you, I haven’t done any P+C redemptions since they gutted it.
    Small point, as others mentioned, your analysis doesn’t take into account taxes, free parking and points earned on the cash portion of the rate.
    But overall, I don’t foresee myself going back to P+C even if they bring a little more value back

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *