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Note: This post was updated on April 2, 2020 to reflect Hyatt's extended flexible cancellation policies. This post was updated April 3, 2020 to reflect Hyatt's extended pause on point expiration.
The world of travel is changing by the minute due to the coronavirus outbreak. Hyatt is responding by rolling out major policy changes around points expiration, award pricing, and reservations that make life easier for World of Hyatt members and all Hyatt customers. As you think through current and future travel plans, here is what you need to know about the changes that Hyatt is making.
World of Hyatt Changes
Suspending Loss of Points
World of Hyatt points are typically forfeited after 24 months without activity in your account. On March 13, Hyatt announced that points will not be forfeited for inactivity through December 31, 2020 [originally May 31, 2020]. So, if you were looking for ways to generate activity to save your points, you have some more time to do so.
Award Chart Changes Postponed to 2021
In December, Hyatt announced that it would launch peak and off-peak award pricing. These were supposed to take effect on March 22, 2020. The move to peak and off-peak point redemptions will be postponed until 2021. Hyatt says that they will provide advance notice before launching peak and off-peak point redemptions for stay dates in 2021 and beyond.
Hyatt had also announced category changes that were supposed to take effect on March 22, 2020. This was supposed to cover over 200 properties but almost all of those category changes are on hold now. Only a handful of changes seem to be moving forward and are listed below.
- Park Hyatt Mallorca: Category 6 to Category 5
- Hyatt Centric Park City: Category 6 to Category 7
- Park Hyatt Shenzhen: Category 4 to Category 5
- Alila Yangshuo: Category 4 to Category 5
- Park Hyatt Ningbo: Category 3 to Category 4
We have not seen any details about when the other category changes may be revisited. Given all the turmoil, I wouldn't be surprised if future category changes don't mirror the original plans.
Elite Qualifications and Benefits
World of Hyatt is extending elite tier status and award expiration dates for qualifying members who reside in Asia Pacific. The new expiration date for status will be February 28, 2022. The new expiration date for earned awards set to expire in 2020 will be December 31, 2021.
So far these changes are only for World of Hyatt Elites in the Asia Pacific region. However, with circumstances changing as quickly as they are, I wouldn't be surprised if more exceptions are made for those outside the region. For updates and details, you can visit the World of Hyatt COVID-19 FAQs.
Change and Cancellation Fees
Reservations for stays starting anytime between March 14 and June 30, 2020 [originally April 30, 2020] can be changed or canceled for free up to 24 hours before the scheduled arrival. This includes Advance Purchase Rate reservations. Reservations must have been booked by April 1, 2020 to qualify.
Hyatt is offering a similar cancellation policy for any new reservation made between March 13 and June 30, 2020 [originally April 30, 2020] for any future arrival date. When you book between these dates, you can change or cancel any new reservation—including Advanced Purchase Rates—up to 24 hours before your scheduled arrival. With this much flexibility, now might be a good time to pencil in some plans for later this year.
Bonus Points for Non-Refundable Reservations
Hyatt also is giving an alternative for Advance Purchase Rate non-refundable reservations made directly with Hyatt on or before March 8, 2020 for arrivals between May 1 and June 30, 2020. If you do not travel on your prepaid stay, you can choose to receive 10,000 World of Hyatt Bonus Points. That's enough points to redeem for a free night in a Category 2 with a couple of thousand points to spare! If you aren't already a World of Hyatt member, you can signup and then arrange to collect the points. To act on this offer, call or email Hyatt for help.
Hyatt has been proactive about providing timely and traveler-friendly policy updates. While current travel plans are uncertain for most of us, Hyatt is making it easier to change current plans and is providing some needed optimism around planning for the future.
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