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Update: In March 2020, Hyatt delayed the introduction of peak/off-peak award pricing (link to our analysis) due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Hyatt surprised the travel community recently when they announced new peak and off-peak award pricing. While the change to award pricing is a significant shift, it's not the only change coming to World of Hyatt. They will also offer better point redemption values for select on-property services. These pricing changes will be delivered in two steps:
- January 2020 – a higher return on points for spa & dining
- March 2020 – peak, off-peak, & standard award pricing
Considering the World of Hyatt program is viewed as one of the best hotel loyalty programs by top-tier elites, following in the footsteps of Marriott appears to be an odd move. What exactly will be changing in the new year, and should you be concerned?
More Flexible Ways to Use Your Points
Starting in January 2020, members will be able to use points and receive up to 50% more value on Dining, Spa & More Awards. Hyatt states, “You can enjoy up to 50% more starting January 29, 2020, when you use points for U.S. Dollar credits toward dining, spa, in-room purchases and more.” Looking at this chart, the improvements are clear:
It's an improvement since it places a floor on the value of your points at one cent each when redeeming at lower tiers. To receive the most value, you would need to spend $1,000 for a return of 1.5 cents per point. I'd prefer to use my points elsewhere. For those inclined to soak up the atmosphere in the hotel, this provides a minimum of twice the value previously available.
Off-peak and Peak Award Pricing & Redemption
From March 2020, award pricing will no longer be fixed. There will be three separate rate categories:
- Off-peak starting at 3,500 points per night
- Standard stays the same, starting at 5,000 points per night
- Peak starting at 6,500 points per night
If you have an existing award that becomes off-peak come March (or later), you’ll be refunded the point difference. They've also noted that you won’t be charged more if your booking goes up to peak pricing. If you book now, you can lock in the current standard rates and you'll save regardless of whether the prices go up or down.
Points + Cash
More to Know
- If the redemption amount for a night on an existing award reservation is lowered to Off-peak in March, we’ll automatically refund the point difference, and if it goes to Peak, you won’t be charged any more points.
- Points + Cash will also offer Off-peak and Peak point redemption. The cash required will still be 50% of the rate.
Free nights in suites will also be offered at Off-peak and Peak redemption.
- You’ll have plenty of time to plan ahead. Redemption rates for free nights will be announced as soon as nights are available for reservations (usually 13 months in advance), and won’t change once posted. A new online calendar will help you plan (coming soon).
- Hotel award categories aren’t changing – there are still 8.
More details can be located on the World of Hyatt program page.
Opportunities to Achieve Globalist Status
Many people are concerned about the increase because it makes peak season travel more expensive. However, not everyone's travels occur during peak season, so this could be a huge advantage for many members. Future Hyatt promotions such as one like this could possibly reduce a Category 1 property (Hyatt Place & Hyatt House) to 2,000 points per night. If you had consecutive night stays planned at these properties, you could also decline room service for an additional 250 point per night savings.
That means you could generate Elite Night Credits for as little as 1,750 points per night! If you were chasing Globalist Status, you could earn it spending just 105,000 Hyatt points. Signing up for the The World Of Hyatt Credit Card credit card could also help. You earn valuable points with the sign-up bonus, plus cardholders receive 5 elite night credits when they sign up for the card, plus 2 additional qualifying night credits every time you spend $5,000 on your card. That means you'd need just 96,250 points to become a top-tier Globalist! In fact, the points from the sign-up bonus on the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card would net you enough points to complete these stays!
- Earn 25,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Plus, 25,000 Bonus Points after you spend $6,000 total within 6 months of account opening.
- Free nights start at 5,000 points
- Receive 1 free night at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel or resort after your Cardmember anniversary
- Earn an extra free night at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel if you spend $15,000 during your cardmember anniversary year
- Get automatic World of Hyatt Elite status and 5 qualifying night credits every year as long as your account is open
- Earn 2 qualifying night credits towards tier status everytime you spend $5,000 on your card
- Earn 9 points total for Hyatt stays - 4 Bonus Points per $1 spent at Hyatt hotels & 5 Base Points per $1 you can earn as a World of Hyatt member
- Earn 2 Bonus Points per $1 spent at restaurants, on airlines tickets purchased directly from the airlines, on local transit and commuting and on fitness club and gym memberships
- 9X points total per $1 spent at Hyatt - 4X points per $1 when you use your card at Hyatt hotels & 5X points per $1 you can earn as a World of Hyatt member
- 2X points per $1 spent at restaurants, on airlines tickets purchased directly from the airlines, on local transit and commuting and on fitness club and gym memberships
- 1X point per $1 everywhere else
No one enjoys paying more, but this move could have been worse. Hyatt has provided ample notice of the changes. For the time being, you may continue to book standard rates (as-is) through March 2020. If you are considering higher-end resorts, you should probably book as quickly as you can. However, should the property you book apply off-peak pricing after March, you will receive a refund of the point difference. Also, unlike Marriott, peak/off-peak award pricing will be controlled by Hyatt rather than individual properties on a month-to-month basis. There will also be defined pricing rather than the variable season award pricing month-by-month. This combined with the reduced off-season awards and the ability to redeem points for dining and spa activities should negate some of the program increases.
H/T: View From The Wing
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