Hyatt Introduces Peak Award Pricing, And More

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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:

  1. January 2020 – a higher return on points for spa & dining
  2. 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:

World of Hyatt Dining, Spa & More awards
World of Hyatt Dining, Spa & More awards

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.

Free Nights

Points + Cash

All-inclusive resorts

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!

The World Of Hyatt Credit Card
The World Of Hyatt Credit Card
Annual Fee$95
Welcome Bonus Earn up to 50,000 Bonus Points - 25,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Plus an additional 25,000 Bonus Points after you spend a total of $6,000 on purchases within the first 6 months of account opening.
  • 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

Overall Thoughts

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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Comments

  • Well, I personally travel most of the time in winter (I absolutely hate overcrowded, overtouristy summer city breaks), so I am inclined to tentatively agree to it being a rather positive news for me personally, but there are too many ifs and whens in this story to be sure to say!

  • What a dramatic change in the industry over the last years.

  • It’s interesting to see hotel reward programs roll out peak and off-peak redemption policies. I think it’ll help both the hotel and travelers as hotels will have more steady revenue during time periods that are usually not busy, while travelers get to enjoy cheaper rates. So far, I’m a fan!

  • This is a win for both Hyatt and its customers. The hotel gives an incentive to fill its rooms when they aren’t busy and the customer gets a boost for picking a time that is less desirable. Considering that the airlines have done this for years, wouldn’t it be better to move all vacation plans to off peak times?

  • The changes are so complicated I had to read this twice.

  • Love Hyatt, they are one of my favorites, like most award programs, time are changing and costing more to keep operations rolling along, like everything else, costs are passed on to the consumer requiring more points and harder to use awards at peak times.

  • Peak pricing for award programs is making them far less appealing.

  • I have almost 30 thousand points with them and not much to use them with these peak prices

  • Held my breath when I saw the headline, but doesn’t seem so bad.

  • Hopefully, the flexibility of having rev=recently retires works in my favor.

  • Does the change to peak/off-peak pricing affect the free night for Card Holders or will the free night continue to be accepted at Category 1 -4 properties, meaning the free night would be “worth” more when used during a peak time?

  • I was wondering when Hyatt would change something. I wonder if they will keep themselves apart from Hilton, etc. and try to keep amounts within something everyone can use.
    I often hear that some hotels within a chain make it hard to redeem points or once the people are at the hotel there is a problem. I’m sure it’s not everyone but even some is making me nervous. So I like building points but wonder if all chains will make sure that the hotels under their name don’t try and cheat the customer.

  • María biltes says:

    Thanks for the summary.

  • Hopefully they don’t change the credit card’s free night category. This might be nice as we tend to go to places in the off-season, but it will definitely be a bummer for people who have to travel during peak. Here’s hoping to that they actually implement this in a decent fashion (unlike Marriott).

  • This is a mixed bag of changes. Not great, but it could have been worse. We have ample notice. And there is still value.

  • Pricing and redemptions based on peak, standard, and off-peak pricing seem to be the wave of the future for many programs. Nice that explanation and early notification.

  • Its a bit too much to keep up all the changes with various rewards programs.
    Thank you for summing the Hyatt’s rewards up.

  • Thanks for the summary. interested in off-peak availability…

  • Not so good really. I don’t like the idea of peak time price increases 🙁

  • Not great news overall. At least they gave some time to book now before the new rates go into effect.

  • Glad they gave notice of the changes

  • of course…..beginning of the end for one of the last decent remaining points program

  • I have no interest in on-property use of points so I am not happy about the peak pricing increases. I do like the strategy of using off-peak points to earn status. I do quite a bit of travel in the off peak season, so I may actually benefit.

    • Let’s just see how they define peak and off peak. Changes like this are always for the benefit of the organization so I’m not holding my breath.

  • Not ideal, but not terrible. Still my favorite hotel points program. I’m staying at a WoH property as I write this, earning two club upgrades and a free night award 🙂

  • I really hope Hyatt doesn’t screw us by designating most dates as peak dates.

  • Unfortunately “peak” prices takes away much of the outsized value from points. Off-peak is basically irrelevant because you’d already be happy enough paying the cash rate when rates are lower.

    Luckily the earn/burn ratio isn’t the most important factor with Hyatt, but this is still disappointing…

  • I hope there is some transparency as to when properties will be off-peak, standard, and peak.

  • Will they be publishing their peak/off-peak rates ahead of the release of the new program? I’m new to this, and it’s a lot to try to figure out where to find all the relevant information when you’re first starting out.

  • Even at the new “peak” amount for the top-tier properties, its hard to complain about 45k points per night, considering what that gets you at a number of amazing hotels, like the PH Maldives. And doubling the value of point redemptions for on-property amenities does soften the blow, a teesny bit too.

  • Joe, thanks for this Info! I love Hyatt!

  • Good or bad news depending on the availability at the off-peak rate.

    • Yes, I’d say the big questions surround: of course, what is the length of each of the three seasons; where exactly do they fall on the calendar; and how much availability is there at off-peak redemption levels.

      • I would hope availability wouldn’t change as changing the price inherently alleviates the demand. I wouldn’t be surprised to see say 10 weeks of peak pricing vs 8 weeks of off peak, just as an example.

  • These tiered pricing strategies might be a good way for them to gain occupancy during low season and maximize profit during high seasons.

    • I bet this is true!

    • Yep. Everything is supply and demand. I guarantee you they went through the statistics and used bell curves etc to determine how much of the year is peak pricing vs normal pricing vs offpeak pricing. I’d be shocked if the number of weeks at peak pricing was equal to the number of weeks of offpeak pricing. Businesses do things to increase profit and this change is no different.

  • Hyatt copies Hilton in this case. That’s sad.

    • Although I appreciate the advanced notice form Hyatt I always thought it was happening to all programs. Needless to say do not bank your miles or points. If you’re collecting for a purpose use them the minute you can.

      • Agreed. Definitely don’t ever hoard rewards points/miles but ise them as soon as you can. Programs are perpetually devalued and you never know who is next and when. For all we know it could be Chase or Amex.

  • I have a booking in Vancouver in May. I’m hoping it’s offpeak but I won’t hold my breath.

  • Time to get those bookings in that will go up, before March!

  • Good summation Joe.

  • Hyatt is the last good program out there value-wise…. this is the beginning of devaluation 🙁