I’ve always been a little weak on Hyatt, since I don’t spend a lot of time at their hotels. Since I’m changing my loyalty to them from Marriott, however, it’s probably worth following now. We’ll start with a couple of changes that they made last week, and what they could mean for you.
Free Nights, Premium Suites
Hyatt has always been one of the better companies when it comes to redeeming for suites. Standard suites have generally sold at a 60% premium (in points) to regular rooms, and you could use points to upgrade from a paid standard room.
Now, Hyatt is adding premium suites to the list of rooms that you can redeem for. A “premium suite” is just what it sounds like, a suite that is nicer than the standard of a room and a living room. Each hotel will decide what defines a “premium” product, but for those who need more room than just a regular pair of rooms, it could offer a great option. In particular, families may want to consider this option, although it may also be a good one for hosting an event.
Cash And Points Awards
And, on the downside…
Most hotels (and some airlines) offer a reward feature known as “cash and points.” Rather than paying for your room outright or using a slug of points to pay for it, you can split the difference. At Hyatt, for a given number of points, plus a fixed co-pay, you’d get your room. They’ve changed the formula a bit: Now, you pay a given number of points plus half of the cash price. The problem is, those rooms at the top often sell for a heck of a lot of money, and 1/2 of the cash price could be more than the fixed charge. The sweet spots were category 5-6 rooms, which offered a lot more value than the Cat 7 properties, who charged 30,000 points plus $300 for a redemption.
Now that the pricing portion of the equation is variable, however, you’re going to be subject to the whims of the market. If you are traveling at a non-peak period, you could actually come out ahead, if the room was cheap to begin with. For instance, a Category 6 hotel would have had a fixed co-pay of $150 in a C&P situation. If that room is selling for $250 in a non-peak period, your co-pay is now 50%, or $125. If you’re trying to get that same room over Christmas break, however, look out below. The room price will be through the roof.
Bottom line: Hotels (and airlines) are finding that they are being rewarded by their customers for offering more choices than ever. What you pay for those choices, though, might be less thrilling.
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