Hyatt Making Changes To Points Redemptions

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

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Redeem for 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

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The new points and cash regime

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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