Hyatt is now my preferred hotel chain since Fairmont President’s Club was acquired by Accor. As a Globalist member, their top-tier status, I find benefits on my stays to be much better than other competitors. In a few days, World of Hyatt is adjusting rates at over a third of their properties. I am not thrilled about this, but the changes are balanced in comparison to the ridiculous Marriott and IHG devaluations.
Hyatt Award Chart Changes
259 hotels change category on March 18th, 2019. 130 properties will require more points while 129 will require less. The entire list of hotels changing categories is on Hyatt’s website. You must make your bookings on or before March 17.
All bookings prior will be honoured; however, any changes after March 18 will incur the new rate. Redemptions that are for a property going down will result in an automatic refund for the difference. Nonetheless, I would monitor my reservations as reservations have been missed in the past.
On the surface, these changes can be seen as balanced. However, I’m not a fan because the devaluation hits hard at properties in higher categories. The hotels I stay at during my travels are very often at luxury properties. These redemptions are high value, especially in comparison to retail rates.
130 properties are going up, and 129 properties are going down. You can notice that many more properties go up from Category 5 to Category 6 (17 properties) than go down from Category 6 to Category 5 (6 properties). Further, four Category 6 properties go to Category 7, while none come down.
Some of my favourite hotels and resorts, which include Park Hyatt Mallorca, Andaz Tokyo, Park Hyatt Busan, and Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi, are all going up. The difference between Category 4/5 and 5/6 is 5,000 points per night. Percentage wise this is very high: 25-33%. This can add up quickly on longer stays.
Furthermore, no properties that go down catch my eye. Many hotels going from Category 5 to 4, especially in the United States, often have low rates during off-peak season. These include Grand Hyatt San Diego, Andaz Wall Street, and Hyatt Centric Chicago, all of which I have booked on a revenue rate in the past. On dates where a night runs between $150 and $200, redeeming points provide poor value.
I value Hyatt points at a minimum of 1.5 cents, so a Category 4 property should cost at least $225 for me to even consider using points. A Category 5 property should cost at least $300, and so on. This already excludes the points earned from a paid stay and promotions like the one this quarter, which allows you to earn up to 1,500 extra points per night. As well, it also excludes Fine Hotels and Resorts Rates, including Hyatt Prive, that give additional benefits on your stays.
Will I Still Stay at Hyatt?
The changes could have been much worse. Hyatt could have moved some Category 7 properties to Category 8, which they haven’t done. Category 8 hotels cost 40k points a night, a steep difference with the 30k per night Category 7. Two of my favourite hotels in the world, the Park Hyatt Sydney and Park Hyatt Milan, are in this group.
Hyatt attempts to compete with Hilton, Marriott, and IHG, who all have a much bigger global footprint. Their competitive advantage to compensate is their generous loyalty program. Many Globalist members go out of their way to stay at a Hyatt even when there is a closer property from an opposing chain.
When Hyatt revamped their loyalty program, then called Hyatt Gold Passport, several benefits were cut. Qualification requirements steeply increased from 25 stays to 60 nights annually, which drew the ire of many frequent guests. Since, the program has been moderately congruent. They made some good changes in 2017 while gutting Cash & Points rates last year.
With that said, any further negative changes will drive a disproportionate number of members away from the chain due to the importance of the loyalty program. When you can get top-tier status with a premium credit card – the Hilton Aspire American Express – spending a lot of nights just to earn status does not seem as attractive if the elite benefits are poor. While you do need a US credit profile and good score to obtain this card, some Canadians may be eligible to apply through Global Transfer.
Unfortunately, Hyatt points are more difficult to earn in Canada, as there is not a co-branded credit card. If you are eligible for US credit cards, cards earning Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer at a 1:1 ratio to Hyatt. These include the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Chase Ink Preferred. As well, the Chase World of Hyatt Visa allows you to earn elite night credit towards requalifying. In many cases, buying Hyatt points may be a good deal when they are running a 30%+ bonus.
You can further maximize your points by transferring them to a Globalist account. Through Hyatt Guest of Honor, the Globalist member can book a reservation in your name and attach their benefits onto your reservation. This includes free breakfast, club lounge access, late checkout and more. Furthermore, if you have a friend kind enough to offer an upgrade certificate, you can get confirmed into a suite at booking. At many properties, this can be upwards of $1,000+ in value on a long stay.