In big Hyatt news today, the World of Hyatt program is introducing a variable structure to their award chart, namely, peak and off-peak rates – in addition to the current standard rates. Of course, this is bad news to any Hyatt member that likes to get the most value out of their award redemptions. Let’s dig in and see all of the details of this news.
Hyatt Introduces Peak and Off-Peak Award Rates
Link: New Hyatt Award Chart
Let me say first, as both a customer and Hyatt fan, I am disappointed by this changed as I know it will be costing me more points for some of my favorite hotels at my favorite times of year. However, I also understand that Hyatt has given a lot in the last couple of years since the introduction of the World of Hyatt program, including some awesome new hotels that give outsized values in redemption. With a lot of these positive news, it seemed almost time for some negative news to balance out the program and this is it.
The Details of the New Hyatt Peak and Off-Peak Award Calendar
Hyatt will not be instituting this until March of 2020. That is the beginning of their elite year so that will also be the introduction time for their new award chart. Next, here are the different point values and designations:
- Off-peak: Fewer points will be required during Off-peak times – starting at 3,500 points per night (the best value when hotels are less busy)
- Standard: Points required during standard redemption periods will follow today’s point requirements – starting at 5,000 points per night
- Peak – When hotels are the busiest, more points will be required for a free night – starting at 6,500 points per night and will be no more than 5,000 points above the Standard point requirement
So, in a Category 1 scenario, the off-peak award rates will be 3,500 points per night with the standard rate staying at 5,000 points and the peak rate at 6,500 points per night. Here is how this will effect the various award redemption rates going forward:
- This new structure will be true for all types of award nights, including free nights in a standard room, club-access room, standard and premium suites.
- Points + Cash awards will also offer Off-peak and Peak rates and will still require 50% of the standard cash rate and 50% of the points required for a free night.
- Free night point redemptions will be identified as Peak, Standard or Off-peak as soon as nights are available for reservations (usually 13 months in advance) and will not change once posted.
- Our hotel award categories are not changing and will remain 1-8.
Clarification on Some Points from Hyatt
I asked Hyatt about some things and here are their responses:
Will each hotel be making the decision as to what will be considered peak/off-peak? “Hotels are grouped by geographic market (called market tracts) and properties in the same market will adhere to the same calendar of Peak, Standard and Off-peak periods.”
Are there a certain number of days per year that the standard rate will need to be in effect? “Each day available for award night redemption will be designated as either Off-peak, Standard or Peak, as set by each geographic market. There are no minimum or maximum number of nights that a property can designate as Peak or Off-Peak.”
I also asked if there is a chance that some rates will drop after introduction (even though it says below the rates will be fixed once introduced) in case of some properties being more aggressively ranked for peak rates. They confirmed that the introduced rates will be fixed and there will be no changes.
I am assuming that all hotels currently bookable through Hyatt are included in this change – like the SLH hotels? “Yes, this will impact all Hyatt hotels & resorts, participating SLH hotels and MGM resorts.”
The Good and the Bad about the New Hyatt Award Chart
Ok, let’s take a look at the good news first. Directly from Hyatt, “If a member has an existing award booking for a night that changes to Off-peak in March 2020, they will receive an automatic one-time refund on the point difference. Members will not be charged more if their existing award booking changes to Peak.”
So, you have time to book your favorite hotels for what would normally be considered peak timeframes. You can also lock in rates at what will be considered off-peak at the current rates. As of March, 2020, Hyatt will automatically refund you the difference in points to any point drops for your standard reservation if it falls into an off-peak timeframe.
Next, if the hotel jumps into the peak timeframe for your standard reservation, you also will not be charged the additional points. But, if you make changes, you will have to pay the new rate.
Next is a nice little nugget that will be helpful if you want to book a property where the rates go sky-high but it is considered standard or off-peak – “Free night point redemptions will be identified as Peak, Standard or Off-peak as soon as nights are available for reservations (usually 13 months in advance) and will not change once posted.”
So, they will not regularly change the rate based on occupancy and cash rates once the date comes available to book. This can be bad and good – look at Hilton. It is possible to book a Hilton hotel award rate to save on an existing reservation if the rate comes down. But, with the new Hyatt chart, once it is released, that is the price – it won’t go up or (bad part), it won’t come down based on ongoing cash rates or any other metric.
One more piece of good news is the off-peak rates. While we don’t know exactly what that looks like yet, it will be nice to have opportunities to pay less in points, depending on the time of year. I do know many people like to travel in off-season times for cheaper prices across the board (and fewer tourists) so it will be nice to save some points during those stays as well.
Lastly, Hyatt is not adding any categories – it will stay at Categories 1 – 8 with standard award rates starting at 5,000 points per night and going up to 40,000 points per night.
Yes, the bad news is pretty clear – your Hyatt points won’t get you as far as they used to for many popular destinations and hotels.
Get More with Dining, Spa & More Awards
The last little bit from Hyatt is included below – but most of us do not use our points in this way! Still, if you have an outsized amount, at least you know that Hyatt now lets you redeem for credits at 1 cent per point. However, you can get quite a bit more out of your points than that – at least you used to be able to under the old award chart. Maybe this new change will see more people redeeming points for credits?
Additionally, starting January 29, 2020, World of Hyatt members can enjoy up to 50% more value when using their points for U.S. Dollar credits toward dining, spa, in-room purchases and more. For example, starting January 29, members can redeem 5,000 points for a $50 USD credit – that’s half the points previously required. This allows members even more value with their points when it comes to treating themselves while on-property.
Featured image is the Aleenta Resort in Phuket, a Category 6 property.