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I am unfortunately going to bring bad news to you all – come January 7, 2014 the Hyatt award chart is changing and by no means for the better. Hyatt does have one of the best redemption values available, so this is by no means a surprise, but definitely not welcomed.
As of today all Hyatt hotels are grouped in a 6-tier category award chart. Unfortunately a new category 7 will be introduced and will include 6 Park Hyatt hotels (located in Beaver Creek, Milan, Paris, Sydney, Tokyo and Zurich). While I never like the introduction of a new category, I am glad that there are only 6 hotels moving up. These 6 hotels also include some of the most expensive hotels in the chain and were a massive steal for only 22,000 points a night.
The worst news, in my opinion, is that the number of points required to redeem a free night for a standard room is changing. While category 1-4 hotels will stay the same, category 5 and 6 hotels will be increasing. Category 5 hotels are increasing from 18,000 points a night to 22,000 points a night – a 4,000 point increase per night is huge! Category 6 hotels are increasing from 22,000 points a night to 25,000 points a night – again a huge increase! The new category 7 hotel will be at 30,000 points a night – and probably no longer worth it for those hotels. Additionally, the cost for redeeming your points for a Regency Club/Grand Club room and a Suite are increasing.
Here is what the current award chart looks like:
Here is a look at the new award chart come January 7, 2014:
In addition to adding a new category and changing the number of points required for a free night, the number of points to upgrade a paid stay to a Regency Club/Grand Club room or suite is changing significantly. Currently, to upgrade your stay to a Regency/Grand Club room costs 3,000 points and a Suite costs 6,000 points total for a stay up to 4 nights. Instead of using points on a per stay basis (up to 4 nights), it will now be on a per night basis. So for a 4 night stay, instead of spending 6,000 points for a suite, you’ll be spending 24,000 points for the same exact room! That is a HUGE increase.
The last time they made any changes to their award chart was about 3-4 years ago – I remember it vividly as I was staying at Hyatt hotels nightly racking up a bunch of points. And if my memory serves me correctly, the highest hotel only cost 18,000 points for a free night! So 3.5 years later the the Park Hyatt in Beaver Creek, for example, is going up 66%! To me, that is absolutely ridiculous. While maybe it was not priced accordingly 4 years ago, it is still a massive increase in such a small time period.
To rub more salt in the wound, Hyatt is also changing the categories for 38 hotels. 21 hotels are moving to a higher category and 17 hotels are moving to a lower category. Unfortunately the Hyatt 48 Lex is moving up a category, again! Just a year ago it was a category 4 and with this new change will be at a category 6!
List of hotels moving up a category starting January 7, 2014:
List of hotels moving down a category starting January 7, 2014:
Although this change isn’t going into affect until January 7, 2014, if your hotel stay is booked PRIOR to that date even for a future date, the current award chart will be applied. Also, if you book now for a hotel that is going down a category, you will be able to receive a refund for the point difference.
Redemptions for Hotels Moving to a Higher Category
Any Free Night Award booked prior to January 7, 2014, at a property that is shifting to a higher category on January 7, 2014 and thus would require more points will not be affected. Reservations will remain in place, and the number of points required will remain at the point level required at the time that the reservation was made. For example, a Free Night Award booked at a Category 1 hotel for 5,000 points before January 7, 2014 will still only require 5,000 points even if that hotel is moving to Category 2 and would thus require 8,000 points on or after January 7, 2014. Please note that modifications to this reservation will affect this.
Redemptions for Hotels Moving to a Lower Category
Any Free Night Award booked prior to January 7, 2014, at a property that is shifting to a lower category on January 7, 2014 and thus would require fewer points will receive an adjustment. Hyatt Gold Passport Customer Service will proactively deposit the point difference into a member’s account. For example, a member with a Free Night Award booked before January 7, 2014 for a Category 2 hotel for 8,000 points will receive 3,000 points returned to his/her account if that hotel is moving to Category 1 and would thus only require 5,000 points on or after January 7, 2014. Points will be deposited into a member’s account after January 7, 2014. Please note that modifications to this reservation will affect this.
One good thing Hyatt is doing (which is not normal for hotel chains to take this approach), is they are allowing changes for award stays post January 7, 2014 for existing reservations. You can modify any points reservation that is booked pre-January 7 up till February 15, 2014. The current award chart for those stays will stay in place. This is for modifications to the dates, NOT to a different hotel. However, modifications are NOT available for reservations using the free anniversary award nights from the Hyatt credit card.
I personally think Hyatt is making way too many massive changes all at once and giving no incentive to the consumer. A few years ago when Marriott changes their point redemption structure, they at least added a 5th night free on award redemptions. There is no “enhancement” at all to this Hyatt change. I am glad though that they are giving us enough advanced notice.