Andaz Costa Rica Papagayo Blocking Award Availability

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The Andaz Costa Rica Resort at Peninsula Papagayo is a hotel that has been on my short list since it opened a few years ago. I’ve heard it is an awesome property, especially with kids, and it only requires 15,000 Hyatt points a night. This is one of those “hidden” gem properties due to hardly costing any points. Of course Costa Rica isn’t as expensive as some other resort destination, but during peak times this property can easy cost over $600 a night – something I’d never actually pay for!

I’ve been planning out my family travel for the next year and since my daughter is entering Kindergarten I am trying as best as possible to book trips during the school breaks to decrease the amount of school we miss. Unfortunately when I looked at this resort during both Christmas and February break there were no point rooms available. I was semi surprised since I am looking so far in advance, especially during the February time frame, so did a little digging and saw that this property is actually blocking award availability. The World of Hyatt program does not (or at least is not supposed to) block award availability – if there is a standard room available then you can book with points.

During Christmas break I found point availability for the earlier part of the week, but then when I went to add an extra day, it said it was not available. Of course though when I went to look at the paid rate, the regular standard room WAS available – although $900+ per night!

Standard room available for a paid rate December 20-27. This is the exact same room you can book with points on December 20-26.

But when you go to pay with points, you get this…While the entire week of Christmas is always busy at hotels, many guests start arriving the day after Christmas through New Years. So December 26/27 through New Years is always as peak as it gets. It looks like the property is actually in fact blocking point reservations starting on December 27th!

Now, when I look during February break (the week of Presidents Day), I see something totally different. They re-named the standard room so they are not actually “standard” and available for Hyatt points. This has unfortunately been a common practice for many Hyatt hotels and is definitely not looked upon highly by many travelers. When you go to search during the week of February 17th, you’ll see only “1 King Bed Forest View” rooms available. When you go to look at the description of the room, it is the exact same description as a standard “1 King Bed” room. With the 1 King Bed room it states that you will receive either a “forest view” or a “resort view”. Just by changing the room type to a view type can bypass Hyatt’s no black out date policy.

1 King Bed Forest View description: “Experience enhanced views and full immersion in the magical tropical dry forest in this 560 square foot (52 sq. mt.) guestroom. The room features one king bed and spacious balcony. Modern design blends with touches of character such as woven textiles, solid woods and carved artifacts to highlight the Costa Rican aesthetic. The bathroom’s walk-in rain shower opens onto the balcony providing full immersion in nature.  Complimentary gifts and deluxe amenities include custom fedora hats and Andaz flip-flops, wireless internet access, local phone calls, non-alcoholic minibar beverages and snacks restocked daily.”

1 King Bed description: “Modern design blends with touches of character such as woven textiles, solid woods and carved artifacts to highlight the Costa Rican aesthetic in this 560 square foot (52 sq. mt.) guestroom, featuring one king bed and a spacious balcony that grants resort or tropical forest views. The bathroom’s walk-in rain shower opens onto the balcony providing full immersion in nature.  Complimentary gifts and deluxe amenities include custom fedora hats and Andaz flip-flops, wireless internet access, local phone calls, non-alcoholic minibar beverages and snacks restocked daily.”

Now, the funny thing is that the following week, you can actually book a “1 King Bed Forest View” room with points! They are very much trying to block award availability during Presidents week as well! Although they did miss changing the room type for that Tuesday during the week though!

This is definitely something I will be following up with Hyatt with as it is not an ethical practice and I really do want to pay this resort a visit. If they are part of the Hyatt program then one should be allowed to use their Hyatt points when their is a regular room available.

Anyone else find this issue at the Andaz Costa Rica Resort at Peninsula Papagayo? I’ll keep you up to date with any progress I make!

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Comments

  1. Could it be the 5 day minimum they require from Dec 22-31 causing the snag? If you are adding an extra day to a stay that already meets the min requirements you might have to call versus booking on the website. Hopefully an agent can add the night.

    • @Shaun – It was a new search, not adding onto an existing reservation (do not have anything currently booked). Unfortunately had nothing to do with the 5 day minimum, but I did see that.

  2. Typical Hyatt. Not many aspirational properties compared with the competition, and yet their properties still play games with award availability more than any other chain.

  3. I went this year using points and free nights for five nights in February, booked last August. Next year I booked another during one of my kids breaks again for points. I booked it one year in advance. Great property. Have you tried booking further in advance?

    • @kiki – Unfortunately it has nothing to do about how far out you book, but rather the actual week, i.e., school vacation week blocked out.

  4. I hate when Hyatt does this, but in their defense, I was able to book the Andaz Papagayo for two weeks over Christmas using points in early May. The thing that I did not like was the fact that the reservation is non-refundable if plans change, which is unusual when using points. After booking my stay I did watch availability as I was trying to convince family to join us and availability remained for weeks, but only for the 1 K Forest View.

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