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Hyatt announced its 2020 hotel category changes last week and, thankfully, the news wasn’t too bad. Having said that, there are still a number of very nice properties at which award night bookings will soon be more expensive so, as Hyatt is allowing guests to book these hotels at existing rates through to to the end of the booking calendar, I’ve selected five such properties that you should consider booking before the category changes kick in.
The Biggest Movers
13 properties (all of which are part of SLH) will be moving from Category 7 to Category 8 and that will see them increase in cost by a minimum of 10,000 points per night so, rather obviously, if you’re considering booking any of these properties you should make sure you do so before the 22 March deadline.
In this post, however, I don’t plan on focusing on the SLH properties as that would be dull and probably leave me open to the accusation that I’m just stating the obvious (an accusation that would have merit) so, although one SLH property makes my list of five, I’ve chosen to look at properties further down the category rankings.
Five To Book Before 22 March 2020
Note: All screenshots (below) showing the cost of an award night are for the same date as the screenshots showing the cash rate for the room.
The Andaz 5th Avenue
The Andaz 5th Avenue is one of my favorite properties in New York (I love the location and the staff are usually very friendly) and at the current award cost of 25,000 points/night it can be a very good deal…
…especially when cash rates are often in excess of $400…and that’s without the heinous New York taxes added in!
As of 22 March, the Andaz 5th Avenue will be a Category 7 property (the highest tier of any Hyatt property) and will cost up to 35,000 points per night.
On dates when cash rates are very high, this may still be a reasonable deal but it will be nowhere near as good of a deal as it is right now.
Andaz Costa Rica Resort
Historically, this has been a hugely popular Hyatt property and that probably has a lot to do with the fact that before the 2019 category changes this was a Category 4 property costing just 15,000 points per night.
For the past year, the Andaz Costa Rica has been a Category 5 property costing 20,000 points per night…
…and with rates during the busier times often in the high $400s this has continued to be a good deal
Unfortunately, the Andaz Costa Rica is moving hotel categories for the second year running and will be a Category 6 property costing up to 29,000 points/night…and that’s unlikely to be a great deal.
It’s true to say that during off-peak times the property will still only cost 21,000 points/night but if you check the cash rates for the quieter dates you’re likely to find that this isn’t a great deal either.
Hyatt Regency Aruba
I really like Aruba. The people are friendly, the weather is mostly fantastic (it’s outside of the hurricane belt) and the scuba diving on offer is as easy or as challenging as you want it to be.
The Hyatt Regency Aruba has a great location in the heart of Palm Beach on Aruba’s west coast and, as a Category 6 property costing 25,000 points/night, it can represent a good deal…
…especially when cash rates can rise above $400 and even $500 during the popular winter months.
Sadly, from 22 March, the Hyatt Regency Aruba will be moving up to Category 7 and will cost up to 35,000 points per night. Once this happens, World of Hyatt members are unlikely to get much more than 1.4 cents of value out of each World of Hyatt point they use and, while that’s not a complete disaster, it’s also not a particularly attractive proposition.
Hyatt Regency Tokyo
The Hyatt Regency Tokyo (reviewed here and more pictures here) has been my go-to property in Japan’s Capital for a number of years. I like its location in Shinjuku and it has frequently offered up some great points redemptions when cash rates have been high across the city.
At just 12,000 points/night this property can be a steal…
…especially when cash rates climb towards the high $200s:
From 22 March, however, things will be changing. The Hyatt Regency Tokyo will be moving from Category 3 to Category 4 which will see the cost of an award night increase to 18,000 points per night during peak season.
The good news is that the property will still be bookable for 12,000 points on off-peak dates but having to pay 18,000 points on a peak night rather than the 12,000 points that all nights cost now will be a bitter pill to swallow.
If you’re heading to Tokyo and the Hyatt Regency suits your needs now is the time to book.
Ok, I couldn’t do a lit of “hotels to book before the points rates go up” without mentioning at least one of the SLH properties that are moving from Category 7 to Category 8.
Right now the Viceroy Bali costs 30,000 points per night…
…and considering this resort can often be found charging in excess of $800 + taxes per night on nights where such awards can be found…
…that’s an exceptional rate at which to redeem points (in excess of 2.8 cents each).
Once 22 March rolls along, the Viceroy Bali will cost between 35,000 points and 45,000 points per night and, while this will still be a great property at which to redeem points on expensive nights, the value Hyatt loyalists will be able to get during standard season is likely to be a lot lower than it is now.
Use A Good Credit Card To Book
The World of Hyatt Credit Card offers 4 points/dollar spent with Hyatt and is the most rewarding card to use at Hyatt properties. It also gives the cardholder World of Hyatt Discoverist status which is good for late check-outs and bonus points on stays.
If you don’t have (and don’t want) a Word of Hyatt Credit Card consider using the Chase Sapphire Reserve card or the American Express Green Card both of which will earn 3 points/dollar (in their respective currencies) for bookings made with Hyatt (and all other travel spending too).
Hyatt’s hotel category changes could have been a lot worse than what has been announced but it’s not all great news. We’re still waiting to see just how badly the new “seasons” will affect the value we can get out of our Hyatt points and some popular properties are about to become considerably more expensive than they are today.
Between now and 22 March, World of Hyatt members have the opportunity to lock in the current rates and insure themselves against the upcoming price increases, so now is the time to get booking if you’re considering a stay at a property that’s moving up a category.