BREAKING: Hyatt Hotel Category Changes Announced (& More News Too)


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At the beginning of December Hyatt announced that it would be introducing peak, standard, and off-peak award pricing from March this year but the hotelier didn’t let us know exactly when those changes would be introduced or if hotels would also be moving categories…but now we know.

Hyatt’s Award Chart Changes

Seasonal Prices Are Coming Soon

Hyatt has just announced that its move to off-peak, standard, and peak pricing will take place from 22 March 2020 and it has also confirmed its earlier promise that the new seasons will be set in advance (as soon as nights are available for reservations) and will not change once posted.

This is noticeably different from Marriott’s policy with regards off-peak, standard and peak pricing which can change on a monthly basis depending on perceived demand.

As a reminder, this is what the new standard room award chart will look like:

Click to enlarge

And here’s what the new suite award charts look like (click to enlarge)

All award bookings before 8:00 am CDT on Sunday, March 22, will follow the existing award chart, even if the existing award booking changes to Peak pricing.

World of Hyatt members who have existing award bookings for a night after 22 March 2020 that changes to Off-Peak pricing will receive an automatic one-time refund on the point difference. Points will be refunded in members’ accounts starting on 23 March 2020.

Once the new seasons come into effect on 22 March (at 8:00 am CDT), any adjustments made to existing reservations will follow the terms of the new award chart.

Points & Cash Redemptions To Get Better

Alongside today’s hotel category changes announcement (coming up later in this post) Hyatt has also said that it will be “enhancing the value of [its] Points + Cash offering” by increasing the discount offered on the cash element of the booking from 22 March 2020.

As things stand with Points + Cash bookings, World of Hyatt members pay a set number points per night (according to the hotel’s category) as well as 50% of the standard rate being charged for the night the booking is being made.

Going forward, World of Hyatt members will pay between 30% and 50% of the standard rate and this will apply to peak, standard and off-peak Points+ Cash bookings.

Here’s what the points element of the new Points + Cash award calendar will look like from 22 March 2020.

Click to enlarge

All Points + Cash redemptions booked before 8:00 am CDT on Sunday, March 22, will follow the existing award chart, even if the existing award booking changes to Peak pricing.

Any Points + Cash redemptions booked on or after Sunday, March 22 at 8:00 am CDT will follow the new Award Chart.

World of Hyatt members who have existing Points + Cash bookings for a night after 22 March 2020 that changes to Off-Peak pricing will receive an automatic one-time refund on the point difference. Points will be refunded in members’ accounts starting on 23 March 2020.

Once the new seasons come into effect on 22 March (at 8:00 am CDT), any adjustments made to existing reservations will follow the terms of the new award chart.

Hyatt’s Hotel Category Changes

A list of all the hotels changing category from 22 March 2020 can be found at the end of this post (and on this Hyatt page)

In Summary

  • 217 hotels are seeing the price of an award night change
  • 117 hotels are moving to a higher category
  • 100 hotels are moving to a lower category
  • Of the 217 hotels moving categories, 66 are SLH hotels
  • No new award categories have been added
  • The points required for each hotel category are not changing
  • There are no Hyatt properties moving to Category 8

The Numbers

  • 13 properties are moving from Category 7 to Category 8 (all are SLH properties) and no properties are dropping from Category 8 to Category 7
  • 19 properties are moving from Category 6 to Category 7 and 7 properties are dropping from Category 7 to Category 6
  • 13 properties are moving from Category 5 to Category 6 and 16 properties are dropping from Category 6 to Category 5
  • 21 properties are moving from Category 4 to Category 5 and 14 properties are dropping from Category 5 to Category 4
  • 22 properties are moving from Category 3 to Category 4 and 14 properties are dropping from Category 4 to Category 3
  • 18 properties are moving from Category 2 to Category 3 and 24 properties are dropping from Category 3 to Category 2
  • 11 properties are moving from Category 1 to Category 2 and 25 properties are dropping from Category 2 to Category 1

The moves that most people will be looking for are the moves between Categories 4 and 5 because the the free night certificates that Hyatt issues and the certificates that come with the World of Hyatt credit card are for stays at properties up to Category 4.

This year, 21 properties are moving up to category 5 and just 14 are dropping from Category 5 to Category 4 so Hyatt free night certificate holders will have 7 fewer properties at which to redeem free night certificates from 22 March 2020.

The Brands

This is what the movements look like for the Hyatt (and partner) brands that most people will be looking out for:

  • Park Hyatt: 4 moving up & 8 moving down
  • Grand Hyatt: 5 moving up & 11 moving down
  • Andaz: 2 moving up and 1 moving down
  • SLH: 41 moving up and 25 moving down

If you’re a fan of the premium Hyatt brands that makes for good reading but if you’re a big fan of SLH the news is considerably worse.

Quick Thoughts

I’m going to take a look at specific hotels that are moving categories in a future post so I’m just going to concentrate on the big picture here.

Overall this isn’t too bad.

  • Hyatt could have gone back on its word and made its seasons vary throughout the year – it didn’t.
  • Hyatt could have gone back on its word and moved some of its own properties to Category 8 (that would have been a 33% in create in award cost for top tier properties) – it didn’t.
  • Twice as many Park Hyatt properties are moving down a category as are moving up
  • Twice as many Grand Hyatt properties are moving down a category as are moving up
  • Just two Andaz properties are moving up a category (and we’re even getting one moving down).
  • Points + Cash awards may become a better deal thanks to the bigger discount on the cash portion.

Sure, there’s bad news here too.

A significant number of SLH properties are moving up a category (approximately 13.4% of the existing portfolio) and that’s never a good thing to see, we’re going to have slight fewer properties at which to use free night awards (that’s not great) and I’m sure people will find that one or two of their favourite properties will be getting more expensive (I see that the Andaz Papagayo Resort is moving up a category again) and that’s going to be disappointing too…but we can live with this.

When you take a look at how Marriott has been destroying its loyalty program and how much top-tier Hilton properties now cost and how IHG keeps chipping away at the value its Rewards Club program offers, you have to give at least a little credit to Hyatt – it’s loyalty program is still pretty rewarding and one that doesn’t just take, take and take.

Bottom Line

Of course, I’d love it if we lived in a world where award costs never increased, where peak season wasn’t a thing and where everybody’s favorite properties were incredibly cheap…but that’s simply not how this world works.

I said in December that if Hyatt’s devaluation didn’t get any worse than what was announced back then that I’d be very happy indeed so, right now, I’m pretty happy.

I don’t expect everything to go my way when loyalty programs make changes so I appreciate it when the changes that are announced aren’t heinous and don’t decimate the value that a program offers.

Nothing that has been announced today has significantly altered the value that the World of Hyatt offers and we’ve even seen some good news mixed in with the bad. If more hotel loyalty program announcements were like this one there would be a lot less anger and frustration being expressed by miles and points fans everywhere.

Note: Hyatt is also adding more SLH properties to the World of Hyatt and I’ll cover that news in a post that’s coming up later today.


Hyatt Hotel Category Changes From 22 March 2020

3 COMMENTS

  1. […] 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. […]

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