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For the past few months it has been Marriott’s Bonvoy program that has been in the spotlight for, amongst other things, increasing the number of points needed for award bookings and allowing its various brands to pick and choose which benefits they’re happy to offer elite guests…but Marriott isn’t alone when it comes to shenanigans within its loyalty program.
Hyatt has had a few standout examples of properties that, historically, have enjoyed playing fast and loose with the rules of the World of Hyatt loyalty program (hotels like the Hyatt Regency Jersey City, the Hyatt Regency San Francisco and the Andaz Maui spring immediately to mind) and now there may be another – the Andaz West Hollywood.
I’ve been keeping a close eye on the Andaz West Hollywood as I have a number of friends with reservations at this property and I recently noticed that it has introduced a ‘destination fee’ without any warning whatsoever.
The property has attempted to package up the new fee as a big positive for guests but, when you look at the details closely, it’s clear for all to see that the destination fee is nothing short of a rip-off designed to fool customers of the price comparison sites.
Now that the Andaz has introduced a sly way to increase its room rates it may now have moved on to limiting award availability for stays of under 3 nights.
The World of Hyatt rules are simple when it comes to award night availability – if a property is selling an entry-level room for cash that same room has to be offered as an award booking too.
This is all part of the ‘no blackout dates’ policy enshrined in the World of Hyatt terms and conditions.
Over the past week I’ve noticed that I can’t seem to find any award availability at the Andaz West Hollywood for 1-night or 2-night bookings but, when I extend my search to 3-night bookings, dates where award bookings were previously unavailable are suddenly there to be booked.
Here’s a an example of what I mean.
If I search for an award booking for the night of 9 December the Hyatt website initially shows that the Andaz West Hollywood will sell me a room for 20,000 points….
….but when I actually click through to book the award, availability disappears:
I get the same issue when I search for a 2-night award booking for 9 & 10 December….
…but a search for a 3-night award booking for 9, 10 & 11 December suddenly offers up availability:
Dates where awards were not available suddenly become available…it’s Andaz Magic!
Allow me to be very clear, this isn’t an issue limited to the dates I’ve shown above – I’ve seen the same pattern repeat on every booking I’ve tested so far.
So what’s going on?
It looks like this all comes down to what the property considers to be an entry-level room which, under the terms of the World of Hyatt, must be made available for award bookings.
At the Andaz West Hollywood the entry-level room is simply called ‘1 King Bed’ and this is despite the fact that the ‘1 King Bed Hollywood Hills View’ is essentially the same room (albeit possibly on a higher floor):
For the 1-night and 2-night bookings where the Andaz is not offering award night availability there is also no option to reserve a ‘1 King Bed’ room. The cheapest room available is the ‘1 King Bed Hollywood Hills View’ room:
When you search for a 3-night stay the ‘1 King Bed’ room miraculously becomes available:
Presumably if the ‘1 King Bed’ room is unoccupied and available to book for 9, 10 & 11 December it must also be unoccupied for 9 December alone….and yet the Andaz West Hollywood isn’t offering it. I’d really like to know why.
I’m not sure if the Andaz West Hollywood simply wanted to limit its cheapest rooms to reservations of 3 nights or longer and, by doing that, has inadvertently wiped out all award availability for 1- and 2- night stays or if this is a deliberate ploy to reduce the number of award nights booked at the property.
I’ve emailed and Tweeted Hyatt (and copied in the Andaz) to see if I can find out what’s going on but, so far, I’ve had no reply.
I’ll update this post if I notice the situation change or if I get a response from the property or from Hyatt.
Can anyone else find a single night award available at the Andaz West Hollywood?