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Ok, clearly I’m never usually happy, delighted, or ecstatic when a loyalty program puts through a change that effectively devalues its offering but, in the case of the recent changes we saw Hyatt announce to the World of Hyatt award chart, my overall feelings were those of relief and, yes, happiness.
How is Hyatt devaluing its award chart?
Hyatt has announced that it will be going down a similar path to Marriott Bonvoy and introducing peak, standard, and off-peak award pricing from March 2020.
Here’s what the new award charts look like:
Standard Room Awards
Standard Suite Awards
…as is the Regency/Grand award chart:
The cost of room upgrades is not changing but changes are also coming to the number of points needed for Miraval award bookings and all-inclusive bookings (more details here) as well as to the number of points needed for dining and spa redemptions.
I’m not going into detail about these last few changes as, for the purposes of this post, they’re not particularly important.
Why I’m happy
The last truly big devaluation we saw to the Hyatt award chart was back in 2014 when the cost of a top-tier redemption shot up by 8,000 points (36%) but, since then, the only significant change to the Hyatt award chart was the introduction of a new top-tier category (in early 2018) to help incorporate a number of the SLH properties in the World of Hyatt
Note: We also saw a devaluation to Points & Cash awards in late 2018 but what I’m focusing on here is the award chart for nights paid for entirely with points.
In January it will have been 6 years since the main Hyatt award chart last took a big hit and in loyalty program terms that’s an age ago.
As programs like IHG One Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy have devalued their award charts year on year and moved to dynamic pricing, Hyatt has mostly left its award chart alone and a devaluation/correction/major change has been long overdue.
If what Hyatt has recently announced is the full extent of the devaluation (and it appears that it is) then we (World of Hyatt members) have got off lightly.
Yes, we don’t yet know exactly what the off-peak/standard/peak spread will look like, but Hyatt has indicated that we shouldn’t expect seismic changes and, for the time being, I see no reason to question that.
The worst-case scenario here is that World of Hyatt members will have to pay 5,000 points/night more for the property of their choice…and that’s only the case for Category 7 and 8 properties and only if those properties are being booked in peak season.
There’s more good news:
- It will be Hyatt and not the hotels who decide what dates will be peak/standard/off-peak (properties like the Andaz Maui can’t be trusted to play fair so this is very good news).
- Hyatt will not be following Marriott Bonvoy in reassessing which dates qualify for peak/standard/off-peak pricing on a monthly basis – Hyatt’s seasons will be set in advance and will not change during the year.
- Free night certificates earned for specific categories will be valid for hotels in those categories regardless of the season.
- Some properties will actually be cheaper for periods of the year as off-peak pricing is going to be cheaper than the current pricing for all hotel categories.
As someone who has been expecting (and dreading) a Hyatt award chart devaluation for at least 2 years, this a devaluation I’m happy to live with.
Amusingly, I noticed that one commenter on One Mile At A Time called those of us who are ok with this devaluation “lemmings” and called time on the “golden age of travel hacking”…but that just displays a fundamental lack of understanding of how real life works.
Since the last major award chart devaluation, we’ve seen Hyatt points become a lot easier to earn through new Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards (like the card_name and the card_name), the card_name and through the increased number of bonus point earning opportunities that Hyatt has been offering. Something had to give. It’s called inflation.
With more and more Ultimate Rewards points and World of Hyatt points out in the big wide world, it’s more than a little ridiculous to expect the Hyatt award chart to remain unchanged and, in my opinion, it’s more than a little ridiculous to think that the announced changes are in some way heinous. They’re not.
Yes, it’s not fun to have to pay more points for an award night – no one wants that – but considering just how bad this Hyatt devaluation could have been, the changes that are on the way are just about as benign as we could have reasonably hoped for… and that makes me happy.