Obviously I know about Hyatt’s amazingly generous points upgrade policy. I wrote about it just over a week ago. And yet I realized I don’t put my own advice into full practice. Because using points to confirm suites at booking on paid stays is just such an amazing value with Gold Passport.

I just used my last Gold Passport Diamond Confirmed Suite Upgrade from 2012. Hyatt’s top tier elites receive (4) confirmed at booking suite upgrades each year, valid for up to seven nights (on a single stay) each.

I’ve requalified or 2013 status, but my new suite upgrade certificates won’t be available in my account for another seven weeks or so. And I was ready to make a booking at a hotel in Asia where I wanted a suite. I was going to wait for those upgrades to post and of course hope that suites were still available to confirm at the property at that time.

And then it occurred to me: I had just posted about how great a value suites with points are though Gold Passport so I might as well use points. So I did. But in the process I started wondering, since suites are so darned cheap through Gold Passport, why am I ever staying in a regular room (on stays longer than say a night, at properties where suites aren’t fully booked up at the time I’m making the reservation)?

    Bedroom in Suite at Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur

    Bathroom in Suite at Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur

Even though I only just wrote about Hyatt’s suite redemptions, the discussion was buried at the bottom of a larger post, and since I hadn’t even internalized it fully myself I thought it warranted being pulled out into a separate discussion.

And although Hyatt also has the most generous policy for redeeming points for free nights in suites (it’s 50% more points than a standard room, compared to double points at Starwood), the point of this post is about upgrading paid stays.

How to Upgrade to Suites with Hyatt Gold Passport Points

You have to pay the ‘Hyatt Daily Rate’ rather than a discounted rate to be eligible to upgrade. And at resorts you have to pay for a deluxe (eg partial ocean view) room as well.

But the following points prices will upgrade you for up to four nights. These are not upgrade prices per night.

As I wrote a week or so back, while a hotel like the Westin Tokyo will cost an extra 20,000 Starpoints per night for a suite, confirmed only five nights in advance, Hyatt Gold Passport will let you confirm an upgrade at the much nicer Park Hyatt Tokyo for just 6000 points. Total. For four nights. At time of booking. Crazy.

The category 6 Westin Times Square would cost 80,000 Starpoints to upgrade for four nights. The Andaz 5th Avenue costs 6,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points for those four nights. And the Andaz upgrade is confirmable at time of reservation. And I generally consider Starwood to offer the second best program for upgraeds.

    Living room of suite at the Andaz 5th Avenue

    Shower of suite at the Andaz 5th Avenue

You cannot book suite upgrades online, it has to be done through Hyatt’s customer service center.

When Is This Worthwhile?

It’s true, I can’t always do this and it doesn’t make sense to always do this.

  • It’s probably not worth 6000 points on a one night stay (although it might be).
  • It’s almost certainly not worth 6000 points on a one night stay where I’m traveling alone.
  • Suites at some properties are only incrementally more expensive than regular rooms, I’ve been to some hotels in the U.S. where a suite is about $50 higher so on a one-night stay paying is better than spending points (and for two nights I’d consider it a wash).
  • Suites may well be booked up and thus not confirmable when you’re making a reservation.

But for a good number of my stays I really don’t need to horde those Diamond confirmed suite upgrades. I’ll save those for when I’m staying on a more deeply discounted rate than points upgrades can be used on. And when staying at the Hyatt Daily Rate I’ll use points.

    Living room of suite at the Grand Hyatt Singapore

How to Get Points for Suites

An elite member of Hyatt Gold Passport will earn points quickly enough — with the 1000 point per stay checkin amenity (I pretty much always choose the points, and unlike Starwood Preferred Guest don’t have to give up the points to be eligible for breakfast), with points for stays, and with bonuses — in order to secure suites quite regularly.

But these awards are open to anyone, not just elites.

And the best way to earn Hyatt points isn’t actually the Hyatt Visa (for the most part), but actually the Chase Sapphire Preferred card which earns double points on all travel and dining spend, earns a 7% annual bonus on points earned, and earns points through the Ultimate Rewards shopping portal for online purchases you’ll make anyway.

Sapphire Preferred has a 40,000 point singup bonus after $3000 spend within 3 months. So that’s quite a few nights in suites.

Similarly, the Chase Ink Bold and Ink Plus small business cards offer double points on hotel spend (and quintuple points on telecommunications and office supplies) and also has a 50,000 point signup bonus after $5000 spend within 3 months.

As regular readers know I do receive referral credit for most of the credit cards I link to, including these. Of course, they’re also the best available offers for the cards — and the best way to earn large numbers of very flexible points quickly.

  1. ptahcha said,

    The trade off for upgrade via Gold Passport points is you have to book under Best Available Rate, not corporate, AAA, or AARP rates. Most of the time it’s a 10-20% difference. Still, if it’s confirmable at the time of booking, it may be worthwhile even with the rate difference.

  2. nikdro said,

    Do you still earn points on the stay after upgrading with points?

  3. Bzorg said,

    Gary, is there a $ copayment to go along with the points?
    For example I have a king room at the grand Hyatt under try Hyatt daily rate for 4 nights. I just called to see if I could upgrade to a king suite and they claimed it was 6000 points and 175 euro?

  4. RH said,

    How does it work on properties with multiple categories of suites?

  5. Gary said,

    @RH this applies to the base level suite, the quality of which varies by property (some are very impressive, others are basically just two hotel rooms more or less where one is a living room instead of bedroom)

  6. Gary said,

    @Bzorg there should be no cash co-payment. You have to pay the Hyatt Daily Rate and then you upgrade to a suite with 6000 points for 4 nights. Just did this myself yesterday. Make the cancellable booking and then upgrade to a suite if that makes the transaction clearer.

  7. Gary said,

    @nikdro – yes paid stays upgraded to suites with points still earn points

  8. DW said,

    @Bzorg what might be happening is that Hyatt uses the Hyatt Daily Rate available at the time you request the suite upgrade using points. So if the rate for the days of your stay has increased since you originally made the booking, you will be rebooked at the higher rate.

    This has happened to me in the past when I was too lazy to call up Hyatt right after making a booking to request a club or suite upgrade using points.

  9. JA said,

    In Park City, I have a “1 BDRM KING STE” reserved at the “HYATT DAILY RATE” of $499. Today, a Deluxe King is going for $749. Is there anything I can do as far as upgrading? They have something called a 1 bedroom loft suite and a Premium King Suite.

  10. bzrorg said,

    Gary, DW,
    That is exactly what is happening, I also was able to do a Hyatt BRG, that seems to not be compatible with the upgrade. Oh well. I guess at the end of the day, the cheaper rate is bette.

  11. Michael said,

    The Hyatt Daily Rate is often so high that it is impractical to use it and the points. For example, a discounted rate at the Hyatt Regrency SF is $155 a night but the Daily Rate is $235. So I’d pay $80 more a night plus points to get a suite. (And San Francisco downtown Hyatt’s hardly ever upgrade Diamonds to a suite.)

    What should be noted is that often the hotel itself will offer a suite for a nominal fee. For example, on an upcoming stay, using that $155 rate, they offered me a suite upgrade for $46 a night — especially when the daily rate, as mentioned is $235. Not a bad deal.

  12. asdfdsf said,

    Because most times, a regular room is sufficiently nice?

  13. asdfdsf said,

    oh, and a little schmoozing can get you upgrades for free or low $?

  14. Bikeguy said,

    If you are a base member and UG to a suite, will you also get lounge access?

  15. Eric M said,

    I just tried to use points for a suite upgrade in Palm Springs/Indian Wells. The same thing happened to me as Bzorg. They said it would be 6000 points and another $200. What’s the point of using the points, when that would be making me pay the full price of the suite anyway? So I took my business elsewhere for my stay down there. Left a bad taste in my mouth,

  16. Treane said,

    Can you apply suite upgrade certificates (obtained by signing up for the Chase Hyatt card for Platinums) to corporate rates?

  17. Gary said,

    @Treane yes

  18. Gary said,

    @Bikeguy – depends on the hotel property, some suites come with club access and others do not

  19. romsdeals said,

    I don’t feel like suites are worth the extra cost.. Why do you want to spend so much time in the hotel? I stayed at the Park Hyatt Paris for 22,000 points. I would not have paid 11,000 extra points for a suite. That’s about $150 more for more space, living room, extra bathroom, not really worth it. It may look and seem nice but think about it first!

  20. Gary said,

    @romsdeals whereas i think that the suite would have been awesome to have in paris, even though i was very much out and about a couple weeks back when i was there

  21. FlyingDoctorWu said,

    I tend to book virtuoso rates and have used my chase suite upgrades in the past. Do you know if I can use points upgrades on virtuoso bookings? Thanks.

  22. Daniel M said,

    Gary: it is not easy as you suggest to pile on the Hyatt points strictly from stays. For example, you note that a Diamond member can earn 1000 points per stay as a check-in amenity, but in fact that’s not available for international Hyatt stays, as you’re surely already aware of. And as you’re also aware, the Hyatt bonuses have been exceptionally weak, and the G bonuses have seemingly disappeared forever.

    However you’re right that converting points from UR is huge!

  23. DiscoPapa said,

    +1 for wishing this was applicable on discounted rates. Quite a difference, sometimes, between it and the Hyatt Daily Rate. But I agree, it seems to be a great use of points if staying for several nights.

  24. SAS140 said,

    So by using points, you forego the Diamond benefit of an upgrade to a better (club lounge?) room. Albeit, you won’t get upgraded to a suite nor will you know before check in, but seems this using points benefit is better suited for non-elites.

  25. Gary said,

    @SAS140 – Hyatt doesn’t offer the possibility of suites at checkin if available to Diamonds, just an upgrade excluding suites. So not sure why non-elites benefit more? This is just using points instead of the Diamond confirmed suite upgrade benefit. And DIamonds still get club access.

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