Hyatt’s 40% Bonus on Purchased Points

Hyatt Gold Passport is offering up to a 40% bonus on purchased points through January 31. It’s targeted for those who purchased points in 2014.

The system they’re using to verify eligibility looks exactly like the one US Airways uses:

It doesn’t appear to be one of their usual tiered offers: instead it’s a 40% bonus on purchases of 1000 points or more. You don’t have to max out the offer to get the highest bonus.

With a 40% bonus Hyatt is selling you points at 1.71 cents apiece. I personally value them at about 1.4 cents apiece so this doesn’t make me a buyer (points would have to be priced at less than 1.4 cents for that).

You can sometimes get more than 2 cents apiece out of your points so if you were going to pay cash for a room anyway buying points can be used to get a room discount. This is a very limiting case.

And topping off an account could make sense if you were close to an award (in my experience though Hyatt will allow Diamonds to make award bookings without sufficient points in their account, you just have to have the points some days prior to arrival or convert to a paid reservation).

40% is the Best I’ve Seen for a Hyatt Buy Points Bonus

The standard bonus offer from Hyatt for purchasing points in the past has been 30%.

In May and June the offer was 20%.

Even before the devaluation at the beginning of the year (which was heavily concentrated on a handful of hotels and otherwise modest overall), I was skeptical of the 30% bonus. I feel the same way now about 40% (which was also offered back in August) that I felt about 30% then.

Leveraging Buy Points With Cash and Points

Once place where it’s a little better is with the new cash and points awards which are effectively discounted paid room rates (which count towards elite status and promotions, and can be upgraded to suites with Diamond confirmed suite upgrades).

That’s because if you need to top off an account to have enough points to make a cash and points award, then buying these points acts as a further ticket to buy points at an even greater discount — category 2 through 6 cash and points awards let you buy points at 1.2 – 1.3 cents apiece.

(Category 1 and 7 cash and points awards price the points you’re buying back at 2 cents apiece… but cash and points awards are still better than buying points at 2 cents because cash and points awards are themselves points/promotion/status-earning.)

So average the total cost of your points purchase with the cost of points when making that award and it brings down the total cost still… not to a price where I’d speculatively buy points, but to a place where you may be getting a good discount on a room you’d otherwise pay full price for.

The frequency with which Hyatt bonuses the sale of points strikes me as odd. They’ve been the most aggressive at selling points when they’ve taken the stance that their program is meant to put heads in beds and engender loyal business. Their credit card, even, was about extending the Hyatt relationship into the wallet and across more transactions… and supposedly not about monetizing the points currency by selling in bulk to a bank. And yet here we are regularly aggressively selling points at a discount. Go figure.

(HT: freewon on Milepoint)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. What has your (and others) experience been with respect to availability of points plus cash rooms?

    I’ve had two recent experiences where there was award availability but no points plus cash availability.

  2. @josh – it varies by hotel, some only open the inventory closer to arrival when occupancy is low, others open it when schedule loads — and some don’t at all.

  3. I need 51K more Southwest miles for a companion pass…already have their credit cards. Does it make more sense to buy Hyatt points using this promo, or the transfer ultimate rewards to hyatt to southwest?

  4. Christine, Ultimate Rewards points transfer to Southwest do not count toward the Companion Pass. Hotel points conversion/transfers however do county toward the Companion Pass but in the conversion you would lose so much value that it’s not worth it.

  5. @Christine, you’d have to spend $1800+ on hyatt points to convert to 51k SW points. Your companion would have to fly at least that much worth of flights (with you) between qualification and end of next year to make it worth it.

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