No, Hyatt’s Confirmed Suite Upgrades Aren’t Capacity Controlled. Why Do You Ask?

There’s been some confusion online about Hyatt’s suite upgrades, and especially about whether and how certain discounted rates can get into suites. There’s an incorrect notion out there, for instance, that capacity controls apply to Diamond Suite Upgrades when used in conjunction with cash and points awards.

But to correct the misunderstanding, I first need to walk through:

  • Hyatt’s suite upgrade options
  • How confirming upgrades work at a hotel level
  • How cash and points awards work

And then it may make more sense why — as I have confirmed with Hyatt — there aren’t any capacity controls on confirmed suites with Hyatt.

Armed with this knowledge you may be better-positioned to get the best deals on the best rooms at Hyatt properties. In fact, it may even motivate you to take advantage of Hyatt’s new Diamond challenge to earn top status quickly.

Hyatt Offers the Best Suite Upgrade Benefit of any Major Hotel Chain

Hyatt allows their Diamond members to upgrade paid stays at time of booking four times per year, up to 7 nights each time. They’re the only program offering true confirmed at booking suites, taking risk out of the equation.

The only real downside is that these confirmed upgrades are available only on paid stays (including cash and points awards), not on pure points-only award stays.

Whereas Starwood wants double points to redeem award nights in a suite, Hyatt offers standard suites for about a 60% premium over regular free night awards.

There’s a 3 night minimum stay on these redemptions, and there are a handful of properties where you cannot spend additional points for suites —

Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort , Park Hyatt Sydney, Andaz Tokyo, Hyatt Regency Phuket Resort, Hyatt Regency Tulsa, Hyatt Regency Wichita, Hyatt Key West Resort and Spa, Hyatt Manila City of Dreams, Hyatt Santa Barbara, Hyatt Residence Club resorts, Hyatt Place hotels and M life resorts.

These awards book into the base-level suite, as indicated on each hotel property’s page on the Hyatt website. When a standard room isn’t available for redemption you can spend modest points for better rooms. And you can have the better experience, guaranteed at booking, even without status.

    Bedroom of suite at Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur

Suites at some properties are only incrementally more expensive than regular rooms, I recall staying at the Hyatt in Bellevue Washington where a suite priced only at about $50 more than a regular room. But suites can also be several multiples of a regular room, even ten times as much, so spending ~60% more points can represent a huge value-per-point value there as well (of course you need to actually care about the room itself for this to matter).

A 60% premium can be a great deal at the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong (it guarantees you a harbor view), it’s also a great value at the Park Hyatt in Mendoza, a category 2 property where the suite is really quite nice.

Hyatt Gold Passport also offers what is by far the most generous points upgrade benefit for paid stays — even though it’s more expensive than a year ago.

You have to pay the ‘Hyatt Daily Rate’ rather than a discounted rate to be eligible to upgrade a paid stay using points (in contrast a Diamond Suite Upgrade is valid on any paid rate bookable through a Hyatt channel). At resorts you have to pay for a deluxe (eg partial ocean view) room as well.

Here are the confirmed upgrade prices per night.

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

A hotel like the Westin Tokyo will cost an extra 12,000 – 15,000 Starpoints per night for a suite, confirmed only five nights in advance. Hyatt Gold Passport will let you confirm an upgrade at booking the much nicer Park Hyatt Tokyo for just 6000 points per night.

A base-level member who cares about suites and pays for their stays could do a lot worse than getting the Hyatt Visa or a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus, earning points for their spending and in the latter three cases transferring those points over to Hyatt Gold Passport and using the points to upgrade to suites.

How Hotels Manage Confirmed Suite Upgrade Availability

There are a number of reasons why the suite upgrade benefit may appear inconsistent, coming down to variations in customer service (so hang up and call back) and coming down to extra generosity sometimes on the part of a hotel.

Hotels designate which room type a confirmed suite books into. It’s supposed to be the basic or standard suite, but some hotels have a myriad of room types and others may just have three. At some hotels a suite is a suite (other than perhaps a Presidential suite). And at others there could be half a dozen suite types.

The process for assigning confirmed upgrades isn’t fully automated. It isn’t something you can do online. It’s handled in conjunction with the hotel. Different Hyatt agents are of differing quality, my experiences have been very mixed to say the least, and you’ll have to hang up and call back. You may get a decent agent but they need to work things out with the hotel, and the person at the other end of the transaction at the property may be of mixed skill, hence the need to hang up and call back.

Suite upgrades are sometimes negotiable. The base room may not be available, but a hotel may be willing to assign a different suite to your stay. They may be willing to do that if you buy up to a more expensive room type or with a cash co-pay. They may even sometimes be willing to assign a suite upgrade on an award night even though those are technically ineligible.

Suite upgrade room types change.

  • The Andaz 5th Avenue has a ton of suites. Suite upgrades used to confirm into a base level suite, and they were pretty much always available. Then the hotel changed the room type to a more premium suite — using a confirmed suite upgrade would get you a fabulous ‘Splash Suite’ but there are fewer of those meaning the upgrades became harder to use.

  • In contrast the Andaz Wall Street started calling an ‘XL King’ a Suite and using that room type for confirmed upgrades. It’s more of a junior suite with no wall separating living area from bedroom. The size of the room you’d get with a confirmed suite dropped by about 35%.

Hyatt’s Cash and Points Awards Offer Exceptional Value

Hyatt introduced cash and points awards at the beginning of last year and they’re fantastic, a real improvement over their regular award night redemptions. In fact, as a general matter outside of category 7 hotels, I try to avoid redeeming points for ‘regular’ awards since those don’t count towards elite status. I’ll redeem for full awards only when cash and points awards aren’t available, and when prices are high.

Cash and points rewards are cheaper than standard reward nights. For category 2 through 6 hotel redemptions you’re buying back points at 1.2 to 1.38 cents apiece, while Hyatt points are worth 1.4 cents apiece.

Cash and points rewards are better than standard reward nights. Cash and points awards count towards elite status qualification. They are eligible for Diamond Suite Upgrade awards and count towards earning promotions.

Cash and points awards aren’t always available, unfortunately — a hotel is only going to want to offer them when they’d otherwise have empty rooms. That’s because for a regular award night, if the hotel winds up 95% sold out, they get reimbursed by Gold Passport at prevailing rates instead of their discounted internal reimbursement rate. Meanwhile with a cash and points award night their reimbursement is fixed — they get the cash portion of the cash and points rate, plus a small payment from Gold Passport.

Hyatt Cash and Points Awards Get Access to the Same Suite Upgrade Inventory As Other Paid Rates

The other day One Mile at a Time suggested that Hyatt had capacity controls on suite upgrades when using them in conjunction with cash and points awards.

However, there’s a bit of a catch when it comes to redeeming Diamond Suite Upgrades for Points + Cash bookings, as John has encountered:

  • When on a fully paid cash rate, Diamond Suite Upgrades can be used to confirm an upgrade to a standard suite at the time of booking, pending availability, with no capacity controls
  • When on a Points + Cash stay, Diamond Suite Upgrades can be used to confirm an upgrade to a standard suite, though those upgrades are capacity controlled

So there is indeed only a sub-set of suite inventory which you can upgrade a Points + Cash stay with using a Diamond Suite Upgrade, and that will vary by hotel.

That didn’t seem right to me. I realize that customer service agents may give different answers, and individual hotels may assign different room types to the suite upgrade rate plan, but I was pretty sure that there weren’t actually capacity controls in place for suite upgrades. Not only didn’t that match my experience, I would have been shocked to learn that Hyatt had put in place the IT to manage inventory that way.

Still, Lucky generally knows what he’s talking about and seemed pretty sure. So I waited to post on it until I was able to ask Hyatt about this myself. I reached out for clarification and I was told unequivocably:

To clarify, Diamond Suite Upgrade inventory (standard suites) is not capacity controlled. The same Diamond Suite inventory is available whether a Hyatt Gold Passport member is booking a Hyatt rate or points + cash.

That’s great to know because Hyatt’s cash and points rates, if you can book one, really are equivalent to paid rates — not just for earning elite status and credit towards promotions, but for accessing confirmed suite upgrades for Diamond members.

Hyatt doesn’t place capacity controls on confirmed suites. Hotels do manage the inventory differently. There are IT challenges, and variability in the agents you may deal with on the phone and folks they may deal with at a given hotel, so don’t assume that every no you get is a real no.

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. have a wedding in playa del carmen coming up where a bunch of friends have rooms booked under their own account but they do not have any hyatt pts. can i use my own hyatt account to deduct pts to upgrade their room to club rooms?

  2. While cash and points may be best for a diamond, they are not possible to upgrade to a suite in any fashion so to me, a Platinum, they are the worst.

  3. This is from the email of a GM of a major Hyatt property:

    ‘We are unfortunately not in the position to confirm the “Diamond Suite Upgrade”, for the entire stay and especially with the Cash & Point program. You will certainly appreciate that the period of your venue is extremely busy and therefore we cannot guarantee the Diamond upgrade 6 months in advance, since the upgrade is subject to availability at time of check-in.’

    This is from one of the Hyatt reps on FT:

    ‘Since you are using points plus cash the points plus cash with Suite upgrade would need to be available for your dates. This is a limited availability rate and it not available for your dates. This Suite is available with a paid rate and I can switch it to that rate for you.’

  4. What Lucky has written is what I have experienced too. Most recently 3 nights of a 4 night stay were available for a suite upgrade and I got the 3 nights. Waiting on the 4th night to open up.

  5. i will also add that at the hyatt escala, i have booked weekends before where cash and pts were not available for the base room yet the cash and pts + diamond suite upgrade was available for the suite. this essentially limits only bookings to diamond members who have not exhausted their 4 certificates. more importantly, this suggests that there is different inventories.

  6. How about using points directly for suites? Is that capacity controlled? I recently tried to book 3 nights (48000 points each) at PH Tokyo in their Park Suite but was told those are not available for points but bookable with cash.

  7. I’ve had this happen to me as well @ Park Hyatt Vienna. DSU room type available but told that C&P + DSU was not available, only paid + DSU. So it may not be an official thing but it seems that it’s too commonplace for it to be a bad agent/glitch.

  8. Hotels may be holding back availability, against the rules and processes, but this isn’t policy. So not necessarily bad agent but what I wrote above is that there’s two sides to the equation — agent on the phone and also the hotel. If Hyatt’s reps on Flyertalk make it sound like it is, it wouldn’t be the first time they don’t understand what they’re talking about.

  9. I made 2 calls to PH Paris about using a DSU on cash and points nights. Both times I was told I could use a DSU on a fully paid rate, but not on a points and cash rate.

  10. @Gary makes this demonstrably bogus claim…again: “Hyatt Offers the Best Suite Upgrade Benefit of any Major Hotel Chain”

    That myth was hatched in the annals of the travel blogosphere by loyalty bloggers, who all fell for it, and have since been repeating it even though it is a totally bogus claim. @Gary just cuts and pastes the same text supporting the silly claim that he’s used a hundred times before and will, I am sure, use again undeterred by the following contradicting evidence…

    Right now I am at Conrad Hong Kong, where, as a HH Diamond, I was upgraded at check in to a corner suite for this 7-night stay; the suite is on such a high floor that my ears pop when I get to the ground floor. A year ago I was upgraded to a similar suite at this same property on a 9-NIGHT stay, something that is impossible to do with a SINGLE GP DSU. In January, I was at this same property and was upgraded to a suite on the coveted harbor side…on an AWARD stay, something that is impossible to do with a GP DSU. Lastly, I cleared 12 of 12 or 100% of my UNLIMITED complimentary HH Diamond suite upgrades last year , i.e., 8 more suite upgrades than GP Diamonds could ‘confirm’ all year before they had to start paying out of pocket to see the inside of a suite again, and this despite enjoying the “Best Suite Upgrade Benefit of any Major Hotel Chain”


  11. @DCS Hilton HHonors upgrade benefit is a joke. Your suite is not a promised benefit of the HHonors program. Had the suite been available and the hotel not given it to you they would have broken no rule of Hilton’s program. The hotel was generous, as many Asia Pacific hotels are. And you travel mostly in that region. Your upgrades are all at check-in, you had only 12 stays last year very few in the US and Europe. And you’ve admitted you sometimes have to push at check-in to get them. Meh.

  12. @gary

    I’m not sure the distinction you are trying to make. Is it that the capacity control on suites is not official Gold Passport policy? Does that matter if it’s the policy of individual hotels?

  13. Gary,

    You are wrong. From first hand experience making many calls to HGP and to the property, I can confirm that Andaz Papagayo definitely applies more restrictive policies to DSU on C+P than on a paid rate.

  14. I may be just completely burned out but I’m growing weary of the increasing effort needed to “hack constant devaluations” to ALL so-called loyalty programs. We have to work overtime just to try to retain loyalty benefits that were the standard not long ago.

  15. Gary,

    This is a great post, thank you! My sense is that this becoming akin to Starwood suite upgrades at check-in, where there is a de jure and a de facto rule. Am I reading you correctly though that if a standard suite shows as available for bookings online, and you have a successful Cash & Points stay reserved, you should always be able to press and get them to apply the suite upgrade certificate?

  16. @DCS — “Hilton HHonors upgrade benefit is a joke.”

    Except you have never been able to prove that it is!!! Your only reason for claiming that Hyatt has “Best Suite Upgrade Benefit of any Major Hotel Chain is that DSUs are ‘confirmable’ at booking.

    What you do not acknowledge, but your commenters who have not drunk too much of the “Hyatt is Best” kool-aid do, is that GP DSUs also depend on availability like Hilton’s or any program’s suite upgrades. The fallacious notion that you are try to implant and even once claimed is that DSUs are “guaranteed”, which they are NOT. All upgrades depend on availability be it at booking or at check in — at least at check in I can make case in person and am batting than 90%

    @Gary sez: “Your suite is not a promised benefit of the HHonors program.”Oh, self-proclaimed “Thought Leader in Travel”, HHonors has something called T&C and it says: “Upgrades for Diamond HHonors guests may include the next-best available room from the room type booked. Upgrades may also be rooms with desirable views, corner rooms, rooms on high floors, rooms with special amenities, rooms on Executive Floors, or SUITES, as identified by each property.”

    Here are just three compelling reasons, embodied in my prior post but spelled out below, why it is simply ridiculous to keep claiming that Hyatt offers the “Best Suite Upgrade Benefit of any Major Hotel Chain”

    — There are only 4 DSUs all year; they’re used up before the travel season even starts! (HHonors’ are unlimited)
    — GP DSUs are good only on paid stay and maybe, just maybe, on C&P stays (HHonors’ are good on any type of stay, including AWARD stays)
    — GP DSUs are no good for stays longer than 7 nights; an 8-night stay would require one to burn two DSUs (HHonors are for the duration of a stay no matter how long).

    “Best Suite Upgrade Benefit of any Major Hotel Chain”…Yeah, right, if you had too much of your won kool-aid.

  17. BTW @Gary 12 upgrades out 12 anywhere are still 8 more than a GP Diamond can “confirm” all year, but reality is that only just half of 12 were in Asia (you know where the post is). My two most recent upgrades this year were in North America: One at Conrad Chicago in April and another at Hilton Montreal… and I did not are have to ask for either. See, your claim about my success being only Asia is just as bogus as your every claim on this issue…just drop it before you lose all credibility 😉

  18. @DCS – Not intending to provoke, but trying to seriously engage…

    It sounds like there’s a meaningful dispute over how frequent discretionary upgrades happen at Hilton properties, but I think we can agree that SOME Hilton properties and SOME Hyatt properties offer discretionary upgrades into suites. I think Gary’s point though is that ALL hotels can choose to supply a upgrade based solely on their own generosity, but that Hyatt relative to Hilton offers some additional confirmed suite upgrades plus arguably some degree of guaranteed upgrades (to non-suites) on all stays, and so is on balance superior.

    I don’t think any of the facts in the previous paragraph are incorrect (though I welcome correction), so if I’m reading you correctly, your position seems to be that the discretionary upgrades at Hilton are superior enough relative to Hyatt’s that they overcome the disadvantage in guaranteed upgrades. Do I have that right?

  19. @sunrise089 one question that we’ll never know the answer to, though, is whether Hyatt properties give out fewer discretionary suite upgrades because they lean on/fall back on the DSU vehicle. A manager can point to that and say, well, you’ve used yours.

    DCS comes down a bit on the far end of the spectrum but has valid points. We’ve had a couple posts here in the last couple days about Hyatt playing games with room types, and then here out of the woodwork comes a number of reports of these DSUs just being turned down by properties. Whether or not the GM of a property of the Hyatt rep on FT “knows what they’re talking about”, unless a customer has a high-up contact in the corporate office at Hyatt, what further are they going to do about it? For all practical purposes, it seems to me that these properties are being plenty discretionary with DSUs, which isn’t that much different from playing upgrade roulette at check-in.

  20. @eliteflyer again, a property making a specific decision not capacity controls in the usual sense, and a choice they aren’t supposed to make

  21. @sunrise089 asked “…your position seems to be that the discretionary upgrades at Hilton are superior enough relative to Hyatt’s that they overcome the disadvantage in guaranteed upgrades. Do I have that right?”

    No, you have it wrong because you are thinking exactly as @Gary wants you think, which is that Hyatt DSUs are “guaranteed” — see the word “guaranteed” right there in your sentence? No hotel loyalty program offers their elites GUARANTEED suite upgrades [ or we would not have so many comments by Hyatt Diamonds complaining about not being able to use their DSUs]. Suite upgrades can be either ‘confirmed’ at booking [GP] or they can clear at check-in [HH] but they all depend on AVAILABILITY.

    That being the case, the notion that Hyatt offers the “Best Suite Upgrade Benefit of any Major Hotel Chain” is simply laughably ridiculous because of just three shortcomings of GO DSUs:

    — GP offers just 4 DSUs all year, while HHonors’ Diamond suite upgrades are UNLIMITED;
    — GP DSUs are good only on paid stay and maybe, just maybe, on C&P stays, while HHonors’ are good on any type of stay, including AWARD stays;
    — GP DSUs are no good for stays longer than 7 nights and an 8-night stay would require one to burn two DSUs, while HHonors suite upgrades are good for the duration of a stay no matter how long).

    As for availability of HH complimentary suite upgrades, I cleared 12 of 12 last year, and that’s 100% availability 😉

  22. Math on buying points back at 1.2-1.38 is a little off since you have to account for the taxes charged on the cash portion. Full point reservations don’t pay any. It’s really closer to 1.5 cents. Although I suppose if you use something like the Open Savings program to get 5% back then it’s a wash, so just more of an observation if you’re not paying with one of these cards.

  23. Tried again for a room next year at PH Paris.

    I have 2 points and cash rooms.
    Can use DSU on a paid rate but not a points and cash room for those dates.
    Asked, “are there any nights that month where I can use a DSU on a points and cash rate?”. Agent looked, “Not a single night for a 5 week span in April 2016.

    So this does not hold true at this hotel:
    To clarify, Diamond Suite Upgrade inventory (standard suites) is not capacity controlled. The same Diamond Suite inventory is available whether a Hyatt Gold Passport member is booking a Hyatt rate or points + cash.

  24. “The agent looked” is not sufficient to be the end of the story here. They need to call the hotel and report it to GP if unsuccessful.

  25. This is my exchange with the Twitter Hyatt concierge:

    ME: is there a diff b/w all cash + DSU and P&C + DSU. They have the former, but not the latter.
    1h 1 hour ago

    Hyatt Concierge
    Yes there is a difference. There is limited rooms with P+C and DSU awards. ^PR

  26. @DCS You incorrectly represent the Hyatt program by putting the word “guaranteed” alone in quotes. The correct policy is “guaranteed at the time of booking”

    If I am booking a stay over New Years at either the Park Hyatt Tokyo or Conrad Tokyo six months in advance, it is worth more to me to be GUARANTEED THE SUITE AT THE TIME I BOOK IT at PHT then to spend those six months praying that we don’t all end up crammed into a Twin Room at the Conrad.

  27. @Tokyo Hyatt Fan says: “The correct policy is “guaranteed at the time of booking””

    Nothing is “guarantee” at any time or, once more, we would not have so many comments by Hyatt Diamonds complaining about not being able to use their DSUs.

    Upgrades cannot possibly be “guaranteed at the time of booking” if they depend on availability at check-in which is not easy to determine….

  28. @gary
    I’m confused about how adamant you are about the “policy”. I see numerous phone call examples, and a pretty blatant Twitter Hyatt Concierge statement in the comments section. If it should be different, what do you suggest that we do when someone says that C+P Suite upgrade availability is different?

  29. Gary, you write “Diamond Suite Upgrade is valid on any paid rate bookable through a Hyatt channel).”. Per the terms and conditions in Gold Passport, it must be an “eligible” paid rate. With “ineligible” paid rates, such as the Friends and Family Rate, DSUs are not able to be applied…according to the letter of the law. Found this out the hard way.

  30. @Gary: thank you so much for this post. Long story short, I was able to use DSU on my stay (just partial for 3 nights out of 5, but hopefully something miracle will happen at checkin 🙂 ) Long story: I called GP at least 5 times to try to apply my suite upgrade to my February stay at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki and have been turned down due to unavailability. Today I finally found the suite open up on the last 3 nights of my stay on their website and called in to use the DSU. However, the first 3 reps told me CP + DSU is not available even though I told them that I saw availability. They kept insisting that the availability for CP + DSU is different from that of Cash + DSU. I almost gave up and after a few thoughts, finally decided to call in and switch the last 3 nights to full cash (the rates is not too bad, and suite for 3 nights is better than none right?) and put all my points to the first two nights. For this option I would be able to save a few $$$ too. However, the super nice rep who took my phone told me that I “should be able to upgrade to Suite regardless of the rates I book AS LONG AS SUITE IS AVAILABLE”. She also said that the CP + DSU will show up as unavailable for DSU (even though there is standard cash availability) but this is not true and the agent should still apply the upgrade. She seemed like a more experienced and thoughtful rep, rather than just being someone taking phone calls (shout out to this excellent Hyatt rep). So, voila, I was booked into the ocean front suite, on Cash and Points rates, which will be great help for my family of 4. Apparently the message Hyatt is giving out regarding CP + DSU is inconsistent and for now sadly HUAC is the best way to go.

    Being elite with Hilton, Marriott, and newly Hyatt, and having been upgraded many times at check-ins, I think the nice thing about Hyatt Suite upgrade is that I can confirm it at booking so I know before my arrival to set expectation and don’t have to ask for suite (like, the feeling of coming in with a suite reservation is way way way greater than coming in and ask for one). This is also extremely important when making reservations for family or travel in big group of friends (3 – 4 people). If one property does not have suite upgrade available at the time I book, I can switch to another one in the same city (this is extremely true in cities with a lot of Hyatts like Chicago, Denver, etc.) I don’t need suite upgrades all the time but Hyatt give me the option to get one when I want. When I travel by myself for work (which is the more popular type of travel that I do), if I get a suite, thats great, if not, I don’t care, I usually got the nicer rooms anyway. 4 confirmed suites are very useful if used correctly (i.e. for family trip). Last but not least, I was offered to upgrade without DSU at checkins sometimes too.

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