Hyatt Confirms Changes to Cash and Points, New Premium Suite Upgrades, and More

Last week I wrote that week that Hyatt was expected to make big changes to cash and points awards and introduce premium suite awards. Hyatt has now done so. There are more details to these changes — and more changes — than had been previously reported.

Hyatt Introducing Premium Suite Awards and Upgrades

Hyatt’s upgrade benefits are the best in the industry. They are the only major program that lets top tier elites confirm upgrades to suites at time of booking when any standard suite is available, rather than waiting until check-in. In addition standard suites that are available at check-in are in the upgrade pool for Globalists too.

Neither Hilton nor IHG Rewards Club offer upgrades to suites in the terms of their programs. Marriott offers upgrades to available standard suites at check-in only.

In addition Hyatt has the best suite redemption offering, allowing members to spend about 60% more points for a standard suite than a regular room. IHG doesn’t offer suite redemption benefits at all. Hilton charges for suites based on the price of the suite, with points prices effectively paying in cash.

Hyatt is going a step further making premium suites available to members for free night redemption, on cash and points redemptions, and redeeming points for upgrades starting November 1.

Here’s Hyatt’s award chart with new premium room awards:

Hotel Category Standard Room Points Per Night Club Room Points Per Night Standard Suite Points Per Night Premium Suite Points Per Night
1 5,000 7,000 8,000 10,000
2 8,000 12,000 13,000 16,000
3 12,000 17,000 20,000 24,000
4 15,000 21,000 24,000 30,000
5 20,000 27,000 32,000 40,000
6 25,000 33,000 40,000 50,000
7 30,000 39,000 48,000 60,000
Miraval Resorts 45,000 N/A 75,000 105,000
* Miraval redemptions cost 20,000 additional points for 2nd guest.

Here’s Hyatt’s upgrade chart with new premium room awards:

Room Upgrade Award Points Per Night
Club Upgrade 3,000
Suite Upgrade 6,000
Premium Suite Upgrade 9,000

In addition Hyatt is eliminating the minimum stay requirement for suite redemptions.


Splash Suite at the Andaz 5th Avenue

I’ve asked Hyatt to clarify several things about their new premium suite redemptions and upgrades.

  • What is the definition of a premium suite?
  • If a premium suite is available for purchase does a hotel have to make it available on points the way they do with standard suites?
  • Is there any way to access premium suites with Globalist confirmed suite upgrades, or is this planned as points redemptions only as it appears?
  • Do all hotels which offer premium suites have to make those available, or is it on a hotel-by-hotel or opt-in basis?
  • Are there changes to the program terms and conditions and if so what are they?

For someone like me who values the accommodations I’m in, who wants access to suites, and that has more points than available leisure time to use them these changes have the potential to be huge and to make stays really special.


Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi

Cash and Points Awards Becoming 50% Points, 50% Cash

Today hotels receive the cash portion of a cash and points award, plus about a third of the hotel’s average daily rate from Hyatt. However unlike standard awards when a hotel is considered full they do not get extra compensation for the room.

These awards work on a fixed chart basis. You pay half the usual number of points along with a fixed cash co-pay to book a cash and points award if it’s available. It’s a great value at category 2 through 6 hotels, and not very good for categories 1 and 7:

Hyatt confirms that effective November 1 they are changing cash and points to be 50% of the number of points for a free night award (as it is today) plus 50% of the cash rate.

Standard room cash and points awards are being introduced for MGM Resort Destinations in Las Vegas and Hyatt Residence Club resorts as well. And cash and points is being extended to suites, premium suites, and to redemptions at Miraval.

Hotel Category Standard Room Cash & Points Standard Suite Cash & Points Premium Suite Cash & Points
1 2,500  + 50% of the Standard Rate for standard rooms 4,000  + 50% of the Standard Rate for standard suites 5,000  + 50% of the Standard Rate for premium suites
2 4,000  + 50% of the Standard Rate for standard rooms 6,500  + 50% of the Standard Rate for standard suites 8,000  + 50% of the Standard Rate for premium suites
3 6,000  + 50% of the Standard Rate for standard rooms 10,000  + 50% of the Standard Rate for standard suites 12,000  + 50% of the Standard Rate for premium suites
4 7,500  + 50% of the Standard Rate for standard rooms 12,000  + 50% of the Standard Rate for standard suites 15,000  + 50% of the Standard Rate for premium suites
5 10,000  + 50% of the Standard Rate for standard rooms 16,000  + 50% of the Standard Rate for standard suites 20,000  + 50% of the Standard Rate for premium suites
6 12,500  + 50% of the Standard Rate for standard rooms 20,000  + 50% of the Standard Rate for standard suites 25,000  + 50% of the Standard Rate for premium suites
7 15,000  + 50% of the Standard Rate for standard rooms 24,000  + 50% of the Standard Rate for standard suites 30,000  + 50% of the Standard Rate for premium suites
Miraval Resorts 22,500 + 50% of the Standard Rate for standard rooms 37,500 + 50% of the Standard Rate for standard suites 52,500 + 50% of the Standard Rate for premium suites
* Miraval redemptions cost 10,000 additional points for 2nd guest.

It’s nice for those looking to book paid nights in suites to be able to reduce the cost with points, however this change eliminates the ability to get ‘outsized value’ from cash and points for standard rooms, where you would redeem a cash and points award when room rates are high yet the hotel is still offering inventory.

Moreover it’s egregious to announce these changes October 23 to go into effect November 1. Members save up points for years with the hope of using their points for special trips. Changing pricing on awards with one week’s notice represents a fundamental violation of trust for a loyalty program.

While it’s true that you could never bank on cash and points being available at a specific property on a given night, that’s no different from an airline changing price on its saver awards without notice whatsoever.

Loyalty programs are (1) based on trust, and (2) intertemporal. They ask members to engage in an activity in advance, and promise benefits in exchange later. Changing the deal with only one week’s notice to members is a deplorable practice that cannot be criticized enough — even when benefits are being added at the same time.

Elimination of United Club Passes for Globalists

Hyatt’s top elite tier comes with 2 United club passes. Presumably United was interested in this deal as a way of recruiting frequent business travel customers to the airline. That deal is ending. Earning or re-qualifying for status will no longer provide United lounge passes next year.

Members earning or re-qualifying for Globalist status will still receive 2 club passes this year. I received mine last week.

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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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Comments

  1. Thanks for posting this. And those are great questions that you’re asking Hyatt. This new premium suites option could be fantastic or worthless, depending on how it’s implemented. I suspect that, above and beyond the answers you get from Hyatt, we’ll have to see how it’s implemented in practice in coming months.

  2. @Gary – Are there any properties that are exempt from these Premium Suite awards? E.g. Andaz Maui, Hyatt/Andaz properties in Japan, that Park Hyatt in Colorado, etc.?

    Btw, I haven’t received ANY United Club passes for the last two years. I get the feeling that they eliminated these passes for top-tier elites a couple of years ago…but forgot to tell us.

  3. Another negative change is a new top tier status starting December 1, two new : communist and socialist. . After globalist , you can earn communist and socialist status

  4. My prediction – the suite change will mean junior suites are standard and what used to be considered a standard suite will get remarked to premium.
    Knigge only time this will help is if you were paying the cash rate at the Park Hyatt Vendome and were already only just going to get a Junior suite using an upgrade.

    My Globalist personal personal concierge Is unaware of these changes changes so I don’t think there is even seven days notice. that’s only true if you read the blogs or flyer talk

  5. This is a significantly worse devaluation than they are letting on. I imagine they wanted to make their program simple by allowing either full points, full cash, or 50% points + 50% cash. However there are two key areas where this is not true.

    Currently for everyone but Globalists, one must pay resort fees for everything but full award stays. Cash+Points rates require a full resort fee. Thus, full points reservations trump Cash+Points rates. The cash copays that are now going away on the Cash+Points rates were lower but offered some solace to paying the full resort fee on these rates.

    Secondly, the cash portion of a Cash+Points rate is based on the standard rate. If you get member discounts or a AAA/AARP discount, then that wouldn’t apply here. Thus, full cash reservations also trump Cash+Points rates. Sometimes there isn’t a significant difference between the AAA rate and the best available rate, but other times there can be substantial savings.

    From my view, there is no reason now to purchase Cash+Points rates, especially when redeeming at resorts. For me, it’s now full points or full cash with choosing Hyatt hotels.

  6. It says this starts Nov 1st but does mean bookings after that date or stays after that day? I just looked up future stays (Hyatt Regency Hakone) and their C+P stays for May 2019 are currently 12.5k + 50% standard rate (~$183 currently) instead of 12.5k + $150.

  7. Gary, thank you for providing thorough reporting!

    One weeks notice isn’t great, but I’d be looking at zero notice if I relied on Hyatt!

  8. P&C now becomes largely something the uninformed do to save cash regardless of the value. Massive devaluation. “However this change eliminates the ability to get ‘outsized value’ from cash and points for standard rooms” …. and for me and sure others… this represents another nail in the coffin for WOH cobranded credit cards. Why bother with all this complexity and last minute changes…. go with a no-annual fee cashback card.

  9. Logic is completely off on Cat 7 C&P. If the PH New York or PH Sydney is going for over $1k/night and you can use C&P, how is that a bad deal? Its only a bad deal if the ADR + Tax is less than $600/night.

  10. @Gary – I’ve had disagreements with your fellow BA bloggers on this. If a Cat 7 is going for $1k/night how is spending 30k points better than paying 15k points + $300? The latter gives 4.66c+ of value per point, former 3.33c. Your calculation doesn’t take into account the ADR of the property. It only gives an arbitrary value based on what the cash portion of the C&P rate is.

  11. @BB – you are buying back those extra 15,000 points you’d spend for an award for $300, that’s spending 2 cents per Hyatt point. Would you ever buy points from Hyatt for 2 cents each?

  12. @Gary Any word on if date changes to existing c+p bookings made after 11/1 will be honored under the old c+p terms? Thinking of making numerous placeholder c+p bookings for 2019 and then adjusting dates as needed so would be SUPER helpful to know the answer to this so that I and I’m sure many others don’t waste tons of timing do this if it won’t work.

    Overall incredibly annoyed at Hyatt for this change and the ridiculous 8 days of advance notice. Like a huge WTF to Hyatt.

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