How Hyatt’s New Premium Suite Awards and Upgrades Work

Yesterday Hyatt confirmed that new premium suite award nights and upgrades become available November 1 at the same time they’re making changes to cash and points awards.

Hyatt has been the best hotel loyalty program for suite upgrades and awards for many years. Their full service properties skew higher end, so they have many hotels with great suites, and their:

  • 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.

  • Award nights and points upgrades for suites are also best, allowing members to spend about 60% more points for a standard suite than a regular room or a modest number of points to confirm a suite on a paid rate.

    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.

Redeeming a free night in a premium suite is twice the number of points as a standard room. Upgrading a qualifying paid reservation to a premium suite is 50% more points than upgrading to a standard suite. No other program currently offers anything like this.

This change allows members to spend additional points to confirm a premium suite rather than a standard suite. Premium suites are for redemption only, not Globalist confirmed upgrades or space available upgrades at check-in.

When yesterday’s announcement was made several questions were unanswered. At this point a new premium suite redemption feature seems like a real positive, however ultimately just how valuable it is will vary hotel-by-hotel


Park Hyatt Chennai

What are Premium Suites?

Premium suites are one category above standard suites. However they specifically exclude named suites as determined by each hotel.

According to Hyatt’s terms and conditions “Specialty, Premier, Presidential or Diplomatic Suite or similar suite categories” are not considered premium suites and are not available under this benefit.

Do All Hotels Have to Offer Upgrades to Premium Suites?

Hotels that consider themselves to have premium suites participate — except that properties that are exempt from the existing suite upgrade program are also exempt from the premium suite upgrade program. That disappoints me.

I understand, for instance, that the Park Hyatt Sydney isn’t considered to offer any standard suites (although the Opera View Deluxe King seems like what many hotels consider a standard suite to me, this property doesn’t consider it a suite so you can’t redeem points or confirm an upgrade for it). However I was hoping that the hotel’s entry level suites like a Cove Suite would be considered a premium suite.


Park Hyatt Sydney Opera Deluxe Room is akin to a Junior Suite

Similarly all of the rooms at the Park Hyatt Hadahaa Maldives are suites by some definition, I had hoped that a one category upgrade (land villa with pool) might be considered a premium suite. No dice.

Specifically the following hotels are exempt:

  • Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa
  • Park Hyatt Sydney
  • Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills
  • Hyatt Regency Kyoto
  • Hyatt Regency Wichita
  • Hyatt Paris Madeleine
  • Hyatt Herald Square New York
  • Hyatt Key West Resort and Spa
  • Hyatt City of Dreams Manila
  • Hyatt Centric South Beach Miami
  • Spirit Ridge at NK’MIP Resort
  • Hyatt Rosemont


Hyatt Herald Square Rooms 164 – 180 square feet

In addition Hyatt Place properties, MGM M life properties, and Ziva and Zilara resorts are excluded.

Are there Capacity Controls on Premium Suites?

Standard suites are available for confirmed upgrade and points redemptions whenever a room defined by the hotel as a standard suite is available for sale. Some agents and even some hotels have been confused on this point in the past, but it’s how the program works.

The premium suite award and upgrade program will not work the same way. According to Hyatt “”Premium Suites awards may have limited inventory and is subject to availability. A limited number of rooms may be allocated for these awards, and availability may vary by hotel and resort.”


Park Hyatt Tokyo

How This Will Work in Practice

Premium suites are going to vary a great deal from property to property. Some hotels have several different room categories, and others have very few. Some properties also play games with their room categories.

The Andaz Wall Street used to offer a true suite as its standard suite. They changed the name of their junior suite (XL King room) to Andaz Suite, and then began assigning that to members redeeming for a suite or using top tier elite confirmed upgrades. Presumably one category up — a premium suite — will be what the hotel used to call a standard suite.


Andaz Wall Street XL King Becomes a ‘Standard Suite’

The Andaz Maui used to have a basic two room suite as its standard suite, but carved out a separate category with a handful of ground floor rooms without view or much light as its standard suite. Perhaps we’ll be able to get back access to the rooms we used to have there spending more rooms for a premium suite. Unfortunately premium suites can be capacity controlled by the property.

On the other hand there are hotels with amazing standard suites today. If we can access suites that are even more special that’s going to be an incredible benefit. Over time some of those though may redefine standard suites down, and make the old standard suites the new premium suites.

Ultimately we’re going to have to wait and see what hotels do — both at launch November 1, and in the future. I asked Hyatt for examples of specific suites at some of their properties that would be available using this benefit but they haven’t yet shared that information.

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. I have noticed over the last year or so on Hyatt.com there being a designation on most suite listings. Either “This is a standard suite” or “This is a premium suite.” As a Globalist, at properties with more than one “standard suite” listed, I’ve been able to choose. Hopefully, this will work the same way for premium suites. Presidential suites were never listed as a premium suite, fwiw.

  2. @ Gary — IC Royal Ambassador benefits are still the best, at least on paid stays. At many IC hotels, guaranteed 2-category upgrades are still awesome values if you are willing to book higher than entry level rooms. There are exceptions to this, but in the end I believe we can land an excellent suite with a nice club lounge for less at a comparable IC over a Hyatt most of the time. That said, more and more of our business is going to Hyatt, as I prefer the predictably and treatment on award stays. I’m slowly coming around….

  3. It’s going to be terrible. Hotels will game this. And a lot less suites will be available for Globalist check in upgrades since non-elites will be redeeming more.

  4. Exactly the same as what’s happening with premium economy. For all intents and purposes, premium economy is the new business and business is the new first, except premium economy is a significantly worse product that business used to be. There’s no such thing as an enhancement that actually enhances the customer experience. The only thing they’re meant to enhance are shareholder earnings and executive compensation. Hyatt is a joke of a hotel program with their coverage and their only advantage is their points are actually worth something. Devaluating their one advantage like this is dumb.

  5. This sounds like a logistical nightmare accompanied by poor implementation and follow through and wide variability where the customer is the one that ultimately gets screwed. i.e. success as defined by those in the Hyatt C-Suite.

  6. People can be strange with their money, but just how appealing is “allowing members to spend about 60% more points for a standard suite than a regular room”? I like a room upgrade as much as the next guy — and I’ve had countless upgrades over the years — but my willingness to pay “real money” (or real points) for that upgrade is extremely limited. About 90% of the time I’m checking into a hotel, I’m doing it because I need a bed and a bathroom. More space is certainly nice, but I don’t “need it” so I’m not going to pay for it. Sure, there are exceptions — a limited number of hotels have great suites, and there are certain times (celebration/entertaining) where I really NEED a bigger room, but this whole idea of paying for upgrades isn’t something that’s going to factor into my loyalty program participation.

  7. Hyatt Rosemont is exempt? As in IL, near ORD?

    That’s some real delusions of grandeur for sure.

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