Your latest redemption changes to the World of Hyatt program are very disappointing, albeit hardly surprising. But what am I going to do, defect to Hilton or Marriott? The sad reality is that you made these changes…because you know full well you will get away with them.
Hyatt 2022 Devaluation – Welcome Category 8…
Outsized values don’t last. The Ventana Big Sur at 30,000 points per night? One of the best points deals of all time. Of course it’s not going to last. Storied Park Hyatt hotels like Milan, Paris, Sydney, and New York? Always an incredible deal. Too good to last, really.
And that’s the point. The value of Hyatt compared to that of Marriott or Hilton or IHG was simply too divergent and Hyatt is wising up to the fact that it can raise redemption rates and still offer far better value than other programs.
I do not really care to debate the footprint issue today. I absolutely concede that Hyatt’s more-limited footprint is a problem for many travelers. No question about it. And Hyatt’s lack of ubiquitous presence is exactly why it must offer a more attractive loyalty program and more compelling redemption options: because in many cases you do have to go out of your way to stay in Hyatt.
Even so, most of us saw this change approaching.
Which Hyatt Hotels Are Moving to Category 8?
Today Hyatt announced that nine flagship properties are moving to Category 8, marking the first time that a Hyatt property (not just independent properties from Small Luxury Hotels of the World any longer) has moved beyond Category 7.
Practically, that means the following nine hotels are moving to Category 8:
- Alila Napa Valley
- Alila Ventana Big Sur
- Andaz Maui at Wailea
- Park Hyatt Kyoto
- Park Hyatt Milan
- Park Hyatt New York
- Park Hyatt Niseko
- Park Hyatt Paris
- Park Hyatt Sydney
Category 8 hotels cost between 35,000 and 45,000 points per night (35,000 during off-peak periods, 40,000 during standard periods, and 45,000 during peak periods).
Practically, this means that the redemption price of these hotels above will rise up to 50% versus one year ago (Hyatt introduced peak pricing in 2021; before that the max price at any of these hotels was 30,000 points per night).
That’s really my primary concern, but those are not the only changes Hyatt announced today. As usual each year, hotels are moving up and down. In particular, 146 hotels are changing categories, with 70 moving higher and 76 moving lower. As has been the trend, the hotels moving to a higher category tend to be on the more luxurious side while those moving down are primarily limited-service properties. The vast majority of hotel category changes in the USA represent increases. You can view the full list here.
Of note, the Gild Hall Thompson in New York City is moving from Category 4 to 5. Sadly, there are many Hyatt properties moving from 4 to 5, which makes the Hyatt Credit Card from Chase much less valuable (though still worthwhile).
You can still book under prevailing rates until March 22, 2022 at 8:00AM CT.
Hyatt Will Get Away With It…And Expect More Devaluation Next Year
With Marriott moving to full dynamic pricing and Hilton already there, Hyatt remains the only major hotel loyally program that retains fixed award charts. And the sad (happy?) thing is that even with these changes, Hyatt remains a very lucrative loyalty program both in relative and absolute metrics.
And that’s exactly why Hyatt will get away with this. I still consider it a punch in the gut because Hyatt assured us they had “no plans” to move Hyatt properties into Category 8 when that top tier was introduced a few years ago (of course we all saw through that). A 50% increase is huge.
Nevertheless, demand for luxury hotels is through the roof right now and Hyatt is merely responding to the competitive landscape. Today’s news comes as a gut punch we expected.
Hyatt introduced Category 7 in 2014 (Category 8 in 2018). Hopefully we will go another four years before Category 9 is introduced…but in the meantime, we can expect more key properties to move up in category each year…bet on that. You still have a month to take advantage of current rates.
Will today’s announcement from Hyatt alter your loyalty to the chain at all?