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?
I try to focus on the positive, one might now actually have a chance to book the Andaz Maui (as an example) using points. I have been trying for ages and can never seem to see space. These properties, Alila Big Sur is another one, are just so high in demand that of course they had to do this. Now, it might actually make them more attainable for their best customers who are sitting on tons of points but never have the ability to find space at high demand hotels.
You’re too optimistic. I expect this will do absolutely nothing to reduce demand, which will give Hyatt license to raise rates again next year.
@Matthew. In the end, as painful as it is, isn’t that how a business should react to demand? The solution is less blame towards these brands and the hope that new ones will emerge as a result to provide more competition.
I was just in Maui two weeks ago – had no problem getting premium suite award space at both the Regency and Andaz about 6 weeks out from check in. 4 nights at each. While the breakfast isn’t as good at the regency, in a few ways I liked it more. On balance, I don’t think the Andaz is worth [nearly] 3x the cash rate as the Regency. As for points…I also think the premium suite I got at the Regency for 50K was better than the one at Andaz for 60K. Just my 2 cents.
I wish I had your luck with Andaz. I have tried virtually every time I am on the west coast to get a 4-5 quick getaway there and it’s always quoting over $1K a night paid and no redemptions available.
Does this really surprise anyone? Properties whether their Hyatt owned or franchises are constantly raising rates and reducing the value in return sadly this trend will continue into 22/23 maybe just maybe as a downturn comes things will level off and maybe even drop. We are planning a return trip to Southern Africa long delayed for 2023. Our agent said that a vast majority of his client taking lengthy international trips have delayed into 2023.
Look no further than Hawaii to see how ownership is hammering guest.
@Ghostrider54o8: While I agree that the move to category 8 doesn’t really surprise me, the way that hotel categories are selected is based purely on occupancy which is why the Park Hyatt Maldives isn’t always even a Category 7 let alone 8, and why there are Hyatt Place properties that hit category 5 – so it’s not necessarily that the hotels simply cost more to cost more.
All this really means is that being loyal to any hotel chain makes less and less sense…you can get basic perks through credit cards (which seems to be what the really want anyway). Outside of the price increases for the ‘best’ properties, they seriously limit award space anyway so why bother trying to earn Hyatt (or Hilton or Marriott) points. I think people are better off earning MR and UR then transferring as needed or just using the CSR 1.5c redemption rate which is better than you get with most loyalty programs – and that doesn’t figure in the bonus earnings in certain categories. If Amex Plat had the same 1.5c redemption and you could book FHR using those points I would say you are almost always better off doing that. It will be short lived and will be even worse a year from now. Thanks Hyatt – no reason for me to go out of my way to stay at your properties anymore now that you’re not much different than Hilton and Marriott.
Exactly! Free agency is the way to go for most people who travel to a variety of places. The likes of Hyatt are often overpriced compared to local competition, and won’t always offer a hotel where you want it, and/or at the service level/price point you want for that particular stay. This is a much more straightforward market than the airline one, and, for many, the dividends of loyalty are hardly worth bothering with.
Lets be honest… The park Hyatt Paris with free parking and room service breakfast for two at 30K points was too good to be true. I’m glad I got to experience it at that price. I’m hoping the Flagship hotels that are going up to Cat 8 continue to keep their high levels of service. If half of the guests are US members redeeming points then the hotel isn’t really incentivized to be that generous. If this cuts down on those redemptions a bit, it could be a good thing in the long run. In reality, if you’re able to snag one of these hotels on an off-peak date, you’re still getting a great deal.
I’m more miffed about Gild Hall, the Confidante, and the Hill Country Resort moving to Cat 5. Those to me, are bigger losses. A sliver of good news, the Centric in Portland moved to a Cat 3. That’s a fantastic property that treats Globalists well!
While I’m unhappy about these changes, anyone who understands basic economics knows equilibrium prices are ultimately determined by supply and demand. If 10% of all Hyatt members want to redeem 30K points to stay at Ventana Big Sur, and this squeezes out cash bookings, then it’s not hard to predict what Hyatt will [have to] do in time.
The other thing is inflation, which has impacted nearly every sector of the economy from food prices to real estate prices to labor/wage costs. We can also lament the fact that McDonald’s and Wendy’s no longer have true $1 menus, but most of us have more productive things to do.
Meanwhile, an Accor point was worth 2 eurocents under the Le Club scheme, was still worth 2 eurocents when they changed to the ALL scheme, and continues to be worth 2 eurocents another 3-4 years down the line. I get it, it’s not very exciting, but it does work very reliably, particularly if you happen to be unable to reach, or not interested in reaching, the top echelons of elite status.
@ Jerry — Let’s also be honest that the Park Hyatt Paris is overrated, outdated, overpriced, etc. I get way more value at the IC LeGrand as a Royal Ambassador, without all of the PH attitude.
I haven’t been there, but I have read a couple of detailed reviews, and it looks like it doesn’t hold a candle to the Meliå where I stayed during my last visit (which is also much less expensive, although I appreciate that La Defense may not be everyone’s cup of tea).
Gene is pretty much correct. It had a refresh but is still a bit meh. And don’t bother booking unless you can somehow get a suite using upgrades or paying premium points. The standard rooms are TINY. I mean, really tiny, even for Paris.
What it does offer is a great location. Can’t really be beat. As well, a beautiful courtyard during warm weather for cocktails etc.
So true. Had a cat 7 free night to blow while in Paris last year, but I didn’t even bother with the PH. So meh. Stayed at Le Narcisse Blanc (SLH) instead. Lovely property and great service.
I don’t get all this hate on the Park Hyatt. The location is perfect and the rooms are small but really cool with the sculptures.
This is just a symptom of the general inflationary malaise we have in the economy.
First it was the trump tax cuts, an attempt by white Republican men to corner the country’s resources and freeload, then it was the pandemic relief by the congress to all the losers who live on the financial edge, all the while being helped by powells QE. Now, AOC, and Bernie are pushing millennials to ask for student debt relief.
Besides this debt relief being continuation of the freeloading that Americans have become famous for, it will also be very inflationary. Please, if any of you have kids that just graduated college, call them and tell them how ashamed you are to be their parent.
Let’s hope this inflation comes under control or we will be a banana republic again in no time, and this time i want to see as many whites as slaves on plantations as non whites. No discrimination.
I don’t get the fuss over dynamic award pricing tbh. But then I’m an Accor Diamond so I guess I can’t miss what I’ve never had
Will the 60 night free night cert now include category 8?
Yes, 40K is bad, but I have to pay 90K to stay in a Sheraton in Mexico City, so I’ll still take Hyatt any day.