Last autumn, Hyatt promised there would be no additional hotel category changes in 2021. But someone changed their mind. In just hours, two of my favorite properties within a 90-minute radius of my house, one to the south in Carlsbad, the other to the north in Santa Barbara, are going up in price.
Hyatt’s Surprise 2021 Category Changes
You would think that during a global pandemic with so many travel restrictions, hotel rates would come down, not go up. Furthermore, Hyatt promised us last October that only four hotels would increase in price in 2021.
That included these four properties:
- Hyatt House Nashville/Downtown-SoBro – category 4 to category 5
- Hyatt Regency John Wayne Airport – category 2 to category 3
- Mar Monte Hotel – category 4 to category 5
- Park Hyatt Aviara – category 5 to category 6
But yesterday, Hyatt announced seven additional hotels would go up in price effective March 25, 2021:
- Andaz Scottsdale – category 5 to category 6
- Hyatt Place Delano – category 1 to category 2
- Hyatt Place Fair Lawn/Paramus – category 1 to category 2
- Hyatt Place Houston Downtown – category 3 to category 2
- Hyatt Place Palm Bay/Melbourne – category 1 to category 2
- Hyatt Regency Dharamshala – category 2 to category 3
- Hyatt Regency Grand Reserve Puerto Rico – category 3 to category 4
The changes are not earth shattering, but nevertheless represent broken trust.
But what I recently noticed for the first time was that two properties near and dear to me are going up in price:
Mar Monte (Unbound Collection) Goes From Category 4 To Category 5
I knew this would happen after the hotel completed a total remodel and update of its property. During construction, the (former) manager assured me that this hotel would not go up in category, but the decision was beyond his control.
For years, this property has been a steal as a category four, with rates often running over $300/night. That made it a compelling use of the free anniversary night from the World of Hyatt credit card from Chase.
I love coming to this property with my family. My parents love it too. Our inability to use our free night award won’t keep us away, but it is disappointing nonetheless.
Note, this category change was announced last fall.
> Review: Mar Monte Hotel (plus a follow-up review)
Park Hyatt Aviara Goes From Category 5 to Category 6
Most people I talk to do not like this property, but my wife and I enjoy it. It’s an easy drive from LA, the grounds are lush, I love the spa, breakfast is tasty, and we usually score a suite upgrade.
Since I last reviewed the property, it has been remodeled. I look forward to returning.
The move from Category 5 to 6 means that a room now runs 25,000 World of Hyatt Points per night.
Note, this category change was also announced last fall.
> Review: Park Hyatt Aviara
If I am being fair, one reason I like the Mar Monte and Park Hyatt Aviara is because I generally scored a good value using points versus paying cash. Closing those loopholes of outsized value are always a question of when, not if. Nevertheless, I hate to see the price go up on two properties I am particularly fond of. Furthermore, Haytt’s decision to raise the price on seven more properties appears penny wise, pound foolish in terms of building trust, the foundation of any loyalty program.
How do the last-minute World of Hyatt category changes impact you?
I’m with you in seeing this as being shortsighted. If Hyatt was going to break their word they should have done so on something big enough to be worthwhile. I also agree completely that there should be gobs of hotels going down in category. In short, Hyatt is acting in a way that seemingly defies explanation. Add in the rather onerous impending changes to the award chart and things aren’t looking so rosy for Hyatt loyalists like you or I. I’m not jumping ship but I won’t pretend that I’m happy about a stream of customer-unfriendly moves.
“Penny wise, pound foolish” is a very apt characterisation of Hyatt more broadly. They pretty much lost me over the ludicrous emasculation of Gold Passport a few years ago, to the extent I went from 40 nights to fewer than 10 (…and not to zero only because I’m fond of a couple of properties in Europe)
So painful. 11 hotels cost 5,000 more points per night. Ouch. I’m crying , losing sleep. The entire world is dealing with job loss and other issues I think I’ll go cry about my Hyatt points now being useless. Wow, what a world we live in.
Fully agree. As a fellow LA County resident, I’m thoroughly disappointed these two are going up in price. You should definitely take another trip to Aviara in the near future. It’s significantly nicer with the remodel and the heated zero-entry pool was a treat for the kids.
Park Hyatt Aviara is Resort Factory at it’s best. It feels like I’m in a McMansion Development with a hotel. I have tried it twice in the past three years and was very under impressed. Completely characterless.
I am REALLY excited though for the Alila in Encinatas. Beautiful property and rooms from the photos. It opens next week and am going to try to get there this month before the rates go wild, and I think they will by summer.
Inflation. Unlimited money = eventual higher prices
Where did you find that change? Official website shows no changes: https://www.hyatt.com/en-US/info/coronavirus-statement?icamp=hy_cvstatement_jan2020_alertbanner_en#woh-member
Delano was the only Category 1 property in California. Looks like I’m not the only person that did a globalist mattress run there.
Aww there there.
I’ve got a couple of Cat 1-4 Free nights ready to spend at Mar Monte. What a shame!
Not sure WHY so many of you are freaking out about Hyatt category changes in pretty boring US cities.
Haven’t you guys travelled often enough to realize that redeeming points in US and Western hotels properties is an absolute WASTE???
There are TONS of cat 2-3-4 properties in other parts of the world especially Asia and South East that are 10 times better that these weatern properties. For the same ammount of points or less, I’d rather spend 5 nights at Grand Hyatt KL than 1 night in a super boring western city.
Wow the prices will go up? Inflation rate due to Covid? We should check other hotels, there prices is going up too.
I may be a bit too Hyatt Fan Boy but I have no real issue with this. Seems minor. But that’s me. And less egregious than some of the things Bonvoy pulls. Quite frankly the Andaz Scottsdale is a fantastic property and was always surprised at how it was Cat 5. Its well worth the Cat 6 redemption rates. And with so many suites there it’s usually easy to secure upgrades.
The Mar Monte was a great hotel to use our Anniversary nights on.
Not only did the hotel go up in category but the rooms got uglier. The beds used to be amazing. Now they have the cheapest metal bed frames that are also a huge design element in the room. It doesn’t work. They brought in mismatched furniture from what looks like a thrift store. They kind of ruined it. It’s hilarious that they think this is Category 5 now.
We were forced to use our points at Hyatt Place on an industrial portion of State St. Whatever you do, do not stay here. Not sure where I’ll use my Anniversary Nights now. Thanks for the post. It made me feel like I wasn’t alone!
Thanks for the data point on the Hyatt Place. I was considering trying it because it does have a pool. How was the breakfast there?
Honestly, the breakfast was just packaged muffins and bagels. Juice, coffee, hard boiled eggs and frozen breakfast sandwich or burrito upon request.
Somehow they managed to build this hotel on a thin strip of land really meant for something industrial. It has a dorm-like quality. I don’t recommend it. Rooms are small, despite them claiming they are 450 sq feet. Barely 300. I really wish it had been better, believe me!