Back in the fall Hyatt announced 15 hotels that would change redemption category but otherwise declared they would ‘suspend 2021 hotel category changes’.
That didn’t turn out to hold. They’ve just added 11 hotels that are changing categories, 10 of which are going up in redemption price Thursday, March 25, 2021, at 8:00 am CDT:
|Hyatt Place Houston Downtown||3||2|
|Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Bungalows||5||6|
|Park Hyatt Aviara||5||6|
|Mar Monte Hotel||4||5|
|Hyatt House Nashville/Downtown-SoBro||4||5|
|Hyatt Regency Grand Reserve Puerto Rico||3||4|
|Hyatt Regency Dharamshala Resort||2||3|
|Hyatt Regency John Wayne Airport||2||3|
|Hyatt Place Delano||1||2|
|Hyatt Place Fair Lawn/Paramus||1||2|
|Hyatt Place Palm Bay/Melbourne||1||2|
Park Hyatt Aviara
Redemptions for future travel made before 8 a.m. Central on Thursday, March 25 will be at the lower category price. Existing bookings at Hyatt Place Houston Downtown, which is going down in category, will get credited with the points difference automatically starting Friday, March 26 (no need to rebook).
This brings the total of announced changes to 26 properties, which doesn’t seem like ‘suspending category changes’. While 2019 involved a lot of movement (equal number of properties going up and down), 2018 (also a normal year) saw just 9 hotels change category.
What’s odd here is that redemption categories should be dropping fairly broadly across the board not holding steady or increasing.
- Hotel average rates determine reimbursement paid by the chain, and therefore the points World of Hyatt charges members.
- Facing the worst times in the industry’s history, we should be seeing major downward revision in hotel categories.
Of course Hyatt’s redemption structure is most similar to how Starwood’s used to work, and Starwood didn’t reduce its hotel categories after a disastrous 2009 either. Members face higher redemption prices when times in the hotel industry are good, but don’t benefit from the flipside when times are tough.
And Hyatt still plans to devalue with the introduction of peak and off-peak pricing starting July 1, 2021.
Hyatt is the last major program to retain true fixed award chart pricing. That provided great value to members. When rates are low you spend cash at a hotel. When they’re high you spend points. That way you get great value for your points.
Ultimately I don’t see raising award prices at 10 hotels as being worth reversing course on ‘suspending category changes’. And introducing high and low season pricing (peak and off-peak) means you’re much more likely to get average value for your points relative to the cost of a room, and much less likely to get outsized value. That’s the real devaluation we can look forward to in July.