Andaz West Hollywood Discovered a Loophole in the World of Hyatt Program

Andaz West Hollywood appears to be placing a 3-night minimum stay requirement on their entry level room types throughout the year.

What seems odd at first glance, until you dig deeper, is that they are imposing these 3 night minimum restrictions on both revenue bookings (paid reservations) and award bookings (free night awards) for the 1 King Bed and 2 Queen room types. And they are not doing this for the rest of their rooms.

Available for 3 nights, but not if you reduce your stay to 1 or 2 nights

Here’s the rub: the lowest room category at the hotel covers ‘1 King Bed’ and ‘2 Queen Bed ADA Tub’. That’s the room cetegory, therefore, assigned to free nights. So free nights always have 3 night minimum stays.

And the especially nefarious part: they seem to have carved out a limited set of these rooms and they appear more or less identical “Hollywood Hills View” room that for all stays under 3 nights is the least expensive room offered anyway.

Andaz West Hollywood, credit: Hyatt

There often isn’t even a difference in rates between the award room type and the non-award room type, although I do see the non-award type pricing $15 higher (even there paid rooms still presented as being less expensive than they really are thanks to a scammy $23.10 per night destination fee.)

The hotel has figured out a way to construct a lowest category room, assigned to free nights, that they rarely sell for cash and can use to make fewer nights available for redemption. And of course if this property can do it, others will model.

A week ago Hyatt told me that revenue management was “connecting with the hotel this week to further investigate what is driving the property to set the minimum stay requirement.” Even though what the hotel is doing is technically compliant, it seemed like Hyatt might give them a talking to and fix things.

Unfortunately Hyatt has come back to me re-confirming that what the hotel is doing is within the program’s terms and rather than the hoped-for change in practice, they merely say that they are hoping hotels don’t start doing this a lot.

[W]e can confirm the hotel is operating within World of Hyatt program rules; hotels may set a minimum stay requirement, as long as it applies to both paid rates and redemption stays. The hotel and World of Hyatt program team continuously review and manage their strategies and will work to keep this stay strategy to a minimum.

Andaz West Hollywood, credit: Hyatt

It is apparently legitimate to carve out a subset of a hotel’s base rooms, call them something else, and place a minimum stay restriction on them. Then it’s impossible to redeem for fewer than that number of nights. Customers may search night-by-night not even realizing if they search multiple nights together availability would come up. (After all, minimum stay restrictions are only usually used during peak of peak periods when hotel rates are at their highest.)

Some hotels want redemption guests. They fill rooms that would otherwise go unoccupied, and the property receives a premium when the hotel is fully booked. However the most popular properties at peak times are going to get less from the chain for a redemption guest than they can sell the room at for cash.

Hotels that don’t want to make awards available are going to have a path to do this, and Andaz managers talk to each other regularly. A manager at the Andaz Maui once told me that as a group they were addressing how to limit award redemptions. Such a shame, they’re benefiting from customers coming to the property on paid nights out of loyalty to the chain and shortchanging the program on the other end.

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, 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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  1. There’s a pretty big thread on FT of Hyatt hotels moving their standard (award bookable) rooms to only package rates (aka bed & breakfast rate).

    So these hotels, imo, are even worse than Andaz Hollywood because they’re basically hiding their standard rooms under package-only rates, making them unavailable for redemption…EVER. I personally called Hyatt on one hotel and was told there’s nothing to be done.

    As someone in another thread recently said ‘how quickly they forget 2008 and true customer loyalty.’

  2. There is a beautiful symmetry here.

    Hotel (travelers) are gaming the system by playing games with room availablility (status match, odd routing, fuel dump, etc).

    And the hotel (bloggers) communicate to share ideas and strategies.

    Both sides are trying to F the other.

    I think the relationship between business and customer is fundamentally broken.

    But watching Gary bitch about something he makes a living from is glorious. “They’re trying to scam me, not fair”

  3. Considering the rooms for award nights are meant to be standard rooms, it appears the best thing to do would be to require any minimum stay applying to standard rooms must be the minimum stay ‘standard’ for the rest of the hotel. If a hotel wants deluxe rooms, suites, etc. to have harsher minimum stay restrictions, they can, but any minimum stay restriction on standard rooms must be the shortest stay one can book in any room.

  4. @ Gary — Well, there are many better, newer hotels (IC downtown, WA BH, PH, etc, etc) in LA, so we won’t be staying there. The management here must be pretty short-sighted.

  5. @ex-ua plat – couldn’t agree more. I’m tired of hearing bloggers bag on something like Skymiles just because the business is doing what’s right for it while still maintaining customer loyalty. Lots of crying that outsized value isn’t available any longer. However, it’s a shame that Hyatt isn’t policing and modifying WOH and is letting hotels game the system…strange to me in this case that the Andaz Hollywood really wants to be included in the Hyatt brand. Without empty rooms (or plane seats) there’s little reason for a hotel to offer loyalty perks.

  6. That hotel sucks anyway/ I did not get the best service there, the rooms are boring , the pool although nice was freezing cold and the place is noisy as can be. Andaz= always over rated. Too much simplicity makes things confusing, especially their weird as hell lobby design.

  7. I agree with Ex-UA Plat. They are playing within the rules like you claim you are Gary so stop complaining!

  8. I initiated a complaint with Marriott about a hotel doing the same thing and Marriott actually sided with their hotel despite Marriott’s terms clearly stating that standard rooms will be made available, no blackouts etc and stating the exclusions and limitations.

    These exclusions and limitations do not include the majority of legacy Starwood brands. I wanted a reservation at an Aloft and noticed that the hotel had removed ALL standard two queen bed rooms from being available on rewards (as they wanted to revenue sell them and rate was over $300 a night) and the only rooms available on rewards were standard king rooms.

    When I protested, Marriott investigated and a supervisor called me and indicated that all brands of Marriott hotels were allowed to limit the number of standard rooms available, despite their terms clearly indicating that standard rooms have (a) no blackouts and (b) there being no restriction on the availability of standard rooms and (c) there being no exclusion for Aloft hotels.

    While Marriott agreed that the terms didn’t state specifically allow Aloft to do this, they also indicated that Marriott allowed for hotels to restrict the standard room types available (i.e. they can limit standard room availability to just a standard king) and Marriott refused to make the standard two queen room available to me

  9. Interesting that people are so nasty about the double-standard. I’ll admit that’s an amusing perspective but really confused why people who have such a hateful perspective on travel blogging are investing their time reading a travel blog. If you’re “So sick of hearing bloggers complain” why are you reading their blogs?

    That said, I think the case can be made that the hotels are screwing the 98% of loyal customers who aren’t gaming the system – that’s not right whether or not a person gets some cathartic tinglies from seeing bloggers getting “their own medicine”. And it’s disappointing that Hyatt isn’t willing to take action to prevent it. If you’ve ever had a Manager leverage their strength against you and realized you have no recourse, that’s what I think really sucks about this situation.

  10. Two thoughts occur to me. 1) Gaming the system by playing within the fine print of the rules is a two way street. If it’s ok when we do it, then it must be ok when the hotels do it. 2) A hotel with enough business to fill its rooms with paid guests doesn’t need to drive business through free rooms. 3) Business travelers have long memories and will remember which brands got less loyal in the good times when the next recession rolls around, and will remember which brands stuck by the mutual backscratching even when the sun was shining. 4) Marriott maybe can get away with this but I am not sure that Hyatt has the scale to have a program that can jerk around its members this way. 5) Hotel loyalty is a joke in a 10 year bull run; pick a place you like and stay there and pay cash on a 2% card.

  11. Yeah I also hope other hotels don’t start doing this a lot. Just like when Vegas started charging resort fees. Thankfully that trend never caught on.

  12. If the Andaz Hollywood ends up with unsold rooms, they release them into the “standard room” bucket a couple of days out. Easy for last minute stays, sucks for planners. Seems like they are applying “airline” principles for managing room space.

  13. Hyatt Aruba has done similar things with their rooms. Create a couple of rooms in a category no one would pay cash for. Did a Airbnb instead. Will never use this property again.
    On the other hand, last month did a 3 day stay at Andaz Costa Rica with no issue on award availability, no issue using 3 certs. Even got a room upgrade being a lowly discoverist.
    My opinion, they can do whatever they want (see any airline “loyalty” program). So can I. Give my business elsewhere, Airbnb, etc, when I need to.

  14. I wouldn’t stay there in the first place because of the scam “destination fee.” Move your business away from the scoundrels. Who needs them?

  15. I agree with Ex-ua plat and Robert.

    I find it hilarious that bloggers and churners and exploit the rules by doing things such as creating manufactured spend and opening and closing credit cards just to get the welcome bonus. However, when the tables are turned on them by a hotel doing the same thing, they scream and howl like the world is coming to an end.

    You know what they say, karma is a bitch!

  16. @Kevin: stop being stupid. What the hotel is doing affect every customer with any Hyatt points.

  17. Wife and I spent 4 nights early April at the Andaz Singapore. Used points and cash, saved half the rack rate, not bad. Hotel upgraded us to a view room on the 37th floor and treated us like royalty, or at least like crazy rich Asians. Right before this stay we used points at the Park Hyatt Sydney where again they upgraded this lowly Discoverist to a nice view room and, again, treated us very well indeed.

    I jumped off the road warrior treadmill in Q4 ’17. I only go where I want to go now, but I will always remember hotels where I was treated well. Andaz SIN and Park Hyatt SYD get my vote. I mostly pay full fare now, the mass infusions of points and miles from reimbursed business travel are gone. I do take a card from time to time to boost mileage balances but am hardly a churner. I mostly book my hotels now on because the points from Marriott and IHG are just not worth having and I get a nice 10% back from Hyatt and Hilton I book directly because their points still have some value. Everyone else gets me from

    I think this is pretty simple; The whole loyalty program thing took a turn when credit card churning became the primary earning vehicle as opposed to butts in seats or beds. I earned my lifetime AA Plat status the hard way, but I also enjoyed the salad days of the programs when they really worked for those of us who travel. Once I figured out that the guys next to me in AA First Class were more likely card churners than actual frequent fliers I knew the days of great loyalty programs were effectively over. Now is the time of the great unwinding. Calling them “loyalty programs” after they had effectively changed to “card churner scams” is disingenuous. I do it (just used Membership Miles for business class SQ21/22) but I know it is a losing game. Eventually they will dilute the value to the point where it is no longer worth playing the game. IHG and Marriott are just the vanguard. The rest will follow.

  18. So you book at their website, stay the 60 required nights, and spend the money only to qualify to play games about award availability and upgrades???

    Forget it! Moving on to other programs.

  19. No thanks. I get 60-90 nights a year in a hotel room. Hyatt’s small footprint means I can’t get to top tier, and games like this, especially from an inferior, remodeled Holiday-Inn-type elderly Hyatt ratify the fact that although I spend plenty of time in that general area, I *never* stay at this West Hollywood disaster. Hyatt should shoot whoever dreamed this up, but then that hotel should have lost its Hyatt badge in the 90s.

  20. What I’m most concerned about is Hyatt Corporate declaring this anti-“loyalist” strategy as valid and not doing anything to correct it. It’s as if Corporate saw that the hotel wasn’t violating any of their requirements and gave up.
    This is game-changing because once one hotel gets away with it, all properties will adopt this because there’s no recourse. Just like resort fees.
    Hyatt is too small of a chain to risk crap like this to occur. Some properties are crooked and sneaky, but that’s their business strategy. But for Hyatt to allow this to happen like Marriott does? No.
    I suspect that I have to rethink my spending on principle.

  21. Andaz seems to be Bonvoying itself.

    @JetAway beat me to it. Messing with anything ADA is playing with fire — legally or reputation-wise.

  22. I noticed the Tokyo Andaz also does something similar where at times they will not allow you to book single award nights and instead require a two or three night booking to redeem an award. Its obnoxious.

  23. @Lentoasema glad you had a good time with park hyatt Sydney. I got treated like total crap as a discoverist by them. Charged an upgrade fee on an award just to get a view and there was still no view. Never going back to that hotel again.

  24. Just book the required amount of nights and then call Hyatt customer service and tell them to cancel the nights that you don’t need and keep the ones you do. I have done this in the past and it has worked fine.

  25. Anyone remember the early Priceline days when you could score/game a room for $51?

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