Hyatt Announces New, Higher Award Pricing For Several Of Its Best Hotels

Hyatt is making annual hotel category changes – making some hotels to more expensive points redemptions, while making other hotels less expensive, based on the room rates those hotels are projected to achieve. These changes will go into effect at 146 hotels on March 22, 2022 at 8:00 a.m. Central time.

What’s significant here is that even though slightly more hotels will go down in category (76) versus going up in category (70), this should still be seen as a devaluation – and in some cases a big one. For the first time ever Hyatt will charge category 8 prices for hotels that have been in their own portfolio for years, not merely partner hotels or hotels that are part of newly acquired brands. Here’s the full list of changes.

New Category 8 Hotels

10 hotels are going from category 7 up to category 8. That includes 9 hotels that are Hyatt-branded hotels including the Park Hyatt New York, Park Hyatt Paris, and Park Hyatt Sydney.

Park Hyatt Sydney

Most bizarre here, perhaps, is seeing the Andaz Maui go up to category 8 since the hotel is notorious for making it difficult to redeem awards at anyway. The games this property plays, such as exact minimum stay requirements on points (e.g. 3 or 7 nights) and limiting availability to the greatest extent possible should minimize Hyatt’s exposure. I’ve asked if perhaps the hotel is being rated more highly to draw additional points from members in order to fund extra payments to the property to get them to loosen up inventory. I’m looking for a silver lining!

Andaz Maui

Hyatt Said This Wouldn’t Happen, I Told You It Would

When Hyatt introduced category 8 pricing in fall 2018 they said it was just for the highest-end of their SLH partner hotels and they had ” no plans for any Hyatt-branded hotels or resorts to move to a new Category 8.”

I told you to expect it anyway, and that it would happen with hotels they were adding as part of the Two Roads Hospitality acquisition. It took only a year for Destination Residences (part of that acquisition) to get priced as category 8. And now we see several Alilas (also part of that acquisition) with category 8 pricing.

And, of course, we see legacy Hyatt properties in category 8 too – exactly what I said would happen as well despite assurances to the contrary.

Other Notable Changes

Alila Marea goes from category 6 to category 7. This one is likely justified, but boy has the hotel been a great value especially for Globalists. While suites here are scarce, they only have 3 standard suites last I checked, I’ve twice booked award nights confirmed in suites selling for over $2000 a night and benefits have included fabulous breakfasts (the hotel restaurant is very, very good and offers a la carte dining) and free valet parking.

Alila Marea Encinitas

There are several popular hotels that’ll no longer be bookable using category 4 free night certificates, because they are moving from category 4 to 5. These includes Confidante Miami Beach, Gild Hall Thompson (the only Manhattan option that was bookable at category 4 – leaving behind a huge hole) and Park Hyatt Istanbul.

The much-underrated Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress moves from category 3 to 4, and should still be considered for Globalist family Disney trips especially when suites are confirmable.

Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

Also worth noting that Hyatt Place Moab is the only 2 category adjustment – moving from 2 to 4.

How Much Redemptions Will Cost

At one point the most you could spend to stay at a Hyatt was 15,000 points. There was nothing higher than category 4. However, at the end of 2006 they created category 5 as the new highest redemption tier. Then in 2010 they created category 6 as a new highest redemption tier. With room rates not at all yet recovered from the Great Recession it was surprising that they were charging more points for rooms.

In 2014 Hyatt introduced a new category 7 and raised the price of category 5 and 6 awards. Four years later we got category 8 and now we have category 8 and peak season pricing.

Category Off-Peak Standard Peak
1 3500 5000 6500
2 6500 8000 9500
3 9000 12000 15000
4 12000 15000 18000
5 17000 20000 23000
6 21000 25000 29000
7 25000 30000 35000
8 35000 40000 45000

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. Peak redemption pricing cuts against that. And the very best hotels will now be out of reach for many. Remember that Hyatt does not offer ‘5th night free’ like Marriott or Hilton (or 4th night like IHG for its cobrand cardmembers).

Moving Similar Numbers Of Hotels Up And Down Category Is Still A Real Devaluation

The introduction of peak and off peak means that even when an equal number of hotels go down in category as go up, that doesn’t mean they balance out. Hyatt can lower properties in category and then have more peak nights, effectively only lowering the property half a category. I’ve asked Hyatt whether peak and off peak dates will change for properties that are moving categories in 2022.

In any case the combination of category 8 and the addition of peak/off peak pricing means that a Hyatt property redemption may cost as much as 45,000 points per night, up from 30,000 just a few months ago. That’s a devaluation for the best properties that drive aspirational loyalty.

How To Take Advantage Of These Changes

Make your award reservations before the changes go into effect for any hotels that will be going up in category. Pay attention to cancellation rules, and cancel before the deadline if you’re not going to use a booking. But consider even speculative reservations to save points.

Meanwhile if you have a reservation at a hotel that is getting less expensive, Hyatt will process points refunds automatically. You won’t need to cancel and rebook.

However bear in mind that any changes you make to a reservation after hotel category changes go into effect will get priced according to the new chart.

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. This is really terrible. After all the trouble I went through to get Globalist and make Hyatt my go-to now they’re basically say we’re going to make our good properties off limits. My Hyatt points just became considerably less valuable. So does this mean you won’t even be able to book suites with points at the category 8s? If so that’s complete BS. Not being able to book any suites at their own hotels is totally unfair. Although the number of points needed are generally absurd, even Hilton and Marriott will let you. Very disappointing.

  2. Big downgrade to the globalist cat 1-7 tier certificate unless it’s changed to be cat 1-8.
    The credit card 1-4 cert becomes a lot less valuable too.

  3. @ Gary — And, there it is. Hyatt can no longer be trusted. NONE of the travel loyalty programs can be trusted now.

  4. Gary, as you said, it was just a matter of time before luxury Hyatts got moved from Cat 7 to Cat 8. Like all devaluations, it is a disappointment. I have been desensitized over the years about devaluations, as it is more expected than a surprise. There is still some value to be found through WoH redemptions, but every passing year there is less value than before. For credit card alliances, I may look for perks rather than point accumulation, although perks have been going away too. Best to just live in the now, and change loyalty allegiances when not happy.

  5. Hey, @gene, why would you think Hyatt should have been trusted? Were you not around for the bloodbath devaluation when they switched to World of Hyatt from Gold Passport?

    Just because Hyatt’s plan is marginally more valuable than Hilton or Marriott does not and has never made Hyatt more trustworthy.

  6. For obvious reasons, as a Hyatt globalist, I’ve stayed in many of the properties that are moving up in category. The biggest hurt is probably with the Andaz Maui. This is a nice hotel that I think most people would enjoy. The problem right now is that Maui hotel prices are insane. “Starter” rooms at the Andaz now regularly go for over $1000. I think this is a nice hotel, but that is a stupid price to pay and I always feel sad for the guests who are paying it. I’ve stayed at the Alila Marea and that one is no great loss unless you have an affinity for overpriced stylish oceanfront hotels with a small pool and little to actually do. Not surprise to see the jump to Cat. 4 for Moab. This hotel usually goes for more than $400. It’s an unusually nice Hyatt Place, but the real value has been in the fact that Moab hotels are expensive. If you’ve ever wanted to visit Moab, now is the time to book before rates increase. They have even been offering some nights off peak at only 6,500 points.

  7. @WilmaG – bloodbath devaluation? there was literally no change to earning and redemption with the move to world of hyatt, it was a change to the elite program only, the bloodbath can really only be attributed to no longer valuing the business of top elites with few elite nights (the 25 stay diamonds)

  8. Surprised to see any New York City hotels increase in price. NYC room rates have been low, and even with the world seemingly emerging from its covid hysteria, I expect to see NYC hotel business to remain sluggish. The damage that has been done to that city will take years to undo, if it ever happens.

  9. At the very least, all existing Cat 1-7 certs should be extended to include the hotels which moved to Cat 8 after the certs were earned.

  10. Gary – I looked at an award chard that just had “-” for suite pricing at cat 8 – my mistake – thought that was part of the change. If they actually made those suite awards more available that would be nice. Still, overall, this kind of negative change has me reconsidering the last hotel program where I remained loyal. Earning program specific points is a game with rapidly diminishing returns. Better use I think would ultimately be earning UR and using the 1.5c CSR. With all the bonus categories on the ink cards that can be transferred to CSR I can pretty much guarantee earning close to 2.25 UR points per dollar spent and then get 1.5c/p redemption. What do you think of the math on that?

  11. Shame on me! I went out of my way to earn Hyatt globalist last year. Between peak award pricing and now category creep who can one trust?

  12. If Hyatt bought Four Seasons and I could book those with points then I wouldn’t mind paying category 8 prices.

  13. The gradual increase in hotel categories continues to sour me on the idea of picking up Cat 1-4 certificates, especially from Chase. And this devaluation especially hurts my valuation of Chase UR, which doesn’t have many unique partners aside from United (not a great value) or Hyatt (terrible value for aspirational stays).

    If you value Hyatt points at 1.5 cents each, that means Category 8 stays are the equivalent of $600 per night. At that price range, I may decide to pay cash instead of points, but I’m not going to be captive to Hyatt. I may decide to stay at Four Seasons or some other luxury hotel more convenient to where I need to be and that may offer benefits on cash bookings (Virtuoso, Amex FHR, etc).

    It also surprisingly makes Hilton look very attractive at the top end. Hilton’s point cap for most hotels is 95k, or 76k per night when you stay five nights. Hyatt now can creep up to 45k points with no fifth night free. When staying at a nice hotel, spending 76k Hilton points is a steal compared to 45k Hyatt points. Hyatt points (1.5cpp) are typically valued at around 4x Hilton points (0.4cpp). There still can be a difference in the quality of hotel at each program’s top end, but the gap isn’t large enough to cause this discrepancy in price.

  14. @Ed If you’re not enjoying your Globalist benefits that you went out of your way to get, then why did you do that in the first place? You’ve had a year with the benefits already, and you can now plan a way to divest your points and continue enjoying them for another year.

  15. Entirely predictable. I’m betting all of these hotels have too many redemptions (no doubt all the blogger publicity for some of them has increased awareness) so award rates will just go up, up, up.

    At least Hyatt provides advance notice of the change date (unlike Marriott) and still offers fixed rewards. And does a better job with provides breakfast and suites.

  16. If you have top status with Marriott, they sent an email with a link to give Platinum status to a family member ny Mar 7. They also changed the way you get your gift once completing 50 nights.

  17. It also surprisingly makes Hilton look very attractive at the top end. Hilton’s point cap for most hotels is 95k, or 76k per night when you stay five nights. Hyatt now can creep up to 45k points with no fifth night free. When staying at a nice hotel, spending 76k Hilton points is a steal compared to 45k Hyatt points.

    Hilton standard awards, especially with the 5th award night free, have always been more attractive than Hyatt’s and this was evident to anyone who had not drunk too much of the Hyatt is “best” kool-aid.

    Here’s a cold-eyed perspective to this change where Hyatt’s own ‘aspirational’ hotels have been moved up to Cat 8.

    Category 8 hotels seasonal award costs of

    35K 40K 45K

    would be equivalent to Hilton awards costing, respectively,

    105K 120K 135K

    which means that except at Hilton’s two (just 2) ‘ultra-aspirational properties’ — WA Maldives and WA Los Cabos, where standard awards cost 120K or 150K per night — every single Hyatt Category 8 award would be classified as “premium” in the Hilton system! Think about that…

    With “premium” awards being exorbitant and generally yielding very poor redemption values in the Hilton system, despite the ease of earning points in the program and because the 5th award night free provides no break since the perk is good only for standard awards, it is unclear to me how anyone affords a decent stay of at least 3 nights Hyatt’s new Cat 8 hotels without breaking the bank. At this points the only feature that prevents World of Hyatt from becoming as flawed a program as was SPG is that it does not make the transfer of Hyatt points to airline miles favorable.

    On average Hyatt’s three highest award costs match Hilton’s. In fact, I was surprised by the way Cat 8 seasonal award costs came out. Hyatt seems to be setting their award rates based on Hilton’s to maintain a ratio of 3 (a points currency ‘peg’). When Hilton introduced 120K awards at WA Maldives Ithaafushi is when we started seeing 40K Hyatt awards proliferate. Then when Hilton introduced its 150K standard award, I thought that Hyatt’s next move would be to raise their top standard to 50K points, and they likely would have if they had not moved to “seasonal” awards — a fig leaf for and prelude to dynamic pricing.

    30K 40K 50K (mean = 40K)

    would have been particularly brutal, so they split the difference and came up with

    35K 40K 45K (mean = 40K)

    compared with Hilton’s three top standard awards

    95K 120K 150K (mean = 122K)

    40K in Hyatt points = 40K Hyatt points * 3 Hilton points/1 Hyatt point = 120K Hilton points

    The average of the three top standard awards thus compares as Hilton: 122K vs Hyatt: 120K – i.e. no difference.

    The points currency ‘peg’ has been maintained, but the underlying dynamics are definitely not favorable for Hyatt.


  18. Put another way, the average of the three top Hilton and Hyatt standard awards, terms of Hyatt points, would compare as, Hilton: 40.7K vs Hyatt: 40.0 K – i.e., no difference.

    The points currency ‘peg’ is maintained, but the underlying dynamics are definitely not favorable for Hyatt members…

  19. After I decided to leave Marriott and make Hyatt my go-to place including spend on my credit card, I feel betrayed and cheated on.

  20. Oh get over. Its called inflation. Do you get upset when go to the grocery store and see that the price of a steak has increased 20 cents per pound,?

  21. Jr – I do get upset when steak goes from $7.50 to $12/lb. and each of the 4 properties I’ve used few nights at is now moving up. Getting rid of Hyatt chase personal cards now…

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