Hyatt Leaks New Redemption Category 8 — Won’t Apply to Any Current Hotels

Twelve years ago the most you could spend to stay at a Hyatt was 15,000 points. There was nothing higher than category 4. However,

Park Hyatt Vendome, Paris

My inbox was flooded last night suggesting I was wrong in my recent statement that I didn’t think Hyatt would devalue their program soon, and I based that on their being no need to do so, and an assumption that they’d behave in their own best interests.

  • Hyatt has made strides to fix the program after alienating members with the World of Hyatt rollout.
  • They just launched a new credit card.
  • And the program’s earn-and-burn proposition isn’t out of line with peers, in fact it’s middle of the pack.
  • As a smaller chain Hyatt needs to remain competitive, if not more rewarding than other programs, since it takes actual effort to remain loyal to the brand.

Park Hyatt Tokyo

There’s really no valid reason to devalue, and it would undercut much of the work they’ve been doing for the last year.

On the other hand I wrote, “Never underestimate the ability of Hyatt to shoot itself in the foot or fail to seize an opportunity.”

The category drop down on Hyatt’s website began displaying a greyed-out category 8, 40,000 points per night.

I reached out to Hyatt to find out what this was all about and they shared that none of their current Hyatt-branded properties will go into category 8 instead some of the top properties some of the new top end properties introduced as part of their coming alliance with Small Luxury Hotels of the World will be introduced at this higher redemption price point.

According to a spokesperson,

Let me first assure that we have no plans for any Hyatt-branded hotels or resorts to move to a new Category 8.

As you know, we have been working toward launching an alliance with Small Luxury Hotels of the World that will allow members to earn and redeem World of Hyatt points at participating SLH properties in the future. Given the diversity and caliber of the SLH portfolio, we anticipate that some SLH properties will fall into a new eighth category on our award chart. We look forward to sharing more details when the alliance officially launches.

At least we know that redemptions as part of this portfolio of up to 500 properties will be available and included in the traditional award chart, as opposed to a looser relationship where Hyatt points could be converted to gift certificates at a low per point value. However I do not expect 40,000 points to be a great value for even the best properties that are added.

Ultimately the creation of a category 8 would lead me to expect that we see some existing higher-end properties shift upward. It’s good to know there are “no plans” for that to happen at this point.

As hotels get more expensive, through inflation alone, we expect redemptions to get more expensive — as they have with Hyatt over the last 12 years (and even oddly in 2010 when hotels weren’t yet more expensive). They’ll eventually get to a category 8 for some properties. But the good news is that’s not about to happen for any properties that are priced at category 7 or below today. And there really are some nice properties in the ‘SLH’ portfolio as there are in the Two Roads Hospitality portfolio that they’re acquiring.

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. I did a quick browse of the SLH website last night, and a few of the hotels in Italy and (especially) Greece seem to go for $1500/night in summer (the only time they’re open). Depending on one’s personal valuation of Hyatt points, 40K would be $700 or so. Now I don’t know if paying $700 for a $1500 room represents “a great value,” but it would be a pretty substantial discount. (This of course makes the assumption that these five-room hotels in Santorini will actually be available for points redemptions.)

  2. @dbeach

    I was browsing their website too but it only has average prices and it’s almost November. Which are the hotels in Greece and Italy you’re talking about?

  3. @JJ You can enter dates (I chose June 13-17) and it will show prices. Canaves OIA Suites is $1587. Porto Zante Villas & Spa is $2275. Eight Hotel Portofino is $1511. (There are many more in the $800 range you’d expect for the top Park Hyatts. It will be interesting to see if those land in Category 7 or 8.)

  4. More devaluations are coming. You would be a fool not to realize this. Category 2 hotels will move up to category 3, and so on and so on. Bait and switch is the name of the game. No more will I be suckered in this cat and mouse game.

  5. @John

    I think this is, regrettably, very true. Hoarding your points (even in Ultimate Rewards) or building them up for that **special** trip is kinda a fools game when devaluations are oh so common. Earn and burn is the hard lesson. Time value of money.

  6. B.S. You know Hyatt will go there.
    Roll back this terrible failure called WOH. Bring back Gold Passport.

  7. “As hotels get more expensive, through inflation alone, we expect redemptions to get more expensive”

    This makes no sense to me, since points are earned based on spend, which already goes up with inflation.

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