Hyatt Moving to Peak/Off Peak Award Pricing and Increasing Value of Spending Points on Meals and Spa

In a change that mirrors what other larger hotel chains have done, Hyatt appears to be moving closer to revenue-based redemptions and delivering average rather than outsized value for points.

    • In late January they’ll improve the value of points for in-hotel redemptions, getting at least a penny per point in value.
    • Then in March they’ll introduce peak and off peak redemptions for free night awards. That makes getting outsized value for points less likely.

park hyatt sydney
Park Hyatt Sydney

Hyatt Introducing Peak and Off-Peak Pricing For Award Nights

Hyatt is keeping the current 8 redemption category award chart structure. However in March each award category will also get off-peak and peak pricing.

Peak pricing will be an upcharge of 1500 to 5000 points depending on the category. Off peak pricing will be a discount of 1500 to 5000 points. Here’s the new free night award chart going into effect in March:

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

And since cash and points awards are 50% of the points and 50% of the prevailing cash rate, cash and points will see lower and higher points prices on off-peak and peak dates as well. Similarly cash and points and free night awards will have peak and off-peak for club redemptions, standard suite redemptions, and premium suite redemptions.

grand hyatt singapore club lounge
Grand Hyatt Singapore Club Lounge

Regency Club and Standard Suite awards have the same discounts and upcharges for off-peak and peak in each category as Free Night Awardss.  Here’s the standard suite redemption chart with off-peak and peak pricing:

Category Off-Peak Standard Peak
1 6500 8000 9500
2 11500 13000 14500
3 17000 20000 23000
4 21000 24000 27000
5 29000 32000 35000
6 36000 40000 44000
7 43000 48000 53000
8 56000 61000 66000

Premium suite awards can actually go up (or down) by 10,000 points per night:

Category Off-Peak Standard Peak
1 7000 10000 13000
2 13000 16000 19000
3 18000 24000 30000
4 24000 30000 36000
5 34000 40000 46000
6 42000 50000 58000
7 50000 60000 70000
8 70000 80000 90000

A Miraval premium suite with additional person during peak period can jump up an additional 17,000 points to 137,000 points per night. That’s a lot of points for a cleanse.

The per-night cost of points upgrades (to club, standard suite, and premium suite) do not change with the introduction of off-peak and peak.

Any existing redemptions booked for what becomes an off-peak night will auto-trigger a refund, however any existing booking that goes up in price due to peak will not cost more points. You may want to make future bookings prior to March!

Unlike Marriott – which is changing peak and off-peak designations monthly to ensure that members never get a great deal on a full hotel – Hyatt will not change whether a night is designated as peak, standard, or off-peak for a given property once the night is loaded into Hyatt’s systems.

A spokesperson tells me, “There are no minimum or maximum number of nights that a property can designate as Peak or Off-Peak point redemption periods. However, the majority of days will be set to Standard each year” and that there will be a “calendar to access the classification of point values for each hotel. Members will be able to view this calendar 13 months out.”

This Move Copies Other Hotel Chains As They Shift Towards Revenue-Based Redemptions

Hilton eliminated their published award charts, but still prices hotels based on those charts (most of the time). This allows them to raise redemption prices quietly without informing members. IHG has doen the same thing.

Marriott has taken a bit of a middle ground, introducing peak and off-peak pricing. A peak night at a category 1 property is double the cost of off-peak. And at the top end the price of a category 8 hotel varies by 30,000 points per night. Marriott can change whether a given night at a hotel is peak or off peak every month based on whether a hotel is expected to sell out.

Hotel chains generally have to pay more to hotels for the reward nights given to members when those hotels are full. So they want to charge members more for those nights. Hotel points-earning has been revenue-based for decades (the points you earn are based on how much you spend at a hotel). Now redemption is becoming much closer to revenue-based. Indeed Hilton was doing this even before hiding their award charts since they introduced point ‘ranges’ in 2013.

Hyatt was 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.

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. So Hyatt’s move is a real disappointment, though it’s seemed almost inevitable that they’d do what everyone else is doing to devalue.

grand hyatt kuala lumpur reception
Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur Reception

Improved Value for In-Hotel Redemption

With the move towards average value, it isn’t surprising to see Hyatt increase value when redeeming for things inside a hotel, too, so that members get at least a penny per point.

Hyatt introduced earning and redemption at dining venues and spas even when you’re not a guest at the end of 2011.

Earning was nice – I’ve earned points at Hyatt restaurants when not staying on property. However redemption value was poor – just half a cent per point in many cases. It’s not something I’d ever have recommended.

Effective January 29, 2020 they’re improving the value of points towards a folio (dining, spa and in-room credit). For instance $50 credit will cost 5000 points instead of 10,000 points. This drives towards an average of 1 cent per point in value. And bigger redemptions get more value – a $1000 redemption, for those spending that much, may be worthwhile to some.

Credit Old Cost New Cost Value/Point
$10 2000 1000 $0.0100
$25 5000 2500 $0.0100
$50 10000 5000 $0.0100
$75 12000 7500 $0.0100
$100 15000 8000 $0.0125
$150 20000 12000 $0.0125
$250 32000 20000 $0.0125
$500 60000 35000 $0.0143
$1,000 120000 65000 $0.0154

The Shift to Average Value May Be a Mistake for Hyatt

I wonder if making points worth closer to a penny is a mistake, given Hyatt’s small footprint they need to deliver more value to their members than competitors because it takes greater effort to be loyal to Hyatt than IHG, Hilton or Marriott. Members have to go out of their way, stay at less convenient hotels, or at least have fewer choices of properties and price points in any given city.

Moreover, since Hyatt’s points-earning is less generous than Marriott’s and IHG’s for elites due to low elite bonuses it puts the best redemptions further out of reach of the chain’s best customers.

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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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Comments

  1. Not thrilled, but I cannot say that I am entirely against this.

    I would, however, find it comforting if Hyatt would assure members that for any given property, there will be equal numbers of peak and off peak nights. Otherwise, this could be a stealth devaluation.

  2. Chase Ultimate Rewards will be pretty useless now. All their transfer partners aren’t unique and of the ones that are have some sort of dynamic pricing.

  3. @ Gary — So is this is a no-notice devaluation for award stays March 2020+, meaning what I could book as Standard yesterday could be Peak today?

  4. @jfhscott: “steal devaluation”? What part of this is “stealth”? It is already a straight up devaluation. Unless the number of redemptions don’t vary between peak and off peak season, and then what would be the difference between peak and off peak in such case…

  5. @Parts Unknown: “Hotels.com looking better & better every day”
    The same Hotels.com that will charge $5 to use a free night certificate?

  6. Thanks for the heads up. Is there any information on whether or not anniversary nights and special promo award nights (brand explorer) will be affected?

  7. I am comforted by the relatively minor scale of this devaluation. For less than 20% increase in points required we may be protected from further devaluation for a couple more years.

  8. Without the ability to get high status is there any point in trying to stay at Hyatt now? I’ve never been one that would get to a status with suite night awards etc. I have actively stayed at Hyatt’s the past 2 years even when the rest of the contingent were at the Residence Inn just because their redemption rate was better.

    I was about to get the United card last year and the Hyatt card this year and with them both going revenue based I’ve just kept my earning on credit card points. My SPG card went from $150,000 spend to $25,000 and only then because of credit limits being maxed on the other cards when I needed to spend.

  9. I think you’re missing a 0 on the last line of the “Improved Value for In-Hotel Redemption” chart for the $1000 level – formerly 120,000 points, not 12,000, yes?

    I’m grateful the calendar of expected Off-Peak/Peak dates will be available 13 months in advance, that’s very helpful!

  10. I also think it is a devaluation and a 2 cents back on all purchases is looking better and better unless we are talking about 3+x bonus spending.

  11. Marriott’s new policy makes all Friday & Saturday nights Peak for months on end, in some cities such as Savannah GA and Charleston SC! I suppose it could be worse, as they could make those months Peak 7 nights a week.

  12. So a year ago the most expensive hotel was 30,000 points for a standard room at the most expensive time. Now that’s becoming 45,000 points with the new pricier category 8. I just hope this isn’t the first step in a series of Bonvoy moves. If this is it for a while on devaluations, hotels have actual off peak availability, and elite benefits don’t get watered down further like when top tier AA members got free top tier Hyatt status while top tier Hyatt members got absolutely nothing, then Hyatt seems the best choice for now.

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