Hyatt Offering New Flexibility On Non-Refundable Bookings, Postponing Most Award Price Changes

Hyatt was first out of the gate with an offer of points for customers having to cancel non-refundable bookings. I thought that was generous because they were first and it was something. Of course this is all fast-moving, and other hotel chains have since done more.

So Hyatt has responded, well I think, and is out with a new policy allowing for cancellation of non-refundable bookings, encouraging new bookings, and offering greater flexibility for Hyatt points

Hyatt Regency San Francisco

Reservations Flexibility

For existing reservations through April 30 (that were made before March 13) they will allow cancellation up to 24 hours prior to arrival. Non-cancellable rates become cancellable. I think it is quite reasonable to say new bookings are exempt from this, since those were presumably made with full knowledge of the current situation.

Like other chains they want to encourage new bookings, so for reservations made by April 30 for any future travel date there will be no charge cancellation up to 24 hours prior to arrival.

They will still allow customers to opt for 10,000 Hyatt points rather than a refund for non-refundable bookings through June 30, 2020. Of course it’s possible that the current April 30th deadline will be extended, so for May and June travel if you prefer a refund I’d wait to see if that becomes an option.

Grand Hyatt New York

World Of Hyatt Changes

Hyatt will not expire points through May 31, 2020. They also aren’t going to institute planned award chart changes.

  • Peak and off-peak redemption pricing (a big devaluation, as it’s been with other chains) was set to go into effect March 22. That’s been put off until 2021 and Hyatt promises to provide “members advance notice as [they] always do.” Advance notice makes Hyatt’s a more trustworthy program than certain competitors.

  • Hyatt’s award category changes set to go into effect this month are also postponed until next year except for five hotels.

    • Park Hyatt Mallorca drops from category 6 to category 5
    • Hyatt Centric Park City increases from category 6 to category 7
    • Park Hyatt Shenzhen increases from category 4 to category 5
    • Alila Yangshuo increases from category 4 to category 5
    • Park Hyatt Ningbo increases from category 3 to category 4

    Increasing award category on Chinese hotels seems bizarre, but it’s a limited number of properties and overall this is a good thing. Meanwhile Marriott appears to have implemented planned category reductions but not yet increases at mainland China hotels.

There’s no word on elite status plans yet for members outside Asia Pacific. They do acknowledge that “we know that adjustments will need to be made” but aren’t yet out with what those will be.

There’s also no word on extensions of expiring free night awards or club access and suite upgrade awards.

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 great news! I’m actually shocked they paused the peak redemptions for a year–great news for their loyal customers! It once again shows that Hyatt is willing to do the right thing and (I hope) this resonates with travelers during the travel downturn. They give notice before they make changes and do what’s right more than the other guys. Stop supporting chains like Marriott and give your business to companies that do the right thing!

  2. Gary, I got the email from Hyatt about the stuff you wrote in this post, and it mentions everything you said except the delay of the category changes.
    The email says the introduction of peak/off-peak will be delayed till next year, but it doesn’t say anything about delaying the general category changes.
    Did you get the info about the delay of category changes from somewhere else?

  3. I called to cancel yesterday. You can’t get refund if you were proactive and cancelled before they made this change. That’s dumb and disappointing.

  4. Meanwhile, stingy Hilton is still only allowing cancellations in affected regions versus writ large. I will take all my business to Hyatt.

  5. Gary,

    Any idea as to when Hyatt will address the issues surrounding Free Night Awards and Club Access?

    I have a reservation in early June using my Free Night (that will expire in August), but there is no assurance that the current health crisis will have adequately abated by then to the extent to make travel as worry-free as before. Same as with my remaining Club Access passes.

  6. Harry,
    It would be nice if they extended the deadline for using cardholder free nights.

  7. Agree on concern about free might awards. I had a reservation for this past Friday night. I canceled (day of, Montgomery county PA was basically shutting down with numerous confirmed covid19 cases) and the representatives could not have been more kind and helpful. So now I have a certificate that expires on early April.

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