Hyatt Regency Aruba Gives the Finger to World of Hyatt Members

When a hotel program promotes that you can use points for any ‘standard room’ available on property, you think that means the most common room at the hotel. It doesn’t. It means the worst or lowest category room at the hotel.

And some hotels use this to prevent members from using their points. Hyatt has had real problems with this at some of its premier properties.

They’ve played whack-a-mole solving issues with non-compliant hotels like the Hyatt Regency San Francisco.

But there’s a big hole they haven’t been able to do anything at all about: just creating a room type that’s worse than all the others, and selling it for just a few bucks less. No one in their right mind would book it on cash, but it becomes the only one available on points. It’s the game that the Andaz Maui plays. The crazy thing is that it’s not even rogue ownership there, Hyatt owns the Andaz Maui and they still play games with inventory.

Another hotel that’s been sticking it to program members is the Hyatt Regency Aruba.

Hyatt Regency Aruba, credit: Hyatt

It’s a category 6 hotel like the Andaz Maui, Andaz 5th Avenue, Park Hyatt Vienna and Park Hyatt Maldives. An award here runs 25,000 points per night if it’s available. However I couldn’t find any awards at this property at all so I reached out to Hyatt to ask what was going on.

I shared that even when rates are comparably low at this property during the off season, where where Garden View king and two queens are available, I couldn’t find award nights. (In the past Garden View rooms were attached to the award rate plan.)

After a week and a half a Hyatt spokesperson tells me they were able to “connect with the property and resolve the issue.”

They say that the “hotel should now offer World of Hyatt redemption nights available in their standard room type (QUEN- 2 beds)”

It seems there’s a room type for a standard room with no view, that the garden view is too nice for the hotel to give to World of Hyatt members redeeming points. That’s even though the hotel’s website claims that a standard room has stunning views.

Apparently in the past “the hotel would add additional room types to their ‘standard’ category for award redemptions when the hotel’s demand was low.” However they are no longer doing this. I have been unable to find any nights where redemptions are available — not in low season, nor for the very last day of the booking window where you wouldn’t think any room types would be sold out yet.

Hyatt tells me that “there is scattered availability from 1 to 3ish nights off and on throughout the next few weeks.” And that currently there are 22 out of 357 ‘standard’ rooms eligible for redemption at this property.

According to Hyatt’s spokesperson the current situation “is not in violation to the program terms, it caused guests much confusion when these rooms would only offer redemption nights at certain periods of time.” However they are “are in further conversations with the hotel to evaluate returning 1VWK roomtype back to permanent redemption inventory.”

Like the Andaz Maui, Hyatt actually owns this hotel.

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. Gary, thank you so so much for holding Hyatt’s feet to the fire on stuff like this. It is very meaningful to the average Joe member like me who has not as loud as you have on these issues. Keep up the great work.

  2. Just looked yesterday for one day in July (bridging a timeshare stay) and nothing…really frustrating…

  3. Hyatt is better than IHG and Hilton (and the airline equivalent – Delta) on “no blackout dates” but it still pales in comparison to Marriott and SPG. It is one of the few features that makes SPG shine though even SPG has an occasional miscreant (e.g. Napa).

  4. Stayed here over New Years Literally looked for nights the whole year then >>>>>>

    End of Nov I searched By individual days then bam bam I got my nights Like WTF

  5. I find these sorts of business practices disgusting, and have shared that sentiment with folks on the Globalist line more than once. While Hyatt was so busy patting themselves on the back for finally counting award nights toward status, they managed to let this utter garbage continue. I’m fiercely loyal to the brand (still) figuring with the WOH nonsense of last year, competition for room upgrades and high end redemptions would be less intense. If that loyalty isn’t better reciprocated by year’s end, (by fixing crap like this) I believe I’ll be moving on. Believe it or not, this frustrated globalist is off to Ziva Cancun tomorrow – gotta burn the points while they’re still worth something.

  6. Thanks Gary! But I wouldn’t recommend this hotel to most anyways. Small club, claustrophobic beach, fights over Palapas, uninspiring pools. I liked all the tropical birds onsite though.

  7. Yet another reason why I left Hyatt. Their program is a joke. Hotels game the system all the time. And less than 700 properties? Give me a break. Hello Marriott / SPG with over 6000.

  8. Had the exact same experience last year with this property. Wound up in a room right off the check in area. It faced to interior of the building and part of the window was blocked by the shingles on the awning below. It’s a far cry from the service at the other properties we’ve stayed at on the Island. I tweeted over a picture of the room we got on a week when the property was at best half full.

  9. Went here in Dec 2015, was put into a room with no view exactly what Andrew described. My check in process was terrible, so much so that I emailed Hyatt about it, and I NEVER send in complaints. Property was great, but the “fight” for hut reservations was not.

  10. I stayed here 3 years ago on a 3 nights paid and 2 on points, 5 day stay. I had to call Gold Passport to get the room for the nights on points. I must say the hotel was great and we had a good time.

    That being said, these Hyatt-esque shenanigans have reinforced my decision to leave Hyatt after the whole World of Hyatt debacle. While I will stay in Hyatt properties internationally the only hotels that have ever been up to the task in in North America is Vancouver and SF. As an aside these little rules also exist at the Hyatt in SF and Park City. It just leaves you feeling a victim of bait and switch.

    The Andaz Maui is a farce for points, an absolute farce. They are actually doing more harm than good for people who stay in Hyatt Hotels for travel and then redeem for one of the 5 rooms at the back, ground floor looking away from the beach.

    Marriott/SPG was happy to win my business.

  11. I have generally liked Hyatt, as it has some very nice properties though not necessarily the biggest footprint (vis-a-vis Marriott and Hilton). But shenanigans like this are very disappointing to hear about.

  12. It’s easy to figure out what happened: Steve Bannon took the new job as manager of the “globalist” members.
    Since I stopped chasing status I’ve gotten offers to buy my way to gold or silver on AA and UA.
    I have to laugh at that. They tried email , and now they are sending me mailers.
    I’m going to pay for domestic first class , as well as pay for the club room or suite if I want to use the club.
    If I end up with status that’s fine, but unlimited complimentary upgrades mean exactly squat to me. I have forty-eight 500 mile upgrades on AA they can light on fire as far as I’m concerned.

    I’ve found that “paying” gets rid of the anxiety of “hoping.”

    The entire miles and points hobby ends as soon as first and business class international cannot be booked using a reasonable number of miles.

    Given the proliferation of lower cost business and first flights , I’m fine with that

  13. I stayed at the HR Aruba twice IIRC, both on awards, once in Feb. 2008 or was it 09? one Faster Free Night + one on points (only 15 or 18K back then!) Then in Jan. 2014 with my 2 Chase freebie nights. No such problems back then. In fact, award rooms were available in Oct/Nov for New Year’s Eve when gross revenue rates were >US$1000 a night!
    However, when I went to Aruba in 2016, staying at the Radisson which had just become a Hilton, that hotel was playing such a game by creating a bogus room type called “Guest Room” which was the only type available on points! In contrast to their Garden View Rooms!

  14. It’s really too bad how some hotels have a FU attitude to their customers. They are just nasty people sticking it to WOH members. They must have really miserable lives to be actively looking for ways to short change other people.

  15. Finger indeed!
    Andaz Maui sucks the worst they might as well call it the Sofitel
    I do Marriott now in Maui and considering more of my needs with them
    Shame on Hyatt for letting these properties game the system

  16. We stayed at the Hilton Aruba in early January using free nights. Had no trouble finding rooms there and we were upgraded upon check-in too. Beach was crowded, but very nice. Hilton did great by us. We will be staying at the GH PDC and Hyatt Ziva next week in Mexico (all on points or free nights), so we will see if that goes well.

  17. This is frustrating but the HR Aruba is far from alone with their shenanigans. All too often, Hyatt’s decent properties play games like what’s described in this article, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I recently noticed the Andaz West Hollywood requires a FOUR night minimum to get their “standard” room (checked multiple dates), and many other properties I’ve checked on have their standard room available only in package deals like the bed & breakfast rate. In all these instances, standard rooms ARE available, but the hotel is choosing to block them, which make Hyatt points so difficult to redeem (or so unaspirational) that’s it’s just not worth it. And let’s not even talk about their “standard suites” that are magically and routinely unavailable at check-in, even though they’re available on their website.

    I turned free agent on airlines a few years ago and have been really happy with the decision. This will be my last year as a Hyatt Globalist/Diamond. It’s simply not right to be treated this way by a company you give thousands of dollars to every year.

  18. Thanks Gary for highlighting this. I too reached out to Hyatt last week and was essentially told to “keep looking”. I had a lovely stay in 2015 here and would like to go back. Sometimes I really hate Hyatt

  19. Typical Hyatt scam.

    Try booking the Hyatt Vienna any time with points or free nights. Good luck.

    Try using a suite upgrade many months in advance if a paid stay. Good luck.

    Last straw was staying in a room booked by someone else and have the property deny my Glibalist status because I didn’t book the room. Customer be damned seems to be the rule with Hyatt.

    False advertising indeed.

    Disappointed enough to leave my Lufetime Globalust status behind and turn to Marriott.

    Will see how that goes.

  20. @Gary

    I am curious whether this game is played by the Park Hyatt Sydney or not.

    Recently I looked at both paid and points availability.

    On some dates, when the basic rooms were NOT available, it WAS possible to book a basic room on points!

    I read somewhere that one travel blogger had the impression that a “low rate” room was kept exclusively for use for point redemption bookings.

    Anyway, for that trip I paid cash at the Langham on Amex FHR instead.

    Any insights?

  21. I just came back last night from the Hyatt Aruba. I got to this hotel a couple times a year. They are starting renovations in April and adding in an adult pool . I have used points for all the times I have gone.. I am only a gold member and have always been upgrades to nicer rooms then the standard no view window room. Although most of the time I can book gardenview with french balcony on points.. Now thats all gone and they are not even opening up standard rooms withe the small window.. Complete crap.
    @Nathan – You can prebook your hut up to a year in advance. We always go front row chairs and towels set up and can arrive anytime we like.. No beach hassle at the Hyatt if you are willing to pay for a hut which is why I like the hotel compared to the Marriott where you can pre book and have to get up early and stand in line.. Its too bad since Aruba is a great place to visit with the weather and easy cheap flights out of NY.. Marriott and Hilton are there so might have rethink.

  22. Reminds me of a stay in Vegas some years ago. Because I wasn’t going to be using my room for anything other than drunken sleep and bathing, I found the cheapest room I could in a hotel located conveniently for my needs. It was a $29/night room at the Imperial Palace, a dump of a hotel at best.

    My room was a bone standard IP room with one exception. My room overlooked the loading dock. Not just that I could see the loading dock. My room actually faced the roofed in part of the loading dock. Even if I struggled, there was no view that included daylight from my room.

    Frankly, it met my needs, but it was easily the most ridiculous hotel room I’ve ever had in more than 40 years of traveling the world.

  23. I have just run into the same problem with the Hyatt Aruba. I have stayed there for the past three years in September always using my membership points. As a frequent business traveler, I ALWAYS stay at Hyatt properties and even have a Chase Hyatt Credit card. Aruba is the once a year vacation to totally unplug and relax. This is a very shady practice for sure.

  24. Gary….could you do a follow-up article on the blackout @ Hyatt Regency, Aruba. Maybe you could get the GM to explain why the Hyatt Regency, Aruba is giving the finger to World of Hyatt members. Even off-peak dates are unavailable.

  25. I have been going there for 11 years using points for club regency. This is the first time it comes up not excepting points not just my dates but any date u put in.
    I’ve been in touch with world of Hyatt a number of times. The person I got on the phone today gave me a case number and will follow up. Somethings very strange..

  26. We have been going to this hotel for the past 4 years in September and never had a problem with points. They told me they have 35 rooms they allocate for points and they are all booked. I got the story that people book a year in advance and there may be a cancellation 7 days prior. I have spoken to so many people including the hotel GM. Just be honest, you want money vs. points.

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