The Andaz Maui rarely offers cash and points awards, which is fair, because those are voluntary.
They restricted top tier elite suite upgrades to a new separate room type, poolside suites — a lesser room category that there’s only a few of on property. (And that many people wouldn’t want to stay in, these are ground floor obstructed view suites that any paying customer would be mortified by.)
They’re even tough to get an award night at, perhaps more than any other Hyatt hotel they’ve revealed the games a property can play to stretch the rules of a loyalty program.
- When a hotel program offers that you can use points for any ‘standard room’ available on property, you think that means the more common room at the hotel but it doesn’t. It generally means the worst or lowest category room at the hotel.
- So the Andaz Maui has created a room type they actively discourage customers to book with cash, that’s only a few bucks less expensive than their true ‘standard’ room. There are only a limited number of these, and it’s what they make available on points.
- Since award reservations can have the same rules as paid stays, they impose minimum stay requirements on this room type only in order to further restrict availability of award redemptions.
The Andaz Maui Doesn’t Like Loyalty Program Members
Last year a manager from the Andaz Maui told me that they sell their rooms, they get a disproportionate number of Diamonds, and Hyatt should reduce benefits expectations for them and other Andaz hotels.
Here’s what the Andaz Maui does to prevent you from staying there on points:
They’ve created the Garden View room category which you can redeem your points for.
This isn’t the ‘standard’ room at the hotel as it’s properly understood. It’s a special room type that they discourage anyone spending money to stay there from booking.
For $15, the ‘base’ room is the mountain view (as opposed to ocean view) room.
Crucially, the hotel says that the mountain view room is the one you want if you aren’t going to be at the hotel much. If you’re never in your room anyway, book the mountain view. But if you are going to actually spend much time at the resort, rather than being ‘urged to immerse yourself in the destination daily,’ then you’d want a higher room category. But you certainly wouldn’t be encouraged to save $15 and book the no-view ‘garden’ room type.
In fact, most of the time garden rooms aren’t available.
- They’re limited in number
- They generally have 6 or more night stay requirements attached
- Not that they necessarily want people staying on points to be on property for a week, but if you want a shorter stay you can’t book it on points and if you do want to stay this long then there has to be reward nights for every night of your stay in order to book it.
Oddly, I pulled up reward night availability for a 7 night stay November 5-12. However when shortening the stay to 6 nights (November 5-11) there was still a garden view room (standard room, should be points-eliigble) available but there was no award availability.
So even where the hotel is trying to play games limiting award redemptions, they’re still breaking the chain’s redemption rules by making the room type available for paid stays but not awards.
Ironically This Hotel is Owned By Hyatt
Normally my mental model is that hotels owned or at least managed by a chain will be more compliant with its loyalty program, while franchised hotels will be more likely to try to free ride — taking advantage of the loyalty of a program’s members while providing the bare minimum possible recognition of benefits.
However the Andaz Maui has gone from being partly-owned by Hyatt itself to being 100% owned by Hyatt according to the chain’s most recent 10-K filing.
Oddly, Hyatt also:
- Owns Park Hyatt New York: known for playing games with reward night inventory
- Owns Park Hyatt Paris – Vendôme: calls a slightly oversized room a ‘suite’ for confirmed upgrades
- Leases the Hyatt Regency San Francisco: known for playing games with reward night inventory
Of course even when a hotel is owned or managed by Hyatt, the property’s leadership has revenue targets they need to hit and reward nights may not be as lucrative for the hotel as paid nights.