Hyatt’s Upcoming Modest Points Devaluation

Hyatt Gold Passport posted on Flyertalk early this morning that they’d be making changes to their award chart.

Currently hotels are spread across five categories. They’re creating a new category 6 as of June 4 at 22,000 points per night. That will include 20 properties.

They’re also moving hotels up and down in categories, a total of 89 going up (including the 20 moving to category 6) and 65 going down. On the whole it seems that the reductions are all at the low end, e.g. there are 46 category 2 properties moving down to category 1. And the increases are more evenly distributed and even clustered towards the high end.

There are even some two-category jumps, like the Grand Hyatt New York going from Category 4 to Category 6. Hey, I remember when you could priceline that dog for $77. Those were the days! I’d never spend Gold Passport points there after the miserable night I spent with paper thin walls and a party going on in the room next door, and surly lounge staff who waited in the buffet line to fill their own plates.

Details of which properties will be changing are now up on the Hyatt website.

As far as category changes go, all hotel chains do it and this one isn’t nearly as bad as Hilton’s recent one was. I suppose I’m not outraged because I’ve been expecting it for awhile, Hyatt has been too generous for awhile. And they’re about to be flooded with points as they inttroduce a co-branded credit card. They probably figure it’s better to make the adjustments before the credit card product comes online than after when their new credit card customers might perceive a bait and switch.

Hyatt is also being flexible in allowing members to use the current award chart —

  • Members can make reservations by June 4 for stays into the future at the current award chart rate.

  • Award stays booked now at the current rate can even be modified by September 2nd while keeping the same points cost. That’s generous, actually, so you don’t have to have firm plans now in order to take advantage of current rates.

    They’ve also said they’ll refund points for reservations booked before the change where points requirements have gone down. That’s not as generous as it sounds, because except in cases of sellouts a member could just cancel and rebook. But more convenient at least.

    (HT: Carol)

  • 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. […] The litigation has the side effect of being interesting for sharing details of historical program economics, such as increasing the cost of the program for full service hotels in 2012 (with the cost to hotels for program member stays going from 4% to 4.5%) and the amount of compensation hotels received for redemption stays falling in 2011. It also discusses the program’s 2011 devaluation but I assume this must actually refer to June 2010’s introduction of category 6 redemptions. […]


    1. I agree with nearly everything you wrote, Gary. I just posted a comment on another web site, where there seemed to be a little more outrage at the “devaluation.” At the end of the day, I don’t see it affecting most savvy GP members in the least. Here’s what I said – almost echoing you…

      Hyatt’s program has been exceptionally generous. They have been aggressively trying to lure new elite members with the promotions that they have been running, and they have been very effective at doing so. With their Faster Free Nights promos (which are now called Big Welcome or Big Welcome Back – or whatever – they will always be FFN to those who remember), the addition of another award category likely won’t mean much, as many members “burn” their FFNs at the high-end properties and use their points for other award redemptions. On top of that, Hyatt has been essentially “printing currency” with the Gx bonuses and other liberal point policies – so, yes, savvy members likely did see some effort to boost point spending in the works. In the end, this effects me very little – and if it causes some of the Johnny-come-lately folks to re-examine their commitment to Hyatt, I would challenge them to find some better value for their hotel spending.

      I don’t have the same hatred for the GH New York as you do. I have only stayed there once, and to my one friend who was “wowed” by the extravagance of the hotel, I offered that it is just an OK hotel in a GREAT location. I would burn FFNs there – just on the usual cost of the hotel, but I don’t see how I would ever spend 22k points to spend a night there.

    2. I suppose when we compare other programs Hyatt still comes out on top simply because changes elsewhere still may be worse typically and as others shared Hyatt tends to be more promotionally generous year round to overlook some of the extent of the devaluation.For me its the fist time in years I have seen Hyatt do something as radical as this.To their credit some properties clearly were undervalued though certainly not the Grand Hyatt NYC and quite a number of others.
      The GH NYC jumped two categories in NYC yet average daily rates fell.NY it could be said is a high priced market so perhaps some point increase could be justified
      In San Franciscob though astonishingly the Grand Hyatt also jumped two categories from 3 to 5.San Francisco rates this past year were the lowest or lower then after 9-11 and fell the most in all the years I have been tracking room rates in SF.This proved to me this wasn’t just an increase in undervalued hotels.I am staying in SF this weekend for 109 at the Le Meridien and the brand new InterContiental for 129
      22,000 points for the GH San Francisco? That is clearly almost as bad as the HH devaluation and shoccking of Hyatt none the less.There are clearly more such examples of this
      So Hyatt is certainly taking the opportunity to devalue points far more then the just properties that were undervalued.It is clearly a fairly massive devaluation in some of the most popular properties and not just based on Average daily rates as is typically the case with many programs.In fact putting asides Hyatt program supremacy in the way it takes care of guests in house Hilton paved the way for them to pull this devaluation off.Though far more guest friendly then Hiltons massive devaluation.Its an inflationary world we live in thats for sure. While I have been a fan of Hyatt for decades and expect some increases this one feels suspicious in nature not as trusting as other increases in the past from Hyatt who has been up to now one of the most trust worthy travel partners historically.
      It all caught me off guard on a day I was mourning the loss of the annual Freddie Awards and our good friend Sir Freddie.A sad day for Gold Passport members and Freddie Award fans around the world.

    3. oops sorry all the GH San Francisco cat jump of two levels is 18 k not 22 as reported my apology I couldn’t find the edit tool here

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