New Hyatt Off Peak And Peak Award Pricing Goes Into Effect October 26th

I receive compensation for content and many links on this blog. Citibank is an advertising partner of this site, as is American Express, Chase, Barclays and Capital One. Any opinions expressed in this post are my own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by my advertising partners. I do not write about all credit cards that are available -- instead focusing on miles, points, and cash back (and currencies that can be converted into the same). Terms apply to the offers and benefits listed on this page.


Hyatt is adjusting its award chart to create peak and off peak pricing at each category for reward nights booked starting Tuesday, October 26th for stays March 1, 2022 and beyond.

On the whole peak and off peak award pricing is a devaluation, though there will be some hotel stays at some times that a member wants to redeem for that will cost less. Basically understand that hotel chains pay their properties a lot more money when those properties are close to or sold out, and they want to charge more points for those nights. On the flip side, when they are really certain a hotel will be empty, the reimbursement rate to properties is much lower, and they can charge fewer points.

The reason this (even more) revenue-based shift is bad for members is because it means a tendency to get average value for points regardless of night, rather than having as much of an opportunity to get outsized value. Normally,

  • When hotels are empty and rates are cheap, it makes sense to book a paid stay
  • When hotels are full and rates are high, it makes sense to book a points stay

As a result you use the currency that makes the most sense, and can get better value out of each. Peak and off-peak reduce the value you can get out of a limited number of points in your account.

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, then, in July 2021:

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. Regency Club and Standard Suite awards have the same discounts and upcharges for off-peak and peak in each category as Free Night Awards.

Every other hotel chain that’s done this has devalued their points in the process. Marriott is especially egregious where you’ll often find empty hotels during should and off seasons charging peak prices. I trust Hyatt more to approach this more reasonably, though the proof will be available starting next Tuesday.

Free Night Certificates Are Unaffected

Crucially, unlike at Marriott and IHG, certificates valid for free nights aren’t based on the number of points a free night costs, so these free nights still get you the category they’re valid for even during peak dates. This change means that Hyatt free night awards are more potentially even more valuable.

  • The World Of Hyatt Credit Card comes with an annual category 1-4 free night after cardmember renewal
  • The World Of Hyatt Credit Card comes with an annual category 1-4 free night after spending $15,000 each year on the card
  • Members receive a category 1-4 free night after 30 elite qualifying nights each year
  • Members receive a category 1-7 free night after 60 elite qualifying nights each year
  • Members receive a category 1-4 free night after each 5 Hyatt brands they stay at for the first time

I have to give Hyatt credit for not sticking it to members on their free night awards the way that some other hotel chains have done.

It’s A Devaluation, But Hyatt Is Still Better

Contra Marriott redemption pricing won’t be changing constantly for a given night at a property. Instead Hyatt says that “Redemption rates for free nights will be announced as soon as nights are available for reservations (usually 13 months in advance).” And there’ll be a new calendar to help visualize dates where different pricing applies.

Finally, where there are existing awards in place for future travel and the night of that booking changes to off-peak on October 26, members will automatically get a refund of the points difference with no need to check availability or rebook.

At the end of the day a hotel program’s value proposition is a bundle. I find Hyatt to treat me best, and offer the best access to the nicest rooms at good properties. And with every other program devaluing they have room to do the same.

They’re promoting the idea that you can stay for fewer points at city hotels like in Chicago over the holidays when those hotels are empty and Chicago is freezing, in Dubai in the scorching summer, and sky destinations when there’s no snow. This isn’t a good thing. but Hyatt’s program still remains head and shoulders above Hilton, Marriott or IHG.

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 »

More articles by Gary Leff »

Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of advertisers Citibank, Chase, American Express, Barclays, Capital One or any other advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.

Comments

  1. To talk about pricing, many places I’ve been and pricing on some products have significantly inflated, such as gasoline. At one place, premium gasoline is allegedly over $3.50 a gallon. In this day and era, that price for not regular, but “premium grade gasoline” is an excellent price.

  2. .
    And don’t forget Hyatt’s AWESOME promo for Q4. A great way to rack up devalued points.

    Oh… wait…

  3. @Gary – Probably still right about them being the “least worst” of the programs, but I do worry about how many dates will be “low” vs “high” and who gets to decide that and how they’re determined. If it’s based on cash rates, that’s going to much more significantly impact value. If they’re determined by hotel then we can expect the worst offenders in the brand to continue jacking around with members and nearly all dates will be high or normal, at best. There are a lot of details being skimmed over here that will significantly impact how this plays out.

    That said, it is a significant positive sign that we did get plenty of warning, and I appreciate that! Kudos to Hyatt for doing right by their customers!

  4. Hyatt’s program remains better than competitors’

    Prove it objectively instead of with demonstrably self-serving, if not outright bogus, assertions, one of which I destroyed earlier today. A program that does not give its one and only consequential elite status (but the most expensive in the business) the 5th award night free — unquestionably the most valuable perk in hotel loyalty — as do competitors, cannot be claimed to be better than the latter, no matter how often the claim is repeated. Period. Full stop.

    And don’t forget Hyatt’s AWESOME promo for Q4. A great way to rack up devalued points.

    Oh… wait…

    — GringoLoco

    Precisely.

  5. @Gary – How much notice will we have before finding out actual price changes on specific hotels?

  6. With this change, Wold of Hyatt takes the first step toward emulating Hilton Honors’ dynamic award pricing system. It will first manifest itself as @Jamesb4127 fears:

    If it’s based on cash rates, that’s going to much more significantly impact value. If they’re determined by hotel then we can expect the worst offenders in the brand to continue jacking around with members and nearly all dates will be high or normal, at best

    Then the program will take the plunge, which won’t be as bad as feared, provided that it resembles the HH system. All bets will be off if it is a significantly different implementation of dynamic award pricing.

  7. Determining which program is “head and shoulders above” the rest really depends on your habits and needs. Hilton’s much-hyped “5th night free” is of little value to someone like me who travels on business for 2-3 nights at a time at my company’s expense… and rarely vacations at resorts for long stays, preferring VRBOs. But Hyatt consistently provides rewards I value– consistent late checkouts and outsized redemption values on short personal trips where I visit family in major US cities. Marriott used to do that too, until this past year. With Platinum status, I’m supposedly “entitled” to suite night awards, late checkouts, and lounge access. I have not been able to redeem any suite nights because of “unavailability.” Lounges have mostly been closed. And I’ve been denied late checkouts “because covid.”

    My point here is that loyalty programs all have their strengths and weaknesses. Which is “best” really depends on where, when, and how you travel.

  8. I’d be more accepting of the ‘peak’ awards if Hyatt actually moved hotels based on room rate. Should there be any cat 6+ hotels in 2022? Of course not…very few people traveled in 2020 or 2021 so average room rates plummeted. But will Hyatt doing that? Of course not.

    For a program that has been generally good, this double-devaluation (inflated categories for 2021 & likely 222 and now additional ‘peak’ pricing) is very short sighted by Hyatt. They were my go-to….I guess now I’m yet another hotel free agent.

  9. @DCS “With this change, World of Hyatt takes the first step toward emulating Hilton Honors’ dynamic award pricing system”

    Maybe, but In fairness, HH is completely non-transparent, while Hyatt, at least for now, says the peak / off-peak dates will be published and won’t change. That’s not the same thing. We need to keep in mind how hard franchisees are pushing the brands to do away with the benefits and any resemblance of control over award hikes. This is one hell of a balancing act for Hyatt, and I think or at least hope they’re trying.

  10. Determining which program is “head and shoulders above” the rest really depends on your habits and needs….. But Hyatt consistently provides rewards I value– consistent late checkouts and outsized redemption values on short personal trips where I visit family in major US cities.

    Fine, but then you go on to claim how wonderful late checkout is, when I rank that perk extremely low on my list of perks. Moreover, exactly what outsized redemption values do you get from World of Hyatt that others do not get from their preferred program? Getting 1.5 cents/HYATT point is exactly the same as getting 0.5 cents/HILTON point. You do know that, don’t you? If not, then you have no business pontificating on such matters.

    Overall, I agree with you that

    loyalty programs all have their strengths and weaknesses. Which is “best” really depends on where, when, and how you travel.

    It’s self-anointed “travel gurus” who constantly hyperventilate trying to prove that their preferred program is the best there has ever been. My verdict: they fail at that miserably. Of their preferred programs, SPG is no mas, and World of Hyatt is now the most expensive ’boutique’ program in the business, a truism that goes against the proposition of using loyalty to travel in style cost-effectively!

    G’day.

  11. @Christian – we know the prices on the award chart, and we’ll see each hotel’s price ~ 13 months out, but we won’t know before that price is in effect (for stays march 2022 onward)

  12. @DCS…

    Sorry you viewed my post as “pontificating.” I was just pointing out that what’s valuable to me is not what’s valuable to others, and that it’s pointless to declare one loyalty program “head and shoulders above others.” I DO value late checkouts– especially on work trips where I have late flights from the west coast of the US back to the east. The Hiltons I have stayed at have repeatedly denied my begging for them and my “Gold” status has meant nothing.

    My “outsized” Hyatt redemptions have been in certain parts of the USA– some of which do not have a good Marriott or Hilton alternative. The Hyatt Chesapeake Bay Resort is one example: All the Hilton points in the world wouldn’t matter there because there is no Hilton property within 50 miles. The value of any program depends entirely on where, when, and how you travel. That truth is lost on most bloggers, especially ones pumping credit cards oriented towards earning status.

    As an aside… If I am fortunate enough to resume regular travel outside of the USA, I’ll likely get an Aspire card and start trying to rack up Hilton points. Outside of the USA, most of the Hiltons I’ve stayed at have great lounges, frequently upgrade elites, and are overall much nicer.

  13. Sorry you viewed my post as “pontificating.” I was just pointing out that what’s valuable to me is not what’s valuable to others, and that it’s pointless to declare one loyalty program “head and shoulders above others.”

    — Texan@heart

    Fair enough, and I agree as that was the main point of that comment.

    The next time you stay at a Hilton property and need a late checkout, make the request at check-in and you have a better chance of being approved, as it gives the hotel sufficient time to try to accommodate your request.

    It is also true that, strictly speaking, points currencies do not have a fixed redemption value because “the value of any program depends entirely on where, when, and how you travel“, and what one redeems points for. It is only after the points have been redeemed for a specific award that one can precisely compute a redemption for that award .

    Get the Aspire. It is a card that is too good to be true!

    Cheers, mate!

  14. I am booking the Park Hyatt Paris for early March. What are your thought I when I should book it? It is 30k points. Any chance it will be less points if I wait to book?

  15. Every program has peak and off peak. It would be nice to see exactly which dates are peak or off peak.

  16. Gary, in order to get the current redemption rates, I’ve reserved several one night stays in Europe for a planned trip next fall, as I’m not sure of the exact dates. Eventually I’d like to link the nights in order to use a suite upgrade. Will linking the nights constitute a change that will cause the redemption rate to move to peak? Or am I over-thinking this?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *