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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:
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.