The Park Hyatt Aviara was once a Four Seasons. Rather than make capital investments in the property it converted to Park Hyatt. At the time this Carlsbad hotel offered fantastic service but a tired physical plant. Fortunately a $60 million renovation was completed during the pandemic, updating the lobby and pool area, refreshing the restaurants, and updating guest rooms.
Room rates are up, and it’s become a popular hotel. When I was in the San Diego area recently the property was completely sold out weeks in advance. They’re pulling higher room rates, and they don’t seem to like guests staying there on points.
I reached out to Hyatt when I couldn’t find a single standard room for the entirety of the next 13 months. Some properties ‘game the program’ with minimum stay requirements for a paid or award standard room so it was possible I wasn’t seeing space that was actually available. I wanted to know whether it was possible to get an free night award at this property, and if so how would one go about doing so?
Hyatt offered that the hotel is “in compliance with offering free night awards when standard rate rooms are available.” But here’s the trick they’re pulling simply not offering standard rooms for sale most of the time.
Currently, Park Hyatt Aviara does not have any standard rooms available but when they do, the hotel honors award redemption for those nights. Upon closer inspection it appears that standard rooms are most often available closer (several weeks out) to guest’s desired check-in date.
Based on this explanation it appears Hyatt does not require hotels to offer standard rooms for sale even when the hotel is completely empty without a single booking. I’ve asked Hyatt to confirm this. Marriott expressly sets a minimum percentage of rooms that all non-suites only hotels must offer as standard and thus eligible for redemption.
The Hyatt Centric Waikiki figured out how to avoid gussts booking award stays. Since any time a standard room is for sale it has to be bookable as an award, they impose minimum stay requirements on standard rooms. It’s just a small subset of rooms, anyway, that may sell for $5 less than an almost identical base room. It’s a similar trick to the one the Andaz West Hollywood uses.
What’s technically against the rules, and hotels don’t get away with when they try it, is to sell standard rooms only as part of a package and since the award rate plan is tied to the standard rate no awards are offered. That’s non-compliant, and hotels like Hyatt Regency Sonoma and Hyatt Regency San Francisco that have tried it get straightened out. But all they have to do is shift to the game Park Hyatt Aviara and others play, it seems, and they can get away with it with impunity.