I just caught up on the American Express news update but there is also lots going on with Hyatt right now. Here is a quick rundown of what is going on as I’m slowly catching up.
1. Hyatt Gold Passport 2015 Category Changes – Every year, Hyatt (and most other hotel chains) make some changes to their award program, mostly involving re-categorizing some hotels to either a higher or lower category. This year, Hyatt is the first chain to announce their changes and depending on how you redeem your Hyatt points, these changes are a mixed bag. In total, there are 48 hotels moving down a category (or more) and 22 hotels increasing a category. You have until January 22nd to make a reservation, even if it is for a future travel date, to lock in the lower points amount.
Click here to see the complete list of ALL Hyatt Gold Passport Category changes and as a reminder, here is what the Hyatt Award Chart looks like below.
I won’t go over every hotel change but I’ll start with some of the key hotels decreasing by a category:
- Park Hyatt Washington DC – Category 6 to Category 5
- Gran Hyatt Washington DC – Category 5 to Category 4 (can now use annual free Hyatt night here)
- Hyatt French Quarter – Category 5 to Category 4 (can now use annual free Hyatt night here)
- Park Hyatt Chennani – Category 3 to Category 2
And here are some of the key hotels increasing by a category:
- Park Hyatt Maldives – Category 6 to Category 7
- Andaz Amsterdam – Category 5 to Category 6
- Park Hyatt Seoul – Category 4 to Category 5 (can longer use annual free Hyatt night here)
- Grand Hyatt Sao Paulo – Category 3 to Category 4
- Hyatt Regency Nice – Category 5 to Category 6
- Grand Hyatt at Bar Mar – Category 4 to Category 5 (this hotel hasn’t even opened yet!)
In short, even if the increases are only a few thousand points in some cases, if you have travel plans next year that involved one of these hotels, book the reservation now. Awards stays are cancelable up to a defined timeframe that varies per hotel (anywhere from a month to a few days before) so there is no downside to lock something in now. I am doing this with the Park Hyatt Maldives (stayed tuned for a future Award Trip Breakdown post on my Maldives trip next year).
2. Hyatt Eliminates My Elite Rate – If you were an elite member with Hyatt (and remember having the Hyatt Visa Card gives you Platinum elite status), you had access to hotel rates that were sometimes 20% lower than the daily rate via the My Elite Rate. Unfortunately, Hyatt is discontinuing this benefit in 2015. This was a new benefit rolled out in 2014 so the Hyatt corporate offices must have not deemed this worthy to repeat in 2015. If you booked a fair amount of paid stays with Hyatt, this could be a significant loss.
3. Points & Cash Awards Will Continue in 2015 – The other benefit Hyatt rolled out last year was allowing customers to book hotel rooms using fewer points with a set co-pay that varied based on the category level of the hotel. The good news is Hyatt is continuing this in 2015 and not making any adjustments to the Points & Cash award chart. I have taken advantage of this benefit several times at the Andaz Maui where a room only costs 12,500 points + $150 which is fantastic for a hotel that can average $600 a night, if not more. This is a great perk and I’m glad it is here to stay. As a reminder, here is what the Points & Cash Award Chart looks like below.
4. Hyatt Guarantees Bed Type to All Customers – Previously, Hyatt only guaranteed the reserved bed type to elite customers so if you reserved a King bed, you would be guaranteed that upon arrival. However, per Hyatt, only 0.1% of all customers didn’t receive their reserved bed type so they are now guaranteeing the reserved bed type for all customers now, not just elite customers. This isn’t especially newsworthy since the odds are so small of it happening but it is a positive (albeit small impacting) change.