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If you're considering a stay at a Hyatt, be sure to check to see if it is impacted by these category changes.
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The World of Hyatt hotel loyalty program is often overlooked in favor of other rewards programs from larger hotel companies such as Marriott Bonvoy, Hilton Honors or Wyndham Rewards. However, the World of Hyatt program is definitely worth paying attention to, particularly because it offers some redemptions with seriously outsized value.
You can book standard rooms in Category 1 hotels for as few as 3,500 points during off-peak times. Many of these hotels offer fantastic amenities and have cash rates as high as $200 per night, meaning you’d be getting a value of about 5.7 cents per point in this case.
Unfortunately, high-value redemptions like these just got harder to find as Hyatt recently announced that it’ll be changing the redemption rates for many properties. While rates for all of their existing eight categories have remained the same and no new categories have been added, many properties have been shifted from one category to another. Unfortunately, the majority of these changes have resulted in increased prices.
In a recent press release, Hyatt revealed every property that was going to be affected by the changes taking effect on March 28, 2023. Out of the properties listed, 214 properties are moving into a higher category (meaning redemption rates are going to be higher), and 158 properties are moving into a lower category (meaning redemption rates are going to be lower).
This change hits travelers who have free night certificates pretty hard as popular, high-end hotels and resorts in leisurely locations were hit particularly hard by these changes. For instance, nine Hyatt properties will be moving from Category 7 to Category 8, meaning that these nine properties will no longer be available for booking with a Category 1 through 7 free night award certificate.
World of Hyatt Award Chart
If you’re unfamiliar with the World of Hyatt award chart, it organizes properties into eight categories. Then, there are different redemption rates depending on the room type and the time of the year that you wish to book. Here is Hyatt’s current award chart:
|Category||Standard Room||Standard Room||Standard Room||Club||Club||Club||Standard Suite||Standard Suite||Standard Suite||Premium Suite||Premium Suite||Premium Suite|
As previously mentioned, after the upcoming changes, there will still be eight categories; rates will still be organized into peak, off-peak and standard times; and there will still be four room types. However, a total of 372 properties will be shifting from one category to another, either up or down. Sadly, the majority of those shifts will be upward, which means that the World of Hyatt program as a whole will be devalued considerably.
However, you should be aware that any award stays booked before March 28 will follow the rates set out in the old categories. Reservations made on or after March 28 will follow the new rules. On the other hand, existing reservations for award nights on or after March 28 will receive a refund for the point difference if the hotel moved to a lower category. To see which hotels will be moving Categories, you can find a full list on Hyatt’s website.
If you were planning to book an award stay in the future, you’ll probably want to make your booking before March 28. If your desired hotel is moving up a category, you might end up paying considerably more if you wait to book after the new changes come into effect. If you make your booking before March 28 and the hotel that you booked goes down a category, you’ll be reimbursed the difference in points.
Hyatt offers two types of free night award certificates: certificates that can be used on hotels in Category 1 through 4 and ones that can be used on hotels in Category 1 through 7. So, in regards to free night award certificates, the most important of these upcoming changes are the hotels that are shifting between Categories 4 and 5 and the hotels that are shifting between Categories 7 and 8.
Unfortunately, nine Hyatt properties will be moving from Category 7 to Category 8, some of which are popular redemption stay destinations. For instance, the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek, the Hyatt Centric Key West, The Lodge at Spruce Peak, the Viceroy Bali, the Park Hyatt Zurich and several others will all be moving into Category 8 and will no longer be available to book with free night award certificates.
On the other hand, the Pacific Resort Aitutaki, The Inn at English Harbour, Jangala Dunhuang The Liming Bequia and several others are all moving from Category 8 to Category 7, meaning they will be available to book with free night award certificates.
There are many hotels that will be shifting between Categories 4 and 5. So, if you have a Category 1 through 4 free night award certificate or you’re going to earn one soon, you’ll want to check which hotels are moving into and out of Category 4.
For instance, the Andaz San Diego, the Lahaina Shores Beach Resort, the Hyatt Grand Reserve Puerto Rico, the Hyatt Place Moab, the Grand Hyatt Sanya Haitang Bay, the Grand Hyatt Seoul, the Hyatt Regency Amsterdam and several others are all moving from Category 4 to 5, meaning they will no longer be able available with Category 1-4 free night award certificates.
However, the Hyatt Regency Cologne, the Hotel Das Tyrol, Alta Las Palomas, the Cape Kudu Hotel, the Terelj Hotel, the Spa Village Resort Tembok Bali, the Thompson Washington D.C. and several others are moving from Category 5 to Category 4, meaning you’ll be able to book them with Category 1-4 free night award certificates.
If you plan on booking an award stay with points rather than a free night award certificate, you should be aware that rates for certain hotels will be changing by as many as 15,000 points.
The Bottom Line
Overall, these upcoming changes are bad news for members of the World of Hyatt program. While there are some hotels that are going to be moving down a category, the majority of the changes will be hotels moving up a category. That means that the average redemption rate is going to go up significantly, and the World of Hyatt program is going to experience a serious devaluation.
So, if you’re planning to book an award stay, you’ll want to do so before the rate changes kick in on March 28. If you don’t book before the changes kick in, you might have to redeem points at a higher redemption rate for your desired hotel. On the other hand, if you have an existing award booking and the hotel drops a category, then you’ll be reimbursed for the difference.
Even though this is an overall negative change, there are still new opportunities for high-value redemptions as a result of certain hotels dropping categories. So, it’s worth looking through the list of hotels that are changing categories and seeing if any of your “bucket list” hotels just got a little more affordable.
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