The reward chart at Hyatt Gold Passport has seemed a little unsupportable for a while. Park Hyatt – the most luxurious brand in the portfolio – operates some extremely fine hotels, such as the Park Hyatt Tokyo seen in ‘Lost In Translation’. And 22,000 points for a free night felt cheap.
(Although, of course, it depends where you live. US residents can earn a huge number of Hyatt points without even leaving their seat, as Gold Passport partners with the Chase credit card rewards programme. Hyatt also has its own credit card.
Outside the US, Hyatt points are VERY hard to earn – fundamentally, there is no alternative to actually staying with them. Even then, racking up points is not easy. We have a weekend stay at Park Hyatt Zurich next month which will run to £1,500 – this is Switzerland we’re talking about – but even that will only get me half a free night.)
In a nutshell, this is what Hyatt announced on Sunday:
New Category 7 and some realignment of other categories
Here is the new award chart:
The old chart ended at Category 6, which cost 22,000 points for a free night.
The new chart sees Category 6 properties rise to 25,000 points per night. A new Category 7 is also introduced, costing 30,000 points per night. Initially, only six hotels will be in Category 7 – the Park Hyatt properties in Beaver Creek, Tokyo, Sydney, Milan, Paris and Zurich. Over time, though, you can expect ‘category creep’ to expand this list.
Some hotel have also moved category. The Andaz at Liverpool Street, for example, moves from Category 5 to Category 6, which means an increase from 18,000 points to 25,000 points.
Changes to the 6,000 point suite upgrade award
I have posted before about this ‘sweet spot’ in the Hyatt award chart. Basically, for just 6,000 points (which you could buy from them, you didn’t even need to stay) you could upgrade your room to a suite for up to four nights.
The only ‘catch’ was that you paid the ‘best flexible rate’ for your room. However, in many places – especially the luxury Hyatt properties in Asia – this usually wasn’t much more than the cheapest advertised rate anyway. I have had some fantastic suites via this deal in the past, in particular at the Grand Hyatt in Shanghai.
Going forward, a suite upgrade will cost 6,000 points per night. This is still a decent deal, and I would rather upgrade four nights of a paid stay to a suite than get one free night in a standard room. On a 4-night stay, though, they have increased the cost by 400%!
And of course Hyatt Gift Certificates got restricted
I posted recently about the changes to Hyatt Gift Certificates. These used to be a great way to use Hyatt’s gift vouchers to make big savings on cash room bookings, but recent changes made them relatively useless in most cases.
At least customers get ample warning
Hyatt, as usual, wins points for giving ample warning. These new rates do not go into effect until 7th January. Even then, if you have an existing booking and want to change the date, you will be able to do so without paying any extra points until 15th February.
Even better, Hyatt will automatically refund points to you if you have a reward booking for one of the hotels which is dropping in price (there are a few) after 6th January.
None of these changes will wreck Hyatt Gold Passport. Apart from the six hotels in Category 7, the changes in the number of points needed is not huge. However, as those six hotels offered the best ‘£ per point’ redemption value, it does have a disproportionate impact.
What does annoy me, though, is the fact that I feel non-US Hyatt Gold Passport members are being punished for the ‘points inflation’ caused by Hyatt’s credit card activities in the US.
(To see our complete list of all current hotel promotions for the major chains, click here to visit our ‘Hotel Promos’ page or use the link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)