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World of Hyatt changes announced from 1st November – good or bad?

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World of Hyatt is introducing a number of changes from 1st November.

The email sent to members had a neutral ‘New Ways To Use Your Points’ headline.  Unfortunately it hides one key change.

From 1st November, ‘cash and points’ redemptions will – to all intents and purposes – become useless unless you only have a small points balance.

At present, a ‘cash and points’ booking requires 50% of the usual number of points plus a FIXED and generally low cash payment, depending on the hotel category.

World of Hyatt changing cash and points

From Thursday, ‘cash and points’ redemptions will cost 50% of the usual number of points plus 50% of the Best Available Rate.  This means that there is little benefit to using this feature, especially as most people don’t pay Best Available Rate.  Cheaper rates are often available, including pre-paid ones.

Another minor loss is the removal of the two United Airlines lounge passes which were issued to top-tier Globalist members each year.

There are two genuine upsides:

A new redemption option, Premium Suites, will be available.  These will cost up to 60,000 points per night and so will only attract the very highest points earners.  A more realistic deal may be the new ‘use points to upgrade to a Premium Suite’ option – only available by telephone – at 9,000 points per night on top of the cash price for a standard room.

The 3-night minimum stay for a Standard Suite redemption will be removed

I can see how both of these options could be useful to me personally.  A Premium Suite should, at many hotels, sleep four.  This would make the 9,000 points per night upgrade from a standard room a good deal and probably cheaper than booking 2 x standard rooms for my family.  If a Standard Suite would be good enough, the removal of the three night minimum massively increases my opportunities to upgrade or redeem directly for one of those.

Hyatt has also confirmed that a new Category 8 will be introduced for reward pricing.  Don’t panic.  The company is promising that no existing hotels will be moved into Category 8 and so it does not signify a devaluation.

Category 8 will only be used for new premium partner hotels such as Small Luxury Hotels of the World members, coming to World of Hyatt soon, and the recently acquired Alila, Destination, Joie de Vivre, Thompson, and Tommie chains.

Full details of the changes can be found on the Hyatt website.

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