Thursday, December 5, 2019

World of Hyatt to introduce Peak and Off Peak pricing and add more value from Dining, Spa & More Awards

The World of Hyatt frequent guest program revealed details this week of some upcoming changes to the program that for the most part isn't news we like to see. The first change, which is the most important one, is that World of Hyatt will be introducing Peak and Off Peak award night pricing like we have seen from Marriott Bonvoy and other hotel programs.  This change will kick in in March 2020 and sees the standard rates being decreased or increased by 1,500 to 5,000 points per night depending on whether it is Off Peak or Peak respectively. View from the Wing reports that unlike Marriott which can and does change Off Peak/Peak pricing monthly "Hyatt will not change whether a night is designated as peak, standard, or off-peak for a given property once the night is loaded into Hyatt’s systems."

Here is more from Hyatt on the upcoming Peak/Off Peak pricing:
  • If the redemption amount for a night on an existing award reservation is lowered to Off-peak in March, we’ll automatically refund the point difference, and if it goes to Peak, you won’t be charged any more points.
  • Points + Cash will also offer Off-peak and Peak point redemption. The cash required will still be 50% of the rate.
  • Free nights in suites will also be offered at Off-peak and Peak redemption.
  • You’ll have plenty of time to plan ahead. Redemption rates for free nights will be announced as soon as nights are available for reservations (usually 13 months in advance), and won’t change once posted. A new online calendar will help you plan (coming soon).
  • Hotel award categories aren’t changing – there are still 8.
As you can see you will receive an automatic refund if you already have award nights booked or will book them prior to their launch should your nights fall into an Off Peak pricing scenario. On the opposite end if a hotel moves to peak pricing your originally booking will be safe at the points you booked for - so for all intensive purposes if you have been planning on redeeming points for Hyatt stay you'll want to see if you can get it done before March as no matter what you won't pay any more points than expected and you might even get a refund.

Here are the new free night award charts as of March 2020:

Overall this isn't a welcome shift from Hyatt. I mean it is a good thing  if you can get off-peak pricing for award nights but those will just mirror when the hotel isn't as full and the cash rates are lower anyways. The true value in the Hyatt program was being able to redeem at a flat rate for those aspirational properties during high season and getting great value out of your points. Now those same nights will undoubtedly price out as Peak. That being said the increase in points isn't massive, 5,000 at most for a standard room, 10,000 for a suite but when us Canadians that can be a significant amount since we don't have multiple avenues of earning Hyatt points outside of actual Hyatt stays (unless you go the route of getting a U.S. Hyatt credit card).

The other change coming to the program is an enhancement as the program is adding value by reducing the amount points required if you redeem for Dining, Spa & More Awards. This is where you use points for U.S. Dollar credits toward dining, spa, in-room purchases and more. These new rates will take effect in January. Here is the redemption chart for this option showing the old and new rates.

These redemptions are a lot better! You'll get no less than 1 cent per point to just over 1.5 cents per points in redemption value. This is still a lower than the value you would get when redeeming for the award nights or suite upgrades but is still an option if you have so many points that you don't know what to do with them or on the opposite end don't have enough for a meaningful award night stay but can get a credit for these other options.

Overall it isn't great news that Hyatt is moving to include Peak and Off Peak pricing. Sure there may be times it will be better as nights will be cheaper but for most of us we are using loyalty programs (or at least trying to) when everyone else is, fo spring break, summer, Christmas, you name it. Those nights will more than likely now cost more now.

You can learn all about these World of Hyatt changes here.

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