Nov122013

Hyatt vs. SPG Hotel Award Category Distribution

This post looks at the distribution of hotels in Hotel Award Categories for Starwood brand hotels in Starwood Preferred Guest and Hyatt brand Hotels in Hyatt Gold Passport. This is a reality check by showing the distribution of hotels in Hyatt with a strong commitment to keeping hotels in the lower tiers.

Hyatt Gold Passport will raise the hotel award cost for category 5 and 6 hotels and add a new uber-hotel category 7 effective January 7, 2014. The recent changes announced to raise the points required for hotels do not have much impact on the value of Hyatt points needed for the vast majority of its hotels with this recent change.

More importantly will be for members to keep on eye on hotel category reassignment and see if Hyatt shifts hotels upward like SPG did over the past decade. Hilton also moved hotels significantly upward over the past few years.

I think of SPG, Hyatt and Hilton as the major credit card branded hotel loyalty programs that have built their hotel chain in large part due to the ability of members to earn points with credit card spend.

My tables show that Hyatt Gold Passport still has one of the best hotel award category distributions. There will be very little impact to Hyatt Visa cardmembers who receive an anniversary free night certificate for category 1-4 hotels.

  • 461 of 538 (85%) Hyatt Hotels globally are currently in category 1-4.
  • 77 of 538 Hyatt Hotels globally are currently in category 5 and 6 (under 15%).

Effective January 7, 2014

  • 459 of 538 (85%) Hyatt Hotels globally will be in category 1-4.
  • 79 of 538 Hyatt Hotels globally will be in category 5 and 6 (under 15%).

Sure those category 5, 6, and 7 hotel awards will eat into your points.

The value for 85% of hotels in the Hyatt brands does not change at all with the increase of award nights at category 5, 6 and 7.

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For several years I commented how SPG was clearing out hotels from its low tier hotel award categories as each year the winter announcement came of annual hotel category reassignment and hotels moved up to a higher level from category 1 and category 2. SPG had about 50% of its hotels in Category 1 and 2 a decade ago and now that number is fewer than 20% of its global portfolio at the category 1 and 2 level.

SPG has had category 5, 6 and 7 for a few years. These are the upper tier hotel awards where properties have peak season dates.

Just to give an idea of the impact of peak season dates on award cost, consider there are 229 SPG Category 5 hotels. On my spreadsheet the peak season dates for these 229 hotels take up more than 3,500 lines. That means there are on average about 15 periods per year when the peak season rate applies to a category 5 hotel award stay increasing the nightly rate 33% from 12,000 points to 16,000 points per night.

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Observations:

Low category hotel awards.

  • Hyatt has 55% of its hotels in category 1 and 2.
  • SPG has 228 hotels a little more than 19% of its hotels in category 1 and 2.
  • SPG Category 1 hotels at 3,000 points weekday take $1,000 to $1,500 in hotel spend for a base member or Gold/Platinum elite. There are only 43 category 1 Starwood Hotels globally; less than 4%.
  • Hyatt has 114 category 1 hotels where awards are 5,000 points per night, every night. There are no weekend discounts for Hyatt. Hyatt member earns 5 points per $1. A base member needs $1,000 in hotel spend to earn 5,000 points for a category 1 hotel night. Hyatt Platinum member earns 5.75 points per $1 and needs $870 in hotel spend. Hyatt Diamond earns 6.5 points per $1 and needs $770 in hotel spend to earn 5,000 points.
  • Hyatt Diamond members actually earn points faster with hotel welcome amenity points of 500 or 1,000 points per stay.
  • SPG has 185 Starwood Hotels in Category 2 hotel awards at 4,000 points weekday rates. This takes $2,000 in hotel spend for a base member to earn 4,000 points or $1,333 Gold/Platinum elite. 15% of Starwood Hotels are category 2 and weekend Friday and Saturday are only 3,000 points per night.
  • Hyatt category 2 hotel awards are 8,000 points per night, every night. There are no weekend discounts for Hyatt. 1 in 3 hotels, 33% of all hotels in the Hyatt brands are in category 2 hotel awards.
  • A base member needs $1,600 in hotel spend to earn 8,000 points for a category 2 hotel night. Hyatt Platinum member $1,391 in hotel spend. Hyatt Diamond member needs $1,231 in hotel spend to earn 5,000 points.

Mid category hotel awards

  • SPG offers more than half its hotels globally as category 3 or 4 hotel awards. These mid-level categories are the most populated with 312 hotels in category 3 at 7,000 points per night and 313 in category 4 at 10,000 points per night.
  • SPG has 72% of its hotels in category 1-4.
  • Hyatt has 85% of its hotels in category 1-4.
  • SPG category 3 hotel award at 7,000 points per night takes $2,333 in hotel spend for Gold/Platinum elite and $3,500 in hotel spend for base members to earn points for one free night.
  • Hyatt category 3 hotel award is 12,000 points per night. There are 94 hotels in category 3, about 17.5%. Hyatt Diamond member needs $1,846 in hotel spend to earn 12,000 points. Platinum elite needs $2,087 and a base member needs $2,400 in hotel spend.
  • SPG category 4 hotel awards are 10,000 points per night at 314 hotels. SPG Platinum/Gold member needs $3,333 in hotel spend to earn base points for a category 4 award night at 10,000 SPG points. SPG base member needs $5,000 in hotel spend. This is the category level where SPG Cash & Points awards really gain value using only 5,000 points and
  • Hyatt member earning 5 points (base member) to 6.5 points per $1 (Diamond elite) needs needs $2,300 to $3,000 in hotel spend to earn a category 4 award night at 15,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points. Category 4 is where Hyatt has a big edge on Starwood.
  • SPG has 5th night free awards reducing the cost by 20% for a 5-night stay. Hyatt Gold Passport does not offer a discount for extended stay awards.

Category 5 hotel awards

  • Hyatt has 46 hotels, some 8.5% of Hyatt Hotels globally in Category 5 hotel awards. The price increases from 18,000 points to 20,000 points January 7, 2014. 2,000 points per night is an 11% increase.
  • Starwood Hotels in category 5 are nearly 20% and those 229 hotels have thousands of peak season date periods when the award cost rises from 12,000 points to 16,000 points.
  • SPG member needs $3,000 to $6,000 in hotel spend to earn base points for a category 5 award night at 12,000 SPG points.
  • SPG member needs $4,000 (Platinum 75) to $5,333 (Gold/Platinum elite) to $8,000 (base member) in hotel spend to earn points for a category 5 peak-season award night at 16,000 SPG points.

Category 6 hotel awards

  • 27 hotels, some 5.0% of Hyatt Hotels in Category 6 hotel awards. The price increases from 22,000 points to 25,000 points January 7, 2014. 3,000 points per night is a 14% increase.
  • 67 hotels, or 5.7% of Starwood Hotels are in category 6. These hotels are 20,000 points per night and in peak season dates 25,000 points per night.
  • SPG member needs $5,000 (Platinum 75) or $6,667 (Gold/Platinum elite) or $10,000 (base member) in hotel spend to earn base points for a category 6 award night at 20,000 SPG points.
  • SPG member needs $6,250 (Platinum 75) to $8,333 (Gold/Platinum elite) to $12,500 (base member) in hotel spend to earn points for a category 6 peak-season award night at 25,000 SPG points.
  • Hyatt member earns 5 points (base member) to 5.75 (Platinum) 6.5 points per $1 (Diamond elite). You need $3,846 (Diamond) to $4,348 (Platinum) to $5,000 (base member) in hotel spend to earn a category 6 award night at 25,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points.

Category 7 hotel awards

  • Starwood has 35 hotels, some 3.0% of portfolio in Category 7 hotel awards. The price at 30,000 points and 35,000 points per award night is staggeringly high. Several of these hotels actually cost 60,000 or 70,000 points per night due to being all suite hotels.
  • Hyatt has 6 hotels going into their new category 7 hotel award on January 7, 2014. Certainly this hotel category will grow.These hotels are 30,000 points per night.
  • SPG member needs $7,500 (Platinum 75) or $10,000 (Gold/Platinum elite) or $15,000 (base member) in hotel spend to earn base points for a category 7 award night at 30,000 SPG points.
  • SPG member needs $8,750 (Platinum 75) to $11,667 (Gold/Platinum elite) to $17,500 (base member) in hotel spend to earn points for a category 7 peak-season award night at 35,000 SPG points.
  • Hyatt member needs $4,615 (Diamond) to $5,217 (Platinum) to $6,000 (base member) in hotel spend to earn a category 7 award night at 30,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points.

In my next post I will publish tables showing this spend data for Hyatt and Starwood Hotel Award Nights.

Related Post: Hyatt Gold Passport 2014 Award Chart Changes adds category 7 and raises points cost (Nov 11, 2013)

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Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests.

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About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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Comments

  1. Excellent post, thank you!
    Especially since I’m currently debating about switching to Hyatt for next year.

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