Jul032014

Hyatt beats Starwood in USA for category 1 and 2 hotel awards

This post looks at the hotel distribution for Hyatt and Starwood of low category awards and compares hotel spend needed to earn points for these awards.

Hyatt Gold Passport has 267 category-1 and category-2 hotels in the USA for low points award nights compared to 109 hotels with Starwood Hotels in the USA for category-1 and category-2 award nights.

Starwood Hotels with 1,180 hotels worldwide has 250 hotels (21%) available as category-1 and category-2 awards. SPG has 109 hotels (44%) category-1 and category-2 hotels in the USA and 141 hotels (56%) outside the USA.

Hyatt Hotels with 554 hotels worldwide has 308 hotels (55%) available as  category-1 and category-2 awards. Of the 308 category-1 and category-2 hotels, there are 267 hotels (87%) in the USA and 41 hotels (13%) outside the USA.

Starwood Preferred Guest offers 109 hotels across the USA in its two lowest award categories while Hyatt Gold Passport offers 267 hotels across the USA in its two lowest award categories.

Hyatt Gold Passport offers far more choice in low award category hotels across the USA than Starwood Preferred Guest.

Hyatt Gold Passport

Category 1 hotel award night = 5,000 points Standard Award

Category 1 hotel award night = 2,500 points + $50 for Points + Cash Award

Hyatt Gold Passport Category 1 = 120 hotels worldwide

  • USA = 106 hotels (88%)
  • International = 14 hotels
    • Asia Pacific 10 hotels (8%) China (3); Indonesia (3); Malaysia (2); India (1); Nepal (1).
    • Mexico-Chile-Panama 3 hotels (3%)
    • Europe/Middle East/Africa 0 hotels.

Category 2 hotel award night = 8,000 points Standard Award

Category 2 hotel award night = 4,000 points + $55 for Points + Cash Award

Hyatt Gold Passport Category 2 = 188 hotels worldwide

  • USA = 161 hotels (86%)
  • International = 27 hotels (14%)
    • Europe

Starwood Preferred Guest

Category 1 hotel award night = 2,000 points Standard Award (Fri/Sat) or 3,000 points (Sun-Thu)

Category 1 hotel award night = 1,500 points + $30 for Cash & Points Award

Starwood Preferred Guest Category 1 = 58 hotels worldwide:

    • USA = 7 hotels (12%)
    • International = 51 hotels
      • Asia Pacific 39 hotels (67%) China 22; India 11: Indonesia 3; Malaysia 3.
      • Europe 3 hotels (5%) Hungary 1, Turkey 1; Ukraine 1.
      • Mexico and Dominican Republic 2 hotels (3%)
      • Canada 0 hotels (0%)
      • Africa/Middle East 7 hotels (12%) Egypt 6; Gambia 1

Category 2 hotel award night = 3,000 points Standard Award (Fri/Sat) or 4,000 points (Sun-Thu)

Category 2 hotel award night = 2,000 points + $35 for Cash & Points Award

Starwood Preferred Guest Category 2 = 192 hotels worldwide:

  • USA = 102 hotels (53%)
  • International = 90 hotels
    • Asia Pacific 62 hotels (32%)  China 35; India 13: Other 14
    • Europe 10 hotels (5%) Bulgaria, Croatia, Ireland, Italy (2); Lithuania; Slovenia. Spain; Turkey (2).
    • Latin America 10 hotels (5%) Mexico (5); Argentina (1); Colombia (1); Costa Rica(1); Panama(1); Peru (1).
    • Canada 4 hotels (2%)
    • Africa/Middle East 4 hotels (2%) Egypt (2); Morocco (1); UAE (1).

Hotel Award Rate Comparison by Hotel Spend for Hyatt and SPG per Category 1 and Category 2 Award Nights

Hyatt Gold Passport Spend Needed per Award Night

Hyatt Gold Passport members earn 5 base points per dollar. Hyatt Gold Passport Visa earns 3 points per $1 in Hyatt Hotels spend. HGP Platinum earns 15% bonus. HGP Diamond earns 30% bonus.

Hyatt Gold Passport Category 1 Standard award night = 5,000 points

  • $1,000 in hotel spend for HGP base member (5 points/$1) to earn 5,000 points for category 1 hotel award night.
  • $572 in hotel spend for HGP Platinum member paying with Hyatt Visa (8.75 points/$1) to earn 5,000 points for category 1 hotel award night.
  • $526 in hotel spend for HGP Diamond member paying with Hyatt Visa (9.5 points/$1) to earn 5,000 points for category 1 hotel award night.
  • Hyatt Gold Passport promotion bonus points and Diamond member welcome amenity points reduce spend amount even more.
  • Hyatt Gold Passport has 120 category-1 hotels worldwide with 106 in the USA.

Hyatt Gold Passport Category 2 award night = 8,000 points.

  • $1,600 in hotel spend for HGP base member (5 points/$1) to earn 8,000 points for category 2 hotel award night.
  • $914 in hotel spend for HGP Platinum member paying with Hyatt Visa (8.75 points/$1) to earn 8,000 points for category 2 hotel award night.
  • $842 in hotel spend for HGP Diamond member paying with Hyatt Visa (9.5 points/$1) to earn 8,000 points for category 2 hotel award night.
  • Hyatt Gold Passport promotion bonus points and Diamond member welcome amenity points reduce spend amount even more.
  • Hyatt Gold Passport has 188 category-2 hotels worldwide with 161 in the USA.

Starwood Preferred Guest Spend Needed per Award Night

Starwood Preferred Guest members earn 2 base points per dollar. Starwood Preferred Guest American Express card members earn 2 points per $1 in Starwood Hotels spend. SPG Gold and Platinum members earn 1 point per $1 bonus points.

Main point to remember is there are very few category 1 hotels with 58 worldwide and 7 in the USA. Category 2 awards with 192 hotels worldwide and 102 in the USA is the more practical award you will find as a Starwood Preferred Guest member.

SPG Category 1 Standard award = 2,000 points (Friday/Saturday nights).

  • $1,000 in hotel spend for SPG base member (2 points/$1) to earn 2,000 points for category 1 hotel award night.
  • $500 in hotel spend for SPG base member paying with SPG American Express card (4 points/$1) to earn 2,000 points for category 1 hotel award night.
  • $400 in hotel spend for SPG Gold/Platinum paying with SPG American Express (5 points/$1) to earn 2,000 points for category 1 hotel award night.
  • Starwood Preferred Guest promotion bonus points and Gold/Platinum member welcome amenity points reduce spend amount even more.
  • Starwood Preferred Guest has only 58 category-1 hotels worldwide with 7 hotels in the USA.

SPG Category 1 Standard award (Sunday-Thursday nights) or SPG Category 2 Standard weekend award night (Friday/Saturday nights) = 3,000 points.

  • $1,500 in hotel spend for SPG base member (2 points/$1) to earn 3,000 points for category 1/2 hotel award night.
  • $750 in hotel spend for SPG base member paying with SPG American Express card (4 points/$1) to earn 3,000 points for category 1/2 hotel award night.
  • $600 in hotel spend for SPG Gold/Platinum paying with SPG American Express (5 points/$1) to earn 3,000 points for category 1/2 hotel award night.
  • Starwood Preferred Guest promotion bonus points and Gold/Platinum member welcome amenity points reduce spend amount even more.
  • Starwood Preferred Guest has 192 category-2 hotels worldwide with 102 hotels in the USA.

SPG Category 2 Standard award (Sunday-Thursday nights) = 4,000 points

  • $2,000 in hotel spend for SPG base member (2 points/$1) to earn 4,000 points for category 2 hotel award night.
  • $1,000 in hotel spend for SPG base member paying with SPG American Express card (4 points/$1) to earn 4,000 points for category 2 hotel award night.
  • $800 in hotel spend for SPG Gold/Platinum paying with SPG American Express (5 points/$1) to earn 4,000 points for category 2 hotel award night.
  • Starwood Preferred Guest promotion bonus points and Gold/Platinum member welcome amenity points reduce spend amount even more.
  • Starwood Preferred Guest has 192 category-2 hotels worldwide with 102 hotels in the USA.

Hyatt vs. Starwood for low category award nights

Both hotel programs are fairly close in spend needed to earn a free category-1 or category-2 award night. Promotions and elite bonus points make a big difference in actual hotel spend needed. Hyatt Gold Passport has the edge on category-1 awards simply due to the fact that SPG has too few hotels in its lowest award category, especially category-1 hotels in the USA.

Elite bonus points and SPG American Express credit card both earn points at a higher rate for Starwood members than Hyatt Gold Passport elite membership or credit card. Starwood is 50% bonus points for Gold members compared to only 15% for Hyatt Platinum. SPG American Express is 100% bonus points for hotel payment compared to 60% bonus for Hyatt Visa payment. Hyatt Visa card members earn automatic Platinum elite while SPG American Express card members receive a 2 stay and 5 nights credit each year, but must still complete 10 stays or 25 nights to earn SPG Gold elite. Both programs count award stays for elite credit.

Starwood has the competitive edge for category-2 weekend awards over Hyatt Gold Passport category 2 awards. SPG members earn 3,000 points with $600 to $750 in hotel spend as a SPG base or elite member paying with the SPG Amex credit card.

Hyatt can take $914 (22% more) to earn 8,000 points for a category 2 hotel weekend night as a Platinum elite paying with Hyatt Visa.

Hyatt still has the availability edge with 106 category-1 and 161 category-2 hotels in the USA compared to 7 hotels in SPG category-1 and 102 Starwood Hotels at the category-2 level in the USA. Hyatt 267 and Starwood 109 is a big difference when it comes to low category award nights in the USA.

SPG has the edge for low category hotels internationally with 141 category-1 and category-2 hotels outside the USA compared to only 41 low category Hyatt  hotels internationally.

Starwood Hotels require less hotel spend in the simple analysis to earn low category award nights than Hyatt Hotels which can be as much as 20% more spend per award night.

Still, Hyatt Gold Passport is the more practical hotel chain for award nights in the USA with 267 category-1 and category-2 hotels compared to Starwood’s 109 category-1 and category-2 hotels. That is significantly more Hyatt Hotels coverage across the USA for redeeming hotel points on low category award nights.

*****

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. Check out current hotel loyalty program offers across all the major chains in Loyalty Traveler’s monthly hotel promotions guide.

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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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