Hyatt Hotels has a highly favorable hotel redemption category distribution compared to the other major chains of Marriott, IHG, Hilton, and Starwood. Hotel category shift in Hyatt Gold Passport program has been kept to a minimum compared to the other chains.
A check of the dozen hotels in the Monterey/San Francisco region of California shows no hotel category shift in two years.
Here is a table of the distribution of Hyatt Hotels in the 5 reward night categories for free nights using points.
Is Hotel Category Shift a one-way uphill road for hotel loyalty programs?
I raised a question in March 2008 on Loyalty Traveler blog when analyzing Starwood Preferred Guest hotel category shift in the peak of hotel room rates before the sky fell on chicken little.
“Logically, where does this lead hotel categorization in the future if hotels only go up in category?
A fundamental question needs to be addressed whether all hotels can continually improve category status or whether the entire family of hotels is evaluated against each other to set up an allocation of hotels distributed within the categories of the SPG [insert any hotel loyalty name] program.”
This has been a topic I have thought about for a couple of years as programs like Hyatt (Category 5 in Dec 2006), SPG (Category 7 in March 2007), Marriott (Category 8 in Jan 2009), and Hilton (Category 7 in Jan 2010) have added hotel categories and hotels are moved upwards.
Most Hilton hotels may increase in HHonors points cost in 2010 due to hotel category shift upwards.
SPG actually moved almost twice as many hotels down a category (about 156) than up a category (about 80) in 2009.
Marriott Rewards added Category 8 at the beginning of 2009. I predicted this category addition would be accompanied by a substantial hotel category shift upwards requiring more points for free nights at most hotels. Thankfully, Marriott Rewards proved me wrong with no substantial upward movement of hotels during 2009 with the biggest change coming in Category 7 hotels moving up to Category 8. Multi-night rewards increased in cost due to the new reward format of 5th night free, but a single night for most hotels remained the same in 2009.
Hilton HHonors looks to be going the other way in 2010 with its reportedly substantial upward shift of hotels within the HHonors redemption categories.
Perhaps one reason Hyatt Hotels is more stable is the lack of credit card points liability. Perhaps this week’s Hyatt IPO may signal a credit card partnership sometime in the future.
For now, Diners Club Rewards points can be exchanged into Hyatt Gold Passport points, while American Express and Visa do not offer a Gold Passport points option. The exchange rate is relatively poor at 1,250 DC points = 750 Hyatt points.