The new award table for Hyatt Gold Passport goes into effect on January 7, 2014. Members can book hotel stays at the current rate through January 6, 2014. Award stays booked by January 6, 2014 for later dates can be modified through February 15, 2014 without affecting the award rate.
There will be some major increases for six hotels out of 540 hotels. There are increases in the cost of award nights for Regency Club rooms and suite awards. The word devaluation was tossed around quite a bit on the blogosphere.
Has Hyatt Gold Passport had a major devaluation for the average traveler or only the luxury aspirational traveler?
The 2014 Hyatt Gold Passport award chart sees no increases for Standard Awards in Hotel Category 1 to 4. The award night points increases are under 15% for category 5 and 6. Category 7 hotel awards are expensive. Most of the category 7 hotels have expensive published rates. Initially, there are only six hotels in category 7, but that will likely expand in the next year or two.
More than 85% of Hyatt brand hotels worldwide in category 1-4 will have no increase in the cost of a Standard Award Night. The increase is relatively small at 11% for category 5 Standard Award nights and 14% at category 6 hotels.
Most of the devaluation is concentrated on six hotels in Category 7 and suite upgrades.
Regency Club upgrades at Category 2 hotels will be expensive with a 20% bump.
Only 29 hotels in the USA in Category 2 are Hyatt Regency brand. Nearly all category 2 hotels are Hyatt Place or Hyatt House with no Club lounge anyway. There are about 25 hotels outside the USA where the 20% bump to Regency Club upgrade will have an impact.
Cash & Points awards will offer many opportunities to conserve points for Hyatt award stays. The elite qualification aspect of Cash & Points stays will be a major improvement in spending fewer points for hotel stays while reducing the room rate and earning elite credit.
Points + Cash copay will allow most travelers, who do not amass points easily through credit card spend, an opportunity to pay a reduced rate for some hotel stays.
Obviously, it will not be a great deal to spend 7,500 points + $100 for some Category 4 hotels when the published rate might only be $150. Points + Cash awards will not be a great deal for every hotel. Cash & Points rates are not a great deal at every hotel in any hotel loyalty program.
The key point is Points + Cash Awards will be another option to compare to published rates and there will be many times when it works out to be a rate savings.
As with most of the hotel loyalty programs, the expensive luxury hotels are often a better deal to simply pay the published rate and save points for better value awards.
Some of the high end hotel award value in Hyatt Gold Passport has diminished with the 2014 award chart changes. For most travelers staying at Hyatt Hotels, these changes will likely have little negative impact.
For the credit card travelers who have shedloads of points and little hotel brand loyalty, the cost to get into the aspirational luxury hotel Club lounges and suites has increased quite a bit.
But does award inflation at the top hotels around the world really matter when you can just as easily move your credit card spend and points to Marriott, Hilton, Starwood, IHG or wherever?
The real losers are the loyal Hyatt Gold Passport members who now have a higher hurdle to jump when it comes time to convert all those Hyatt House and Hyatt Place points earning stays into a free luxury Hyatt European vacation.
At least the most loyal Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond members will still have four annual complimentary suite upgrades and Regency Club access.
Buy Hyatt Points with 10% to 30% bonus through December 15, 2013.
Hyatt Buy Points link. Points sell for $24 per 1,000 points with a 40,000 points annual purchase limit. The current offer allows a member to buy up to 52,000 points.
Promotion Extension – Receive Up to a 30% Point Bonus!
Purchase points now through December 15, 2013 and receive the following bonus:1
The ability to book hotel award stays into 2014 at the current award rates with modifications allowed through February 15, 2014 is one good reason to consider buying Hyatt Gold Passport points during the current sale.
Starting January 7, 2014, how will modifications to existing reservations be handled?
Any Free Night Award reservation booked before January 7, 2014 for stays starting January 7, 2014 can be modified through February 15, 2014 – following the terms of the current Award Chart. Any modifications made to these reservations after February 15, 2014 will follow the terms of the new Award Chart, effective January 7, 2014. Any modifications to Hyatt Credit Card Anniversary Award Night reservations that cause an award reissue cannot be redeemed for hotels that moved from a Category 1-4 to Category 5 or 6 as of January 7, 2014. Hyatt Gold Passport FAQ.
Donate $10 to Passports with Purpose fundraiser raffle by December 9 for a chance to win 110,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points (or many other prizes) and build schools in Mali.
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. Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed or subscribe to a daily email newsletter of Loyalty Traveler blog posts.