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Heads up if you love Hyatt and earning Hyatt points. There are potentially very negative changes to the Hyatt award program coming in less than 2 weeks!
Rumors are swirling online that Hyatt will make a major change to how it prices Points + Cash awards. Currently, you’ll pay half the number of points required for a free night plus a set cash co-pay when you book with Points + Cash. But according to credible sources, starting November 1, 2018, they’ll change the cash co-pay to 50% of the standard paid rate for that hotel.
If true, this will really sting for folks who like to stretch their points by booking Points + Cash awards at pricey hotels, like $1,000 per night Park Hyatts. But it’s not all bad news – there’s also a suggestion Hyatt will begin allowing premium suite bookings with points as of the same date. As of now, you can only redeem points up to a standard suite.
We reached out to Hyatt and their response was “we are unable to confirm this information at this time.” If we get updates, we’ll let you know.
Here’s more about the rumored changes and what you should do if you’re planning Hyatt Points + Cash stays.
Hyatt Points + Cash Devaluation
Currently, Hyatt lets you book Points + Cash awards for half the cost of a standard award night, plus a fixed cash co-pay which increases by category. For example, the cash co-pay for a category 1 hotel is $50, while a top-tier category 7 is $300.
With the rumored changes, you’ll still pay half the number of points for a standard award. But instead of a fixed price for the co-pay, you’ll pay 50% of the standard cash rate for the hotel. This could cost you hundreds more out of pocket if you’re booking an expensive location!
For example, a couple of years ago I stayed at the luxurious category 7 Park Hyatt New York, which normally costs 30,000 Hyatt points per night. The Points + Cash rate is 15,000 Hyatt points plus a $300 co-pay, which is still an excellent deal because this hotel often goes for over $1,000 per night.
Here’s a sample night (with Points + Cash availability):
In the example above, the cash price for the Park Hyatt New York is $995. So with the possible new rules, the Points + Cash rate for this night would be 15,000 Hyatt points plus nearly $500!
Even if you’re not booking a high category hotel, this change could hurt – even more so during peak travel times.
Here’s an extreme case. Consider this sample night at the Hyatt Place Chicago / Downtown – The Loop. It’s a category 3 hotel and costs 12,000 Hyatt points per night, or 6,000 points plus $75 under the current Points + Cash rules.
There’s Points + Cash availability for this date as well, but check out the paid rate!
With the changes, this hotel night would now have a cash co-pay of ~$480 instead of just $75. That stinks, and would make no sense to book instead of a regular award night at just 12,000 Hyatt points.
What Should You Do If You Have Hyatt Plans?
While the changes are unconfirmed right now, if you have Points + Cash stays planned for the future, it definitely makes sense to make your booking SOON.
When you make a Points + Cash booking, Hyatt will take the points out of your account at the time you make the reservation, but you don’t pay the cash co-pay until you check out. And you can cancel a Points + Cash booking and get the points refunded to your account, so long as you’re within the hotel’s cancellation policy.
So even if you don’t have firm plans, I’d take a hard look at making your Points + Cash reservations before November 1, 2018, especially because so many others will probably have the same idea. 🙂
A Positive Change Might Be Coming, Too
This isn’t as huge as the negative rumor, but could still be useful to some. Currently, Hyatt allows you to upgrade a standard paid booking to a standard suite for 6,000 Hyatt points per night. This excludes larger, extra-fancy premium suites.
According to sources, starting November 1, 2018, Hyatt will allow premium suite bookings for 2X the price of a standard award night. Or, you’ll be able to upgrade a standard paid night to a premium suite for 9,000 Hyatt points per night.
It’s not yet clear which premium suites will be eligible for booking or upgrade. And again, this is all still unconfirmed by Hyatt.
I’m really hoping the Points + Cash rumor falls flat, because it’ll really take away from the ability to stretch Hyatt points for longer stays for many folks.
Let us know in the comments what you think of these (potential) changes. And we’ll update you as soon as we hear more.
Hat Tip: The Points Guy