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Hyatt’s World of Hyatt program announced their annual hotel category changes today. These are the hotels that will be moving up or down in the eight categories that the program has. It is not a change to the actual categories or points requirements themselves as those stay the same. Overall the program will see 146 hotels changing worldwide, 70 will be moving to a higher category (69 move up one, 1 hotel moves up two categories) while 76 will move down in their categories.
The big change this year comes from something Hyatt saying they wouldn’t do and that is placing some of their own hotels into the Category 8 level which was created for partner brands and independent brands like Small Luxury Hotels of the World . At least Hyatt was up front about it with us that they are doing this:
Nine Hyatt properties will move into Category 8, which has historically included Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) hotels and Destination by Hyatt residences.
These are the nine Hyatt properties that are moving into the highest category which as Hyatt points out was historically for the select SLH Hotels and residences. There is also one SLH hotel that is moving up:
- Alila Napa Valley
- Alila Ventana Big Sur
- Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort
- Park Hyatt New York
- Park Hyatt Kyoto
- Park Hyatt Niseko Hanazono
- Park Hyatt Sydney
- Hotel Lou Pinet
- Park Hyatt Milan
- Park Hyatt Paris Vendome
If any of these ten locations have been on your wish list you do have some time to lock in the previous category pricing. Here are the details of when the category changes will take place and what happens if you book now or wait:
- All free night award and Points + Cash redemptions booked before 8:00 am CDT on Tuesday, March 22 will follow the current Award Chart regardless of stay dates, even if the hotel is shifting to a higher award category.
- Any free night award and Points + Cash redemptions booked on or after 8:00 am CDT on Tuesday, March 22, 2022, will follow the new Award Chart.
- Members who have existing award bookings as of 8:00 am CDT on Tuesday, March 22 for a night on or after Tuesday, March 22 at a Hyatt hotel that moved down to a lower category, will receive an automatic one-time refund on the point difference. Points will be returned to members’ accounts starting Thursday, March 23.
- Once changes go into effect on Tuesday, March 22, 2022, at 8:00 a.m. CDT, any adjustments made to existing reservations will follow the terms of the new Award Chart.
This is the same we see from Hyatt each year, if you book a hotel that is moving up in a category right now you can lock it in a lower price and not charge you the increased price. However, for hotels going down you don’t have to wait like other programs to get the lower points requirement. You can still book now and Hyatt will refund you the points difference. This has always been one of the better customer service aspects from Hyatt in that regard.
Wrapping it up
Looking at the big picture, in terms of numbers these changes aren’t too bad as you actually have more hotels going down in price. However you have those ten key aspirational properties plus another handful in the U.S. that have moved from Category 4 to 5 which affects those Cat 1-4 free night awards that come with the World of Hyatt Credit Card. In fact, I would say the changes that came out today hurt the U.S.membership base the most as that’s where most of the hotels going up in cost are located. I wrote over on our Canadian site that it isn’t too bad of change, which it isn’t for the Canadian market and even other markets globally, well I’d say Japan gets hit negatively with 5 hotels all going up in price (two to Cat 8) but Latin America and Caribbean see 7 hotels changing and they are all going down one category. However, these global markets make up a small percentage of the program’s membership base and locations thus overall this could be deemed a devaluation because the changes stateside affect the biggest percentage of the membership base. Also affected are those really loyal to Hyatt who reach that 60 night or 100,000 base points level since they just lost some aspirational locations to use their Category 1-7 certificates at. And points wise if you think about what a Category 7 hotel cost before the introduction of Hyatt’s Off Peak and Peak pricing and then that hotel moves up to Category 8 you could be paying as much as 15,000 more points per night (30,000 previous to 45,000 now) at these locations. That’s a big shift in points requirement. On the flip side the same thing could be said for hotels going down like the Trident Hotel in Jamaica moving from Category 8 to 7 and redeeming as little as 25,000 points instead of 40,000. I guess it all depends on whether you look at the glass as half full or half empty.