by Neil McPherson
5 December 2019
Updated 14 March 2020 - introduction deferred until 2021
Hyatt on December 4th, 2020 announced it is moving to a peak/off-peak pricing model, effective from March 2020.
[Update 14 March 2021: Due to the global Covid-19 virus crisis, the commencement of
has been deferred until 2021. I see this as partly commercial but also a move
that respects its members. Kudos to the World of Hyatt program.]
The change will impact cash purchases, points redemptions and Hyatt's Points + Cash feature. The latter will still require 50% of the full points redemption amount plus 50% of the prevailing cash price. It's just that both the points and cash requirements will vary across off-peak, standard and peak pricing periods. This is in contrast to Marriott's version (Cash & Points) where the cash amount is fixed and only the amount of points required varies by category.
The number of categories remains the same, but we will need to see if any properties are re-categorised (hopefully not).
The biggest increases for peak pricing (largest discount at off-peak times) are for properties in categories 1,2,3 and 4. The property categories with the smallest variations are for 8, 5 and 6 (In that order). So properties in say category 5 will become (relatively) better value than those in category 4 during peak pricing periods.
If you have an existing award booking that drops to Off-peak in March, you’ll get an automatic one-time refund of the point
and you won’t be charged more if your booking goes up to Peak.
Hyatt also announced a 50% cut in the number of points required for its other paid benefits. Spa treatments, in-room purchases etc have had their "cost" halved (or the points value doubled). These savings will be effective earlier than the introduction of the new pricing - from 1 February 2020 onwards.
The points required for standard nights remains the same as the current redemption levels. Off-peak pricing and peak pricing have been added either side of 2019 award levels for each property category - so no change from 2019 unless your stay is during either peak or off-peak periods. So, the devaluation is really for points required during peak periods (and there is a benefit during off-peak periods).
Another key feature I like is that redemption rates for rooms (and suites) won't be changed once posted (generally 13 months in advance). This seems fairer to me and certainly provides more certainty than Marriott peak/off-peak pricing, where the property can re-classify a room month-by-month and you can also have the same room in the same week priced at all three levels for different nights.
While the changes are a devaluation for paid stays and point redemptions , Hyatt has at least shown respect for its members by confining it
to peak periods and has provided better value for redemptions for spa treatments etc.
Overall, I think the changes are not too bad. Time will tell if properties are re-classified, or the peak periods outweigh the off-peak ones.
But for now, I give the benefit of the doubt to Hyatt for making changes to protect their revenues, while still providing benefits and concessions to loyal World of Hyatt members.
Marriott could learn a great deal about client /member relations from Hyatt.
A more in-depth article will follow soon.