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On March 18, 2019, more than 250 World of Hyatt hotels moved up or down in the existing category chart, meaning the number of World of Hyatt points required to redeem a night at certain properties changed. Depending on which property you've been eyeing for an award redemption, this could be good news or bad news.
Here’s what you need to know about the World of Hyatt category changes.
1. The update isn’t unusual
Hyatt performs an annual audit of the points required to redeem free nights at various properties. The 2019 update is simply a restructuring of the reward program based on demand.
2. The existing reward categories are the same
The overall rewards program, in terms of collecting and redeeming points, hasn't changed. What's changed is that certain hotels now require more points to book, and some require fewer points.
Reward points required to book a free night in a standard room
Of note, no hotels moved up into the highest category, Category 8, with the March 18 update. Only four hotels moved up into Category 7.
3. The adjustments are evenly distributed
This change affects 259 hotels, with 129 moving to a lower award category and 130 moving to a higher one. As Hyatt has over 700 properties in its portfolio, the majority of hotels kept their same award category.
The impact on your reward redemption options depends on where you travel and how you like to redeem your points. For example, 13 of the 15 properties in Florida with category changes increased. But 10 of the 12 properties in Texas decreased. Both states also have Hyatt properties that were not affected by the update.
» Learn more: Three things to know about World of Hyatt
For those who maximize their reward value by traveling to the most exotic or luxurious locations, the category changes that may hit the hardest are the four properties that moved to Category 7, including the opulent Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa.
4. Don’t worry if you have existing reservations
For properties that moved down a category in the award chart, Hyatt is proactively refunding the difference in point cost if you reserved prior to the March 18 changes. In those cases, expect to see the point difference returned to your account.
For properties that moved up a category, no extra points will be deducted from your award account if you reserved before March 18. However, if you need to change your reservation, you'll be subject you to the new award categories, meaning you might need a few extra points to cover any adjustments.
» Learn More: How to find the best travel insurance
5. The biggest impact may be to World of Hyatt Credit Card holders
» Learn more: Find the best hotel credit card for you
Since 18 hotels moved up to Category 5 and only 12 moved down to Category 4, there’s a net loss of six Category 4 hotels available for the free annual stay. Look at it as a good opportunity to check out a hotel that is moving into Category 4 from Category 5.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice: 5 reasons to consider the World of Hyatt credit card NerdWallet’s top travel credit cards Travel loyalty program reviews