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Update: Hyatt postpones award chart change

In addition to several other changes made in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, World of Hyatt has suspended its scheduled introduction of seasonal pricing (described below) until 2021. This is likely good news for travelers looking to use their Hyatt points in 2020.

Marriott Bonvoy members may have been affected by the recent switch to peak/off-peak pricing: a pricing structure that is essentially a dynamic model. In the past months, we've been able to get a handle on what that new pricing model means for consumers and rewards members. Members can maximize the value of their Marriott Bonvoy points by paying attention to when they book — and sometimes by rebooking.

Beginning in March 2020, World of Hyatt will implement a similar peak/off-peak pricing model. This is relatively unsurprising since major hotel chains (and airlines) often tend to follow one another in terms of marketing strategies, even though these brands aren't really in the same category in terms of consumer base or global presence.

Nevertheless, World of Hyatt is still a relevant and impressive chain. Taking a hint from Marriott's rollout may likely allow them to become even more so.

What’s changing

At first glance, the potential of paying more for the same room on a different night seems suboptimal. Remember, though, that consumers also have the opportunity to pay less for the same room on a different night, so Hyatt is marketing this change as an increase in flexibility that can ultimately benefit the consumer. That benefit, of course, depends on how well members are able to play the peak/off-peak game.

Hyatt’s peak/off-peak award structure maintains the existing eight-category property rating system but assigns new redemption rates to those properties depending on the night. Category 1 properties begin at 5,000 points for standard nights. They will cost 6,500 points during peak nights and just 3,500 points during off-peak nights. That’s a relatively small difference of 1,500 points between levels for Category 1 properties.

By contrast, Category 8 properties cost 40,000 points per night on standard nights, 45,000 points on peak nights and just 35,000 points per off-peak nights. This means that the relative difference increases to 5,000 points between standard, peak and off-peak nights with Category 8 properties.

Impact on all-inclusive and Miraval resorts

World of Hyatt also hosts a number of all-inclusive resorts that are priced differently than standard properties. Some of the all-inclusive resorts still start at 20,000 points for standard nights, 23,000 points for peak nights and 17,000 points for off-peak nights.

Miraval resorts require a considerably higher redemption, but you can find the complete new award charts here if you’re looking to book a Hyatt resort on or after March.

In addition to standard redemptions, World of Hyatt is also offering the opportunity to combine Points + Cash on the peak/off-peak system. This essentially cuts all hotel point redemptions in half, such that you can combine cash and redeem fewer points for the same rooms, keeping in line with the new pricing model.

This is fine for properties that you may book after March, but what if you have already booked a property? Good news: If you’ve already booked a property that falls to off-peak pricing during your booking dates, Hyatt will automatically refund the difference. And if the property you booked gets promoted to Peak, you won’t be charged any extra points.

This will not necessarily continue happening after the new award chart comes into play. For properties booked after March, you will need to pay attention to whether your booking dates fall in the standard, peak, or off-peak levels.

The bottom line

Hyatt is doing something slightly different from Marriott in terms of the specific award calendar. Once the award chart goes live and rooms are ready to be booked, the advertised rates will not change. Unlike the Marriott award chart (which is frequently updated to reflect the current and projected market), Hyatt’s rates are staying put.

According to Hyatt, properties should be available to book up to 13 months in advance, and once those rates are published, they will not change. This did come as a surprise, since we expected any new peak/off-peak pricing models to follow Marriott’s less-than-transparent choice to constantly update the chart with demand conditions. Seeming to err on the side of the consumer, Hyatt plans to roll out a cut-and-dried chart that we suppose the Law of Averages will smooth out over time.

Of course, prices may change from year to year if the market research ends up determining that Hyatt had been over- or undervaluing their 2020/2021 assignments. But in the meantime, it will be nice to have access to a chart that will not change over time once published. This negates the necessity to constantly monitor your booking in case the redemption cost falls before you actually stay. Doing this would be futile when the chart is not scheduled to change.

With that, it seems as if Hyatt is actually providing a version of the peak/off-peak system that many travelers expected from Marriott in the first place. Remember to take advantage of Hyatt’s new award calendar planner when it rolls out in March of 2020.

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