On a similar note...
On a similar note...
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Hyatt has finally made it possible to book suites with points online — and it’s a much bigger deal than it sounds like.
Until now, redeeming World of Hyatt points for a suite was extremely cumbersome. You would spend a lot of time researching your options, then call Hyatt with your choice, but even after all that you couldn’t be sure what suite you would get.
Now, it’s all laid out for you in one place on Hyatt’s booking website, no phone call necessary. This is a welcome change that should inspire anyone with a stash of Hyatt points to explore some of the luxury suite experiences available at World of Hyatt’s 900 properties in 65 countries across the globe.
» Learn more: World of Hyatt: The complete guide
How to find the sweetest suite
Not all suites are created equal. In some hotels, suites are just marginally bigger than regular rooms. But some suites in the Hyatt portfolio are truly spectacular, offering indulgences like lounge access, a private pool or a terrace whirlpool with an amazing view. For those, you might consider burning some Hyatt points in exchange for a luxury travel experience you won’t soon forget. The new online booking option makes the whole process super-easy.
To get a sense of how much a suite might cost compared with a standard room, start by skimming the World of Hyatt award chart.
Then, at the Hyatt website, search for award reservations at your preferred hotel, noting the different room types and suites available.
How to book a suite with World of Hyatt points
Let’s say you’re interested in a points-only stay at Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine. A reservation search shows you the following options.
The hotel’s 375-square-foot regular rooms go for 12,000 points. The cash price for the same room in mid-May 2021 (with cancellation) is $242 plus taxes and fees on a recent search. NerdWallet values Hyatt points at 2 cents each, so 12,000 points for a room at this San Diego hotel comes out to about 2 cents per point, a good value. Of course, room rates can change at any time. Check the value for your stay by searching for your dates, then dividing the price of the room in cash by the price of the room in points.
What if you want more than a standard room? Here you have three options.
Book a Regency Club room that gets you breakfast and access to Regency Club with free snacks and drinks for 17,000 points, which is 5,000 more than a regular room.
Book a standard 650-square-foot Studio Suite (that doesn’t include breakfast or access to Regency Club) for 20,000 points.
Book a premium 1,000- to 1,400-square-foot VIP Suite with Regency Club access for 24,000 points.
In this example, booking a standard suite might not make sense because you wouldn’t have access to the Regency Club. Club access can vary by suite and property. Sometimes upgrading to any suite will unlock club access, and other times getting a suite doesn't. Read the room description for details.
» Learn more: Is the World of Hyatt credit card right for me?
When a premium suite can’t beat a standard suite
You might assume that a premium suite would always be more desirable than a standard one — after all, it costs more.
But premium isn’t always better. Take Alila Ubud in Bali, Indonesia.
Standard suites here cost 20,000 points per night, for example:
An 807-square-foot Valley Villa (king bed, furnished deck, outdoor tub with valley views).
A 1,345-square-foot Pool Villa (king bed, private pool, outdoor tub and landscaped garden views).
And here's what you get with the premium Terrace Tree Villa:
A 1,292-square-foot hillside villa (king bed, furnished deck, outdoor dining and jungle views).
It appears there isn't a Regency Club at this hotel, so complimentary food and drinks aren't an option, anyway. That doesn't leave a whole lot of benefit to the premium suite for an extra 4,000 points per night. A standard Pool Villa, which costs less in either miles or cash, would work for many travelers.
How to get out-of-this-world value from Hyatt suites
Park Hyatt Zanzibar in Tanzania is a luxury beachfront hotel located in Stone Town, a designated UNESCO heritage site. A standard room in this hotel costs 15,000 points and premium suites cost 30,000. There are standard suites, too, for 24,000, but if you’ve made it to Tanzania, you’ll probably want to splurge for a premium suite because 30,000 points can get you one of these:
4,300-square-foot Royal Residence with three bedrooms, private elevator, full kitchen and 12-seat dining room.
4,800 square-foot Zamani Presidential Suite with panoramic views of the Indian Ocean and Stone Town, with one king bed, outdoor shower, outdoor terrace and garden.
For the dates searched (July 12-16, 2021), the Zamani Presidential Suite wasn’t listed for cash, but the Royal Residence was: $2,879 per night. So here 30,000 points would yield 10 cents per point and probably more counting the taxes. That’s better than five times the average NerdWallet valuation for Hyatt points.
Tanzania is currently open for travel, but if your getaway can wait, heed the U.S. Embassy in Tanzania’s warning that, right now, "the risk of contracting COVID-19 remains high." Nevertheless, this is an aspirational redemption with your Hyatt points when it is safe to travel again.
The bottom line
The new Hyatt online suite booking capabilities may change the way you travel. But be sure your room choice fits your travel style. If you intend to spend your days seeing as many sights as you can, you might not want to use your points for upgrades. Besides, you might be reluctant to leave the luxury of your suite to explore your destination.
A standard room might be your best bet if you’re looking to save points or if you’re Hyatt top-elite Globalist eligible for complimentary upgrades (though premium suites are excluded and upgrades are subject to availability).
But if you’re up for a special journey or traveling with a larger group, a big, luxurious suite might be just the right fit. Remember to read the room descriptions carefully because sometimes a standard suite might be a better choice than a premium one.
Photo courtesy of Hyatt.
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