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Advanced Tips and Tricks to Book Hyatt Award Nights

May 8, 2020
Loyalty Programs, Reward Optimization, Travel
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World of Hyatt points are, without a doubt, the most valuable hotel reward points available. NerdWallet values Hyatt points at 1.9 cents each.

This is simply head and shoulders above the next most valuable program, Marriott Bonvoy, which we value at 1 cent per point.

Our valuations are based on randomly selected hotels and dates, so with even a little comparison shopping, you should be able to get even more than 1.9 cents per point in value from your Hyatt points. The biggest “trick” for maximizing value from Hyatt points is making sure to actually use them.

However, we have a few recommendations for how to use Hyatt points to maximum effect, as well as some warnings for how not to use them.

Always confirm availability

Hyatt’s award search tools on both their website and app have a tricky way of making it seem like point-based rates are available when they are not. So you should always click or tap a few steps into the booking process to make sure what you’re seeing is real availability.

For example, let’s say we’re looking for award availability in Maui in April.

That search brings up this screen:

Both the list on the left and the map on the right seem to indicate that rooms are available using points. However, navigating through to the Andaz Maui room selection reveals this:

Now, Hyatt does include a small disclaimer at the top of the previous search results screen which says, “Make a selection to view availability,” but this is still a misleading (and onerous) search process.

There’s no way to view a calendar of award availability or pricing, so the only way to find these rooms is by randomly searching dates until you land on some. (Don’t hold your breath with the Andaz Maui as this property is notorious for withholding award availability).

Watch for “off-peak” pricing and watch out for “peak” pricing

Eventually, Hyatt will follow other hotel programs, like Marriott Bonvoy, by introducing seasonal pricing starting. While this change was supposed to happen in March 2020, it’s been delayed to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic upending the travel industry.

When it takes effect, this means that each hotel will carry three possible point rates: “off-peak,” “standard” and “peak.” Here’s the full new award chart:

Hotel categoryOff-peakStandardPeak
13,5005,0006,500
26,5008,0009,500
39,00012,00015,000
412,00015,00018,000
517,00020,00023,000
621,00025,00029,000
725,00030,00035,000
835,00040,00045,000

Each property will have its own “peak” and “off peak” dates, based on demand, and as mentioned above, there’s no way to see award rates in a calendar view. That means you should compare the rate you’re seeing for a given date against this award chart to see where it lands.

Every award travel situation is different, but in general you’ll want to steer clear of “peak” rates when possible so as to maximize the value of your Hyatt points. Yes, cash prices are also likely to be higher at those times of year as well, but they will still be dynamic. A weekday cash rate may be lower, even during peak season, whereas the award rates will remain locked at their high value.

» Learn More: Your guide to the World of Hyatt award chart

Assess all fees when booking with “points + cash”

If you don’t have enough points to book a room, Hyatt offers “points + cash” rates that seem, on the surface, very similar: You pay half as many points as the normal award rate and half as much money as the cash rate for that date.

Sounds simple and foolproof, but it has one big catch: The halved cash rate does not include taxes and fees. Resort fees are waived for World of Hyatt members on award bookings but not points + cash bookings. This is important because it means you’re paying the full resort fee on top of the half cash and half points value. In most cases, this makes points + cash bookings a worse option than either all-points or all-cash ones.

(Almost) never transfer points or go for exotic redemptions

World of Hyatt offers many ways to use your points beyond booking rooms, from arctic expeditions to fitness classes. However, Hyatt is a victim of its own success here: These other redemptions are rarely as valuable on a per-point basis as simply using Hyatt points to book rooms.

For example, this 24-day Antarctic cruise starts at either $25,750 or 1.6 million Hyatt points:

That works out to 1.6 cents per point. This would be a fantastic redemption value — for any other hotel points. But since you can get more value than that by throwing a dartboard at a wall of Hyatt hotels and booking with points (as we effectively did in determining our valuations), it’s hard to justify spending them on these exotic redemptions.

Though, to be fair, it’s hard to argue with seeing penguins.

The bottom line

Hyatt points are so valuable and easy to use, our “advanced” booking tips are really about what not to do:

  • Don’t get fooled by fake availability.
  • Avoid “peak” prices when possible.
  • Skip “cash + points” bookings, usually.
  • Don’t get fancy.

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 2020, including those best for:

Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice:
Find the best travel credit card for you
4 ways to quickly rack up miles for your next flight
How to get started with frequent flyer programs

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