Hyatt Gold Passport is one of the better loyalty programs for my travel habits, but their IT infrastructure has lagged for several years. Last week they announced a significant improvement, enabling customers to book Points+Cash awards as well as Club floor upgrades online. Previously only standard award nights could be booked online.
While it wasn’t too much effort to call an agent, it did lead to some miscommunications over time as well as general frustration asking them to check Every. Single. Night. in a two-month period when trying to find limited award space. Flexibility is critical to maximizing the value of your miles and points, and no one wants to be on the phone with an agent for an hour.
Points+Cash availability is more restricted than free night awards and may not be available even when a standard room is still for sale. That said, they are a great deal, particularly at Category 2-6 hotels, and enable you to effectively using the cash portion to buy some of the points for your award. They are also eligible for applying a Diamond Suite Upgrade and earn credit toward elite status requalification, which are not features of a typical free night award.
Yes, I realize I’m a little late to the party in sharing this news (I was distracted last week), but the site was broken for several days soon after it launched, so I figure I’m not far behind.
Some searches will merely confirm what we already know from informal consensus. For example, it’s really hard if not impossible to find Points+Cash awards at the Andaz Maui.
Other hotels like the Park Hyatt Siem Reap are wide open. Remember to check that box to “Show Hyatt Gold Passport Points & Awards.” (The property here is so nice I think a standard room would be fine. No need to worry about confirming a suite upgrade.)
With the lowest rate at $360, a free award night at the Park Hyatt Siem Reap would provide a value of 2.4 cents each. But Points+Cash awards are just 7,500 points + $100. That means you’re redeeming 7,500 points and buying an additional 7,500 points for $100, or 1.33 cents each. Wouldn’t you rather buy points at 1.33 cents and redeem at 2.4 cents?
I realize that Points+Cash defeats the purpose of redeeming points for a “free” night. However, a strategy like the one I just described will let you stretch your account balance, booking additional nights here or at another similarly valued hotel. As I said, it usually works best for Category 2-6 properties.
|Hotel Category||Free Night Award||Points + Cash||Cost per Point Saved|
|1||5,000||2,500 + $50||2 cents|
|2||8,000||4,000 + $55||1.375 cents|
|3||12,000||6,000 + $75||1.25 cents|
|4||15,000||7,500 + $100||1.33 cents|
|5||20,000||10,000 + $125||1.25 cents|
|6||25,000||12,500 + $150||1.2 cents|
|7||30,000||15,000 + $300||2 cents|
Don’t forget to consider a Club upgrade if you aren’t a Diamond member who already gets complimentary access. In the United States, most Hyatt Grand Club or Regency Club locations are not that special. A few that stand out to me are the Grand Hyatt New York (although the rooms are terribly cramped) and the Grand Hyatt San Francisco (generally a great hotel all around).
In Asia, however, Grand Clubs especially are known for having a large food and beverage spread, sometimes including made-to-order eggs at breakfast and complimentary wine and cocktails in the evening. This has been my experience, at least, when staying at the Grand Hyatt Singapore and the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong. I’ve had such good service in Hong Kong that I don’t even consider looking elsewhere. Their Grand Club just re-opened after an extensive renovation.
Just remember that the “Club Upgrade” price is quoting the Hyatt Daily Rate plus additional points for an upgrade. There may be cheaper Advance Purchase rates available or discounted rates through corporations and other organizations. I can see paying 3,000 points a day for access to some clubs. I’d have a harder time if the associated paid rate is also much higher.