Hyatt new Cash & Points awards will launch January 7, the same day as Hyatt's Award Chart Devaluation goes into effect. While Cash & Points is new for Hyatt, SPG has offered Cash & Points awards for years, and Hilton HHonors has had Points and Money awards since last year, so Hyatt is a follower in this aspect.
The best deals are for Category 6 Hyatt hotels, since you're effectively buying Hyatt points at 1.2 cents each and staying in one of the nicer Hyatt properties, apart from the new Category 7 properties, where you would have to double your co-pay and effectively buy miles at 2 cents per point.
Here's the new chart:
In terms of the math, here's what it works out to in terms of the co-pay value of Hyatt points for each category:
- Category 1: Buy Hyatt points at 2 cents each
- Category 2: Buy Hyatt points at 1.375 cents each
- Category 3: Buy Hyatt points at 1.25 cents each
- Category 4: Buy Hyatt points at 1.33 cents each
- Category 5: Buy Hyatt points at 1.25 cents each
- Category 6: Buy Hyatt points at 1.2 cents each
- Category 7: Buy Hyatt points at 2 cents each
As you can see, Category 1 and Category 7 are the worst deals, since you're paying 2 cents per point in order to use fewer points for the award. Categories 2-6 are better deals, and Category 6 is the sweet spot, both because of the better points value and because some hotels in this category can otherwise be very expensive.
Why Hyatt Cash & Points May Not Be Worth It
Limited Availability: Note that due to the capacity controls on Cash & Points awards, it's highly unlikely that you'll be able to book a Cash & Points award for, say, the peak Christmas and New Year's season at the Park Hyatt Maldives, so temper your expectations of the value you'll be able to get.
Only Standard Rooms: Cash & Points rates are only for standard rooms, and can't be combined with a points upgrade (which will be a per night charge with the Devaluation).
Opportunity Cost for Non-Elites for Short Stays: Keep in mind that Cash & Points awards are a better deal for Hyatt Diamond elites to book rates that help them requalify, while bringing down the out of pocket cost. For non-elites that have few Hyatt stays and don't care about stays counting toward elite status, outright award stays will be best for flexibility (as Cash & Points rates are unlikely to be available) and for short paid stays, it can often be better value to book a Virtuoso rate that comes with an upgrade, complimentary breakfast and $100 hotel credit, for those Hyatt hotels that are Virtuoso members.
Cheap to Earn Hyatt Points: It remains relatively easy and cheap to earn Hyatt points, thanks to transfers from Ultimate Rewards points and 5X category bonuses with Ink cards and the Chase Freedom.
Hyatt: Best Category 6 Cash & Points Deals
Based on shoulder season rates (as noted above, high season rates aren't a good indicator of value, since Cash & Points awards are unlikely to be available then) these are some of the Category 6 hotels that offer the best redemption value, relative to their retail rates.
1. Park Hyatt Maldives
2. Ararat Park Hyatt, Moscow
3. Andaz Maui at Wailea
4. Grand Hyatt Hong Kong
5. Andaz 5th Avenue, NYC
6. Hyatt Paris Madeleine
7. Andaz Liverpool
Will Cash & Points Rates Be Available Whenever a Standard Room Shows as Available?
No; these will be capacity controlled, similar to SPG, so will most likely not be available during a hotel's busiest periods. We won't know exact availability until these rates become bookable January 7.
Will Cash & Points Rates be Available for Higher Category Rooms and Suites?
No–only for standard rooms.
When Can I Book Cash & Points Rates?
Starting January 7, 2014.
Can I View Cash & Points Availability and Book Online?
Not yet–you'll need to call 1-800-228-3360 to request availability and book.
Do I Earn Elite Night and Stay Credit with Cash & Points Rates?
Can I Combine a Diamond Suite Upgrade with a Cash & Points Award?
Update: Yes, per the Hyatt Gold Passport representative's revised posting on FlyerTalk.
“To further clarify Diamond suite upgrades can be used on Point + Cash Stays. Points + Cash stays will be based upon availability.“
Do Cash & Points Award Stays Count Towards a Diamond Challenge?
Yes, per the Hyatt Gold Passport representative's posting today on FlyerTalk and Milepoint:
“Points + Cash option will count towards the Diamond trial offers.”
The Verdict: It's always good to have more choices in terms of how to redeem your points, and many folks have wanted Hyatt Cash & Points awards for awhile, so they should be happy. That said, this program change is more as a loyalty program follower, since SPG and Hilton already offer Cash & Points awards, and even full award nights count towards elite stay/night credit with SPG.
What do you think of Hyatt's new Cash & Points option?
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