Where were you when you read the terrible news that Hyatt is destroying its points and cash redemptions? I was not near a computer, so I could not weigh in on what is the worst change in a points program since the Hilton devaluation of ’76. Actually, that devaluation occurred in 2013, and hotels went from a bargain at 50k to less than a steal at 95k. Until now, using cash and points at SPG properties and Hyatt properties was my favorite way to make my points go further. My best redemptions were those where the cash + points option was still cheaper than an AAA or member discount rate option. That’s dead now. Instead, Hyatt will charge points plus 50% of the standard room rate (see OMAAT for the full chart).
Let’s use the Hyatt Place Long Island City to demonstrate the devaluation. On a random Tuesday in November, the room goes for $228 or 12,000 points. Not that it’s readily available, but if cash + points were an option, it would be 6,000 points + $75 under the old model. Assuming you value Hyatt points at 1.8 cents per point, redeeming 12k points makes sense. If you’re a hoarder, redeeming at 6k points + $75 makes more sense. However, under the new model, you would have to redeem 6k points + $114. At 1.8 cents per point, you’re still under the $228, but now you’re coming out of pocket $114. Hyatt receives $39 more than it did before and you get nothing extra. How is that a good deal?
If you book the same hotel on a weekend or during peak season, the price shoots up to $349. Using the new model, you are paying $174.5 + 6000 points. While that is better than shelling out the standard rate, you are spending a lot of cash for a Hyatt Place.
The new program reminds of redeeming cash and points with Radisson. The amount offset by using points rarely makes sense. For those reservations, I use points only. I’m guessing my strategy will be the same with Hyatt. One thing is for sure, this devaluation is going on the Festivus List for 2018.