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As many of you know, on March 22nd Hyatt will introduce some category adjustments, aka their latest devaluation. For the most part, the changes are negative, especially if you like to stay in their high-end properties. Sure, there is silver lining for some, but overall it’s bad news. In fact, a Tokyo hotel I’ve now been booking via points three years in a row (though still haven’t had a chance to stay at) will increase in price.
Many in the blogging community have said that it’s time to finally bid adieu to Hyatt. I disagree. In fact, in a few months I plan to cancel my Chase Sapphire Preferred and transfer the remaining 110k points to Hyatt program. Honestly, if a few years ago you told me that I would go this route, I would say you are nuts. Surely, United or Southwest are more sensible candidates, right?
There are a few reasons I plan to stick with Hyatt, at least for the foreseeable future.
1) The “unicorn” status of Hyatt program
Aside from a few creative ways to earn Hyatt points (like Biltrewards on rent), the only way to acquire them is through Chase Ultimate Rewards program. You may say that the same can be said about United miles, and you would be right. Except, you can redeem Avianca, Air Canada and other Star Alliance partners on United flights. It won’t be as easy, and you won’t have as many options, but still.
But you can only redeem Hyatt points on Hyatt stays, unless you count cash. And the thing is, prices on hotels and resorts in particular have skyrocketed lately. So, your Hyatt points can become a decent hedge against inflation. Of course, this only applies if you actually like staying in Hyatt properties. Fortunately, we do.
2) Florida (where my family lives) has several very nice Hyatt properties
I’ve talked about some of them in the blog, but my kids’ favorite is definitely Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa (see Nancy’s review).
It’s a Category 5, so a standard room costs 17k points per night during off-peak season, 29k for a suite. Speaking of suites…
3) In general, Hyatt suites are still reasonably priced compared to other hotel programs
As my kids get older, my family absolutely needs a suite in order to enjoy a vacation. In fact, I’ve pretty much given up on hotel rooms at this point. We don’t need a huge suite, but a door separating main bedroom from a living room is an absolute must. Maybe it’s because our kids are kind of wild.
Anyway, this is where Hyatt program really stands out. It’s not that suites are dirt cheap, but the upcharge is reasonable enough that I’m willing to pay it. Plus, every so often, suites come with perks like better views and even lounge access.
In comparison, some programs (like IHG) still don’t allow you to book suites via points, period. Sure, you can reach out to a manager and arrange a paid upgrade, but who wants to mess with that? With Hilton, an upgrade to a suite can cost a fortune, so it’s a non-starter. Your status may get you an upgrade, but it’s not a guarantee.
Of course, Hilton has properties like Embassy Suites that by definition book you into a suite via points. But the problem with Hilton is that they can change their award pricing at any time, with absolutely no notice. For example, just 15 months ago, I booked this Key Largo property for 43k points per night. It now costs 90k points! Which brings me to my last point.
4) Hyatt program is relatively stable/predictable
This is a must when talking about a speculatively transfer. Sure, all the latest devaluations and category adjustments sting, but at least Hyatt gives you heads up. I can pretty much guarantee that we will not see another devaluation for at least a year.
Can you say the same about Hilton or IHG? Of course not. So, assuming that the next category adjustment happens next March, it will give me more than two years to burn my points at the current rate. That’s a pretty long time frame, and why I’m comfortable dumping my super valuable UR stash into my Hyatt account.
This is not advice to others
As I’ve said many times, value of miles and points is in the eye of the beholder. And, it can change depending on circumstances. For example, until recently, I valued miles above hotel points. But, we got a chance to stay in a few Hyatt properties that my kids really liked, and I can’t find an equivalent to them on AirBnB. While I would never consider paying $900 per night for a suite, using 29k UR points is definitely palatable.
Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.