So, the rumors were true after all. Hyatt and SLH will be going their separate ways in a near future. What almost nobody saw coming was the fact that SLH will switch to Hilton. This hobby is certainly full of intrigue, and it doesn’t pay to get attached to a specific hotel redemption because it may not be available next week.
So, is it that big of a deal? I personally don’t think it is. In fact, if I had to choose, I would rather have soon-to-come Mr and Mrs Smith partnership, which is supposed to be more fully integrated into Hyatt program. If you look at current map of Hyatt world coverage and filter for SLH properties, you will only find 12 in the US. There isn’t one within driving distance of where I live that appeals to me personally.
There are several hotels I was hoping to check out within the next few years, like Rusty Parrot Lodge and Spa in Wyoming, and Mirror Lake Inn Resort and Spa in Lake Placid, but oh well. I’m sure I’ll find something decent via Vacasa or another program if I choose to visit those destinations.
For now, it’s business as usual, and if you have an SLH property in mind, you should book it soon if you want to use Hyatt points. According to some folks on Hyatt Reddit, these redemptions will be honored for stays through the end of 2024, possibly longer. Obviously, I can’t guarantee it, but it won’t hurt to make some speculative reservations if you have some extra Hyatt points sitting in your account. The worst that will happen is you will get a refund.
Some pros and cons of current Hyatt/SLH partnership
While having access to additional redemptions is obviously a plus, this partnership has always been uneven at best. For one, availability via points has been kind of spotty in my experience. In addition, cash rates for SLH hotels are almost always inflated on Hyatt.com compared to booking directly or via SLH.com As a result, CPP (cents per point) value looks better than it actually is.
Of course, if you don’t shoot for the moon when it comes to redemptions, it’s moot point. For example, I got only 1.4 CPP on Rio Perdido property in Costa Rica (see my review) and was perfectly happy with that. We didn’t get the upgrade despite the fact that nicer rooms were available, but it wasn’t a big deal. We did get an amazing breakfast and a huge meat/cheese tray at dinner as a thank you for booking via Hyatt.
On the other hand, my second SLH redemption at Tabacon Thermal Resort and Spa in Costa Rica (see review) yielded value of 2 CPP, and not the inflated kind. Of course, at the time we only paid 17k points per night in low season, but even at 21k points I think it’s a terrific deal. If you’ve been thinking about staying here via Hyatt points, I wholeheartedly recommend it.
Thermal springs are spectacular, and you have easy access to all that Arenal area has to offer. Plus, it’s a bit cooler here compared to the coast, which I personally prefer. They now let you redeem points on rooms with two queen beds, so you can bring kids and maximize value further.
I was seriously thinking about planning a stay here in a year or two, and taking my kids and MIL. It wouldn’t be cheap since we would need two rooms (42k points per night in low season). But I really loved this hotel, and I’m pretty sure my kids would too. Alas, it’s not going to happen now, but that’s OK. You win some and you lose some in the miles and points hobby. I feel like I’ve hit a jackpot multiple times over the years and have no reason to complain.
What SLH/Hilton partnership will look like
Nobody knows at this point, but I’m pretty sure that redemption value will be lower compared to Hyatt. I speculatively value 1 Hyatt point at 3 Hilton points. To me that would be a fair exchange rate. So, if you take that Tabacon resort I’ve mentioned earlier, it would have to cost 63k Hilton points per night. I will be shocked if that actually happens. In all likelihood, it will cost 80k-95k Hilton points.
Yes, you can get 5th night free if you have elite Hilton status (and who doesn’t?). But I rarely stay in one place for five nights, so it would likely be of no benefit for my family. Also, aside from buying Hilton points for half a penny each, you can only acquire them via 1:2 transfer from American Express. They do occasionally run 1:2.5 transfer, but it still doesn’t measure up to 1:1 transfer rate from Chase to Hyatt. Again, if you value 1 Hyatt point at 3 Hilton points.
It’s another story when we are talking about free Hilton certificates that you can acquire from Amex Aspire or by spending $15k annually on your Surpass card. Those could be a pretty good value IF Hilton allows you to redeem them on SLH properties. And that’s a big IF. Another potential issue I see is the fact that SLH properties likely won’t be eligible for semi-annual $200 resort credit via Aspire card.
Basically, lots of unknowns, but I can say with 99% certainty that redeeming Hilton points on SLH will not be as good of a deal as current arrangement with Hyatt. But if you are sitting on a boatload of Hilton points and don’t know where to spend them, then it won’t really matter, will it? You are likely thrilled to get more options for your stash.
Will properties stay with SLH as well as Mr and Mrs Smith platforms?
That’s an intriguing question. Some properties, like Rio Perdido mentioned earlier, are currently affiliated with both. If I had to take a guess, I would say that hotels will have to choose one or the other. I have a hard time picturing a scenario where you can use Hyatt as well as Hilton points on the exact same property. It’s possible that some hotels will stay with MaMS and SLH, but won’t be bookable via Hilton points. Of course, you will still be able to pay cash by booking them directly on SLH.com Something along those lines.
Readers, what are your thoughts on this new development?
P.S. If you have a business, you can still apply for 100k offer on Chase Ink Business Preferred card (our affiliate link) after spending $8k in 3 months. If all goes well, you may be able to transfer those points to Hyatt and book your desired SLH property before it leaves the platform.
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.