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As did Delta when announcing its latest consumer-unfriendly program changes, Hyatt used the cover of a long holiday weekend to reveal details of upcoming changes to the company’s Gold Passport award chart, effective January 7, 2014.
In a post on the FlyerTalk website, the program’s senior vice president, Jeff Zidell, outlined the changes as follows:
We are introducing a new Category 7, which includes six Park Hyatt hotels in Beaver Creek, Milan, Paris, Sydney, Tokyo and Zurich, and requires 30,000 points. We are also changing the number of points required to redeem a Free Night Award for standard rooms and upgraded rooms in select categories.
In addition, 38 hotels are shifting between categories. This includes 21 hotels moving to a higher category and 17 hotels moving to a lower category. Existing reservations for stays starting January 7, 2014, will receive a refund for the point difference if the hotel moved to a lower category.
Lastly, the points required to upgrade your paid stay to a Regency/Grand Club room or suite will now be on a per-night basis.
The devil, and the devaluation, is in the details. With regard to award-price increases, a Standard Category 5 room night rises from 18,000 to 20,000 points; a Category 6 room increases from 22,000 to 25,000 points; and the new Category 7 raises the price from 22,000 points for a Category 6 night to 30,000 points.
And upgrades to a Regency Club or Grand Club room on paid nights will increase from 3,000 points for up to a four night stay to 3,000 points per night. Upgrades to a suite on paid nights will change from 6,000 points for up to a four night stay to 6,000 points per night.
In all, the changes amount to a significant devaluation, albeit a less onerous one than Hilton’s 2013 changes, for example.
As always with such award-price changes, program devaluations are opportune times to reassess your loyalty to the company that’s seen fit to change the rules of the game.
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