Way back in early 2020, Hyatt announced its plan to roll out a new peak and off-peak award pricing system. That means award stays through the best hotel chain will cost you more points during busier times – or fewer points during quiet stretches.
But then the pandemic struck, and Hyatt delayed those plans for more than year until July 2021. On Tuesday, Hyatt again pushed back the launch date of its peak pricing format: It won’t launch until mid-October. And even then, you won’t see this new pricing until stays starting March 2022.
At the same time, Hyatt announced it will extend the expiration of all World of Hyatt points until Dec. 31, 2021. Hyatt points typically expire if your account is inactive for 24 months.
This is all great news. While peak pricing premiums will be mild at no more than 5,000 additional points during a busy time (or discounts of 5,000 during off-peak stays), this new structure will introduce a layer of unpredictability to the most affordable and stable hotel loyalty program out there. Giving Hyatt members more time to prepare is a good move.
For reference, here’s a look at the new peak and off-peak rates coming later this year for stays starting in March 2022.
Staying with points at one of Hyatt’s great all-inclusive resorts, Hyatt Ziva and Zilara? Changes are on the way there, too.
Hyatt’s Points + Cash bookings are also getting hit with peak and off-peak pricing.
Fortunately, even this introduction of dynamic pricing is much better than what you’ll get from other hotel chains. With Hilton Honors points, award rates can change not just daily but hourly based on demand. You see wild swings in award rates based on when you travel since Marriott introduced peak pricing in 2019 – and the chain regularly retools what qualifies as a “peak stay” as demand changes.
With Hyatt, the chain says that peak and off-peak periods will not change from the time hotel reservations open, roughly 13 months in advance. That means Hyatt won’t constantly tweak the award rates to charge more over time – what you see immediately is what you’ll get. And that’s far more customer-friendly.
Critically, Hyatt says it will automatically refund any member who books a free night with points that drops to an off-peak rate after the change takes effect – and members won’t be forced to pay more if their booking changes to a higher-priced peak period. Plus, they’re giving members plenty of lead time to lock in award stays now before this new pricing structure takes effect.
What this Means for Using Hyatt Points
Let’s be clear: This isn’t the end of the world. Many of these increases are pretty mild. After they take effect, you may even come out ahead if you’re traveling during an off-peak time.
Hyatt is also giving travelers many months of notice before the changes take place. And they’ve structured this variable pricing in a way that should make it easier to understand.
Still, this stings. Hyatt has stood out for years because of its low, predictable award rates. A free night at a basic Hyatt starts at 5,000 points per night. A night at a ritzy hotel like the Park Hyatt Tokyo or Park Hyatt New York will cost you 30,000 Hyatt points, every time.
That predictability will disappear later this year. And while the award rates will still be reasonable for booking a free night during peak periods, there’s no way to disguise a 5,000-point increase as anything other than bad news.
Hyatt is giving its members even more time to prepare for the introduction of peak and off-peak award pricing. You won’t see pricing fluctuate based on when you’re traveling until at least mid-October – and only then for travel in March 2022 and beyond.