Points, miles, and snide remarks.


2024 Hyatt Award Category Changes: What You Need to Know

Once a year, usually around late February, Hyatt announces a slew of hotel award category changes. So far, unlike their competitors which have all gone to fully-dynamic award pricing, Hyatt still maintains an award chart, and opts to make changes all at once, one time per year. This can lead to outsize value, particularly during peak times and large events.

I predicted this would be the year Hyatt went fully dynamic, and luckily, Hyatt has disappointed me in the best of ways. Hyatt has released its annual list of category changes for 2024, and while undoubtedly, like most years, this represents a devaluation of the program, it’s not as bad as I think many of us were bracing for.

At first glance, this sounds bad: 137 hotels are going up in category, and only 46 are coming down. However, the segments getting hardest hit aren’t the aspirational properties that are typically the target of these category changes. In fact, it seems to be the lower end of Hyatt’s portfolio getting impacted the hardest this time – which will be painful for me, as there will no longer be any Category 1 mattress run opportunities here in Tulsa. Hyatt Regency Tulsa and Hyatt Place Tulsa/Downtown both go up from Cat 1 to Cat 2, while that horrible old Hyatt Place in South Tulsa exited the system entirely to become a “Hyad” or a Homewood or something (a recent drive-by suggests it will be the “Hyde Park” and the cheap signage doesn’t exactly inspire confidence).

These changes go into effect March 26, 2024 at 8am Central. Some key points to remember here:

  • Hotels moving from Category 4 to 5 will no longer be accessible using a Category 1-4 free night award – unlike Marriott, Hyatt does not allow “topping off” a free night certificate with points
  • Hotels moving down from 5 to 4 will become accessible using a Cat 1-4 certificate
  • Apply this same logic to Category 7 and 8 for the Cat 1-7 award certificates

This means if you have any of these Cat 4 or Cat 7 properties on your radar that are going up a category, you should book now before the changes take effect and lock in the lower categories (and therefore the ability to use your FNCs). Just pay attention to any relevant cancellation policies.

Some notable changes:

  • Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego from 4 to 5 (ouch)
  • Thompson Madrid from 5 to 6 (double ouch)
  • Grayson Hotel in Manhattan 5 to 6
  • GH Denver, HR Denver Convention Center, and HC Denver/Downtown all 3 to 4
  • Lost Pines & Gainey Ranch both go from 5 to 6
  • Thompson Chicago from 4 to 5
  • HR Lake Tahoe drops from 6 to 5

I’m probably missing some but these are the ones that stick out to me at first glance. There are some that sting here, but am I the only one that was bracing for worse?

First of all, I think Hyatt is still in damage control mode from losing SLH and MGM. That shrank their footprint… a lot. Mr. & Mrs. Smith should mitigate the loss of SLH a bit, but Hyatt needs to mitigate the perception that their program has been gutted. They’ve done about as decent of a job as I think any of us could have asked for on that front.

The other thing is the economy, and broadly travel demand. The recent wave of layoffs and hiring freezes has sent a chilling effect through the travel world, causing demand to slow. As a result, there’s less need to artificially chill demand through devaluation.

What do you think about these changes? Comment below.

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