A Contrary View – I’m Fine with World of Hyatt Implementing Peak / Off-peak Award Pricing

In a much-delayed move, World of Hyatt is going to implement its new peak / standard / off-peak award chart on October 26, 2021. However, the new pricing will only apply to stays from March 1, 2022 and beyond.

You might, therefore, want to make some speculative bookings for 2022. If the dates of your stay become “off-peak”, you will be automatically refunded the difference. If they become “peak”, you won’t be charged any more…

The Standard Room Award Chart

The same structure of award pricing will apply to the other room categories available using points.

How will Peak and Off-peak dates be set?

Hyatt management has made clear that award pricing is NOT going to be dynamic. When dates become available for booking, they will be designated as “peak”, “standard” or “off-peak” – this will not change no matter how full or empty the hotels are likely to be.

A “majority” of dates – i.e. 183+ – will be designated as “standard”. But the remaining dates can be off-peak or peak with no minimum or maximum.

The decision will be made for all hotels within a certain the geographic market. It is unclear as to whether that means city, state, country, continent, etc.  but obviously an August date in Europe should be “peak”, while it ought to be “off-peak” in the Caribbean.

Is this really as bad a devaluation as everybody says?

If you collect Hyatt points to spend them on Christmas trips to ski resorts or Hawaii, you will certainly see a lot more “peak” pricing. So the default position of many bloggers has been to shout DEVALUATION…

But notice how the “peak” pricing in each award category is still the same or cheaper than the “standard” pricing in the award category immediately above it.

Hyatt is actually very responsible when it comes to moving hotels from one award category to another. During its pre-COVID annual category changes, just as many attractive hotels would move DOWN a category as UP.  Marriott, on the other hand, is NOTORIOUS for “category creep” devaluations, where attractive hotels simply move up and up and up.

Which do you prefer?  A Hyatt Category 4 hotel that occasionally prices at peak pricing, or for the vast majority of Category 4 hotels to be moved over time to 5 or 6 (the Marriott strategy)?. Since the peak pricing doesn’t affect free night certificates – such as those earned from credit cards or staying 30/60 nights per year – then I’d much prefer having as many Category 1-4 hotels as possible!

And who knows if “off-peak” could lead to some interesting award bargains – 3,500 points per night for Category 1 for example – when you might otherwise have been wise to pay the cash rate.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments section…

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