How to Temporarily Beat the Recent Hotel Award Chart Changes

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One of the saving graces of the multiple recent hotel award chart increases is that most chains give you a period of time where you can still book at the old rates.  This is not always the case, but thankfully Starwood, Hyatt, and Priority Club all seem to have adopted that policy.  That means you have a limited period of time to make some points reservations at the old rates for your trips over the next 12 months.

Many families plan most of their travels way in advance anyway, so this really isn’t a huge strategy change.  Plus, typically these points reservations are refundable up until shortly before the trip, so if your plans change you can back out of your reservations without penalty (but double check each property individually).  Bottom line is you really don’t have much to lose by making some speculative reservations now before the old (lower) rates are no longer available.  Here are a few tips to make sure you aren’t spending more points than you need to for a hotel award.

Hyatt:

Both award charts and individual hotel categories within an award chart can change, so pay attention to both.  For example, Hyatt hasn’t announced any changes to their award chart itself (thank goodness!), but there are a few properties that are going up or down in points price, so you should check to see if any properties that are increasing are ones that can be useful for your travel plans.  You must book by February 6th to get the current/old rate.  Here are the properties that are increasing in points price after that date.

HYATT house San Ramon 1 to a 2 (increasing 3,000 points)

Hyatt Place Louisville-East 1 to a 2 (increasing 3,000 points)

Hyatt Place Pittsburgh-North Shore 1 to a 3 (increasing 7,000 points)

Hyatt Regency Incheon 2 to a 3 (increasing 4,000 points)

Hyatt Santa Barbara 3 to a 4 (increasing 3,000 points)

Hyatt 48 Lex 4 to a 5 (increasing 3,000 points)

Grand Hyatt Tokyo 5 to a 6 (increasing 4,000 points)

You can still book online at the old rates now, through February 6th.  I personally am very sad to see the Hyatt 48 Lex go from a 4 to a 5 as it takes it out of the range for the free Hyatt Card annual night certificate.  I highly recommend making some speculative reservations there if your travel plans are taking you to NYC in the next year.

Priority Club:

Priority Club has just revealed their new award chart, and while they didn’t release what properties were increasing or decreasing until the changes were live, they are giving Priority Club members the chance to call in until March 18th to book at the old rates.  However, without a good memory or a time traveling machine it would be very difficult to know what the old rates were….without this awesome chart that Loyalty Lobby created that shows both the old and new rates.

There are some properties that have gone down in points price, but here are a few examples of properties or cities that really jumped in price.

  • Intercontinental Montreal going from 30,000 to 45,000 points
  • Many Paris Holiday Inn/Crowne Plaza/Holiday Inn Express properties are going up 10,000 points per night
  • Intercontinental Dusseldorf going from 30,000 to 45,000 points
  • Many Amsterdam properties are increasing 5,000 points
  • Intercontinental Madrid going from 30,000 to 40,000 points
  • Many London properties are increasing 10,000 points per night
  • Holiday Inn Express Grand Canyon is going from 25,000 to 35,000 points
  • Many Disneyland Anaheim properties are increasing from 5,000 to 10,000 points each
  • Many California properties in LA, San Diego, San Francisco, etc. are increasing 5,000 – 10,000 points each
  • Holiday Inn Vail is increasing from 25,000 – 35,000 points per night
  • Some Holiday Inn properties near the White House are increasing 10,000 points
  • Many Ft. Lauderdale properties are increasing 10,000 points
  • Holiday Inn Miami Beach Oceanfront is going from 25,000 – 35,000 points
  • Intercontinental Buckhead Atlanta increasing from 30,000 – 40,000 points
  • Many Augusta properties are increasing 10,000 points
  • Several Chicago properties are increasing 10,000 points
  • Two South Bend (Notre Dame) properties are increasing 15,000 points per night
  • Many New Orleans properties (especially in the French Quarter) are increasing 10,000 points per night
  • Several Boston properties are increasing 10,000 points per night
  • Virtually all NYC properties that weren’t already at 50,000 points per night are increasing 10,000 – 15,000 points.
  • The Charleston properties are going up 10,000 – 15,000 points per night.
  • The Galveston properties are going up 5,000 – 10,000 points per night
  • Many Virginia Beach properties are increasing 10,000 points per night

Remember you have to call in to get the old rates, you won’t be able to do it online.

Starwood Preferred Guest:

Starwood has not yet released which properties are changing categories this year (expect that some time in February most likely), but they did already announce some increases to their cash and points award chart that will take effect on March 5th.  Unlike a category change that only impacts specific properties, an award chart change like this one impacts virtually all properties.  That means if you want to try to stay at a SPG Hotel on a cash and points reservation in the next year, it is absolutely worth checking now to see if there is availability before the rate increase takes effect.  Of course availability at the old cash and points rates can be scarce (which is why they are changing), but if you can find availability then lock it in.  I just found a cash and points reservation for our Hawaii trip that is still many months away, so it is possible to get lucky.  I may even look for ski season 2014 availability as we get closer to the March 5th deadline.

Here is what the changes will look like:

Category 1

Old Standard Room: 1,200 pts + $25

New Standard Room: 1,500 pts + $30

New Suites: 3,000 pts + $75

Category 2

Old Standard Room: 1,600 pts + $30

New Standard Room: 2,000 pts + $35

New Suites: 4,000 pts + $95

Category 3

Old Standard Room: 2,800 pts + $45

New Standard Room: 3,500 pts + 55

New Suites: 7,000 pts + $125

Category 4

Old Standard Room: 4,000 pts + $60

New Standard Room: 5,000 pts + $75

New Suites: 10,000 pts + $175

Category 5

Old Standard Room: 4,800 pts + $90

New Standard Room: 6,000 pts + $110

New Suites: 12,000 pts + $275

Category 6

Old Standard Room: 8,000 pts + $150

New Standard Room: 10,000 pts + $180

New Suites: 20,000 pts + $450

Category 7

Old Standard Room: 15,000 pts + $275

New Standard Room: 15,000 pts + $275

New Suites: 30,000 pts + $625

You can still book online at the old rates until March 5th.

Have you made some speculative bookings at the old rates with one of these chains?  I know I am busy trying to make sure I am covered for the next 12 months at the current rates!

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Comments

  1. If you book a room..for instance Hyatt 48th street with the old price in points and then lets say in June, have to move it a little..is there a way to move it without paying extra points? In other words..can you pick a date in 2013 and then move it after the March cut off? I know I want to stay there but don’t know exactly which day at this point. Thanks

    • BLT, probably not. Changes will likely be at the new rates, but as the other person suggested working with the hotel directly to move it may/may not work.

  2. @BLT If you call Central Reservations after end of Feb. they will have to cancel and re-book and you will have to pay the new points, however it doesn’t hurt to ask the hotel directly to move it a day or two if the standard room is available for the new dates once you know for sure. They may or they may not, especially in the New-York market. Good luck.

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