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The Caribbean is so much closer for many of us in much of the US than exotic beach destinations like Hawaii, Fiji, Bora Bora, etc. so it immediately is a more realistic destination for young families than some place that requires a full day or more of travel just to get your feet in the sand. Not only is it closer, but it is less expensive to get there whether you are traveling on dollars or miles. There are a few resorts in the Caribbean and Latin America that you can stay using points from traditional points programs, but one of the best loyalty programs, Hyatt Gold Passport, had a very limited Caribbean resort footprint, until now.
Recently Hyatt reportedly acquired a 20% ownership stake in Playa Resorts, who already has a strong presence in the all-inclusive resort market in Mexico, Dominican Republic, and Jamaica. As a result or this new arrangement, Hyatt will franchise six of their resorts as Hyatts over the next couple of years.
Two New Hyatt Brands:
Because of this development, there will soon be two new Hyatt brands to familiarize yourself with. One is Hyatt Zilara which will exclusively focus on adults, and there will be Hyatt Ziva which will focus on families. According to the press release, Chris Walker, a VP at Hyatt said, “We are currently working with guests, especially our Hyatt Gold Passport members, to design a differentiated all-inclusive experience.”
To me this means it keeps getting better and better. First, we will have new Hyatt properties in prime tourist beach destinations to earn and use points. Second, some of those resorts will focus on families. Third, there will be all-inclusive options! Seriously, this is pretty great news for Hyatt family travelers who love to earn and use points.
The first three projects are scheduled to be completed in late 2013 and early 2014. These are the The Royal Cancun and Barcelo Los Cabos that will rebrand as Hyatt Zilara (adults) Cancun and Hyatt Ziva (families) Los Cabos, and the former Ritz Carlton Resort in Rose Hall, Jamaica that will reopen as the Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall (families). I had previously posted the rumor that this property was becoming a Hyatt. The information at that time was that it would be a Park Hyatt; turns out it will be under a whole new Hyatt brand. The Los Cabos properties should be ready to go in late 2013, and the Jamaica property in early 2014.
The three additional resorts from Playa (for a total of six) will also be from Mexico, Dominican Republic, and Jamaica, and are expected to be rebranded in 2014 or 2015. I haven’t yet seen a list of exactly which three those will be.
In addition to those all-inclusive resort options, Hyatt has some other happenings in the Caribbean and Latin America. You can take a peak at the current projects list from Hyatt and see developments like Park Hyatt: St. Kitts Christophe Harbour and Riviera Maya, Mexico, Grand Hyatt: Baha Mar, Bahamas, and Hyatt House: San Juan, Puerto Rico. I think many of those are further out than some of these re-branded Playa Resorts (and some may never happen), but the list does demonstrate that Hyatt has growth plans in an area that is much easier for many of us to get to than say the Park Hyatt Maldives.
What this means to miles and points:
We don’t know yet what the points redemption options for these new all-inclusive resorts will be. I know some chains just charge a points surcharge over the normal points price for an all-inclusive. For example, with IHG Rewards (Priority Club) there is a 10,000 point supplement per night for all-incusive resorts, and that is based on double occupancy.
Perhaps at Hyatt, instead of the resort being 18,000 or 22,000 points per night, it is 22,000 points per night plus a 8,000 points surcharge for being an all-inclusive property. I have no idea if this is remotely close to how Hyatt will handle the points pricing of these properties, but I would rather an all-inclusive surcharge than a new category, since I bet other non-all inclusive properties would sneak up there as well.
The only thing I know for sure is that this means Hyatt points continue to be one of my very favorite type of hotel points to collect. They are insanely valuable and easy to use. You don’t need eleventy billion points to stay at their top hotels – you currently just need a max of 22,000. That sounds like a lot, but compared to other brands it really is an attainable number with all of the methods of earning miles and points that are available both with Hyatt and Chase Ultimate Rewards that transfer 1:1 to Hyatt.
Would having an all-inclusive Hyatt Resort in the Caribbean or Latin America make you more likely to hop on a plane and make the trip?