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This morning I excitedly picked up the phone and called Hyatt Gold Passport to take my first stab at booking a new cash and points award, and I want to share the results. The Hyatt award chart devaluation has hit, but the upside of the changes is the introduction of cash and points awards that can be a really good value, especially in certain categories.
Before I get into the results of my first experience trying to book a cash and points award at the Grand Hyatt Kauai, here is a quick reminder on how cash and points awards work. Cash and points reservations must be booked over the phone at 1-800-228-3360. Unlike with traditional Hyatt award bookings, you will earn elite status credit and credit toward promotions from cash and points stays. You will also earn points on the cash portion of the award. You will have to pay taxes and resort fees on cash and points awards, as opposed to award stays where you do not pay those fees.
The new cash and points option strikes me as especially interesting in categories 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 where the cash component essentially amounts to 1.2 – 1.3 cents per point. Categories 1 and 7 represent 2 cents per point for the cash component of the chart which obviously isn’t as good of a value.
My Experience Booking a Cash and Points Award:
So all of this sounded pretty good in theory, but since cash and points awards aren’t subject to the same rules as standard awards where you should be able to use points if a standard room is available for sell, we didn’t know how useful this would be until it kicked in today. I called this morning to book the very popular Grand Hyatt Kauai for four nights in the summer. Within seconds the agent was able to tell me that cash and points awards were available for my dates. She was also able to tell me that a suite upgrade using a Diamond confirmed upgrade was also available (which has historically always required a call to the property) and could be used with the cash and points reservation.
She locked in the four nights at the Grand Hyatt Kauai on cash and points (after cancelling my award reservation there), utilized the suite upgrade I wanted to apply (you get four annually as a Hyatt Diamond elite member), and told me that I would be charged a two night deposit of the cash portion that was refundable until 72 hours before all within about 3-4 minutes.
The process couldn’t have been easier and I couldn’t be more pleased with the results. I am in the process of running a few more experiments to get a better feel for availability, but being able to get my summer dates at the Grand Hyatt Kauai and secure a suite for my family with only $150 + taxes/fees per night cash outlay was a big win. The big test will be if availability stays this good as time goes on, but Day 1 seems to be going well.
Have you booked any cash and points reservations today? What was your experience like?