Standard Award Rooms Disappearing Because of Semantics

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One of my favorite Hyatt Resorts we have visited is the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa about 30 minutes outside Austin.  It is a pretty easy driving distance from my house, so we have visited it many times for weekend getaways over the years.  However, even though it isn’t too far away it feels like a vacation thanks to the lazy river, water slide, beach pool, and tons of other kid friendly activities.  You can see many of our reviews of this property here.

The downside of the resort being so nice and comfortable is that rates get crazy on some summer weekends.  During the off-season prices go below $150/night, but on peak weekends it can get up to about $600/night including the taxes and fees.  Naturally this is exactly when I would much rather spend 20,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points per night to visit.  In fact, we have a weekend coming up booked using just 16,000 points after the 20% rebate thanks to the current Hyatt Credit Card promotion and the going rate is indeed around $600/night if we wanted to book with cash.  That is a pretty stellar 3.75 cent per point return, if you wanted to calculate in that manner.

However, I realized those dates won’t work, and in looking for an alternate date I’m finding it is a bit harder to find award availability than I am used to at this property.  Of course partly that is likely due simply to a somewhat stronger economy and the hotel simply being busier (I guess), but there are a couple other things at play as well.  On many of the days that have no points availability it doesn’t mean that the resort is actually sold out.

I’ve seen weekends this summer that have Patio Rooms, Pool Access Rooms, Resort King Rooms, Regency Club Rooms, etc. all still for sale with cash, and yet no award availability is to be found.  To be fair, the Hyatt Gold Passport rules state that “Hyatt Gold Passport Free Night Awards apply when standard rooms are available at the Hyatt Daily Rate. Standard rooms are defined by each hotel and are not subject to blackout dates. Hyatt Gold Passport Free Night Awards cannot be redeemed for packages.”

A room is a room, unless it's called something else

A room is a room, unless of course it’s called something else

This means that if a hotel decides a room is non-standard because it is closer to the pool, has a patio, has a resort view, was upgraded more recently, or even is on a higher or lower floor that they technically do not have to make that room available on points.  I can’t swear to it, but I would bet that Hyatt Lost Pines has upped the number of rooms they designate as “non standard” in the last year or so.  In the case of Club rooms, those are inherently considered “non standard” (even though the room itself may be identical to standard rooms), and thus they do not have to have those available on points when they are for sale with cash.

At Hyatt Lost Pines specifically, the standard room types seem to include: Standard King, Resort Room Queens, and ADA Queen Tub.  Interestingly, Resort Room King is considered non-standard despite often selling for a cheaper cash price than the room with Queens.

I love Hyatt Lost Pines, but I have to admit I am not a fan of what seems to be an increasing trend at multiple Hyatts where the hotels increases the number of “non-standard rooms” simply by coming up with new names.  The new Park Hyatt New York was built with very few standard rooms.  One Mile at a Time just wrote about this same phenomenon happening now at the Olive 8 in Seattle and there is a thread on the issue growing on Flyertalk (that even references Hyatt Lost Pines).  The rooms themselves aren’t really significantly different from one another, but since they are now technically “non standard” they aren’t available on points.  SPG certainly does this as well, but they have deluxe rooms available for slightly more points whereas with Hyatt it is all or nothing for many room types in terms of award availability.

If you find this happening at a hotel you are interested in visiting then you can try reaching out to them directly to see if there is something you can work out.  You can also keep a close eye on award availability without having to keep checking by using this tool built by The Wandering Aramean.  I also recommend simply booking way in advance before the non-standard room sell out, especially if there are now fewer of them to go around at some properties.  At the same time, I hope that Hyatt Gold Passport is taking note of this trend as at a certain point it does impact that value of points if there are fewer and fewer rooms available for award redemptions simply due to them being called by another name.

Have you run into a similar issue when trying to use your points?

 

 

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  1. MP – Yes, definitely. We tried to find award availability on Lost Pines as its one of our fav family resorts, and could not find anything for the entire month of July. Seems pretty odd, as we were looking out months in advance.

  2. Could be a “back-door,” sneaky method of devaluation, without actually devaluing the point (if that makes any sense). We will have to keep watch, and see if this trend continues. If so, then my hypothesis may be correct.

  3. Unfortunately yes…a number of times. As a result of this I a beginning to wonder if I should re-think my strategy with regard to which hotel chain gets the bulk of my business. Semantics like this can turn loyal customers off if it gets too out of hand…and I believe that is beginning to be the case with Hyatt which is a shame because they have a pretty strong program otherwise in my opinion.

  4. Hyatt Place New Orleans pulled this recently. I was trying to book months in advance and they were getting out of selling standard rooms for points by taking those same rooms and packaging them with parking included. I reached out to Hyatt and said “so if I don’t have a car then I can’t book that same standard room?” Hyatt got the property on the phone and opened up a standard room for me. It’s frustrating to see the individual properties playing these games.

  5. Yes! Dealing with this right now. Trying to rebook a stay at the Hyatt Calgary and can’t find availability on my new dates. This makings trying to reschedule trips much more difficult.

  6. I’ve been noticing this trend even in the downmarket Hyatt Places. There are now “High Floor” designations which take floors 5 + 6 as their own category and not available via points. I had been staying plenty of times. The last time we went in I was told that the award rooms only get floors 1-4. I was like oh fine – so then how are you handling the diamond guarantee about best room outside of suites, which isn’t that floor 6? I got moved, but this made me really uncomfortable how far revenue management has come.

  7. Does this apply when booking the two free nights you get for the sign up bonus too? Or when u acquire points after that.

      • What’s the best approach if I want to use the nights for next spring break. Book now? Do I have to commit or could I just hold them.

        • Debbe, I’d lock it in now if you know where you want to go. You can always cancel later if your plans change – just note the cancellation policy.

  8. Hyatt, You need to talk to your franchisees before guests become completely turned off by theses shenanigans. This slicing and dicing is unfair!

  9. The issue seems to be that hotel chains largely stopped hotel property construction during the Great Recession. Demand has now returned, the population has grown and we barely have more hotel rooms than in 2008. And it takes years for hotel chains to construct new hotels. So, hotels are full.

    Add to the lack of hotel room inventory that many hotel properties pay their sales and general management a very large percentage of their overall compensation based on room sales (sometimes 80% of their total compensation), you get a toxic mix. (And depending on the chain, it varies how much the loyalty program pays the property for a loyalty redemption. How a loyalty redemption is allotted to the sales and general management of a property for the purposes of their sales bonuses also probably varies.)

    I run events. And, we are having a very similar issue. We are contracting for blocks of rooms and being told that there are no rooms left in the category of room we blocked and we can see the rooms being sold online for 3 or 4 times our group rate. The property will then claim that a room by the pool is not in that category we contracted, so they don’t have to offer it under our contract. (Or some other similar excuse.) This has happened to us in Hilton (this past week), IHG and Hyatt within the last 6 months. And, when you have big business groups, this causes a real headache. And it’s unethical! But at property level, the bonuses of the sales and general management are all that seem to matter…

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