How I Found “Hidden” Hyatt Award Availability

Please note this site has financial relationships with American Express and this post may contain affiliate links. Read my Advertiser Disclosure policy here to learn more about my partners.

I love Hyatt Gold Passport. No award program is perfect, but time and time again Hyatt Gold Passport and their properties have been a great fit for my family and our points earning strategy.  However, in recent months I have noticed some issues surrounding award availability that have gotten my attention in a not as flattering a way.  When I recently realized I booked the wrong date at a popular summertime Hyatt resort, Hyatt Lost Pines, and tried to re-book for the correct date closer in to our dates of travel, I stepped into a bigger beehive of unfriendly games with award availability.

As you can see below, we have had a five year love affair with this property, and really look forward to our summertime visits…

I wrote some about this here, but the problem got even more complex when the rooms that even they describe as “standard” became available with cash, but they were only available via a “Double Points Package” instead of the “Hyatt Daily Rate”, so they still weren’t bookable with points.  I tried my hardest via the normal channels to get the award booked, but hit wall after wall.

We literally had one set of dates this summer that would work for this little close-to-home getaway thanks largely to the impending arrival of our second traveler, as well as some other commitments.  Given our extremely limited window, I was determined/obsessed to keep trying to find a way to use points to stay at the resort on the date we originally wanted.  I checked multiple times per day for any changes in availability without any success and then….

Hidden Hyatt Award AvailabilityWhile all of the other room types were still only available via a “Double Points Package”, when I clicked the button to include a search for ADA rooms a “standard” ADA  room displayed as available via the “Daily Rate”, and thus also available on points.  This room did not display when I did a general search unless I specifically clicked the check box to include ADA accessible rooms.

Now, we don’t need an ADA room, and honestly don’t prefer an ADA room, but I vastly prefer it over no room at all.  I did include in the comments section of the booking that we don’t need the ADA room if they want to give it to someone who does need that room type, but when certain Hyatt properties are going to get creative with how award rooms are displayed, sometimes you gotta take what you can get.  To be clear, I don’t love taking that room type when someone else might truly need it, and will continue to follow-up with the hotel to try to switch us to a truly standard room if one becomes available.

Once upon a time I believe that ADA rooms displayed along with the award room types automatically, but now you may want to try pushing that button and see if any “hidden” award availability displays.  Of course this won’t always solve your award availability issues, especially if the hotel truly is sold out, but perhaps it will work every now and then to display a room option that otherwise wasn’t there.

 

Pingbacks

  1. […] How I Found “Hidden” Hyatt Award Availability and Is it Unethical to Book an ADA Hotel Room? (both Mommy Points). Easy for me to forget how things blow out of proportion on the internet. It seems it must be a regular process for hotels to manage ADA room inventory, and in cases where it is absolutely needed with no alternate hotel acceptible, presumably the hotel calls those booked to verify their needs and swap rooms if possible. There are so many hotel options most every that I can’t get worked up about this. […]

Comments

  1. Please be aware that all ADA rooms have altered layouts and furniture to accommodate individuals with limited mobility. The rooms will either have a roll-in shower or a tub with extra grab bars as well as hand wands for the shower heads, which are critical for those with limited mobility. Please do not book these rooms if you are not handicapped, as you may very well be displacing those who need them!!!

    • Mitch, that is a highly unlikely possibility in the first place, but if it somehow happened, that is exactly what the note about not actually needing the room is for. I have done the same thing when that was all that was available.

    • Mitch, I totally agree in theory. I don’t want to be blocked into one of those rooms first because the layout isn’t ideal for my family, but more importantly because I don’t want to keep someone who needs it out. That’s exactly why I am communicating with the hotel that I don’t need that room type. I wouldn’t have booked it if there was an alternative available, and will still keep my eye open for other alternatives to free that room back up if someone needs it.

      • Mommy Points,

        I understand why you did it. You want to go to your resort that you always go to. What you should keep in mind though is that there are very limited rooms that are ADA compatible at a resort. What you effectively have done is take away the possibility for someone who needs a room like that to vacation. They do not have the ability to just pick another room. Out of a resort with 100 rooms, more than 90% are not going to be able to be used by someone with even a mild handicap.

        1. You shouldn’t have done that. It is bad taste and shows that you will do anything to not miss your precious vacation time.

        2. If you just can’t stand not going when you want to then you should have just done it and been done with it. Posting an article about how you tricked the booking award system by taking a room meant for a handicapped person is kind of ridiculous. Not only have you shown that you don’t really care if a handicapped person gets the opportunity to use award points if it means you don’t get to, but you have also shown everyone else a way to steal rooms meant for the handicapped rewards members.

        Finding award travel as a handicapped person is hard enough. Having bloggers taking the rooms and THEN posting on their blogs so others can do the same thing is pretty insane to me.

        Just my 2 cents.

        • “Steal rooms” = bit dramatic…?

          In my mind blame lies squarely at Hyatt’s door for all its shenanigans manipulating room descriptions simply to block award bookings.

      • You are scum,
        to book an ADA room when not needed just so you can use points at the expense of someone who genuinely needs that room is one of the lowest things I have ever read,

        I hope Hyatt find a way to kick your ass out for breaking some condition of the program.

        • And just which condition is that? Show it to us on Hyatt’s web site. Or admit you’re just making stuff up because you want the world to work the way you prefer, and reality isn’t as important as your whining.

          • I never said she did, I said I hope they find one she broke.

            As someone who has traveled with someone who needs those rooms I find it deplorable that someone would book it to save a couple of dollars in the hope they get moved to a room more to their satisfaction.

          • Since there isn’t one, they aren’t going to find any.

            If it’s the last room, someone’s going to get it and I don’t see any reason to prefer one customer over another (other than fcfs).

            If it isn’t, the note to the hotel that the ADA room isn’t really wanted will suffice to make that room available to someone who does need it.

  2. Hilton does the same thing. Tick the ADA box and award availability shows up at much lower rates. Regular room rates can drop as well. I have booked and will again. I just put a note in the res. I usually get upgraded out of the room anyway. Hotels have to have up to 10% of rooms be ADA compliant but the demand is usually not there…

  3. I recently tried to book this hotel and the ONLY room available with points was an ADA room, which I refuse to book for the same amount of points. I hate ADA rooms because I consider them a substandard layout, with no bathtub, lower or no bath cabinets, those eye-sore toilet handles, etc. If there is something that doesn’t qualify as a standard room it’s an ADA room. I hate seeing the properties playing these shenanigans.

  4. Be prepared for the “you’ve crossed the line” comments.

    Ask MmS how he deals with criticism.

    Put a helmet on!

    Making popcorn….

    • Oh I’m sure. I knew that when I wrote the post, which is why I tried to make it clear that I’m certainly trying to communicate with the hotel I don’t need that room type. However, when that’s the only room they will sell me with the currency I have to work with (points), I’m not sure what else to do. There are other room types available, so hopefully they can shift me to one of those and leave the ADA room for someone who needs that specific room type (though I know much of the time there are ADA rooms that aren’t needed by anyone with those specific issues).

  5. Just curious how you’d feel if the hotel had rooms set aside specifically for families, yet had single people booking the room to get a lower rate.

    • When a specific room type is all there is left to book, I don’t blame anyone for booking it. This is doubly true if whoever books it lets the hotel know they are happy to accept a different room type if someone needs the room type they booked.

    • Agree. Like the ‘Family Restroom’ at the airport. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been holding my kiddo desperately needing a diaper change…waiting for the door to unlock. And who comes out? Usually some male who didn’t want to crap in the regular restrooms. Pet peeve of mine.

  6. A room for sale is a room for sale. Most people don’t like the layout, so they won’t book it. Mommy points isn’t displacing anyone. Everyone had the same opportunity to book these rooms. It’s first come first served. If she didn’t book it and it sat empty then no one would be happy. If a handicap person comes along and looks for availability and none shows up, they should have booked earlier.

  7. MP

    I have been a big fan for a long time, but this does get my gander up a little. What about families that may not be able to stay because they need a ADA room for a family member. I think your reasoning is off base. With your vast collection of awards, surely there must be a different brand hotel with rooms available. If you had to run into a grocery store or mall, does that mean you will take the handicapped parking spot if no other parking spaces are nearby? How would you feel seeing a 40 something person parking in the “family with child” parking space at the super. The parking spot reserved for families… and think about 6 months from now and you have to manage the grocery bags and two little ones? You would think some no so nice things about the guy who parked in your family spot. I think you get my drift. get your ethics and morals back… cancel the reservation.

    • I have to disagree. ADA rooms usually are not reserved by those who need them. There just isn’t that high of a demand – thus why they are some of the last available on points and often less pricey on cash. They are also usually the rooms you will get slotted into if you check in late to a hotel or similar. I’ve stayed in plenty of ADA rooms even when I don’t book that room type. This is a close-in reservation, so the likelihood that someone with a specific need goes for the room is even lower. I can’t travel to a different hotel that will meet our needs/wants really right now due to being late in pregnancy and not wanting to venture further from home. Also can’t push the date further back for that reason, it’s “now or never”. Another parking spot will open up, another award night may not, and we don’t have the cash rate in our budget. All that said, I’ve made it clear I don’t need that specific room type both on the actual reservation and via reaching out to the hotel, and will keep looking for other options if they open up. I don’t think this has anything to do with ethics or morals, it just has to do with booking what the hotel makes available…and trust me I wish they would make the other “standard” rooms they are selling for cash available on points.

      All that said, totally understand if someone never wants to book an ADA room for whatever reason. The point of the post wasn’t to do anything more than share that this is an option that might get overlooked. What anyone else does or doesn’t want to do with that info is fine by me.

    • If the family who needs an ADA room books a regular room and writes a note that they need an ADA room, the hotel will obviously switch them. But since ADA rooms are *more* available than regular rooms, how likely is that to happen?

  8. The issue with ADA rooms being the only ones that display for standard rewards is not just at Hyatt. I’ve been in that quagmire numerous times with Hilton. I hate taking a room that someone with disabilities might really need and in reservation comments I ask for a regular room if possible. My experience has been that I am able to be switched at check in around 75% of the time. Another comment: I was a top-tier Hyatt member for a while, but found that my travel pattern mostly took me to places where there is no Hyatt, so Hilton has worked better for me. I know you like Hyatt very much, but my experience, albeit a few years ago, was that the Hyatt reservation site was clunky and hard to use, compounded by the difficult-to-deal-with people at their res center. Maybe all of this has gotten better, but I’m wondering how you feel about their customer services.

    • Big Jim, I find the call center customer service spotty. Some great reps, some not. The “Diamond Line” reps and email folks are often a bit better on average.

  9. Since my wife is a full time wheelchair user, we always have to book ADA rooms and you would be surprised with how many times they are unavailable but the hotel has plenty of other rooms. I’ve read the comments where people are put into an ADA room because “nobody” wants them but we see this situation from a different perspective. We have never had a situation where they “change” someone else’s ADA room reservation and gave it to us because it was shown in notes. When we check hotels for ADA rooms, if they do not come up, we just look elsewhere nowadays.

    I can understand how most people who have not had to deal with this think that there are plenty of ADA rooms already or that it’s “first come, first serve” but unfortunately that thinking means that we always have to plan very far in advance to ensure we have an ADA room when the general public can book any room that’s available at the last minute. This also means we miss out on many sales, last minute deals, and other opportunistic types of promotions because we have to have an ADA room. We enjoy cruising as well and we have to book cruises way in advance because people book the ADA cabins early because they are slightly bigger. This is part of the “first come, first serve” mentality.

    I understand that you have to put your family first and feel like you have covered your base by putting your preferences in the notes of the reservation. However, my main issue with what you have done is label your post as a “Hidden Hyatt Award Availability” to advertise something that really isn’t a trade secret just to drive page views. As a fan of your site, that’s very disappointing. I sincerely hope you and your family never need to start booking ADA rooms and encounter the difficulties we have. ADA rooms are a need for some people and taking away the option, no matter how you feel justified in doing it, is not right in my opinion.

    • Genuinely appreciate you sharing your experience. I guess it comes down to should someone who doesn’t truly need an ADA room not book then when that’s the only option left. In the end the result is then the same as if someone who does need the room tries to book and that room type is not available. You don’t go on that trip or stay in that hotel.

      Does that equation shift close in to the travel date? Day of? Few days before? I don’t know. It is an interesting question though.

      In terms of the title, not meant to offend. It really was availability that was not shown to me on many searches until I realized it no longer defaulted to displaying. I use Hyatt all the time and only realized that today.

    • I hope this isn’t too crude an analogy, but if a person were to enter a pubic restroom and all the stalls were occupied, except the ADA stall, would you expect them to wait and leave the stall open, just in case a person who could only use that type of stall came in?

      What if a family of four needs two queen beds at a certain hotel and a couple with no children, who could use just one bed, books the last two-queen room because it’s the only standard room left?

      It just doesn’t make sense to leave those rooms just in case someone else might possibly need them. Because there is a chance no one will. Many of the Price Line rooms I’ve booked have ended up being ADA rooms. Which tells me that those rooms probably do go unused in many cases. If you need the room, you book it. It’s just supply and demand. It’s not out of spite or disregard for others. MP even went the extra mile to try to make sure they hotel staff knows they can give the ADA room to someone else, if needed.

      • There is a strong chance the handicapped parking space right near the entrance to the store I’m going to won’t be used by a handicapped person in the 10 minutes I’ll be there. Should I park there using the same logic?

        • This is a terrible analogy. You are talking about breaking the law versus using an unoccupied toilet stall. I don’t think anyone is advocating breaking the law here.

        • This actually backs up my point. If ADA rooms (or stalls 🙂 ) were intended to ONLY be used by certain people, we would have rules and laws in place to ensure that that happened, the way we do with parking spaces. Instead, they exist to give people who need them the OPPORTUNITY to use/book them–the same opportunity as every one else. Not guaranteed availability.

      • It depends – do you plan on spending the entire night in the unoccupied stall? MP tries to rationalize her choice of taking an ADA room but some of us (especially those whose family members actually need such facilities) are appalled by her behavior.

  10. I agree with Glenn that trumpeting such a strategy may cross the line. Sort of like booking last segment awards that one doesn’t intend to fly. Committing the act is one thing, but popularizing (endorsing) it goes a too far. I enjoy your site but disapprove of this post. Otherwise, keep up the good work.

  11. I generally don’t participate in any sort of travel related activities that I wouldn’t share with others, so I certainly could have simply booked the room and not said anything (and that would have in retrospect been much easier), but that’s not the point of this site. The point of the site, and the post, is to help families of all shapes, sizes, budgets, and abilities to travel more for less. In fact, I have received several messages since launching the post with people saying thanks that the tip helped them get a room, but they don’t want to put that in the comments section here for fear of being attacked.

    The last thing I would set out to do is make travel harder for any group, but I’m not entirely sold on the theory that if the last room available is an ADA room that those that don’t need that room type shouldn’t book it. I can totally get on board with the concept of not hogging those rooms when there are other choices available just because they are perhaps slightly larger or slightly cheaper or similar, but when that’s all there is left to book I’m just not there is a huge ethical slight…of course everyone’s lines and ethics are different so perhaps I’m on a different side of that line than some of you. I do love that so many of us do think about the needs of others though!

    Sharing my travel strategies is what I do, so apologies if this comes across as “trumpeting”, but really it is just another tool to utilize (if you want) when nothing else is working. If you would never use a handicapped bathroom stall, book a room with two beds when you only need one, book an ADA room when it’s all that is left, etc. then truly more power to you. If you sometimes do these things when there is no better alternative, then I totally understand that, too.

  12. Yes, we should be blaming the hotel industry for this, not the customers. If an ADA room is the only room available or half the price or less than regular rooms, they are obviously intent on moving the room. I have done best rate guarantee’s with Hyatt where they say the rooms being sold on that 3rd party site are the ADA rooms so your best rate gaurantee is approved but your room is ADA 2 queens…

  13. Some people like to pose to be someone possessing higher moral standard than others on the Internet, in reality, those guys are the ones with low moral behaviors in real life. To those guys: Don’t be judgemental on others. Behave yourself!

  14. In defense of MP – I did the same thing over a holiday week – booked the ADA room with points because it was the only room available to book with points. After booking online I called Hyatt Gold Passport (to let them know I did not need ADA) and they were able to adjust the reservation accordingly.

    Please do not let the negative comments on here silence your helpful insight – you are doing a great job and I look forward to your advice.

  15. This post was never written with the intent or desire to stir up controversy, however since this apparently is a topic that perhaps should be explored further, I have a follow-up post here.
    Is it Unethical to Book an ADA Hotel Room? http://bit.ly/1GiDecO

    As a follow-up to my reservation, as I intended all along, I did communicate directly with the hotel that we didn’t need the ADA specific room type and we have been assigned to a different standard room.

  16. I think most agree that this does not break any law, nor a high moral beacon to shine. Our good uncle Joe will probably not use the trick. We, the players in the points game, are more likely to use it.

    Now if a politician does it and is reported by the media, I think the end result is that he/she will have to apologize and promise not to do it again.

  17. Matt,

    A little high and mighty, aren’t you. Jez man.

    You’re a jerk. Mommy points is far from scum. She clearly indicated that she had some concern over the ADA room and offered to change it up if someone needs it. Far nicer than 99% of other people…

    What if nobody needs it that night? Is she scum then?

    What if Hyatt is screwing her over on award availability? A root cause analysis would blame Hyatt for this tragedy.

    Now, I on the other hand, am admittedly complete scum. If I can do something to benefit my family and use points that I’ve earned, I’m going to do it. I wouldn’t have let Hyatt know I’m flexible until I checked in. Sure I’d be flexible, but if I have to choose between my family taking a vacation or giving up the room, that’s an easy decision.

    Thanks MP for sharing this evil little trick. I will be using the hell out of it…

    • No what she did is worse. She booked an ADA room in points then said i don’t want that room i want the type that was unavailable on points. Here in Australia that would be considered obtaining financial advantage by deception.

      Maybe i was brought up different to respect those with special needs. If i were given the room at check in that’s one thing but to actively book it, at a discount, then ask to have the room i want is abhorrent and morally wrong.

  18. I don’t see the deception. She booked a room. She was willing to take that room. She told the hotel that if it preferred, she would be willing to take a different room.

  19. This blog post, and (most of) the responses just absolutely disgust me. “Those eye-sore toilet handles.” Who are you people? Everyone knows for the reward rooms at Hyatt they are STANDARD rooms only. Standard normal king/queen/twin rooms, and standard ADA compliant rooms. Mommy-points, you know the rules and don’t want to play by them. You booked the ADA room, hoping upon check-in you can convince the receptionist to switch you out of the ADA room into a better room, based upon your non-need of the ADA features. There are eons more normal standard rooms available for awards/rewards than there are ADA rooms. When you checked, and booked, there weren’t any available for folks with fully functioning bodies. So, you tricked the system by pretending to be handicapped. If your cheap, bigoted ass doesn’t want to pay for a night in the hotel, stay somewhere else. The sense of entitlement here just disgusts me to no end. You have such a lack of understanding, value, and respect for people with disabilities. Wow.

  20. When I called to book my two free Hyatt credit card award nights the Hyatt rep suggested an ADA room because it was slightly larger to accommodate the rollaway bed we needed for my daughter. I don’t think he was scum, nor is MP.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *