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I have well documented my recent struggles with hotel award availability issues during the busy summer travel season. We just completed our short weekend trip to one of my favorite resorts, Hyatt Lost Pines, which we were only able to secure close-in by using this controversial method of booking a room. As a final resolution to that story, we indeed did receive a standard non-ADA room as promised by the resort in advance, so all’s well that ends well in that regard. However, we did not want to go through that sort of ethical dilemma again the next time we wanted to visit that resort for swimming and all around outdoor fun.
So, we returned to my tried and true method of booking awards as far in advance as is humanely possible (which I had actually done in the first place, I’d just messed up the travel date).
We are now home for most of the rest of this summer, but that just means that naturally my thoughts turn to next summer’s adventures. I’m not sure what all next summer will have in store for us with a then 6 and 1 year old, but I know that we will probably want our “hometown” resort of Hyatt Lost Pines to be a part of our fun. This is one of the many Hyatt properties that is proving to be very difficult to book on points during peak season for a variety of reasons ranging from general high demand to lots of “non-standard” room categories popping up that are not bookable on points.
However, harder to book does not mean impossible to book, so we re-trenched and planned a year in advance. You can now book Hyatt awards online 13 months in advance. For weekends next June the resort still had pretty much wide-open availability for award rooms and we were happy to snag one. In fact, via a call to Hyatt I was able to book one on a cash and points rate and then apply a Diamond confirmed suite upgrade since I’m sure we will appreciate the extra space for our family of four. So, by simply booking (much) further into the future than we did for this trip I had my pick of room types and award rates.
This is not a strategy unique to this resort. I also looked at availability next summer for several Hyatt properties that I know are tight with availability and found similar availability results at every single one. The Andaz Maui, Grand Hyatt Kauai, Hyatt Regency Hill Country, and Park Hyatt New York all had standard award availability for the dates I randomly looked at next June when I can assure you many of those properties are going to be very tight if you are looking close-in for this summer.
We all know pretty much when school gets out for the year next year, and we all probably know some destinations that our family would enjoy next summer. If you have the points, it makes sense to go ahead and lock in something you think will work and then adjust or cancel it as needed as the time gets closer. That is a much simpler and less stressful situation than waiting until the availability is either gone or so tight that trying to make it work causes your hair to turn grey or start falling out.
If you want to start locking in airline awards note that most airlines allow booking roughly 11 months out, so we still have another month or so ago before those schedules will be open into next summer.
Anyone else already have some trips locked in for next summer?