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Today I am continuing my series on looking at different hotel chains to determine which ones might be more or less family friendly than others – especially when it comes to elite status and award stays. In the previous post in this series we looked at the Hilton family of hotels, and especially the very family friendly Embassy Suites brand. In this post we will examine the hotel program that gets the majority of my family’s own business, Hyatt.
Hyatt Family of Hotels:
There are a wide range of hotels in the Hyatt Family. Some of these are: Hyatt House (formerly Summerfield Suites), Hyatt Place, Hyatt Regency, Andaz, Grand Hyatt, and Park Hyatt. For those not familiar, Hyatt Place hotels are essentially large guestrooms with a couch/sitting area, and a bed area. It isn’t a true suite, but it offers more space than many hotel rooms. Hyatt Place Hotels also provide a complimentary hot breakfast for all guests – a very family friendly amenity. Hyatt House Hotels are also traditionally very family friendly as they are an “extended stay” hotel that comes with a full kitchen, free hot breakfast, “evening social” with drinks and appetizers, free internet, a living area, and the option of up to two bedrooms. The only downside to the Hyatt House brand is that their footprint is limited to the US. In fact, the main downside to Hyatts in general is that they aren’t as widely available as some other chains.
The Hyatt Regency brand is traditionally associated with large hotels that host meetings and conventions. They are full service hotels, some of them are resorts, and some of them have Regency Clubs available. The Andaz brand is a newer addition to the Hyatt family and those hotels have a somewhat hip feel to them. They offer complimentary non-alcoholic drinks and minibar snacks for all guests. The Park Hyatt brand is the upper end of the Hyatt Hotels family, and they are located in cities like Beaver Creek, Tokyo, Sydney, and Chicago.
In addition to the great properties, one of the things I love the most about Hyatt is the elite status benefits. I think that their top-tier status is one of the most generous statuses out there, and considering how attainable their mid-tier status is, it is actually quite nice as well.
Hyatt Platinum status can be obtained by staying at Hyatt hotels for either 15 nights or just 5 stays in a calendar year. Five stays in a calendar year for mid-tier status is pretty generous in my view. It can also be obtained a number of other ways, including having the Hyatt Credit Card, the United Club Card, or purchasing Milepoint Premium Membership. If you want to apply for the Hyatt Credit Card, try making a “mock” reservation on the Hyatt site and see if you receive an offer for a $75 statement credit. If you have more than one or two Hyatt stays a year it probably makes sense to find a way to have Platinum status.
Once you have Platinum status you receive a 15% points bonus with each stay, complimentary internet, access to “preferred rooms” at check-in, and 2PM late check-out. Platinum members also receive a “Platinum Extras” certificate after every third stay as a Platinum member. These certificates really are pretty awesome and they award a variety of bonuses including 1,000 – 2,500 bonus points, Regency Club access, food & beverage amenity, etc.
Hyatt Platinum status is nice, but what is really beneficial for families is Diamond status. Diamond status is much harder to attain, as it requires 25 stays or 50 nights in Hyatt Hotels in a calendar year. Unlike with Starwood, award stays don’t count toward elite status, so those must all be paid nights. Starting October 1st, having the Hyatt Visa does allow you to have 5 nights/2 stays toward status if you spend $20,000 on the card annually, or a total of 10 nights/5 stays toward elite status if you spend $40,000 on the card annually.
If you are able to obtain Diamond status, then the rewards are pretty nice. You receive a 30% bonus on base points earned. You also receive a points or food and beverage amenity every time you check into a Hyatt Hotel. The points range from 500 – 1,000 per check-in (depending on the type of Hyatt). The food and beverage amenities include things like fruit, nuts, local food, chips and salsa, buckets of beer, a bottle of wine, and sodas.
At Hyatt Hotels that have a Regency Club, Diamond members get access to the Club for themselves and their family. You are able to get snacks, drinks, desserts, and breakfast from the Club, which is super helpful for traveling families. If you are at a hotel that doesn’t have a Regency Club, then you and your family can have a complimentary free breakfast. The way the breakfast is handled varies some from hotel to hotel, sometimes it is breakfast from the restaurant, sometimes it includes room service, and sometimes it is a voucher to an adjacent restaurant. However, it always includes a full hot breakfast. If you happen to stay at a Hyatt that has a closed Regency Club, then not only do you get breakfast for your family from the restaurant, but you also get 2,500 bonus points for the inconvenience. It is kind of great when this happens!
Diamond members receive four suite upgrades per year that can be applied to paid reservations at most Hyatts around the world. Each upgrade is valid for up to seven days. The upgrades are typically to the smallest suite available at the hotel, but they are just tremendously helpful in making sure that families secure sufficient space for everyone without having to play “upgrade roulette”. We very much enjoy our four annual suite upgrades! I wish they could be used on award reservations, but I’m still grateful for our paid trips.
Other Diamond benefits include 4PM late check-out, complimentary internet, guaranteed 48 hour room availability, and more.
Some other hotel chains are somewhat notorious for only allowing two persons on standard award stays, which is not very helpful for traveling families who usually have more than just two people in a room. In my research with Hyatt hotels, their room occupancy limits for award stays seem to be a bit more generous than some other chains, but they do still have their limits. As is typical, the room occupancy limits are higher in most of the US than in many other parts of the world. Here are a few examples of what I found in my searches for standard award availability.
New York City
If you are looking to stay with more than two people in a room at a Hyatt in New York City then your best bets are usually the Grand Hyatt New York or the Andaz Wall Street. These two properties have rooms with two double beds frequently available on reward stays. Both will allow two children and two adults in that type of room on award bookings. Both are Category 6 Hyatts (the highest category) and they go for 22,000 points per night. The Grand Hyatt also has a fantastic Regency Club. Beginning in 2013, another solid option for families staying in New York City will be the Hyatt Place Midtown. This Hyatt is a Category 4 Hyatt that goes for 15,000 points per night. It has rooms with two queen beds plus a sofa bed that are bookable for up to two adults and three children. Getting five people in one room on a standard reward booking in New York City is pretty amazing. Now whether or not you would actually comfortably fit five in the room is another story all together…
There are many types of Hyatt Hotels in Orlando, and each has their own restrictions in terms of maximum room occupancy. The Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress has a maximum of two adults and two children, while the Hyatt Place Orlando Convention Center allows up to two adults and four children in their room with two double beds plus a pull-out sofa.
I have found that often to be the case in Hyatts in the US – up to 6 (but sometimes just 4) in some Hyatt Place and Hyatt House rooms, and usually up to 4 in many Hyatt Regencies.
There are currently two Hyatt Hotels in London, the London Churchill and the Andaz Liverpool. The Churchill is available for 22,000 points per night and allows for up to two adults and one child on award bookings, which is actually fairly generous for a hotel in London. There are many that don’t allow more than two persons per room. The Andaz Liverpool is available for 18,000 points per night, but while it allows for two adults and one child on paid reservations, the website will only accept double occupancy for award stays.
The very popular Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome is one of the favorite award redemptions among those with Hyatt points. Rooms there can go for close to $1,000 USD per night, but they can be yours for 22,000 Hyatt Gold Passport Points. While some room types on paid reservations allow two adults and one child, the room types available on award reservations allow for just two persons. Interestingly enough, this hotel does offer a “Family Package” for two adults and two children in a Dipolomatic Suite that includes breakfast and three hours of babysitting! The going rate seems to be just over $2,000 Euros per night for this package, so start saving. 😉
The Hyatt Regency Paris – Madeleine seems to also just allow double occupancy in the room types available for award nights. The Hyatt Regency Paris – Charles de Gaulle does have rooms available for reward reservations that accept two adults and one child. That hotel is available for 15,000 Hyatt points per night.
The Park Hyatt Sydney overlooks the Sydney Opera House and is very much on my list of “must visit” Hyatts. On both paid and award reservations, this hotel allows up to two adults and one child per room.
The Park Hyatt Tokyo (of Lost in Translation fame) goes for 22,000 points per night and The Grand Hyatt Tokyo is 18,000 points per night. Both of their websites accept reward bookings for up to four people. However, in both cases those awards for four people book into rooms with two twin beds, so I’m not quite sure of the sleeping logistics on that one. The Hyatt Regency Tokyo is just 12,000 points per night, but I was unable to find standard award stays for more than two people.
Another option for families is to use points to book themselves into a suite. You can do this on some paid reservation by paying a premium of 6,000 points for a reservation up to four days in length to upgrade to a suite. You can also use points to obtain suites on reward stays of three days or longer by spending additional points per night. The number of points required for a free award night in a suite varies from 8,000 – 33,000 points per night according to the category of the hotel, and you can view the chart here. It is important to note that the upgrade at Hyatt House hotels is to a true two bedroom suite, so this could be a very helpful option for some families. Even better is that many of the Hyatt House hotels are in the lower categories, so they can be quite affordable. This hotel also does not seem to have the three day minimum restriction as most other types of Hyatts have when booking suites on points. You can also use between 12,000 – 30,000 points per night to stay in Hyatt Vacation Club properties that have up to three bedrooms.
Getting Hyatt Points:
One of the reasons I am such a big Hyatt fan is that it is so easy to quickly rack up lots of points to stay at Hyatt Hotels for no out of pocket expense. In addition to being able to use points that are earned at Hyatt hotels or with the Hyatt Credit Card, Chase Ultimate Reward points transfer 1:1 instantly to Hyatt. Using the 5x earning powers of the Ink Bold Charge Card, the 2x earning powers of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, the quarterly 5x bonus categories from the Chase Freedom Visa, and the huge earning potential from the online Ultimate Rewards shopping portal, makes earning lots of points that can be used toward Hyatt stays very simple.
If you want more info on searching for hotels that allow five people in a room, I recommend checking out the new blog “Travel with Five”. I’d love to hear what tips other families have found when staying at Hyatt properties around the world!
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