Update 3/22: Hyatt’s Category 2022 category changes go live on Tuesday at 8:00am Central. Make your prospective bookings now!
Hyatt category changes for 2022 have been announced today and will take effect on March 22, 2022 at 8:00am CDT. In all, 146 properties will be affected, with 70 going up in category and 76 moving down. It’s a smaller increase than the last major change in 2020, but US category 1-4 hotels are particularly hard-hit. If you have 1-4 certificates, it’s worth taking a look and booking before the change.
The full list of properties changing in category can be found here. Hotels worldwide are affected and, of the 146 properties changing category, there will be 9 moving to category 8 for the first time, including one of the most sought-after US redemptions, the Alila Ventana Big Sur.
Bad News First
14 hotels will no longer be eligible for the Category 1-4 annual free night certificate. This certificate is an annual benefit on the World Of Hyatt credit card and is also awarded after staying 30 nights in a year or after staying at 5 different brands. 14 may not seem like a lot in the grand scheme of things, but the US is particularly tough with 11 properties moving to category 5, including:
- The Gild Hall by Thompson, the last category 1-4 left in Manhattan.
- The Confidante, the only beachfront category 1-4 in South Florida
- Hyatt Place Santa Barbara
- Hyatt Place Santa Cruz
- Hyatt Regency Monterey on Del Monte Golf Course
This is usually counteracted by the fact that some properties will be newly bookable with a Cat 1-4 certificate, but in this case there are only 2 US hotels moving down into category 1-4, a net loss of 9 properties. It’s a definite blow to the utility of the 1-4 certificate in North America.
There will be 9 hotels moving to category 8, a level previously confined to Small Luxury Hotels and Destination Hotels. These properties will no longer be bookable with a category 1-7 certificate and the list includes some of the most aspirational Hyatt properties in the world:
- Park Hyatt New York
- Alila Ventana Big Sur
- Alila Napa Valley
- Andaz Maui
- Park Hyatt Sydney
- Park Hyatt Kyoto
- Park Hyatt Niseko Hanazono
- Park Hyatt Milan
- Park Hyatt Paris Vendôme
It’s very disappointing to see these properties no longer bookable with certs and potentially costing up to 45,000 points a night in peak season (which given their popularity will probably be a very high proportion of the year). In the near future, Hyatt needs to rethink its cat. 1-7 certificate. It will lose quite a bit of luster if it continues to exclude more and more of Hyatt’s most aspirational properties. This also marks the beginning of Hyatt moving their own properties into category 8, something I’m sure we’ll see more of in the future.
As a reminder, here is the current award chart:
But there’s Good News too, Right?
In the US, not really. Only 13 hotels are dropping category in the US, all but one within the category 1-4 range. It’s nice to see the Hyatt Centrics in Portland and Alexandria go to category 3 and the Hyatt Place across from Universal in Orlando will be good value at a category 2. But overall, the changes in the US are broadly negative.
Internationally, there’s more choice in Category 1-4. As international travel continues to open up, this will be a welcome development. There are a whopping 20 additional 1-4 properties world-wide, compared to just three moving out. It’s a nice list, with some very desirable properties including:
- The Sukhothai Shanghai
- Hyatt Regency Hong Kong, Tsim Sha Tsui
- Grand Hyatt Macau
- Hyatt Regency Sydney
- Altstadt Vienna
- Brooks Hotel, Ireland
- Hyatt Regency Amsterdam
- Opus XVI, Norway
I’m thrilled to see the Hyatt Regency Amsterdam and Sydney back in cert territory. The Hyatt Regency Tsim Sha Tsui is a terrific property in Kowloon and a much needed option in Hong Kong.
Bali is a steal. Bali, like many destinations, has had several stops and starts as it’s moved towards re-opening. Eventually, we’ll see travel restored and when it does, there will be excellent value to be had here. The Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Regency and Alila Manggis are all moving to category 1, while the terrific Alila Ubud moves to a category 2. The cash prices for these hotels oftentimes didn’t match their previous category levels. However, combined with dynamic pricing these will be enticing options when we’re able to go back.
Book hotels that are increasing category now
Hyatt has always been good about providing notice on these category changes, as well as dealing with pre-existing award bookings. If you make a reservation by March 21, you will lock in the current pricing for hotels increasing in category. If you make a reservation for a property that decreases in price, Hyatt will refund you the difference, so you’ve got nothing to lose by making prospective reservations now.
This is a smaller change than the last two pre-pandemic Hyatt category changes. Despite the size, it’s a tough one. Many of the most aspirational category 7’s are moving to category 8, outside of the reach of certificates and potentially costing as much as 45,000 points per night. Combined with the pillaging of US category 1-4’s, this announcement feels like unhappy news overall. At least Hyatt is generous with the notice and cancellation, giving us a chance to have a last dance with these properties at their current pricing.