Hyatt Peak/Off-Peak Analysis

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As promised/threatened, Hyatt’s peak and off-peak award pricing is now live for stays beginning March 1, 2022 and beyond.  That means that instead of each hotel having a fixed award price at all times, the award price varies between off-peak, standard, and peak pricing.  Here’s the updated award chart:

This chart is not viewable via email, so please click through to view this post on the web. Click here.

An easy way to see when a property is priced off-peak, standard, or peak is with Hyatt’s new award calendar tool.  This shows the standard room award price in a calendar view.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t show whether awards are actually available or not, but it’s a quick way to find award pricing.  See this post for details: Hyatt Points Calendar Is Now Live & The Experience Is Mixed.

Since this new award pricing scheme has gone live, readers have written in to complain that their favorite hotels are nearly always peak priced; to point out great values where properties are frequently off-peak priced; or to point out other patterns they’ve found.  That’s great and helpful information (keep it coming!), but I wanted to look at this objectively.  How good or bad is the new pricing really?  Specifically, I sought to answer the following questions:

  • How often are peak and off-peak prices in effect compared to standard pricing?
  • On average, are point prices higher or lower than before?
  • Has the value of Hyatt points changed?  If so, by how much?

To answer these questions, I returned to the same set of hotels that I looked at in May 2021, when I posted: What are Hyatt points worth now, and once they add peak/off-peak pricing?  For that post I looked at award pricing and cash prices for three separate dates at 21 different Hyatt properties within the United States (3 hotels in each of these locations: Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, and Seattle).  While it would be useful to look at award patterns beyond the U.S., for this analysis I decided to keep to the same set of hotels so that I could compare apples to apples.  By necessity, though, I had to choose new dates:

  • Weekday: Wednesday April 6th, 2022 (previous: Wednesday September 15th)
  • Weekend Day: Friday April 8th, 2022 (previous: Friday October 15th)
  • Holiday Weekend Day: Saturday April 16 for Easter weekend (previous: Friday July 2nd for July 4th weekend)

For each of the 21 hotels and 3 dates, I recorded both paid and cash rates.  In the few cases where a standard room award wasn’t available, I left the data blank for that hotel & date.  This only happened with two hotels on two dates each.  Both hotels happen to be in the Miami area.

How often are peak and off-peak prices in effect compared to standard pricing?

Award Price # Data Points Percent
Off-Peak 2 3.4%
Standard 45 76.3%
Peak 12 20.3%

The good news is that most of the time standard pricing is still in effect.  The bad news is that the rest of the time is dominated by peak pricing rather than off-peak.

Answer: I observed 20% peak pricing and 3% off-peak pricing

On average, are point prices higher or lower than before?

5/4/21 Analysis 10/28/21 Analysis
Mean Point Price 15,286 15,542
Median Point Price 15,000 15,000

As you can see above, the average (mean) point price in this dataset increased by a tiny amount (less than 2%) with the introduction of peak and off-peak pricing.  The median (middle value) hasn’t changed at all.

Answer: Average award prices are a tiny bit higher (2%)

Has the value of Hyatt points changed?  If so, by how much?

Between my May 4th analysis and this new one, the calculated average point value has gone up from 1.76 to 2.10 cents per point, and the median point value has risen from 1.65 to 1.9 cents per point.  That does not mean that the introduction of peak and off-peak pricing is the cause of the increased point values.  Instead, I believe this was caused by a general inflation of hotel prices.  In my May analysis, the average room rate was $261.  In the new analysis, the average room rate was $321.  That’s a 23% increase!  While hotel prices have risen a lot, Hyatt’s average award prices have only risen a only a very small amount (less than 2%, as shown above).  This has the combined effect of making points considerably more valuable.

A better option for identifying the effect of peak and off-peak awards is to calculate the value of points with the latest cash rates both with the new award pricing and with the assumption of the old standard pricing.  The latter tells us how much Hyatt points would be worth for April 2022 bookings if peak and off-peak pricing hadn’t been introduced.  Here are the results:

Observed Point Value
(Cents Per Point)
Point Value w/ Standard Award Pricing
Mean 2.1 2.2
Median 1.9 1.9
60th Percentile 2.0 2.0
70th Percentile 2.3 2.3
80th Percentile 2.6 2.7
90th Percentile 2.9 3.0
Minimum 1.2 1.2
Maximum 4.5 4.5

As you can see above, the average observed point value would have been slightly higher if peak and off-peak award pricing didn’t exist (2.1 vs. 2.2 cents per point).  Peak and off-peak pricing had no impact on the median observed value nor on the 60th or 70% percentile.  Once we get up to the 80th or 90th percentile, we see a very small disadvantage caused by peak & off-peak pricing.

Answer: On average, point values are a tiny bit lower due to peak pricing

Conclusion

As many have feared, we are seeing a lot more peak priced awards than off-peak, at least in the U.S.  That said, on average this has had only a tiny effect on award prices and an even smaller effect on the average value of our Hyatt points.  A much bigger observed trend is mostly unrelated to peak and off-peak pricing: hotel prices have soared and, since award prices have remained mostly stable, this has made Hyatt points much more valuable than before.  That’s the good news.

The bad news is that Hyatt hasn’t made any announcements yet about 2022 hotel category reassignments.  I think it’s inevitable that many of these overpriced hotels will go up by a category or two.  If so, that will bring Hyatt point values down and also devalue free night certificates since fewer hotels will qualify for category 1-4 or category 1-7 free nights.  In other words, if you were upset by the peak/off-peak devaluation, I suspect that you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.  Hold onto your hat and book your awards soon.  I predict that a real devaluation is on its way.

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