Hyatt has just updated the World of Hyatt Covid-19 response page with their decision to postpone peak-award seasonality that was scheduled to be introduced on March 22, 2020.
The company decided to postpone the introduction of seasonal pricing until March 2022 stays but didn’t mention large scale award category changes specifically aside from a few properties that were previously announced.
Here is what Hyatt wrote in March 2020 (see our article from last year here):
Postponing Award Chart Changes:
We are postponing the introduction of Off-peak and Peak point redemption (originally planned for March 22, 2020) until 2021. This means that free-night redemptions will continue to be at standard rates for the rest of this year. Before we launch Off-peak and Peak point redemptions for stay dates in 2021 and beyond, we’ll provide advance notice as we always do.
Now that we’re in the middle of 2021 Hyatt has updated their website today, reflecting that the award chart changes in respect to seasonality won’t take place until at least March 2022 (stay dates, pricing displayed from October 2021 forward):
Postponing award chart changes
Introduction of Off-peak / Peak Point Redemption, UPDATED June 15, 2021: We are further postponing the introduction of Off-peak and Peak point redemption (originally planned for March 2020) until mid-October 2021. Starting mid-October, members will start to see Off-peak and Peak pricing for stays in March 2022 and beyond.
So seasonality will apparently still apply and be displayed from October of this year. Even without award chart changes this is a massive devaluation in my eyes.
Hyatt has also modified their wording in respect to points/accounts “expiring” due to the account becoming inactive:
More time to use points
UPDATED June 15, 2021: We are further suspending the forfeiture of points through December 31, 2021. As a result of our extensions, this means that any member without qualifying activity for 24 or more months as of December 31, 2021 will forfeit their points in January 2022. As a reminder, our general policy is that points do not expire, but they will be forfeited if a member’s account is inactive for 24 months.
As written here Hyatt points don’t expire per se but it’s the members duty to keep the account active with at least one transaction per two years. That’s a very fair policy in my opinion. It’s absolutely possible to buy a few points or make a F&B purchase at a Hyatt near you and provide your loyalty number in order to collect a few points. In the eyes of a loyalty program it’s also not unreasonable to expect a member to put in that little effort to signal that “Hey, I’m still here!”.
It’s good to see that Hyatt will postpone the introduction of on/off-season awards until March of 2022 but as I mentioned I don’t think this is a great move in the first place. It’s a massive devaluation because it’s up to the properties when to classify their hotel as being in “Peak Season” and there is no outside control about that. Theoretically nothing is stopping a hotel to designate the entire year as being peak season.
You can expect certain hotels such Hyatt properties in Japan during Sakura to skyrocket in price. This makes pricing very unpredictable and takes away the allure of collecting points in the first place.
Dynamic pricing has become pretty common in today’s loyalty world and that takes a big part of the value away from members, it’s in some cases even worse than a simple award chart change.