World of Hyatt has announced on their Covid-19 response page that the scheduled peak-award seasonality system will finally kick in next week, October 26th for stays from March 1, 2022.
The company decided in June to postpone the introduction of seasonal pricing until October of this year for stays March 2022 and beyond.
Due to the pandemic this change has been postponed several times otherwise Hyatt would have implemented this seasonal pricing a long time ago but it seems like it’s finally happening (unfortunately).
Now that we’re marching towards the end of 2021 Hyatt has already updated their website in June, reflecting that the award chart changes in respect to seasonality won’t take place until at least March 1, 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.
According to my World of Hyatt Concierge the last day to book Hyatt awards under the current system is October 25, 2021 for those stays with dates beyond March 1st 2022. Off-peak / Peak Point redemption rates will apply after that.
Off-Peak – Standard – Peak Award Chart for Standard Rooms:
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.
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.
If you have any points that would expire in January based on this system it’s probably a good idea to have some kind of account activity taking place within the next two months.
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 alive!”.
In respect to the on/off peak seasonality it can’t hurt to get a few tentative bookings in if you have the points. You can always cancel those later on.
Existing award bookings whose dates change into off-peak range are eligible for a refund on the current amount of points paid which will be processed automatically.
Free Night Certificates that are issued for certain categories of properties through credit card applications, promotions, milestone awards etc will remain valid for that particular category irrespective of season.
It’s good to see that Hyatt postponed 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.