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My First Ever Hyatt Category 8 Redemption – Will It Be A Letdown?

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Park Hyatt Kyoto – First Hyatt Category 8 Redemption

A few years ago Hyatt introduced the dreaded category 8 to their award chart. Previously hotels topped out at category 7 which on normal nights go for 30K points per night, but category 8 takes that to an entirely new level. With the introduction of peak and off-peak nights, category 8 hotels can range from 35K-45K points per night with 40K being the standard. That is a lot of points and the reason I have avoided booking one thus far. But life moves forward, things change and I have finally made my first Hyatt category 8 redemption.

Why Category 8 Stung So Much

The main reason category 8 stung so much when introduced was the inability to use category 1-7 free night certificates at these properties. I had previously stayed quite a few times at top-tier properties like Park Hyatt New York using these certificates and had hoped they would make them inclusive of category 8 at some point, but that never happened. Additionally, Hyatt has added more and more properties to this top category meaning the only way to stay at many of their most aspirational properties is to pay cash or cough up the points.

And that is why I have avoided booking a category 8 property until now. The idea of parting with 40K points for a night was one I had to adjust to. I’m not saying these properties aren’t worth it, but I’ve always found alternatives that have worked. That is until today.

Park Hyatt Kyoto – Why I Booked It

I recently wrote about how the Hyatt Place Kyoto is the best of that brand in the world. It is only a category 3 property, meaning 3+ nights in the Hyatt Place equals the same number of points as one night in the Park Hyatt. Of course comparing the two isn’t fair so I won’t. My only point in mentioning that is when looking to stretch points, there are other options with Hyatt and indeed other programs.

So why did I finally book the Park Hyatt Kyoto? Well, I have generally liked the Park Hyatt brand although I find the experience at little uneven between properties. For example, while the Park Hyatt New York has great rooms and an excellent location, the service there hasn’t been great across my three stays. But so many people have told me the Park Hyatt Kyoto is simply stunning, so I had to give it a try.

The Problem with Aspirational Hyatts

Over the past few years Hyatt has run many promotions to swell their rank of Globalists. This is good for the brand I’m sure, but it isn’t so good for their existing elites. I won’t gripe too much about that, but it has meant that some of the more aspirational properties have been overrun with top tier elites. Add in the ease of earning Ultimate Rewards for Americans and there are way too many Globalists running around these properties.

This is evident at the Park Hyatt Kyoto as well. After struggling to turn rooms over following their opening, Hyatt allowed this property to be classified as a resort. This means Globalists don’t receive a guaranteed late checkout and the property has also done away with some perks like offering a free Japanese breakfast or in-room dining. I have noticed these types of issues at other aspirational properties as well and this is one concern going into this expensive stay.

Park Hyatt Kyoto – Value on Points

The Park Hyatt Kyoto is so popular that rates have skyrocketed at the hotel. This is true of many properties in Japan right now, but rates are often double what they were before. For example this property often was around $1K per night before Japan fully opened back up, but is going for $2K per night or more now. For the night of my stay here is the cash rate for a standard room.

Hyatt Category 8 Redemption

That is a lot of money and is indeed 10X what the Hyatt Place Kyoto costs, but thankfully I am only spending 40K points for the pleasure. It is a great “value” for my points, but honestly I wouldn’t pay the cash rate so that is the only way I would be staying at this property. It does justify the category 8 rating though and makes me feel a little less bad about making the redemption.

Will It Be A Letdown?

I am going into my Park Hyatt Kyoto stay with positive vibes and trying to keep my expectations low, but it is hard to avoid letdowns at some of these aspirational properties. I won’t receive a late checkout meaning my time spent at the hotel will be less than comparable properties. No suite is available either, so woe is me. I’m kidding of course, but paying this much and with Park Hyatt being their top brand, I do have some expectations. I am writing this before my stay to get my thoughts out, but to be honest I am expecting a great stay and really am looking forward to going to this property even with the drawbacks mentioned above. It truly looks stunning and unique, which is exactly why the hotel nerd in me couldn’t pass on this redemption.

Hyatt Category 8 Redemption – Bottom Line

With Globalist ranks swelling and the post-pandemic rush of travel hitting Japan and elsewhere, aspirational properties are being overrun with elites looking for late checkouts, suites and free breakfasts. This no doubt has an effect on the experience in the end, but sometimes staying at a $2K per night hotel for 40K points is enough all by itself. I’ll report back on how it goes, but either way I’m lucky that this hobby has opened up such amazing properties to me while I travel.

Have you been let down by one of Hyatt’s aspirational properties? Have you stayed at Park Hyatt Kyoto? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Disclosure: Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

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Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.
Shawn Coomer
Shawn Coomerhttps://milestomemories.com/
Shawn Coomer earns and burns millions of miles/points per year circling the globe with his family. An expert at accumulating travel rewards, he founded Miles to Memories to help others achieve their travel goals for pennies on the dollar. Shawn also runs a million dollar reselling business, knows Vegas better than most and loves to spend his time at the 12 Disney parks across the world.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

12 COMMENTS

  1. Park Hyatt Kyoto is one of my favorite hotels in the world. I had 2 one week stays there last year with my family in a suite. The winter stay was amazing with the snow and the beauty of the area. These stays were before Japan opened up to everyone so it wasn’t that busy which made it even better.

  2. Do you know park hyatt kyoto policy for 2 adults 2 children (8 & 13) staying in a standard room?
    Currently booked 2 nights for 2 rooms with points in August. I have also booked hyatt regency kyoto 2 rooms for the same 2 nights as a backup. Still trying to decide if I should splurge or save the points for other trips.

  3. Hyatt really has destroyed value in its program. Sometimes I find good options in random suburbs when attending events like weddings but other than that, it’s a struggle. The only reason it still has some use is because ultimate rewards are still relatively easy to come by, but if that changes, Hyatt will lose its luster. On the flip side, I am a Hyatt shareholder, and their stock has done very well lately, so I guess it’s devaluations are helping on the front.

  4. We stayed in Kyoto in a lovely hotel for $200 a night. They were welcoming, the Hotel Breakfast was might fine and we enjoyed our 3 night stay.

    Sometimes spending oodles of points is just not worth it. Almost all of the time. Think of the fun you could have with your family instead of making a TikTok video how you stayed at a $2000/nt hotel that doesn’t care… IF you’re a trust fund baby just blow the money & points…. But if you earned your points & $$$ there are much better and smarter ways to spend your money… The $1000 a night Hotel we stayed in at Venice for our 40th Wedding anniversary was not worth it… I say this as a 2 time Inc 500 member.

  5. Looking forward to your review! Heading there in July. May I ask how many nights you booked at the end for PH Kyoto?

  6. I had the pleasure to meet the lovely Jasmine in the elevator during your stay. Enjoyed reading your thoughts. I have felt the hotel has lived up to a cat. 8, enjoying it very much, a 4-night stay splurge to treat myself. Globalist perks are minimal but the level/quality of service is still outstanding in my experience.

    • Sorry I didn’t get to meet you. She said she ran into someone in the hallway! We did enjoy our stay and just recorded our Japan recap for the podcast and spoke highly of it. I agree the service was outstanding and the hard product is phenomenal.

  7. Thank you for addressing CAT 8 properties and their high point redemption. I have not visited the PH Kyoto, but from the pictures and reviews it seems spectacular.

    As for other CAT 8 “Aspirational” properties one is burning a hole in my heart. When this property moved quickly from a CAT 6 to 7 then 8… my head just started spinning and hasn’t stopped spinning yet. Of course I am writing about the well known and discussed Hyatt Centric Key West. Definitely not worthy of a CAT 8 or 7. Maybe a 6 but more like a 5. I can personally speak of this property as I have stayed around 200 times (yes, I stopped counting at around 200). For multiple years I was staying at the (then) Hyatt Regency Key West every other week every month (over 20 times a year).

    I absolutely loved this property and the entire team became like a second family. I looked forward to every other week as did the everyone at the property. I would bring pastries, chocolates, snacks etc. each and every visit. It was like a welcome party. Everyone was so extremely nice and made me feel at home.

    Well…several years went by and I decided to use a 1-7 FNA and 2 nights at 25k points (CAT 6) the end of 2021. What a mistake and a waste of my coveted 1-7 FNA and 50k points. The property had not changed, my room was dirty, water pressure and temperature was off, AC noisy, furniture worn, etc… I could go on and on but I won’t. My partner was very upset and disgusted and just wanted to leave. We grinned and bared it until it was time to leave.

    You would possibly think that since I had been such a valued extremely frequent guest they would have at least said something…like “welcome back”. Nothing. Even as a Globalist I felt like I was not “valuable” as I wasn’t paying $1k+ per night. Breakfast was good but that was about it.

    It became comical as we went into our second and third night. I even decided to mention my previous stays to a couple of managers (at different times) but again nothing. Oh well, they did offer a late check out but my partner was packed and ready to leave at 11am!!!

    I strongly believe there needs to be some accountability and checks/balances in when assigning a higher CAT, especially when it jumps from a 6 to an 8 with nothing noticeable done to the property. Yes, it’s one of the best location in Key West, but it definitely not the “only” best location. I am not the only one who was burned by this, and definitely not the last.

    Note, this one experience has not tarnished my love of Hyatt properties and WoH which is by far the best hotel program available.

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