Is Hyatt Letting Hotels Play Games With Award Availability?

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No Hyatt Award Availability - Properties Playing Games

No Hyatt Award Availability: Are Hotels Playing Games?

I’ve been loyal to Hyatt for a few years now, enjoying fantastic value out of their top-tier Globalist status. For the most part, I’ve not struggled to book the awards I want. There have been a few exceptions, which I’ve taken in stride (e.g. weekend nights at the new Alila Napa Valley). The Andaz Maui has also notably played with award availability. Now it appears that there is another property showing no Hyatt award availability that might be playing games with inventory.

Striking Out at the Hyatt Centric Waikiki

I’ve been toying with the idea of planning a 3-4 night trip with a friend to Honolulu. This has been the last island on my Hawaii list, but it is the easiest for planning flights, especially for a short trip. It also has the most hotel options, and there are a few Hyatt properties.

The Hyatt Centric Waikiki seemed like the perfect choice. It is a Category 4 property where I can use my free night certificates (FNCs). I have two, so I was thinking of booking there for two nights and then another property using Marriott of IHG free nights. But I ran into an issue. There is no standard award availability.

No Hyatt Award Availability

These are weekday night in November, mind you. And suite awards abound. But this totally kills the ability to use certificates. A FNC is a way better play than 24,000 points. I also can’t even book two nights for 15,000 points each and then apply a suite upgrade award.

Concierge? A Little Help?

I have an excellent Hyatt concierge. She has helped me out many times and has gone above and beyond multiple times for me. It’s so nice to be able to fire off an email to her and wait for the magic to happen. So that’s what I did in this case.

What I wondered is whether it is possible to spend the points for a standard night in conjunction with a suite upgrade award to book a suite. While this leaves me with 2 Category 1-4 FNCs to burn, it would be the best option for us. The suites are spacious.

Sadly, their hands are tied as well. She was sympathetic, but this is the response I got after inquiring about the Hyatt Centric Waikiki:

“I’m also not showing the option to use the standard amount of points at The Centric. Majority of the entire year is unavailable using the standard amount of points.”

I’ve emphasized the important part. I can buy no availability for some particular dates, but this changes my view of the situation. The fact that there is no Hyatt award availability at this property sounds more like game playing on the Hyatt Centric’s part than an actual lack of rooms. With rates at barely over $200 per night, this also makes a little more sense.

I’m not throwing my concierge under the bus. Honestly, I’m glad she is this candid about things. It also shows me she did a little extra research.

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Does Hyatt Let Properties Play These Games?

Allowing hotels to play games with their award inventory defeats the entire purpose of loyalty programs. I get it if there are actually no rooms. But going to unreasonable lengths to restrict award stays at your property by playing with room classifications is a bit shady.

I mentioned the Andaz Maui as another culprit (the ol’ 7-night-minimum-stay trick). It’s not surprising that Hawaii hotels are among the more popular for award redemption, so it also makes sense that properties seeing a lot of award bookings are going to try to “push back” in some way. I’ve also read about this being an issue at some of the all-inclusive brands and some of the nicest properties around the globe.

But it’s still sad. I hope that Hyatt tries to actually do something about these properties. They seem better than some other chains (looking at you, IHG), but it’s still annoying.

We have also heard of a lot of grumblings from people in our Facebook group that they have been having issues finding Hyatt availability. Even at hotels that don’t seem like they should be that highly sought after.  Or for dates that wouldn’t normally be popular, so this isn’t an isolated incident.

Final Thoughts on No Hyatt Award Availability

I know I’ll work something out for this trip. There are a bunch of options. It is just a bummer to have what I consider the best one unavailable. The upside is that I’ll probably end up using the Marriott free nights I need to burn anyway.

Anyone else ever had trouble with a property showing no Hyatt award availability? 

Ian Snyder
After igniting his passion for award travel while planning his honeymoon, Ian now enjoys using points and miles to see the world with his wife and three internationally adopted kiddos. He loves dissecting loyalty programs to find maximum value. His goal is to demonstrate that extraordinary travel is possible for the ordinary family.

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43 COMMENTS

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43 COMMENTS

  1. Just wait until Hyatt implements “peak” and “off-peak” award pricing, making those unattainable award nights even more expensive (in theory).

    • Will that change the ability to use a Cat 4 certificate? I didn’t think there would be an effect like how Marriott certs work.

  2. I’m having a very similar problem with the same hotel. In my case, though, I snagged 5 nights with points a few months ago but now, I have a gajillion free night certs. Trying to switch and use some of them to save the points for other purposes (Park Hyatt ZRH) but alas, there’s only premium suite award availability. Concierge can’t switch the forms of payment. I guarantee, too, that the Centric does other annoying things like tries to charge parking as a Globalist and/or resort fees, etc. The worst…

    • Yikes. If I do manage to end up there, I’ll be sure to check for the resort fee issue. Bummer they cannot change your awards now that they are booked.

  3. Same issue my wife and I have come across with every Hyatt property in Maui the end of February/beginning of March. All properties have standard rooms available, but when it comes to redeeming points you’re SOL. I am a Globalist and was thinking of calling our concierge, but it seems like that won’t help at all. Anyone else experiencing the same situation?

    • The Andaz Maui and other properties have long had issues. It’s frustrating. Do you have a concierge? Maybe ask them to check.

  4. Yep this is frustrating issues with Hyatt. I recently tried to book my FNC at Hotel de Anza in San Jose CA on a Sunday night – no standard award availability. Seemed odd to me given the timing for a Sunday in August. I messaged HC on Twitter but same issue here – hotel claimed they had no standard room available for points/FNC redemption. Plenty of standard rooms via cash rate available too….

    • I thought that would be a decent hotel, but I was actually a bit disappointed when I used a certificate there at the beginning of 2020.

  5. Hyatt is becoming so customer unfriendly lately. Their motto should be we hate our guests and don’t care about your loyalty.

    • I disagree, at least as a Globalist. I’ve been treated extremely well across the board, by both hotels and by corporate through my concierge.

      This issue of award availability at specific properties is a frustrating one, though.

  6. I’ve stayed at both the Hyatt Centric and Hyatt Place in Waikiki. If I couldn’t find any availability at Hyatt Centric, I’d just stay at the Hyatt Place instead.

  7. Yes, Hyatt is notorious for playing games with award availability. Looks like The only way to stay at the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort on points is during the week, forget Friday , Saturday or Sunday – all year round. Ugh. Ha

    • This is my general experience looking for awards at the Alila Napa and Alila Ventana Big Sur as well. But…for these sorts of properties, I am a bit more forgiving. They are far more boutique and luxury. However, they should not be able to make it nearly impossible to book an award.

      I have found Sunday night awards in Napa. So far nothing on Friday or Saturday there at all.

  8. Story Hotel Studio, Malmo, Sweden. Part of the JdV Group of Hyatt. Category 1. 5,000 points per night. Not one single or multiple night reservation on any dates in any month available through the end of the Hyatt calendar. Cash rates next Spring are in excess of $250 per night. I messaged Hyatt and the rep was able to make a points reservation for me, but you won’t see any available on the app. Take a look!

    • Wow! Glad you were able to snag a reservation. That sounds like a property that should jump 2 categories. It seems crazy to me that there would be a Category 1 Hyatt in Sweden at all.

      But…there are some excellent Choice Hotels redemption options there, IIRC.

  9. i sort of agree with the hotels playing their games.

    1- they get very little from Hyatt when a room is an award stay, I wouldnt want to give a room away for say $50 if I believe I can sell it for $200. Then add on not getting the resort fee and free parking , having to give an upgrade and free breakfast, could be after housekeeping a hotel may if lucky break even
    2- knowing myself Im sure most folks using a cert or pts would never stay there on a rev rate

    3- following #2 Im sure if a person is an often repeat rev guest that the hotel might workout their being able to use their ceret/pts, but that probably leaves the vast vast majority of us out in the cold, I know that at hotels where I was a very frequent rev guest that if I let the Room Mgr know Im coming that I was upgraded then and there unless it was say a Holiday Weekend or some special event happening when he emailed back that if I could come the week before or after he can take care of e, otherwise I shouldnt count on the UP

    4- on top of everything most people want to go to these so called hotels/locations during their peak season, I think Hawaii is peak 365 days a year. You wont find many folks looking to vacation in PHX this time of year, but comes the winter everyone and their aunt wants to go and since rates are high then they want to use their certs/pts. The hotel will say come in the summer and you will get a nice upgrade as well, the hotel will be told Im not crazy to go to PHX when its 110 outside

    5- plenty of us have our own games we play to max things for ourselves , why cant a Hotel do likewise as long as they are within The T&Cs of their contract. They dont like the games we play but its with our T&Cs , so why cant they do likewise

    • You sort of agree with Hyatt properties that piss off loyal guests? The whole idea of a loyalty program with status and points is that if you stay with a particular brand, spend money on their credit cards and participate in their partner programs, you will be rewarded with a nice vacation at a desirable location on an award reservation. You might play games, as you say, but these slimy practices by certain hotels apply to hard working travelers and families just the same as you, nimrod.

    • I see your points. If hotels are truly sold out during peak season, I’m not going to complain. There is a lot of competition for the rooms. But this sort of game-playing is way more off base. It’s the fact that my concierge looked over the calendar for much of the year and came up dry that frustrates me.

      Loyalty certainly goes both ways. I may “play games” with Hyatt by trying to get as much value out of the program as I can. But this includes spending tens of $1,000s on their co-branded card each year.

  10. I am wondering if Hyatt Centric Waikiki and Andaz Maui share the same hotel owner. The current manager at Hyatt Centric used to work as the general manager at Andaz Maui. Both hotels play the same game with awards. They created a new room type for award nights and only allocate very limited amount of rooms into that category. And many times, they makes 10 nights as minimum stay for award nights. When Hyatt introduced Pay Your Way feature, basically it took away their 10 nights minimum using points trick. They forced Hyatt to take that feature away for their hotels. This is a horrible horrible practice and Hyatt should stop them.

    • Crazy that they were able to force corporate to disallow Pay My Way. It’s unfortunate Hyatt rules allow them to maintain this practice.

    • If I’m not mistaken, the Hyatt Centric Waikiki was purchased as a Hyatt property by Hyatt Corporate at the time they switched from Cat 5 down to Cat 4. I got this info from an employee after the purchase.

      I also think that the Andaz Maui is a Hyatt Corporate-owned property. I might be wrong but I’ve seen it mentioned on travel sites when award availability was non-existent.

  11. shame on hyatt. they are racing marriot to reach bottom of the barrel soon. They need to fire the new people they hired recently who are allowing these shenninigans to go on.

    • This is an unfortunate issue, but I’ve still been pleased with Hyatt overall, even recently. IHG’s program is the one that has been racing Marriott to the bottom.

  12. Concur with others about the Hyatt Place down the street. Cheaper on points and better availability. Also, no status required, because breakfast is free for everyone!

  13. The Hyatt Centric is notorious for this. I’ve been looking for availability to burn my free night certificates since early June with no luck. I even tried bookings of 5 plus more nights with no luck. I’m disappointed because it would have been nice to use my Globalist status to get free parking and breakfast.

    I ultimately burned 160k Marriott Bonvoy points + a 50K certificate to stay six nights (1.1 cpp) next door at The Laylow, Autograph Collection Honolulu/Waikiki. I’ll be using my $300 statement credit + the $50 back when you spend $250 Amex offer to cover my $240 in destination fees and $80 in parking.

    • I’m looking at booking two cert nights at the HP now, and using two 50k Marriott certs at that exact hotel. The destination fee is the part that is annoying, plus I don’t have higher than Gold status with Marriott.

  14. Hyatt hotels play the game all the time. I was looking at the Grand Hyatt Washington DC next April. It would sell me a Grand Suite… and would even let me redeem points and cash, but it wouldn’t let me redeem only points for the Grand Suite. My concierge couldn’t help at all. Hyatt’s policies around this are very poor.

    • It *seems* like things are getting better, at least with what you can book online. There are lots more options for booking suites, for example. But they aren’t cheap. I don’t understand the game where one option (e.g. points and cash) is available while others aren’t.

  15. I had issues at the Maui Andaz. Ended up staying and found it way overrated.
    Also had the same issues as you at the Waikiki Hyatt Centric when son needed to stay in the area. I was not Globalist then so I did not contact my concierge. I gave up and he ended up staying at the nearby Hyatt Place which he liked. Afterwards, I found out that HC is notorious for this crap. We all know abt the Maui Andaz…

    • Yup. That’s the other hotel I’ve heard is notorious for this. I think I’ll go Hyatt Place where expectations and value will still be solid.

  16. Not missing much with the Hyatt Centric Waikiki. I used my FNCs there in Aug 2019 and generally disliked the hotel. Pool (if you can call it that) is terrible. Beach is a long walk. Nice rooms and good location for shopping/dining. Fine for a hotel but not a resort. Strongly prefer the Hyatt Place over the Centric for FNCs in HNL and easier for redemptions.

  17. You wrote an entire article about a hotel playing games with availability and never tried to see if a standard room was available to book with cash for the same period? Should that not be the first thing to do before accusing them?

    • I think the point is there is no way a “standard” room shouldn’t be available for the entire calendar. It means they have reclassified standard rooms.

      • While Jay makes a fair point, Mark’s point is overriding. That is, a given hotel cannot possibly have NO award availability for an entire year. Statistically, it is too remote of a possibility.

        A different hotel loyalty program used to have a “No Blackout Dates” benefit. It is no longer listed as a benefit on the program overview. It continues to be listed in the terms and conditions BUT . . . the language doesn’t really discuss “No Blackout Dates.” Instead, it states that individual property owners have the discretion to set how much award inventory they choose to offer. Implicit in this statement is that if the award inventory is consumed, the next guy is out of luck. Also, the terms and conditions do not put limitations on the property owners — as such, a property owner might set only 1 room per calendar day. This effectively shuts down any reasonable expectation of an award redemption.

        I came across another situation with a hotel loyalty program that has a high-standard-low season points redemption system. I asked the Executive VP of the program how standard room award points were set during the calendar year. In short, he said that over the course of a year, the average points per day should be the number of points for a given property category in standard season — an algorithm used prevailing market prices to either bump it up to high season or bump it down to low season — but, again, it should average out over the course of the year.

        I’ll tell you that for certain properties, if you add up the points for a one-day stay for the next year and divide by 365, it averages out to more than that category’s standard season points per day number.

        At the end of the day, the hotel loyalty programs have eliminated benefits, devalued benefits, or made benefits elusive. I have stated in other post comments that tier status and tier benefits have become meaningless and that it’s just a points game now. With this article, not even being able to redeem points, why have a program?

        To Gary Leff’s point, the program terms and conditions 1) allow them to do this and 2) allow them to change the terms and conditions themselves whenever they want. They know exactly what they’re doing. Don’t expect them to change. NOW THAT YOU KNOW, YOU HAVE A CHOICE: 1) be a masochist and stay or 2) devise a different hotel strategy. I choice the latter. The unknowing masses will simply continue along — leaving their income statements unaffected.

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