One of my favorite hotel loyalty programs is Hyatt Gold Passport, and they did fairly when when I updated my comparison table for 2015 on Monday. (HT to hailstorm on FlyerTalk.) One area in which they did less well was my analysis of return on investment — excluding benefits, I generally have to spend more with Hyatt in order to earn a free night than I do with other programs.
Now they’ve improved the math for a limited time and increased the value of one of the best travel credit cards. Existing customers of the Hyatt Credit Card can register online and get a 20% rebate on all points redeemed through July 31, 2015.
I didn’t fret when Hyatt devalued its award chart last year because I didn’t have any interest in the most expensive Category 7 properties, but those are now just 24,000 points instead of 30,000 points per night. Many of my favorites are Category 6 hotels, which will cost only 20,000 points after rebate instead of 25,000. This is equivalent to getting your fifth night free — a perk offered by some other hotel loyalty programs, but not Gold Passport.
The benefit is actually greater than that. You can use it for a variety of awards, including Points + Cash awards. I think these are a great deal because I earn elite stay credit toward renewing my Diamond status and can also apply a Diamond suite upgrade. Even those without status gain from Points + Cash awards because you are effectively using the cash to purchase the missing points at a discount. This is generally not a good deal for Category 1 and 7 properties.
Because the 20% rebate applies only to the points and not the cash portion, the promotion may actually make Points + Cash awards look worse, even for Categories 2-6. As a reader pointed out in the comments, it means that you are paying more to “buy” the points you save. But these awards still have their value since they allow you to stretch what points you have, and the rebate won’t be provided until after you redeem them.
Visit the Hyatt website to read the complete terms and conditions. Although it includes language warning that it’s targeted to certain members, it seems that anyone who has the Hyatt Credit Card has been able to register successfully — and my experience is that Hyatt is usually good at preventing you from registering if you’re not eligible. If you don’t already carry a Hyatt Credit Card, you’ll miss out on this promotion but I strongly recommend you look into getting it. For $75 a year, the best benefit is a free night at a Category 1-4 hotel, which I can usually redeem for what would otherwise be a $200+ room rate.
Here’s an excerpt of the most relevant T&Cs:
Only points redeemed between 2/17/2015 and 7/31/2015 will be eligible for this promotion. If a redemption is connected to a stay, the entire stay must be completed by 7/31/2015. You will receive 20% back on the Hyatt Gold Passport points you redeem for award stays, points + cash, suite upgrades and dining and spa activities.