I signed up for the Hyatt Credit Card earlier this year, and stayed in my first Hyatt ever when we visited Milan a couple of months ago, here is our trip report from that (I highly recommend checking out the store called Peck near the Park Hyatt, one of the most eclectic food and wine shops I have ever visited, and for me Italy in a nutshell.
For that trip we transferred Chase Ultimate rewards, as the Free Night Certs took a little time to register to our account. We then found ourselves with 2 free nights to spend, and a taste for the good life from Hyatt. I created this post to find out where offered the best options for redeeming them.
2014 Updates – added Andaz Wailea and Park Hyatt New York (opens soon) and since we wrote this we have stayed at the Hyatt Carmel, my original winner, and had a fabulous time.
It is worth noting that prices change not only seasonally, but also due to specific regional demand, so the prices here have limited value at times, but it does have some perspective still – you will find that the Park Hyatt Vendome is an expensive hotel, and you can see how it shapes up to competition like the Shangri-La luxury chain.
My search criteria will be as follows:
- Must be a Category 6 or 7 Hotel, valued at 25,000-30,000 Hyatt Points per night, any less and we could just transfer the points at 1:1 from Ultimate Rewards
- The cost of the hotel must be prohibitively high, making it a real ‘aspirational’ trip
- Trip Advisor Score used to identify comparable Hotel Availability and Price by location so we can get some perspective for the ‘value’ per dollar
I started out with a list of all of the top Category Hotels (Cat 6) – from the Hyatt website. It is worth noting that the Park Hyatt Sydney, which will be a Top 10 property, wasn’t listed on this page – so don’t overlook it!
For pricing, I picked a random day – August 24th for 1 night for all properties, needless to say that depending on occupancy and other events occurring at the time of reservation that price for the individual hotel could wildly fluctuate, so take the data with a pinch of salt.
Hyatt Category 6 and 7 Hotels by Price
I decided to present the data in several ways, to start with, lets look at the Hyatt Gold Passport Category 6 and 7 Properties sorted by Price, with a comparable hotel (based upon a combination of Trip Advisor score, Type, Cost, and Proximity). The limitations here are that I checked only the price on the Hyatt Website, so you might be able to find cheaper, and took the lowest price on offer from Trip Advisor’s Hotel booking partners. Expect a little discrepancy, but still a good rule of thumb.
When I started this list in 2013 the winner by pure expense was the Park Hyatt Vendome, which is often touted as the best value for your free nights, I have to say it is a beautiful looking property. If I was to pay full premium to stay in a swanky hotel I think that I might chose the comparable Shangri La Property for $675 per night, saving almost $200 per night for a place ranked that much higher on Tripadvisor.
2014 Update – the new leader is the yet to be completed Park Hyatt New York, this property listed nightly rates of over $1000 for basic rooms!
I was surprised to see a number of USA based Hyatt’s in the Premium Category, notably the Hyatt Regency Carmel at $789 per night, beating out the Hyatt Maldives – this could be a great option for people seeking to redeem domestically since some of the aspirational properties, such as the Maldives, Paris and Tokyo might be too much of a journey for many.
2014 Update – I have since stayed in the Hyatt Regency Carmel, it is a very different experience from a category 7 Park Hyatt, the rooms are aged, and somewhat dull, but the location is fantastic, and properties in the area are generally very expensive.
Hyatt Category 6 and 7 Hotels by Trip Advisor Score
Another way that you might want to consider selecting your hotel would be based upon how highly ranked that hotel is by city, and if you have enough airmiles (or cold hard cash) and time to make the trip you book based on that. It is interesting to see how these hotels were ranked on Trip Advisor, and again I see that the data may have some limitations, in that some of the places had boutique hotels that knocked the Hyatt properties out of the water, for a similar price, but that can come down to the different expectations and parameters of a person booking on points, rather than a person booking a boutique as they would be cash payers.
Note that in Cedar Lodge I had to pick a nearby town in Tahoe to find a property that I felt was suitable as a comparable.I also like this sorting because I think it shows how price inflation occurs at certain properties (the primary reason for including comparable’s in my analysis)
Also, personally I would rule out Hakone, I have stayed in the area for a weekend when living in Tokyo and I would rather repeat that trip and stay in a small Ryokan (a bed and breakfast affair) that included an out door hotspring, that you reserved by 30 minute increments so you could get naked in the snow.
The three lowest performing Hyatt’s by Trip Advisor score were in major cities of London, Paris and New York. In fairness, these cities are going to be the most competitive in terms of hotel choice, and also will often fall foul of poor service, the bigger and busier a city gets the more things can go wrong. However looking at properties like Cannes I see real disparity between price and value, as I can get a room in the Hotel Le Cavendish for about 1/3rd of the cost of the Hyatt, and the former is ranked #2 hotel in the city, versus the Hyatt’s #31.
2014 Update – the new Park Hyatt in NY may well shake that up considerably. I actually opted to compare it with The Sherry Netherland Hotel, as it seems a comprable level of luxury, though it is indeed a different ‘type’ of hotel. The Park Hyatt will be modern, boutique luxury, vs old world charm.
Hyatt Category 6 and 7 Hotels By Location
This is a good way to pick the best value based upon Location specific bookings; should you need to restrict or control the travel time, perhaps if you have limited time for vacation and are planning a shorter weekend trip.
I also would like to highlight here the MGM Relationship in Vegas, a new partnership with Hyatt. Based upon TripAdvisor scores and value they performed very poorly, and all of the MGM properties had much higher ranked alternatives for lower cash cost – another example of over-inflated pricing. I know that I would much rather stay in the Mandarin Oriental (TripAdvisor #1 for $225 per night vs the Bellagio for $239).
If you do decide to book one of the Comparable properties you should note that they are all high end hotels – mostly 5 Stars, and as such the majority are bookable using the Fine Hotels & Resorts (Amex Platinum Holders) and Virtuoso – both of these programs will offer room upgrades and bonuses such as $100 Spa or Dining Credits.
I was surprised by the Hyatt in Carmel Highlands, as I had never considered it before – I think that it may be the place we select for our reservation (please chime in if you have stayed their with your thoughts). And also, I think the non surprising options for redemption would remain: The Maldives, Paris Vendome, Tokyo and Milan. The latter two I have stayed in already and think of very highly.
Paris was high on my list purely for the cash cost, but if I am honest I am not sure that I would like to stay in Paris and don’t want to be trapped in a location just to squeeze the last dime out of the 2 Free Nights from the Chase Hyatt Card. Also, we are going to Zurich in December, and the Park Hyatt there can vary its cost up to $700+ per night, but it to me just looks like any other business like hotel in the City, so I doubt we would select it.
My winner is, the Hyatt Carmel Highlands – BUT…. and there is always a but.. I do wonder if the prices and experience within that geography are artificially bumped up, and a true comparable would be a different city/state with similar amenities and feel that wasn’t at that price point. I also think we are skewing towards it because we have already visited The Maldives, Tokyo, Milan this year, and I don’t really like the Parisians…
2014 Update – we loved our time in Carmel and Monterey, the hotel itself wasn’t memorable, though it had a nice restaurant. I am glad that we spent our free nights there as we wouldn’t have thought of going otherwise. Check out our Trip Report for ideas on what to do, including Whale Watching, Wildlife walks, and lots and lots of great food! Saverocity Trips- Monterey, California
If you liked this post, check out The Best Hilton Hotels to use your free nights from the Citi Reserve Hilton Visa
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