The Two Worst Hyatts For Free Nights Have Mended Their Ways
Two Hyatt hotels that developed a reputation for never allowing you to use your points for free nights were the Park Hyatt Aviara and the Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach. That’s been fixed thanks to the enterprising efforts of one woman who found they weren’t just harming program members, they may have been breaking the law.
The problem of non-compliant hotels that don’t offer award nights on points isn’t unique to Hyatt, but these two properties became famous for figuring out that:
- Hyatt requires hotels to offer standard rooms on points whenever they are offered for cash
- But they can simply not offer standard rooms for sale! Some hotels tried to offer them only as part of a package and not at regular rates. That kept Hyatt’s system from ‘seeing’ the nights available, but when I pointed out this game they played Hyatt would crack down.
- However hotels can impose minimum night stay restrictions on their standard rooms, and therefore apply those to free nights. And Hyatt doesn’t require hotels to make as many standard rooms available as Marriott does (at hotels that are not ‘all suite’), for instance.
In 2022 I wrote that Park Hyatt Aviara just did not make standard rooms available for sale or with points in advance opening up unsold inventory only close-in.
In 2019 I wrote about Hyatt Centric Waikiki creating a fake room category so that only 20 rooms on property were considered ‘standard’ and imposing a 3-night minimum stay for those such that only 9% of the time an award was available.
You simply couldn’t book awards at either of these. However Carissa Rawson found a way to make these two hotels open up space.
- At both hotels their ‘ADA compliant rooms’ were standard rooms
- In order to avoid offering those rooms as awards, they were not selling them online
- But withholding disability accommodations from your website, making guests with need for them call when other guests can book online, is… legally problematic.
She called out the practice on Award Wallet’s blog and suddenly the two hotels reformed! They went from hotels that refused stays on points to hotels that are nearly always available on points.
There are still other hotels that don’t live up to the ‘if a regular room is available for sale you can have it with points’ idea.
- Alila Ventana Big Sur doesn’t make standalone Friday or Saturday nights available on points
- Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort almost never makes standard room awards available (but will sometimes make suites available)
- Hyatt Regency Paris Étoile has gotten better, though still appears to play games at peak times, while the rest of Paris has cleaned up its act.
It is, however, huge progress to find a way to fix award availability at two of the worst offender hotels that until now Hyatt had shrugged its shoulders at. It took finding a violation of disability law to get this fixed.
And the good news is it’s not just ADA rooms being offered on points now, either. If it was, that would have been sad, pushing guests who don’t need those rooms into them (such that they might not be available for those who do). We’re now seeing non-ADA standard rooms available at both properties.