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One of the hotels I visit most frequently is the Hyatt Place hotel near London’s Heathrow Airport. There’s nothing at all special about this hotel except:
- It is the only Hyatt-branded hotel near Heathrow airport – somewhere I often stay due to overnight layovers and cheap elite night credits
- It is an Award Category 1 hotel usually costing 5,000 points per night
However I noticed recently that it is now nearly impossible to book an award stay using points.
Digging into the possible reasons for this, I noticed that the hotel has reclassified its rooms, so that very few, if any, can be considered as “standard” rooms. (needed for spending points)
The cheapest room you are likely to find is now called “High Floor”.
By paying a bit more, you can stay in a room with an “Airport View”.
For a few more pounds, you can stay in a “Runway View” room.
And as a final splurge, you can stay in a “Deluxe room” on the top floor with views of the airport.
Why This is Basically a Scam
By process of elimination, there are few, if any, “standard” rooms left in this five-storey hotel.
- High Floor rooms cover the 3rd – 5th floor, facing away from the airport
- Airport view covers the 2nd and 3rd floors, facing towards the airport
- Runway view covers the 3rd and 4th floors, facing towards the airport
- Deluxe room covers the 5th floor rooms facing towards the airport
By process of elimination, 2nd floor rooms facing away from the airport could conceivably be considered as a “standard” room, not that I could find any dates with availability.
And for the avoidance of any doubt, there is absolutely no difference in the room layout for all but the “deluxe” rooms. And it’s a bit of a joke to call the 3rd floor of a 5-storey hotel a “high floor”, or to even consider it as a benefit.
Why Hotels do This
I understand why some hotels play these games in order to avoid guests redeeming points. The franchisee is reimbursed a relatively small amount by World of Hyatt for award stays, unless the hotel is very full. The hotel would rather that all guests paid cash.
However, this annoys loyal Hyatt members! Moreover, the hotel should recognize that “being a Hyatt Place” brings in revenue that it wouldn’t otherwise receive. This might be loyal World of Hyatt members and/or infrequent guests who “have heard that Hyatts are good”. These award inventory games, therefore, are short-sighted at best. And part of the requirement of being a Hyatt-branded hotel is to offer reasonable opportunities for members to redeem their points.
All we can do is call out scams such as this one, and hope that Hyatt acts to bring its franchisees into line. But for now, you cannot really redeem your Hyatt points at Heathrow’s Award Category 1 Hyatt Place…