There are plenty of reasons to like both Starwood Preferred Guest and Hyatt Gold Passport. After a number of years of stellar service, I’ve turned into a Hyatt HomerTM. Couple that with a drop in service from some SPG properties and it’s not hard to see why I direct most of my business to Hyatt.
But, there’s one hidden benefit of the SPG program that I’ve enjoyed for years. And, whether it’s a conscious choice by Hyatt or a technology limitation (tech is something they’ve said is limiting them on a number of enhancements they would like to add), it can make a big difference.
Starwood Preferred Guest really broke into the big leagues when they pioneered no blackout dates and have a website. But, a great benefit that lots of people don’t know about is that they will let you book lots of different room types with points. What makes this a hidden benefit is that their website generally doesn’t display the award options available for a specific hotel. Sometimes it may only cost you another 1,000 points a night to book a better room type.
This expanded availability is generally only available by phone, which means there are plenty of folks that search the website and don’t find availability (or find standard room availability). By calling, you can get access to those extra rooms for not much more.
Conversely, Hyatt won’t even let you book certain categories of rooms with points. I ran into this situation twice in the span of a week. In one case, a property was sold out of standard rooms but had a slightly upgraded room that wasn’t eligible for points. I wasn’t sure if I could push the issue with this property by asking for an exception but ended up finding another property nearby. In another case, I was researching rooms in Paris for an upcoming trip. Two of the 5 Hyatt hotels I was considering had one room type of the two needed to have connecting rooms available for points redemptions. The other room would have set me back over 500 Euro a night, making these options significantly less desirable.
Hyatt also won’t let you book a suite with points for less than 3 nights, which can be an issue for shorter stays. You can book club rooms with points but I’ve never quite figured out the value there.
Connecting rooms are something we rank highly for family vacations. By searching for a slightly higher category of room, we’ve not only been able to get connecting rooms but also much better accommodations at places like the St. Regis in Rome and one of our favorite hotels, Hotel Danieli in Venice. One phone call and an extra 1,000 points or so a night got us connecting rooms.
It’s something to keep in mind when you’re not only booking your next award vacation but also what currency you want to save up. The more details you know about how to leverage the programs to the max, the better off you’ll be.
Every reservation or redemption doesn’t have to be an effort to extract maximum value. However, searching for and identifying these soft spots can stretch your points out much further for more free travel (or more luxurious travel, if you’re like me).
The post This Hidden Benefit Gives Starwood An Advantage Over Hyatt was published first on Pizza In Motion.
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