Early this week we reported that Hyatt has been discounting the cash portion of their Points + Cash awards at certain properties. It’s not clear if there is rhyme or reason to this, but at the time of this writing the deal is still happening at a few locations (Extreme Hotel Deals has been keeping their list up to date). Normally Hyatt’s Point + Cash prices are half the normal point cost for an award plus a fixed cash portion depending upon the hotel’s category. During this weird sale or mistake discount or whatever is going on, in some cases that cash portion is less than shown on Hyatt’s award chart. For example, category 2 hotels should charge 4,000 points + $55 for a Points + Cash stay, but the Hyatt Place Minneapolis/Eden Prairie is charging only $32 for the cash portion (at the time of this writing).
Of course, just because a hotel is charging less than usual for a Points + Cash stay does not mean that it’s a great deal. Later in this post I’ll cover that topic, but first this…
Finding Points + Cash Availability
Hyatt hotels don’t always release Points + Cash award space. Even if standard awards are available, the chance of finding Points + Cash at some properties is very low. The normal way to find this is to search Hyatt.com for a hotel during specific dates and see whether Points + Cash shows up as a tab in the rate options. Sometimes the Points + Cash option shows up with the paid options like in the image below. Other times it is necessary to click the box to “Show World of Hyatt Points & Awards” to see if the Points + Cash option is available.
If you don’t have a specific Hyatt hotel in mind, this can be a lot of work since it requires clicking into each hotel in the search results. A better option is to use Group Code 51440 in your search (Hat Tip: Will Run for Miles):
By entering that code, the search results will show the Points + Cash price if it is available (otherwise it shows the regular cash price):
By memorizing the available cash portions of the Points + Cash chart ($50, $55, $75, $100, $125, $150, $300) you can usually see at a glance which properties are available for Points + Cash. In the image above, for example, you can see that the Hyatt Regency Bloomington – Minneapolis has Points + Cash availability at $75, so it must be a category 3 hotel. Meanwhile the Hyatt Place St. Paul/Downtown must not have Points + Cash available. Instead, it shows the cash price of $153.
The current discount on Points + Cash awards makes things a little bit more difficult since the best Points + Cash options don’t match the $50, $55, $75, $100, $125, $150, or $300 pattern. Instead, look for rates that are surprisingly low. In the image above, the Hyatt Place Minneapolis/Eden Prairie shows a $33 rate. By clicking “Select” you would see that that’s a Points + Cash rate. Of course if that was their best cash-only rate, that would be even more awesome so there’s no harm in clicking it!
Beyond a single destination
If you want to search beyond a single city, you can do that too. Hyatt lets you enter entire states or even entire countries into the search box. Here are the results when I searched all of California for a given date and then sorted by price:
This trick doesn’t work if you try an entire country that has a huge number of Hyatt properties (like the US). But it does work for many countries. For example, I plugged in “India”, then changed the currency to “United States Dollar” and then sorted by price:
Since hotels in India can be quite cheap by US standards, I clicked into the hotels shown above and verified that these are indeed Cash + Points prices.
Are Points + Cash a good deal?
When Hyatt introduced their Points + Cash option, I wrote “Hyatt’s Points plus Cash: Opposite conclusions from two viewpoints.” The gist of my post was that deciding whether Points + Cash is good value is complicated. You are very likely to reach one conclusion when comparing to paying outright for your stay and an opposite conclusion when comparing to paying entirely with points. I wrote:
There’s a strange irony here that with the first analysis one would recommend using Points + Cash for category 2 through 6 hotels, but not for categories 1 and 7. Conversely, with the numbers I plugged into the second analysis, one would recommend using Points + Cash for categories 1, 2 and 7, but not for category 3 through 6 hotels! In other words, the conclusions are almost completely opposite!
However, I’ve now updated a spreadsheet to make the decision easy! Please read all about it here: Should you pay in cash, points, or points plus cash? Try the Hyatt MakeUpYourMinder (Version 2.0).
Or, go right to the spreadsheet: The Hyatt MakeUpYourMinder Spreadsheet! Version 2.0 and make your own personal copy of it so that you can muck around with it. To make your own copy, open the spreadsheet in Google Docs by clicking the link and then click File… Make a Copy. Name the resulting spreadsheet whatever you’d like. This is now your copy of the spreadsheet.
Note that if you want to model one of those deals where the cash portion of Points + Cash is cheaper than usual, just change the relevant cell in your copy of the spreadsheet. For example, if you found a category 2 hotel which is charging less than the usual $55 for the cash portion of a Points + Cash award, then change the cell highlighted below:
Make sure to revert that cell back when you are done (or just grab a new copy of the spreadsheet).