I checked out of the Andaz 5th Avenue today, and in the end had a great stay (it’s hard not to when you have a two bedroom suite with amazing views of New York City). I had used 22,000 points per night for the stay, which probably wasn’t the best “cent per point” ratio compared to the standard rate of $295.
That being said, there’s something that makes hotel awards a bit different than airline awards, and this is also the reason you should never feel any less “entitled” (I use that work loosely) on an award stay than a revenue stay. The reason I say this is because after dozens of award stays at various Hyatt properties, I’ve been able to figure out that award stays can actually be very profitable for the hotels, assuming occupancy is high. The reason I’ve figured it out is because often times I’ve been given a receipt at check out which is billed to Gold Passport, Hyatt’s loyalty program, instead of me.
Today the “bill” for Gold Passport was $597 for my two night stay. That’s right, for those 44,000 points I redeemed, Gold Passport had to pay $597 in “cash” to the Andaz. That’s basically as high at the guaranteed availability rate for Diamonds, which is why hotels should treat award customers just as well as they treat “revenue” customers.
The amount the hotel is paid seems to be based on the hotel’s occupancy. The Andaz was sold out this weekend, which is why the rate was so high for Gold Passport. Along the same lines I’ve had award stays at hotels that weren’t anywhere close to full, where the receipt indicated that Gold Passport was billed somewhere around $50 per night, probably right around the breakeven point for the hotel.
The lesson here is simple: when you redeem points for a hotel stay, you’re NOT on a “free” stay. Don’t let them make you feel that way, because they’re potentially getting paid just as much for your award stay as they would if you were paying the daily rate.
Just an observation that I think a lot of people don’t realize…