Aligning themselves a bit with Starwood (in a positive way), Hyatt Gold Passport has added the option of earning and redeeming Gold Passport points for spas and restaurants at Hyatt hotels.
On the earning side, this means you can now earn Gold Passport points for dining at a restaurant or visiting the spa at a Hyatt hotel, even if you’re not actually staying there. You just have to present a photo ID and give them your Gold Passport number to take advantage of that. In most instances I’m guessing that’s not all that valuable, since hotel restaurants and spas are typically overpriced. But for the hotels that have great restaurants, like the Blue Duck Tavern in Washington that Gary mentions, this is a great addition.
On the redemption side, instead of offering a points “menu” where the prices are based on the specific services, Hyatt has a fixed redemption table, where you can redeem Gold Passport points for dining and spa credit, as follows:
That ranges in value from 0.5 to 0.83 cents per point, so they’re all awful redemption values. Keep in mind that an award night at Hyatt’s top category hotels (Park Hyatt Maldives, Park Hyatt Sydney, Park Hyatt Paris, etc.) costs 22,000 points per night, so if you were redeeming at that value on the chart above you’d be valuing a free night at one of those hotels at around $180, which is way low.
Still, I give Hyatt credit for introducing a program like this. Bad value or not, options are never a bad thing. I’m sure there are road warriors that spend 330 days a year on the road, and the last thing they want is to vacation at another hotel. So being able to get a “free” massage or dinner at a nice restaurant might not sound all that bad to them. Besides, the more points people redeem for this, the less competition for award rooms and suites!