Shenanigans: Hyatt Is Blocking Award Nights At The Olive 8 In Seattle

One of the key benefits of the Chase Hyatt Visa is the free anniversary night credited to your account every year at a Category 1 through 4 Hyatt property.

While the most aspirational Hyatt properties are often at least a Category 5 and typically Categories 6 or 7, there are still some great gems in the Category 1 through 4 lineup, such as the Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort in Costa Rica, the Park Hyatt in Saigon and the Park Hyatt in Siem Reap, and both of the main Hyatt properties in Seattle, the Hyatt at Olive 8 and the Grand Hyatt Seattle.

My husband and I each have the Hyatt Visa and find it’s a great way to get a solid two-night getaway a year when we combine our anniversary nights. This summer, we’re planning on heading up to Seattle, so I hopped on to the Hyatt website to see if I could book our anniversary night online.

I found it a bit curious that every single weekend night this summer I searched for availability at the Hyatt at Olive 8 returned error messages.

The Hyatt at Olive 8
The Hyatt at Olive 8

First weekend of August…

Hyatt Olive 8 Sat night

…a weekend in July…

hyatt olive 8 sat night july

…and every weekend I tried in June.

Hyatt Olive 8 Sat Night June

Wow! It must be pretty popular on the weekends. So what about during the week?

I tried a Wednesday in June.

Hyatt Wed in JuneI tried a Monday in July.

Hyatt Mon in JulyI tried a Sunday night in August.

Hyatt Sun in Aug

So when is the first room available using a Hyatt award at the Olive 8?

It’s not Monday, August 31, that’s for sure:

Hyatt Aug 31

If you guessed September 1, 2015, you’re on the money.

Hyatt Sep 1The Hyatt Olive 8 is wide open in September, in fact, even on the weekends.

Hyatt Sep weekend

Now, to be clear, these shenanigans aren’t just limited to anniversary nights on the Hyatt Chase Visa.

The Hyatt at Olive 8 seems to be blocked for all award bookings through the summer using Gold Passport points, too.

For instance, here’s the error message you’d get if you were to try and book a random Tuesday in July using your Gold Passport points.

Hyatt GP

What gives, Hyatt?

To make sure this wasn’t a computer system error, I called Gold Passport and they confirmed that rooms at the Hyatt at Olive 8 were unavailable for award redemption all summer long.

Let’s be clear: when the Park Hyatt New York tried to pull these shenanigans, they could at least claim they were sold out of their (scant amount of) award-level rooms.

The Hyatt at Olive 8 has deluxe rooms you can pay for. Just not deluxe rooms you can use your awards or redeem Gold Passport points for.

The Deluxe Rooms Are NOT Sold Out

You’ll notice that in each of the error messages above, Hyatt has generously offered a “GUAR AVAILABLE” rate available only to elite Gold Passport members which essentially forces a basic deluxe room category into availability when none are bookable. As you can see, these are “generously” being offered at $400 and up a night.

What this is supposed to mean is: “We are so sorry that our hotel is really fully committed in this room category, but because you’re an elite member of Gold Passport we will move heaven and earth to get you a room.”

Except this isn’t the case at all.

Let’s make a dummy booking for the weekend of July 31st through August 2nd.

HYATT RATE CAPTURE 1

“You see,” the folks at Gold Passport will tell you, “there are no Deluxe Rooms for sale at the Hyatt Daily Rate. Therefore we simply can’t offer you an award night.”

That seems strange, but you know what seems stranger? Look at the tab for “Parking Package,” starting at $374 a night — $10 cheaper than the so-called “Daily Rate.”

HYATT RATE 2

Oh, look! A deluxe room! At $374 a night, which, incidentally, includes parking!

How about the “Bed and Breakfast” package?

HYATT RATE 3

Why, there’s another Deluxe King Room, hiding in plain sight!

Don’t be fooled. This is some shady, shady behavior.

Hyatt has plenty of Deluxe King rooms available at the Hyatt at Olive 8 this summer, but they’re only selling the rooms as part of specialty packages. Specialty packages which are actually cheaper than the daily rate. Specialty packages which, coincidentally, are not bookable using Gold Passport redemptions or Chase Hyatt Visa award nights.

Hyatt Gold Passport legalese
Hyatt Gold Passport legalese

There’s no other explanation for this other than an outright manipulation of the Gold Passport program to screw over loyalty members and Chase Hyatt Visa cardholders in hopes of getting more paying-out-of-pocket customers during the summer tourist season.

While Ben’s noted — in the past — that the Hyatt Gold Passport program is a step above the other hotel loyalty programs in terms of respect for its customers, that’s clearly not the case anymore.

Gold Passport appears to be taking cues from FIFA as far as ethical standards are concerned.

These Shenanigans Are Devaluing Your Gold Passport Points

There’s no way around it: whatever is going on at the Hyatt at Olive 8 is a straight-up devaluation of your Hyatt Chase Visa and of the Gold Passport program generally.

What the Hyatt at Olive 8 is basically saying is: “sorry, if you want to stay with us this summer, you have to pay for it out of your own pocket. But come back September 1st and we’ll roll out the welcome mat for you.”

It used to be the anniversary night was a phenomenal benefit of the Hyatt Chase Visa. Then some hotels starting moving up categories. The Andaz West Hollywood is now a Category 5, and no longer attainable as an anniversary night hotel.

If you want to use a Chase anniversary night to stay in New York, you may as well just stay at the New York-New York Hotel and Casino (a Category 4): there are no properties in Manhattan lower than Category 5 – not even a Hyatt Place.

Now, evidently, on the Category 1 through 4 properties that do remain, you better not want to redeem any free nights at a nice hotel. In a popular city. In the summer.

I call bull$#it on this, quite frankly. Hyatt has a lot of explaining to do, as there is simply no denying that the Hyatt at Olive 8 has been purposely “blocked” for the entirety of the summer.

Has anyone seen these kind of shenanigans at other Hyatt properties?

Comments

  1. Wow that SUCKS. I hope this doesn’t repeat next year since I’m thinking about a trip to Seattle in summer ’16 using that award night

  2. Nick – this post seems like “venting out frustration” than anything else – due to the number of times you have repeated the same thing.

    Also – it sends mixed signals to the readers when Ben only says good things about the Hyatt GP program and you come in and call it all a fallacy because of one instance / incident. Don’t just erase all the good name that Ben has worked hard to give to the Hyatt GP program.

    While your point of view is appreciated, it will also help to know if you could do anything to fix this shenanigan rather than just put out a cry-baby post.

    Just my 2c – hope you take it sportingly!

  3. to sum up this post… the annual night certificate is useless, not worth the $75 card annual fee.
    😉

  4. @ Nick — Another interesting fact. Out of curiosity, I found a date (Aug. 14-15) that has Deluxe Two Queens availability via AAA and HDR rates but nothing on points. I called Hyatt Diamond Line to see what’s going. They said that sometimes hotels consider rooms with two beds an upgrade and don’t make them available on points. Sure enough, after she called the hotel that’s what they claimed. Checking some random non-summer dates shows that, at least, that’s true — only King is available on points.

    Now, that still doesn’t address the issue that you unearthed that O8 is bundling base-level rooms into packages… That I’d try to escalate with Hyatt customer support or corporate. I’m not sure what dates you are looking at but Lucky is also a Diamond so perhaps you can call the Diamond line together 🙂

  5. these shenanigans are as old as time. This isn’t the first property to do this. Hyatt Jersey City is Cat 4 by the way. I know I know…

  6. Andaz Maui does the samething. They renamed a bunch of regular rooms to “mountain view” so that they are no longer available for awards. THere is no difference in these rooms. Not a single award room on points availble Jan 2016 – April 1 2016. Bastards.

  7. So being from Seattle (and not a Gold Passport member), I can enlighten you as to why the Grand Hyatt and the Olive 8 can and should do this. First both properties are just managed by Hyatt so the owners have opted out of these promotions through Gold Passport. Second it’s cruise season here right now. The Port of Seattle will see over 200 cruise sailings this season. The vast majority of which will occur between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The demand that puts on hotels is high, and most will be sold out or nearly sold out all summer long. So the cost to the owner of the Hyatt properties for participating in these promotions during the summer is high.

    In the winter I’ve seen both of the properties below $200/night and plenty of award space available. So come back then, besides then you’ll get a real feel for the city without all the tourists.

    Michael

  8. I had a similar issue with GP award availability this spring in Europe. I had a free night good at any Hyatt hotel from the 75 unique property promotion. I wanted to maximize this at the PH Vendome, or maybe Andaz Amsterdam or London. None of which had any GP space ocer multiple dates.

    We decided on the PH Zurich which was great, but they are definitely getting creative with their room classifications in order to limit GP redemptions. Presumably this is across all levels.

  9. Warm Greetings,
    I feel your frustration having been in your shoes before in other similar situations
    Seems Hyatt and its hotels retain the right right in unusually high demand and peak times to limit award space even when standard rooms may be available
    Something seems odd about the supply situation and the extent of time in your situation
    and I for one would be interested as to what’s really causing the issue here
    In my decades of experience with Hyatt they usually are the fairest of the majors in releasing space

    The first thing I would share with you is that deluxe rooms are not typically part of the standard room award allotment unless that’s all this property features as its standard room which may or may not be the case
    Sometimes for instance a group or company books all the standard rooms and then closer to arrival space opens up.
    I ran into a similar situation before and my suggestion would be to call the hotel and speak with the Rooms Executive or Hotel Front Office manager who can shed some further light on the topic
    Calling Gold Passport won’t likely get you the information you need to come to make the right assessment of the situation before any of us condemn a typically well run program.

    Thank You for bringing the situation to our attention and I look forward to hearing any new news you may discover. Good luck in your outcome with your booking
    Best Regards
    777 Global Mile Hound
    Hyatt Gold Passport Ambassador @ Flyertalk.com

  10. Apu – try to be civil. calling it a cry-baby post is not the most constructive feedback.

    As an investigative reporting piece, I’d love to hear from the manager of the Olive 8. Just give em a call!

  11. @ Michael — AFAIK, making rooms available for points is not a GP promotion. All hotels have to do that if there are base-level rooms available.

  12. @ 777 global mile hound — at Olive 8, “deluxe” rooms are base-level rooms and are available for 15,000 points each. Well, at least Deluxe King per my first comment.

  13. @Apu: Ben was the one who suggested I post about this in the first place! I believe his words were, “SHADY AS F&@K.”

  14. I had been trying to book the Hyatt Regency Baltimore with Chase certificates for a weekend in June not long after the riots. At first, there was nothing available. I called the hotel directly and was told “We’re about as empty as we could possibly be in June because of the rioting.” Eventually I was able to talk my way into getting one room available for two consecutive nights. I also had never had that problem before with Hyatt.

  15. @Michael: the room rates at the Grand Hyatt Seattle are actually higher, but the Grand Hyatt is bookable using GP points and room certificates.

  16. Now, I don’t think that this behavior is on the up-and-up by any means, but this is one hotel…in one city.

    To proclaim that they have devalued an entire program is a bit of a stretch. Also, from your examples, do the daily rates at the Andaz West Hollywood and the entire portfolio in NYC proper not warrant them being Category 5s? If so, then something more malicious could be afoot at Hyatt Gold Passport HQ. If not, then nothing to see here except high occupancy leading to high rates (which I believe is an ongoing refrain from this and other blogs).

  17. @Nick (the one at 2:50, not me :-)): The point of this is that the shenanigans have nothing to do with actual high demand or capacity. They’ve simply blocked off Deluxe Rooms from redemptions for the entirety of the summer regardless of capacity or demand.

    I have no idea if this extends beyond the Olive 8, which is why I asked the readers if they’ve seen this elsewhere. I actually do think even one bad apple sheds light on how a supposedly customer-friendly program like Hyatt Gold Passport can bend the rules at its convenience to dick over its loyalty members, quite frankly.

  18. I would be careful to assign blame either to the property or to HGP — I suspect this kind of stuff is within the property’s control, not HGP’s, and as we’ve seen increasingly commonly (like with the mile-long list of properties opting out of Starwood and Hilton promos), properties realize they have a lot of power in these relationships and don’t necessarily have to give everything away because the loyalty program says so.

    It’s not ideal, but every program has jerk properties like this. For example, the Westin Berlin virtually never has “standard” rooms available, but you can always book a deluxe room for a few extra Starpoints. I doubt SPG corporate has any control over that.

  19. @Bgriff: Oh, I suspect the majority of the blame lies within the Olive 8 management, but HGP clearly knows what’s up and is allowing them to get away with it.

    What’s shocking here is that no rooms are available on points, not even suites. At least in the Westin Berlin example you give, you can pay a premium in points for something.

    Ultimately the responsibility lies within Hyatt Gold Passport to police its program and properties and ensure that its guests and loyalty members are being treated as promised.

    And again, it’s not like rooms are being blocked for a special event like Seafair or something. This is a three month window of solid blocking.

  20. @Nick (the author:)) I don’t disagree about that, at all. I just don’t think the inference you make that an entire program is devalued due to one hotel in Seattle being shady and rising hotel rates in NYC and West Hollywood making a free credit card night less valuable is fair.

    But hey, I haven’t been to West Hollywood on a good night before. 😉

  21. @Lee: that is bull, too, and I’d bring it to Hyatt’s attention.

    What I find especially strange is that this is not the Andaz Maui or the Park Hyatt New York we’re talking about — it’s the freaking Hyatt at Olive 8. I’m sure it’s plenty nice, but a five-star Four Seasons it ain’t.

  22. I think you might be seeing a minimum stay requirement. Try searching for 2-3 day stays and see if you see space.

  23. @Tom: No, not a minimum night stay requirement as far as I could ascertain. Anyway, who has a minimum night stay requirement on a Tuesday night??

  24. @Nick the poster: Yeah, I think that’s a fair point. I’m in no way trying to connect a reconfiguration of hotel categories (which is well within Hyatt’s leeway) in NYC and LA with some actual unethical behavior in connection with the Olive 8, other than to say that the Chase Visa anniversary night is getting harder and harder to use.

  25. Grand Hyatt Seattle was pulling similar shenanigans to what was mentioned earlier in the thread. Had a base-level room with two doubles available (listed as a standard room on their site), but unavailable on points. Called HGP, which called the hotel, which referred them to central reservations, who said that they couldn’t release the room for the anniversary stay because the hotel termed a room with two doubles as an upgrade. Even though the hotel’s site says that’s a standard room and the Hyatt CC terms say that the anniversary night is valid for Category 1-4 standard rooms. Fun.

  26. I really don’t understand why the Nick is complaining and acting entitled about a reward night at the Olive8. Everyone in Seattle knows that summer is the “busy” season with cruises and conventions. The revenue management department knows that they can likely make more money off the room than giving it away for free. As a shareholder, I like this! Nick might call it shannigans because he isn’t getting his way, but really it is just business sense. Surprised that Nick doesn’t understand that.

  27. I brought this to Ben’s attention earlier in the year in re the PH Milan, which it turned out was indeed imposing a minimum stay requirement. As summer progressed they did end up allowing it though, go figure.

  28. I am a Hyatt apologist but no more – there is nothing like the HGP Diamond line, you have to call 2 or 3 times to book C&P rates at some popular hotels – the first CSR will normally say there is nothing available – and as for getting your points posted properly forget it – I’m afraid HGP has gone downhill especially for Diamonds. I am no longer impressed by Hyatt.

  29. The other thing that this practice of not selling base level rooms does is allow them to circumvent the Best Rate Guarantee. I bet the are selling those rooms cheaper via third parties, but since you can’t book them on the Hyatt website you can’t put in a claim.

  30. Thanks for reminding me to cancel the card as the fee is due this month. The card is useless in my opinion. I tried to redeem my night for three separate dates in three different cities and each time there was absolutely no space available. Alternate sites in very inconvenient locations were always available. Who really wants to stay at the airport for a weekend in San Francisco?

  31. @James: I’m not sure it’s “entitled” to use an award night per the terms and conditions of Hyatt Gold Passport.

    To wit, winter is the “busy” season in Park City, Utah. Room rates at the Hyatt Escala Lodge regularly start at $600 a night and go well up from there. And yet, you can search and use an anniversary night on a weekend in February, if you like. There may only be a few rooms available for award redemption, but they’ve been made available.

    Let’s be clear: Seattle from June 1 through August 31 is not exactly Miami during Art Basel or Palm Springs at Coachella. Lots of cities have tourists in the summer. It’s why there are hotels in the first place.

  32. @Nick the author – I hope the attention this will bring will help HGP put the hotel back in line.

    I had to call Hyatt on some BS regarding a Cash and Points DSU attempt where they said an upgrade to a Park King was was available for a full revenue rate, but not a Cash and Points stay (upgrade came from different buckets). After I pointed out that there was no such rule in any of the T&Cs and asked for a supervisor, all of a sudden it happened to immediately become available without any supervisory intervention.

    Point being, I imagine it will only be a matter of time until you can book your trip. 🙂

  33. @James K.: Interesting. It’s definitely not an issue of minimum stay at the Olive 8, however, since even searches for 4+ nights using Gold Passport points turn up the dreaded “we are fully committed” falsehood.

  34. I for one really don’t appreciate this style of writing. It’s the reason I stopped reading Gary’s blog.

  35. I had the issue with you for the two category 4 properties in Washington DC near the Capitol/mall. Blocked everyday this summer for the anniversary certificate. Let us know if u find a work-around. Thanks

  36. @Francisco C: I’m seeing award availability this summer (on a few different dates I tried) for both the Grand Hyatt D.C. and the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill. Either or both of those properties may be legitimately committed on the specific dates you searched, is my guess.

  37. this is the case I have noticed across almost every popular hyatt during peak period..all the rooms will be available but just not -bookable under standard rate and hidden into some packages…what sucks is they publicly state no blackout policy and allow each property to manipulate the rates this way

  38. @techoin: Do you have other examples of specific properties? I haven’t seen anything like what I’m seeing at the Olive 8.

  39. I was able to redeem my cc night at Olive8 earlier this month on a Friday. I say get over it sunshines and find somewhere that does want your business and just move Olive8 to your s#it-list and never stay there again. There are plenty of options to redeem the free night so focus on that instead of the negativity.

  40. @Vicky: I’m glad you were able to redeem your night in May. I’m referring to June 1 through August 31, however, for when the hotel becomes impossible to redeem.

    Is calling a loyalty program out on straight-up dishonesty too “negative” for you?

    I can personally stay anywhere I choose, by the way. The point of this post is not to vent out a hissy-fit but to point out some seriously ethically questionable business practices.

  41. I just had the same experience with the Hyatt in Vancouver. Nothing available on points or using the free nights and there are plenty of rooms available. I have been hitting this a number of times in the past year and still can’t use my free night for this year or last (I forfeited last year’s because of blocked rooms). This is becoming widespread at Hyatt and unfortunately is making me rethink my loyalty to the Hyatt brands.

  42. @Carlh: Hmm, when were you looking? I’m seeing award availability at the Hyatt Regency Vancouver this summer, even on weekends.

  43. I was checking several weeks ago for availability on several weekends in August. If it is there now, something has changed. There were low level rooms for purchase, but not for awards.

  44. Had a similar but not identical issue with Hyatt French Quarter – New Orleans. Rooms available for cash or points, but none available ever (like right to the end of the booking calendar) for the certificate. Was able to book when I called HGP, but if I was less knowledgeable about the rules, I probably would have given up when it was unavailable online.
    Frankly, I don’t understand the great love for Hyatt. I have never seen anything from them to suggest that they are superior to any other chain and, in my personal experiences with them, have found them to be inferior to others. At least twice, I have given up on small point amounts (1000 or less) that I should have received, but were just not worth the fight.

  45. What is “dishonest” about what they’ve done? You may not like what they’ve done, but that doesn’t make it illegal or dishonest. Supply/demand. Just because you can’t use your points for the hotel you want during the time you want (granted a whole summer) doesn’t mean the program is worthless or shady. While points may be a great way to stay cheaply (or even free), they are just points and not dollars. You can always shell out some green if you really want to stay there.

  46. @Brad: Actually, what’s dishonest is they are claiming to be sold out of Deluxe-category rooms (which is the award category), when in fact they’ve just been thrown into another bucket. That’s misleading and contrary to Gold Passport terms and conditions. So yeah, shady.

    I think what everybody is missing from this whole “supply and demand” retort is that the supply is right there. I can see reserving an especially popular holiday weekend or two, but 90 consecutive days spanning the entirety of summer is not just overkill, it’s an F-U to Gold Passport members.

  47. @Farnorthtrader: That’s an interesting experience. I’ve definitely found that online availability especially for the certificate can err on the side of pickiness, and I’ve had luck on the phone with HGP. That’s why I called HGP right away and was surprised when they were not able to “unlock” any of the clearly abundant deluxe rooms for award space.

  48. I keep hearing posters mention that the Olive8 would have to give up revenue on a room by offering it for “free”. There isn’t a “free” room and Olive8 will be paid for the room from HGP.

  49. I’m glad to see this post. I had been looking to use my free night at the Olive 8 on a specific night in June, and there was no availability. Now I know this wasn’t simply an issue of there not being a room on that one night, but rather that the property is blocking everything.

    Hyatt loves to promote that there ware no blackout dates on awards. If there are dates that have never had any availability, then what would you call that?

    I am always amazed at all the blind corporate apologists out there. Sooner or later, they’ll learn that corporations are not their friend, and their boot licking only goes one way. Good job calling Hyatt out on this.

  50. What makes the behavior dishonest and not just standard business practice is the manipulation. It’s deceptive, telling people that if a standard room is available with cash it will be available on points, but then allowing the properties to manipulate their inventory such that standard rooms are simply not available on points.

    Part of what that really suggests is that Hyatt doesn’t have enough of an enforcement mechanism against the properties in question to really bring their rules to bear, and also that Hyatt perhaps doesn’t compensate the properties well enough when they’re fully or nearly fully booked.

    I’ve personally experienced similar behavior from the Hyatt at the San Francisco airport. In that case, there would be a “high floor” room available on points on one day, but not available on points the next. After escalating at HGP, the property claimed that the “high floor” was not a standard room and they were being generous in allowing members to book the rooms on points some nights. After about an hour on the phone, the night manager relented and just said it wasn’t worth me getting upset and that they’d open up the inventory to book me the room I needed. What a pain.

    Someone asked why people stick with Hyatt earlier in the comments… for me, it’s as much about saving time on the little things as anything else. For example, Hyatt has the single best implementation of a telephone IVR that I have ever interacted with and it saves me a ton of time when I’m making cash and points or award bookings over the phone. That, the free toiletries at most of the business properties (“oops, forgot my toothpaste/deodorant/w/e, could you send some up?”), the shuttle at airport locations, and the reasonable (compared to Hilton/Marriott) reward rates are what I really like about the program. With that said, I definitely trust SPG’s rewards program more.

  51. Not a Hyatt, but St Regis Punta Mita does the same thing during Jan-April season. They rename a room type just to avoid having to release it for awards. The same room is called one thing Jan-Apr and another thing the rest of the year.

  52. I’ve been looking at the Park Hyatt in Milan for one night in September for awhile and it has been available for 30k points…I check after reading this post and it’s not available anymore.

  53. @Victor: That sounds like it has to do more with inventory and availability than intentional blocking, but hopefully you’ll find another solution. Hope it works out!

  54. @Victor: Again, that seems likely just real-time inventory. Keep in mind Milan Fashion Week is in September, so it’s likely to be very committed during the work week for that event and the weeks leading up to it.

  55. I just ran into this with Hilton, although it’s not as bad. I was looking to book a room at the Stucky Molino. Regular awards are available for virtually every night up until April 1 of next year. At that point, all of the sudden, there does not appear to be a single standard room for sale, and thus no standard (or citibank free weekend night voucher) award availability. Unlike this case, though, there are simply no standard rooms available at all — for cash or points. I don’t know whether they are simply reclassifying their base room starting April 1 in order to avoid standard points redemptions, or whether they are simply holding them back for sale at a later date.

  56. @Nick The dates i’m there is 2 weeks before Fashion Week but it makes sense that it’s inventory especially with the expo going on. Just thought I wouldn’t run into this situation on a Wednesday. Thanks.

  57. So frustrating!!! I started 6 months ago — trying to book a weekend in June at either the Olive 8 or the Regency across the street– using points— nada!!! Have called several times.

  58. Sorry, I couldn’t finish reading all the comments. I had the gun to my head and had to take a break before I pulled the trigger! Is shenanigans the new “in” word??

    Nick (the rambler), sorry you can’t book the room you want. But you need to step back and take a breath. I’ve had very good luck booking HGP rooms, but I would be upset if I experienced something like that also. Going screenshot crazy and bashing the whole program is not productive though. I’d escalate it with Hyatt and/or tweet them. If it doesn’t work out, do yourself a favor and let it go.

  59. @Andrew T. – Agreed. This is shady, but Nick could use some Valium. The world ain’t gonna end.

  60. @Brian L.: Hey, if you have any extra, help a brother out!

    I find your comment hilarious, given that in previous posts you’ve insinuated I’m an alcoholic who can’t go a few hours without booze, and now you’re suggesting I do drugs instead…

  61. Does not surprise me as a long time Olive 8 traveler I have noticed over the past year a steady decline in quality of service there and have since stopped staying there opting for the GH on Pine, right around the corner. Same GM’s by the by. Anyway the GH is far superior to the Olive 8, and there’s a new HH just opened directly across the street from the “needle” and in a great area !Try it

  62. @Nick – The difference is you don’t NEED alcohol to survive. Given your hysteria over this, and your tone in several other posts, you clearly need Valium. Or blood pressure medication.

  63. I just wanted to give an update. This post inspired me to reach out to the Gold Passport Concierge on FlyerTalk, who switched my reservation from the Hyatt Place to the Olive 8. I should have been able to just book it online in the first place, but the availability *is* there, we just apparently need to do a bit of legwork to get it.

  64. Wow. This is just the latest example of why I’m ready to abandon reading the comments for any of the travel bloggers I follow. I seem to recall there being more useful information around in the past, but now it seems dominated by condescension, sniping, and personal attacks.

  65. Love the post. I find this kind of stuff really contrary to a good customer experience. Like when I called SPG today for a guaranteed room reservation (as I am a Platinum and that’s a stated benefit) but was told that the hotel decided to impose a 2 night minimum, and there was nothing I can do. Stating something is a benefit and then twisting the rules is shady indeed.

    We have a great apartment in South Lake Union, if you need a place to stay let us know! (as long as you don’t mind the comfy sofabed) No points needed!

  66. Seems some like to make personal attacks against you Nick thinly veiled under claims you have taking things out of proportion.

    There is nothing in your post that’s out of proportion – your free night certificates clearly are limited already due to category limit, and have become even more limited due to misrepresentation by individual hotels. No surprise you don’t think the card no longer has benefit it once did.

    For the haters, whichever way you cut it, the hotel isn’t saying you can’t redeem your certificate or points here during this period (which is the honest truth, and while disappointing, doesn’t involve deception) but has gone to some lengths to cover up a a blanket blackout period and tried to pretend that this is not what they have done (that’s fraudulent representation and would fall foul of most consumer law).

    Behaviour like that undermines the terms and conditions of reward programs and generally causes gradual erosion in program benefits (because of one hotel gets away with it, others tend to follow). That could significantly weaken the program in time.

    Nobody forces a hotel to join a chain and it’s reward program. If they don’t like the terms, they shouldn’t join the chain – simple, honest and ethical. Joining the chain however and then behaving like a dick, well you deserve all the criticism you get and chain management should remedy the matter.

    You either play by the rules, or you don’t and you should get out. Any other arguments just baloney.

  67. A lot of the factual observations of the post are impossible to digest given the absurd over-the-top tone, accusations and massive overgeneralizations.

    I find the post interesting as a Hyatt GP member but the hissy fit tone a distraction. Versus Lucky, who does a good job sticking to the facts when introducing a negative situation or experience. Often, we dont see any conclusions from him until many posts later. Which is how I prefer it. One situation at a Hyatt in Seattle and the whole world is ending for GP?

  68. Welcome to corporate America. Lying, cheating and stealing are now part of many businesses SOP.

    I truly believe that none of the mileage programs can be trusted at this point. Availability at nice properties is nearly impossible to find with many hotels blocking availability with a number of shenanigans. IHG properties do this often. Airlines are no better.

    Let’s face it… There is too little capacity and too much demand for airline seats and hotel rooms and the world economy is humming. The glory days of these programs are over and on the rare occasions that something is available it often requires countless man hours to find and book the inventory. Even the most generous Airlines and hotel chains are clamping down, and they are taking advantage of their pricing power.

    I have personally thrown in the towel. I now book my hotel stays either directly with the hotel or through hotels.com and forget about earning and burning. I pick the hotel on location, quality and price and don’t give a hoot about whether I earn points or not. That way I get what I want when I want it without the hassle. Same thing with airline tix. If an itinerary is easily bookable, great. If not, I just pay for the most direct routing on the best carrier serving my destination. At some point, enough is simply enough.

    There is a consequence to all this though to the Airlines and hotels…I no longer care nearly as much about booking with certain brands, and when the next recession rolls around, the players in the industry better be ready to have to compete on price and quality when they can least afford to. And if things go South for them, the public won’t have much sympathy for them or their employees.

    Lastly, to show that this is not unique to the travel industry, allow me to mention that H&R Block offers a tax service they call best of both worlds where you do the work yourself and have a local advisor finish, fix and submit your return. Until this year of course when local tax advisors that were assigned to you would refuse to work the returns of their customers as early as a month before the dead line and as little as days before the deadline (because they get paid far more for walk-ins) leaving thousands of customers in a lurch and in many cases requiring them to either file for an extension (necessitating steep prepayments) or go into a local office and pay 5-8 times as much as they were already charged AND trying to get their money back.

  69. While sneaky, the hotels have the right to do this. It simply is running a business smartly! Like it or not, as long as they are not directly breaking their own rules/policies, they can do whatever is best for them. You win some, you lose some. That’s part of this game. Just having that visa card (and in most cases for free on promotion) doesn’t qualify you as their “real” loyal customer. How many of us are ACTUALLY really loyal to a particular brand (of any kinds — airlines, hotels, car rentals etc)?? Com’on, we all spend our points and $$$ on “ANY” brand at that particular moment for best possible values with best possible experience. Hyatt Olive 8 is doing the same with their business for their high profiting season. Again … you win some, you lose some. In this case, you can redeem for some other months, just not in summer. Big deal.

    @Andrew T @Brian L.
    +1. Agree with you two completely. It’s one of the very reasons why I dislike Gary Leff’s blog. It’s one thing to write useful info/review/experience and it’s definitely entirely another when the “implied” opinions are so conceited.

    Also, reading this blog post (and some of the comments by Nick…grrrrr) reminds me of snobbish a gay guy having a dramatic episode of snark attack.

    Having read @Nick (the author) previous posts and all his snidey-sarcastic tones and comments (in this and other posts), pretty much thinking Ben, as owner of this blog, should have vetted a better blog contributor. The choices of words, implied sarcasm, direct and indirect supercilious-snobbish comments are such turn off. Frankly, I am kinda sad Nick appears to portray some of the typical negative gay stereotypes. I’ll leave it there. Don’t want to turn this into a gay-or not thing or a character assassination. Just my direct observation.

    But hey variety of different opinions and writing styles have some benefits I suppose. Just keep it fine tuned for a well-balanced quality.

    My direct non-snobbish, non-attacking 0.2cents rants.

  70. Waaaaa!

    I can’t use my free night which I paid $75 for on a $429 room.

    Poor me! Shame on Hyatt!

  71. >Gold Passport appears to be taking cues from FIFA as far as ethical standards are concerned.

    I never imagined the time would come when Hyatt started relying upon slave labor, extortion, and bribery on a global scale to get business done. Truly, all hope is lost when the modern American hospitality industry is built upon a pile of corpses that grows ever higher by the day.

  72. @Nick

    Andaaz papayago is another classic example. Apart from this package rate thingy they also deploy minimum stay tactic to make the award nights unavailable over popular time.

    One good thing in all these is hyatt website is utter crap and sometimes you can easily figure out the game that they are playing. But in the end it’s all (loyalty) business.

  73. I think the most important point here is that loyalty programs and the like shouldn’t make promises (market claims) that it either won’t deliver on or enforce.

    If you deliver on what you promise, even if you feel others feel underwhelmed by those promises, no harm no foul.

  74. I love the posts from those who claim Whaa! and that this is just business. BS. This is a complete lie and sham and management knows that most customers will not complain or try to make issue of it.

    If you really want your award night, you will find a way to get it if you invest the time, make a plan and pursue it.

  75. I can’t beleive how eager people are to apologize for a business which isn’t following its own stated rules. It must be some kind of American corporate Stockholm syndrome where anything a business does is fair game and if you complain about it, you are to blame.

    This is common with the hotel chains. The parent company often has trouble keeping the franchise properties in line. Shedding light on the shenanigans in this case puts pressure on both Hyatt and olive 8 to come to a better arrangement.

    Some of the personal attacks are over the top, even if you don’t like the posts tone.

  76. Similar shadiness at the Grand Hyatt Incheon. Every weekend night I have looked at has no base level rooms on revenue or award. When I first noticed this, they had club rooms available on revenue, but not on award. I contacted HGP to try and book one of the club rooms and was told they can’t without base level room availability as they way they process club room awards is as an upgrade from the base level room.

    Since then, they have now made club level rooms available for booking online at the 12,000 point rate. While this allowed me to book the night I wanted, it seems odd as based on what I was told by the HGP rep when I first complained, this should be technically impossible for their reservation system to book.

    Still no base level rooms for 8,000 points except for some weekdays. Highly doubt they are sold out all year long and guess they can get away with blocking awards by blocking the category for revenue as well to comply with HGP terms.

  77. Hyatt is pulling these shenanigans again this weekend — Hyatt Regency San Francisco.

    The standard King/Double rooms are bookable on any package rate or AAA rate.

    However, no standard King/Double rooms are bookable at the Hyatt Daily Rate, effectively blocking them from award redemption.

    No good, Hyatt.

  78. Even worse….I am trying to book a standard room at the Vineyard in Santa Rosa. I can clearly see that standard rooms are available but at a “member discount rate.” I am NOT able to book a standard room when it is offered at a CHEAPER, member discounted rate!?!?! WTF? They are clearly taking a normal room, labeling it as a special discount offer, and preventing cardholders from redeeming their free nights. BS! I’m also canceling.

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