World of Hyatt expands free cancellations, suspends award chart changes until next year

Mar 13, 2020

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World of Hyatt announced temporary changes to its policies today, 13 March, in response to the ongoing COVID-19 virus (novel coronavirus) outbreak. The adjustments include more lenient change and cancellation policies, the postponement of award chart changes (including peak and off-peak pricing) at most properties and a temporary suspension of points expiration.

These new rules are designed to give travellers peace of mind and the most flexibility as they assess their travel plans for the immediate future. The program previously announced members could receive 10,000 Hyatt points in lieu of a refund should they cancel a nonrefundable rate. Now, the policy has been expanded to include refunds of advance purchase rate reservations within certain time frames.

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Cancellation fee waivers

World of Hyatt has now expanded its cancellation fee waiver to include all properties worldwide. Until now, full refunds of nonrefundable bookings were only allowed through 31 March for guests with reservations in Greater China, South Korea, Japan and Italy and for members residing in the same areas with reservations at Hyatt hotels globally.

Now, even if you’ve booked an advance purchase rate, you’ll be able to change or cancel for a full refund:

  • Any existing reservations made before 13 March for upcoming travel between 14 March and 30 April 2020, as long as you cancel at least 24 hours prior to your scheduled arrival
  • New reservations for travel you make between 13 March 2020, and 30 April 2020 – for any future arrival date – can also be changed or cancelled at no charge up to 24 hours before your scheduled arrival
  • Existing nonrefundable reservations made directly with Hyatt on or before 8 March 2020 for travel through 30 June 2020 may still opt to receive 10,000 World of Hyatt points compensation if the stay is cancelled, however, no refund will be offered

To cancel and receive a refund, members can call one of World of Hyatt’s global contact centers or email worldofhyatt@hyatt.com. Only bookings made directly with Hyatt are eligible, not those made with an OTA or third-party site like Expedia. In the latter case, you’ll need to reach out to the third-party site for assistance.

Hyatt award chart changes postponed

The planned World of Hyatt award chart changes that were to take effect 22 March 2020 have been postponed until 2021. This includes the introduction of peak and off-peak pricing at all hotels and planned award category changes, with the exception of five properties:

Hotel 

Current free night award Ccategory

New free night award category

Park Hyatt Mallorca

6

5

Hyatt Centric Park City

6

7

Park Hyatt Shenzhen

4

5

Alila Yangshuo

4

5

Park Hyatt Ningbo

3

4

Any free night award and Points + Cash redemptions booked at the hotels above on or after 22 March at 8 a.m. Central Time (1 p.m. GMT) will follow the new award chart. If you have an existing award booking for after Sunday, 22 March that moves to a lower award category, you’ll receive an automatic one-time refund on the point difference.

Points won’t expire through 31 May

Normally, World of Hyatt points expire after 24 months of account inactivity. In light of the coronavirus outbreak and reduced travel, Hyatt will suspend points forfeiture until 31 May 2020.

No new extensions to elite status

In February 2020, World of Hyatt announced elite status extensions and award expiration dates for members residing in the Asia-Pacific region. Eligible members received an automatic extension of their Hyatt elite status from February 2021 to February 2022. Other benefits, such as suite-upgrade awards, club-access awards and free-night awards, have also been extended by a year from 31 December 2020 to 31 December 2021.

Hyatt has not expanded these extensions to other regions, but notes “Given the quickly evolving nature of the situation, it is simply too early to suggest revised elite tier qualifications and award expiration beyond members in Asia Pacific. However, we know that adjustments will need to be made, and we are committed to communicating these updates as we can”.

Bottom line

As the COVID-19 virus situation continues to escalate, it’s great to see World of Hyatt do right by its members and implement flexible policies around changes, cancellations and planned award chart adjustments.

Featured photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy.

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