Middle Age Miles

Our Review of the Big News from Hyatt – 54 SLH Hotels Now Bookable with Nice World of Hyatt Benefits

Ca’Sagredo Hotel, Venice, Italy – one of the 54 SLH Hotels now bookable through Hyatt to earn World of Hyatt benefits [image courtesy of Hyatt]

Introduction and Background

Here at Middle Age Miles, we’re pretty excited about two pieces of recent news from Hyatt. First, in August, Hyatt announced a partnership with Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH). SLH is an affiliation of more than 500 high-end hotels in more than 80 countries. The Hyatt-SLH partnership will allow SLH hotels to be booked through the Hyatt website and, more importantly, will allow World of Hyatt members to earn Hyatt points and receive extra benefits on stays at SLH hotels. Second, in October, Hyatt announced that it is acquiring Two Roads Hospitality, which owns or manages 85 nice “lifestyle-brand” hotels and resorts. The acquired properties will also be folded into the World of Hyatt loyalty program for points-earning and elite status benefits.

Once fully implemented, these deals should bring about 600 additional hotels into the World of Hyatt loyalty program, where we can earn points and elite stay credits, receive elite status benefits, and redeem points for free stays. And many of these properties are aspirational properties where we can redeem points for luxury experiences that we might never have paid for with cash out-of-pocket. These are exactly the kinds of places where we most like to redeem our points.

Before now, we didn’t know the timing or details of how the Hyatt-SLH partnership would be implemented. But this week, Hyatt kicked things off – the first stage of the Hyatt-SLH partnership is underway, involving 54 SLH hotels. Let’s take a look at what’s happening and what it means for us.

Details of Hyatt-SLH First Stage of Implementation

Booking

Effective immediately, the 54 SLH hotels that are part of this first stage of implementation are bookable through the Hyatt website, for stays from December 6 forward. Paid stays and points stays are both available for booking.

At this time, Hyatt and SLH have not yet announced a timetable for further implementation going forward or any further details. We expect that SLH hotels will continue to be integrated into the program on a rolling basis over the next few months.

Benefits

For bookings of SLH hotels made through Hyatt (by phone or on the Hyatt website), all World of Hyatt members will receive the following benefits:

  • Complimentary continental breakfast
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Early check-in 12:00 pm (based on availability at check-in)
  • Late check-out 2:00 pm (based on availability at check-in)
  • One-category room upgrade (based on availability at check-in)

Note that these benefits apply for all World of Hyatt members. It doesn’t matter if you hold any elite status or not; you just have to be a World of Hyatt member. Since World of Hyatt is free to join, everyone should be able to take advantage of these benefits.

Qualified stays at these SLH hotels booked through Hyatt will earn World of Hyatt points at the usual rate of 5 points per dollar of spend. Earning is on the room rate only, and does not include spend on incidentals. World of Hyatt elite members will receive their normal point bonus – 10% for Discoverist, 20% for Explorist, and 30% for Globalist.

Participating SLH Hotels and World of Hyatt Category

For redemption purposes, World of Hyatt places hotels into 8 categories, each with its own corresponding points redemption rate, as follows:

  • Category 1 – 5,000 points
  • Category 2 – 8,000 points
  • Category 3 – 12,000 points
  • Category 4 – 16,000 points
  • Category 5 – 20,000 points
  • Category 6 – 25,000 points
  • Category 7 – 30,000 points
  • Category 8 – 40,000 points

Until now, Hyatt redemptions only went up to Category 7. With the integration of SLH properties, Hyatt has added Category 8 as a new highest redemption level. No existing Hyatt properties have been moved up to Category 8, but 11 of the 54 SLH properties have been designated as Category 8.

None of the 54 SLH hotels participating in this first stage of the Hyatt-SLH implementation are in North or South America; all of them are in Europe and Asia. Italy (15 hotels), Greece (12), and the UK (11) are particularly well-represented.

Here are all of the SLH hotels participating in this first stage of the Hyatt-SLH implementation, with their locations and category level (Hat Tip to Live from a Lounge for putting together this list):

Europe

Belgium
  • Hotel de Orangerie, Bruges [Category 5]
Cyprus
  • Columbia Beach Resort, Limassol [Cat 7]
Estonia
  • Hotel St. Petersbourg, Tallinn [Cat 4]
France
  • Hotel and Spa des Pecheurs, Corsica [Cat 8]
  • Hotel Le Strato Courchevel 1850 [Cat 8]
  • Les Etangs de Corot Versailles [Cat 5]
Germany
  • Ketschauer Hof, Deidesheim [Cat 5]
Greece
  • Archipelagos, Mykonos [Cat 6]
  • Elounda Gulf Villas and Suites, Crete [Cat 7]
  • On the Rocks, Santorini [Cat 6]
  • Pietra e Mare Beach Hotel, Mykonos [Cat 6]
  • San Antonio, Santorini [Cat 8]
  • Santorini Secret Suites & Spa, Santorini [Cat 8]
  • Sesa Boutique Hotel, Kanali [Cat 5]
  • Margi, Athens [Cat 6]
  • Theoxenia Palace & House Suites, Athens [Cat 3]
  • Aressana Spa Hotel and Suites, Santorini [Cat 6]
  • Liostasi Hotel & Suites, Ios [Cat 6]
  • The Excelsior, Thessaloniki [Cat 3]
Italy
  • Villa Spalletti Trivelli, Rome [Cat 7]
  • Byblos Art Hotel Villa Amista, Verona [Cat 6]
  • Ca’Sagredo Hotel, Venice [Cat 7]
  • Grand Hotel Parker’s Naples [Cat 5]
  • Hotel de la Ville, Monza [Cat 3]
  • Hotel Lord Byron, Rome [Cat 5]
  • Hotel Vilon [Cat 8]
  • Magna Pars Suites, Milan [Cat 6]
  • Margutta 19, Rome [Cat 7]
  • Palazzo Vecchietti, Florence [Cat 8]
  • Park Hotel ai Cappuccini, Gubbio [Cat 4]
  • Relais San Lorenzo, Bergamo [Cat 6]
  • Sikelia, Sicily [Cat 7]
  • Centurion Palace, Venice [Cat 8]
  • Palazzo Sant’Angelo sul Canal Grande, Venice [Cat 7]

Spain

  • El Lodge Ski and Spa Sierra Nevada [Cat 7]
  • Nobu Hotel, Marbella [Cat 7]
  • Sant Francesc Hotel Singular, Mallorca [Cat 6]
Switzerland
  • The View, Lugano [Cat 8]
United Kingdom
  • Flemings Mayfair, London [Cat 6]
  • Dukes London [Cat 6]
  • The Capital Hotel & Apartments, London [Cat 6]
  • Tylney Hall Hotel and Gardens, Hook [Cat 3]
  • Alexander House Hotel & Utopia Spa, Turners Hill [Cat 6]
  • Ashdown Park Hotel, Forest Row [Cat 5]
  • Luton Hoo Hotel Golf & Spa, Luton [Cat 4]
  • Nira Caledonia, Edinburgh [Cat 5]
  • St. James’s Hotel and Club, London [Cat 6]
  • The Arden Hotel, Stratford-upon-Avon [Cat 4]
  • The Atlantic Hotel, St. Brelade [Cat 6]

Asia

China
  • The Sukhothai Shanghai [Category 5]
Malaysia
  • Pangkor Laut Resort, Pangkor Laut [Cat 5]
  • Gaya Island Resort, Borneo [Cat 5]
  • Lanson Place Bukit Ceylon, Kuala Lumpur [Cat 3]
  • The Edison George Town, Penang [Cat 3]

Analysis and Open Questions

Right off the bat, we love the Hyatt-SLH partnership. If nothing else, we have more options for redeeming World of Hyatt points for valuable and/or aspirational stays.

This also gives us more options for our Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR) points. Chase UR points transfer to World of Hyatt at a 1:1 ratio. This gives us more ways to build up our World of Hyatt points balance, which we could then redeem at a participating SLH hotel.

[Remember that Chase UR points can be redeemed through the UR Travel Portal at 1.5 cents per point if you have a Sapphire Reserve card, or 1.25 cents per point if you hold a Sapphire Preferred or Ink Business Preferred card – so be sure that your redemption would exceed those values!]

In addition, the Chase World of Hyatt card is currently offering a sign-up bonus of up to 60,000 Hyatt points. (The bonus is two-tiered – 40,000 points when you spend $3,000 within 3 months, and another 20,000 points when you spend a total of $6,000 within 6 months.) And in addition, the World of Hyatt card earns 4 Hyatt points per dollar on spend at Hyatt hotels, 2x on restaurants, airline tickets purchased directly from airlines, local transit and commuting, and fitness and gym membership fees. We now have even more redemption options for World of Hyatt points earned through card spend.

[Unfortunately, if it’s true that the World of Hyatt card is now subject to the Chase 5/24 Rule, that limits the number of people who can get the card. In addition, you may be able to earn more points by putting spend on a different card such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve for 3x UR points on travel and dining or the Chase Freedom Unlimited card for 1.5x UR points on all spend. At Middle Age Miles, we want to be sure to always maximize our points-earning!]

We wonder whether rates on the SLH hotels booked through Hyatt are as good as the rates if you book directly with the hotel or through SLH. We still need to do some testing on this. Frankly, though, no matter how much testing we do, we believe the answer every time will be that you need to check and compare the rates and benefits through Hyatt, versus the rates and benefits by booking direct with the hotel, versus the rates and benefits by booking through SLH. And when you do this comparison, remember that it’s not just the rate that matters, the value of the points you earn and the benefits you get (plus any value for elite night/stay credit) should be considered as well.

[For valuation and rate-comparison purposes, remember that we assign a baseline value of 1.5 cents per World of Hyatt point; thus, a non-elite member receiving 5 Hyatt points per dollar of spend will earn a points rebate of about 7.5%. In addition, we don’t know whether you could receive 4x Hyatt points by paying for a room at a participating SLH property by paying with the World of Hyatt credit card. We’re going to assume that the answer is no, unless and until we receive data points or confirmation from Chase to the contrary.]

We did a very quick spot-test on some London-area properties yesterday evening, using a 3-night stay on a randomly-chosen long weekend, February 21-24, 2019. The lowest nightly rates advertised were:

  • Dukes LondonHyatt 350 pounds; Hotel 357 pounds
  • St. James Hotel – Hyatt 395 pounds; Hotel 265 pounds
  • Flemings MayfairHyatt 269 pounds; Hotel 270 pounds
  • Capital Hotel & Apts – Hyatt 270 pounds; Hotel 230 pounds
  • Luton Hoo – Hyatt 250 pounds; Hotel 216 pounds

On most of these, we didn’t look any further into the exact rooms, terms or benefits, just the lowest available rate. However, on the Luton Hoo, we dug a bit deeper. We found that the lower Hotel rate did not include breakfast; when you looked at a bed & breakfast rate, it became exactly the same as the rate offered through Hyatt (which includes a free continental breakfast benefit), 250 pounds.

In this analysis, it’s also worth taking a look at the benefits in SLH’s own loyalty program, Invited. (Invited members do not earn points; rather, they receive a free reward night upon completion of 6 stays in a year or spend of $6,000 during a year.) Here are the advertised benefits of the Invited program:

As you can see, even for a base-level Invited member making his or her first stay at an SLH property, the benefits are mostly the same as those received when you book through Hyatt – early check-in, late check-out (except note that Invited is 3:00 pm rather than 2:00 pm), complimentary Wi-Fi, and daily complimentary continental breakfast. The only benefit missing is the if-available one category room upgrade – and you can get that if you’re an “Inspired”-level member.

[We note here that it’s historically been easy to status-match with SLH to at least the “Inspired” level, and we have done this in the past.]

We also see that Invited members booking through SLH receive 10% off the Best Available Rate. Of course, this may impact your decision on how to book to get the best value for you.

Conclusion

We love the Hyatt-SLH partnership, as it gives us more options and potentially some fun aspirational points redemptions that we couldn’t have ever done otherwise. We also love the direction that Hyatt is heading with the SLH partnership and its Two Roads acquisition. All of this plays into our ongoing analysis of where our hotel chain loyalty and points preferences should lie going forward. That’s a topic for a different day – and one that we hope to write more about soon!

As for any given upcoming stay where you would have a paid rate, we believe you need to fully compare and determine which is best for you given your own circumstances, between 3 options – (1) booking through Hyatt; (2) booking directly with the hotel; and (3) booking through SLH. We’ve laid out the considerations above in more detail, but in summary the factors you need to consider are:

  • Room rate (making sure that the room type and cancellation terms match)
  • Benefits you will receive by booking through each method
  • Value of Hyatt points-earning (7.5% rebate for non-elites; more if you have World of Hyatt elite status;
  • Value of the credit for elite nights in the World of Hyatt program versus for elite stays/spend in the Invited program

Do you have questions or additional thoughts about the Hyatt-SLH partnership? Please ask or let us know in the Comments!


At Middle Age Miles, we always want you to get the best value for your travel dollar, and we also want you to learn all of the available avenues to stay at fun, aspirational, luxury properties on points. To see all of our travel tips and insights, please Like and Follow us on social media at:

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