New Contender: Hyatt Diamond Suite Upgrade Shenanigans

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I’ve stayed at the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort Golf Club & Spa in California dozens of times over the years, and think it is a very good property.

Yesterday I called to redeem a Diamond Suite Upgrade for an upcoming reservation. There are 327 guest rooms at the property, 43 of which are suites. I’ve never had any difficulty using a suite upgrade at the hotel and didn’t expect this time to be any different.

The entry level suite that the certificate upgrades into at the Aviara property is the Park Suite. The 855 square foot standard suite comes with a terrace that offers gorgeous views of the surrounding areas, and doors that close off the bedroom from the sitting room.

Park Suite screengrab from Hyatt's website

Park Suite screengrab from Hyatt’s website

The dates I wanted to use it for were not during a holiday weekend and weren’t for any particularly busy dates, so I was surprised when Gold Passport customer service said the Suite upgrade was not available. I had my husband check online quickly to make sure that their website still showed that Park Suites were available for booking, and they were.

I told her that the Park Suite was showing available on the website, and asked her to please check again since suite upgrades are not supposed to be capacity controlled. She put me on hold while she called the hotel, came back and said it wasn’t an issue of capacity control. She informed me that as of March this year the Suite upgrades now book into the Park Luxury Suite, which was not available.

Park Luxury Suite?

While I’m not sure how many of those suites the property has (I’m guessing it is just two), it seemed backwards to me. The Park Luxury Suite is a specialty suite just one step down from the Presidential Suite.

Screen Shot 2016-05-31 at 12.18.25 PM

At 1,640 square feet, the room comes with a formal dining room that seats 8, living room with additional sofa bed, and a pantry.

Park Luxury Suite screengrab from Hyatt's website

Park Luxury Suite screengrab from Hyatt’s website

Checking a dozen random dates online including mid-week in October, the Park Luxury Suite was indeed never available.

I explained to the customer service rep that typically the Suite upgrades at the property book into the lowest standard suite, which is the Park Suite. She put me on hold again, came back and said she didn’t have any more information about that but reiterated that as of March, the only suite that Suite upgrades could be used for was the Park Luxury Suite.

She said that they’d be willing to make a one-time exception for me, and I’d be able to use the Diamond Suite Upgrade to book into a Park Deluxe Suite.

Park Deluxe Suite screengrab from Hyatt's website

Park Deluxe Suite screengrab from Hyatt’s website

Funnily enough, the Park Deluxe Suite is a step up from the Park Suite, and has 1,140 square feet. I agreed to the upgrade, of course.

She apologized that the Park Suite was not available, and the whole thing was very bizarre. I ended up getting a nicer suite than I expected, even though both the Park Suite and Park Deluxe Suite were available for my stay dates.

While it ended up working out this time, I don’t like that the Suite upgrade room type has changed. Suite upgrades are supposed to confirm into standard suites, and the Park Luxury Suite is not. If it is rarely available for booking, that means Suite upgrades will rarely get to be used at this property. After doing more than 30 searches through the end of schedule I was not able to find the Park Luxury Suite available even once. To me, this means that the days of using suite upgrades at the Aviara are over and the hotel does not to want to make them available.

Have you found any other Hyatt Suite upgrade room type changes?

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  1. Bill

    This is another reason why I find HGP and the coveted DSUs to be problematic. I had this issue before as a Diamond, and have it again now as matched Diamond. The better Park Hyatts and Andaz properties are playing fast and loose with the categories allowed for DSUs in order to restrict their use. The biggest reason most elites love those DSUs is to use then at nicer more luxe properties.

    Hyatt and/or its best properties are playing games with DSUs. I tried to book for the PH Aviara, too, with the same result. I tried to book for the Andaz Maui with the same result. Suffice to say I am not impressed with this benefit at the top Hyatt properties.

    • Melinda

      I agree Bill that DSUs are especially great to use at upper end properties. The point of the upgrades is to give Diamond members the chance to confirm suite upgrades when/where it is most important to them a couple times a year, regardless of category or property. This move by the Aviara (which is a category 5) is disappointing, and I hope this snubbing doesn’t spread to other properties.

  2. Flyingdoctorwu

    Park Hyatt Chicago designates suite upgrades into grand exec suites; Ph Washington used to (not sure if still) into Park exec. Most are into standard suites but I think the property can decide what suite type they upgrade into.

    • Melinda

      Flyingdoctorwu, thanks for sharing. I didn’t know about the PH Chicago and the PH Washington designating executive suites as the category they book into. Interesting.

  3. Flyingdoctoru

    Oh and Andaz 5th ave into splash suite.

    • Melinda

      I remember Gary saying the Andaz Wall Street even so went as far as to reclassify their XL King rooms as suites. That’s a low move.

  4. Jason T Thomas

    Interesting that you mention this. I booked a room at the Orlando Hyatt Regency – and I thought the standard suite was going to be Regency Suite. However, when I called in for my upgrade, the service rep said that the Metropolitan Suite was not available for upgrade (and I mentioned that I thought you should be checking the Regency suite, but she did not agree). However, she was able to find me one (Metropolitan suite) after some time of going to and from over the phone… This was just last month.

  5. Flyingdoctorwu

    Other shenanigans are that the PH NYC books DSU into Jr Suites, the PH Paris books them into Park Suites but on every other planet those rooms barely quailify as junior suites, the PH Shanghai split their Park Suite inventory by inventing a new category of suite called Bund View Suite (bear in mind these suites are most often Smog View Suites).


  6. Bob

    I recently had have 7 nights booked at the Andaz Papagayo using points and cash and a Diamond Suite Upgrade. One of my flights got cancelled, so I ended up needing to change my reservation at the Andaz to 5 nights instead. When I called the Diamond line to change to 5 nights they told me that I “needed to have a minimum of 6 nights booked to use my Diamond Suite Upgrade and keep my suite at this property” (paraphrasing but this was the idea). Long story short, if I changed my stay to 5 nights they would not allow me to keep my suite even though it was obviously available since I already had it booked for 7 nights.

    I should mention that I got in contact with someone at the Andaz directly and they did change my reservation to 5 nights and allow me to keep my suite, which I was very appreciate about but I had never heard of such a thing and I thought it fit with this topic.

  7. Erasmus

    I have tried many times to book the Aviara with DSUs, and am impressed you got an exception. I’ve been given this line every time I tried. Moreover, the Luxury suite availability is NOT available online–it is inventory that can only be viewed by the agents IF they look at a special room/rate class. So, the upshot is it is probably available more than you think (certainly more than the web shows, which is never), but not very often. I tried to book a Saturday night this spring and found only one date in a three-month span that as available–which I couldn’t use, unfortunately.

  8. tri n

    late comment, but is this hotel “doable” in a taxi or uber from San Diego airport? curious is the 30 miles too far? Thanks… and by too far I mean more than $60 one way?

    • Melinda

      @tri n, comments are welcome at any time. San Diego is indeed a bit of a difficult place to move about without a rental car unless you intend to stay downtown. It is do-able via Uber, but the PH Aviara is about an hour north of San Diego airport, and also about the same distance south of John Wayne airport. It is just slightly over 30 miles, at around 32-24 miles depending on which freeways you take.

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