The Hyatt-Oasis partnership is live, and won't work for travel hackers

All the way back in October I wrote about the announcement of a partnership between Oasis, a luxury short-term home and apartment rental company, and the World of Hyatt loyalty program. I thought the tie-up could possibly work if Oasis was willing to sell some of its inventory at a slightly lower profit margin in exchange for access to a much broader pool of customers.

They decided to go in a different direction.

You can redeem World of Hyatt points for a fixed value at Oasis properties

When you redeem World of Hyatt points for stays with Oasis, you get a $200 credit towards an Oasis reservation for every 15,000 World of Hyatt points you redeem. You may see folks in the community rhapsodizing about how much more valuable World of Hyatt points are than that, but I don't think they're more valuable than that.

If you can get a better value redeeming World of Hyatt points for Oasis redemptions than on other possible redemptions, or than holding them speculatively, then I think you oughta go ahead and redeem them.

There are structural obstacles to these being good redemptions

However, one factor that adds to the value of hotel award redemptions is that such redemptions cover both the cost of the room rate and any taxes and fees associated with the reservation (usually — the Hilton in Evian-les-Bains charged me a couple bucks in local taxes that I disputed vigorously until I lost interest and gave up).

That means a 1.33 cent-per-point redemption against a room rate is actually worth 1.47 cents per point in an area with a 10% lodging tax: 15,000 points are worth not $200, but $220.

But Oasis reservations include not only taxes, but also cleaning fees, which can be substantial. Being forced to redeem hotel points against the full price, after taxes and fees, of your stay puts such reservations at a fundamental disadvantage compared to traditional redemptions.

For longer stays the impact of fixed cleaning fees will shrink, but for shorter trips those per-stay charges constitute a big part of your total bill.

Oasis has a tiny footprint

This is the thing that surprised me most now that the World of Hyatt-Oasis partnership has launched: they still have the same tiny footprint in the same big tourist destinations they had before the partnership.

It's true that Hyatt doesn't have any properties in Barcelona. But Barcelona has plenty of hotels, including Hilton and Starwood properties.

That makes it seem like Hyatt is offering a consolation prize to people who earned their points accidentally instead of purposefully, and the partnership may indeed make sense for folks who don't take any interest or pleasure in aggressively managing their loyalty accounts.

But, for obvious reasons, that doesn't describe most travel hackers.

Earning with Oasis is a no-brainer, if the price is right

At a basic level, you should be suspicious of any company that has to team up with a major brand in order to move their product. If Oasis stays are so expensive that they can afford to buy Hyatt points to reward their customers, Oasis stays are probably too expensive. And if Oasis stays are so unattractive that they need to buy Hyatt points to entice customers, Oasis stays are probably too unattractive.

But if you're visiting a city where an Oasis property is available at the right price (including all taxes and fees) compared to all your other possible paid or award stays, I don't see any reason not to credit your stay to your World of Hyatt account.

But, in all honesty, I don't think it'll ever happen to me.