The World of Hyatt Credit Card is one of my all around favorite hotel credit cards. While there are lots of great perks to the card, in this post I wanted to focus specifically on the annual free night certificate that it offers, which alone can more than justify the card’s annual fee.
Hyatt anniversary free night certificate basics
On your credit card account anniversary each year you’ll be issued a free night certificate, which is valid for a stay at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel globally. While the terms state that it will be issued within 10 weeks of your anniversary, it typically posts much faster than that.
The certificate is typically valid for a stay within a year of when it’s issued (note that certificates issued between March 1 and December 31, 2020, will now be valid through December 31, 2021).
There are no blackout dates for this certificate. Rather, as long as a standard room is available for your dates, you should be able to use the certificate. The redemption process is very similar to redeeming points.
As a point of comparison, Hyatt ordinarily charges 15,000 points for a Category 4 free night, so that’s potentially how much this certificate will be worth (I wouldn’t quite value it at that, though, since there’s an expiration date and you don’t have that much flexibility in terms of how to redeem it).
The card has a $95 annual fee, and personally I think the certificate alone more than justifies the annual fee on the card.
How can you earn additional Hyatt free night awards?
The great news is that there are opportunities to earn additional free night certificates, both with the World of Hyatt Credit Card and through World of Hyatt as such:
- You can earn a second Category 1-4 free night certificate when you spend $15,000 on your card during your cardmember year
- You can earn an additional Category 1-4 free night certificate when you earn World of Hyatt Explorist status (which requires 30 elite qualifying nights or 50,000 base points in a calendar year)
- You can earn an additional Category 1-4 free night certificate when you stay at five different Hyatt brands; this is an ongoing promotion that launched on March 1, 2017, and it’s based on the cumulative brands you stay at, and isn’t tied to the calendar year
- You earn a Category 1-7 free night certificate when you earn World of Hyatt Globalist status (which requires 60 elite qualifying nights or 100,000 base points in a calendar year)
How do you redeem Hyatt free night awards?
Once your account anniversary has passed, log into your World of Hyatt account and click on the “My Awards” section.
There you should see the “Free nights” section, where you can click on the “Terms & Conditions” section and see all the details of each certificate.
Once you’ve verified that you have free night certificates there, just search availability for the city or hotel you want, as if you’re trying to make a points booking. On the search page select the “Use Points” button.
You’ll see the hotel results on the next page. You’ll want to select a hotel that shows the points cost as being no more than 15,000 points per night, because that’s the equivalent of a Category 4 hotel. For example, in Miami that leaves quite a few options.
Then when you select the hotel you want, you’ll see the option of either redeeming points or booking with the free night award, and you’ll want to select the “Free Night” option.
For what it’s worth, for this one-night stay at the Confidante Miami Beach, the cheapest paid rate would be nearly $500 including all taxes and fees (all of these fees, including the resort fee, are waived on award stays).
It’s pretty amazing that a free night certificate offered by a card with the $95 annual fee World of Hyatt Credit Card can be used here.
There is one quirk to be aware of when booking online. Hyatt will automatically pull whatever free night certificate expires next when you book online. If you only have Category 1-4 free night awards that’s not a big deal.
However, if you’re a Globalist you may also have a Category 1-7 free night award, and you don’t accidentally want to redeem that for a Category 1-4 stay. So if that certificate expires first, you’ll want to book by phone so you can be sure they pull the right one.
Do you receive elite benefits when redeeming free night certificate?
Much like an award night, stays booked with a free night certificate are eligible for all elite benefits. If you’re a Globalist member you’d receive a suite upgrade subject to availability, complimentary breakfast, lounge access, etc.
Furthermore, these stays are even eligible for elite qualifying nights, so would count towards your status qualification.
Enjoy complimentary Globalist breakfast on free night stays
Can Hyatt free night certificates be redeemed for others?
Generally speaking, the free night certificate offered with the World of Hyatt Credit Card has to be booked in the name of the primary cardmember and World of Hyatt member.
The one exception is if you’re a Globalist member, in which case you can use these certificates to make a Guest of Honor booking for someone else. This allows you to book a stay in someone else’s name, and they’ll even get your Globalist benefits.
Free night certificates can be used for Guest of Honor bookings
What other hotel credit cards offer free night awards?
The World of Hyatt Credit Card, which has a $95 annual fee, isn’t the only card to offer an annual free night certificate. There are several other great hotel cards offering free night certificates as well. Just to give a few examples of cards with reasonable annual fees:
- The $89 annual fee IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card (review) offers an annual free night valid at any IHG property retailing for up to 40,000 points
- The $95 annual fee Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card (review) offers an annual free night valid at any Marriott property retailing for up to 35,000 points
- The $125 annual fee (Rates & Fees) Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card (review) offers an annual free night valid at any Marriott property retailing for up to 35,000 points
Hyatt free night certificate summary
The World of Hyatt Credit Card is a fantastic card that comes with an anniversary free night certificate valid at all Category 1-4 hotels. To me, that more than justifies the card’s $95 annual fee, since a vast majority of Hyatt’s retail for significantly more than that.
The best part is that you can earn more free night awards than that. If you spend $15,000 on the card in a cardmember year you can earn a second award, and then if you earn Explorist status you can earn a third award. Personally, I think this is a card where it’s well worth spending $15,000 per year.
What has your experience been with Hyatt Category 1-4 free night awards?
The following links will direct you to the rates and fees for mentioned American Express Cards. These include: Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card (Rates & Fees).