Guide To Hyatt Anniversary Free Night Awards

Filed Under: Chase, Credit Cards
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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:

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).

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  1. Lucky- have you had experience using free night certificates to extend an existing reservation. For example- I book for my family 4 nights at a Hyatt resort- can I use a free night for the 5th night and connect the reservations? Or even using multiple free nights consecutively at the same hotel? Thanks!

  2. One thing worth noting is that it appears you cannot use a Club access award with a promotional free night.

  3. Jeffrey King, I can confirm this. I’m Explorist and was going to use my free night in Amsterdam at the Hyatt and tried attaching a Club access award to it via Twitter DM and was told that I could not use on a Chase free night award.

  4. Used mine at the Grand Hyatt DFW. Tarmac views are amazing. Lucky might have nightmares though watching all of the AA planes.

  5. Note that if you wait to use the free night till the last minute, the night is registered on the day of the check-out, not check-in, so if you check in on the 31 of December, it won’t count for the current year – thus the last night to use the free night is December 30.

  6. I booked a club access room using points and a free night award room at Hyatt Regency Tysons Corner (2 separate bookings) and was able to have the 2 reservations linked at check in and enjoyed club access rooms for both nights. Low Season though.

  7. Can you warn a free night for spending $15,000 in the card the first year, or only during anniversary years? The terms and conditions say the latter, but your post says card member year.

  8. I’m not sure exactly when this came into effect but you can share your free night certificates with any World of Hyatt member. You don’t need to be Globalist to do that. I called last year and booked a room for my daughter, just gave them her WOH number.

  9. Can’t use club access awards or TSUs by rule. If you want to keep the “everything …” title, you might want to add that.

  10. @Lucky, you should mention that the Hilton Amex Aspire Card gives the Weekend Night Certificate upon signup (after a 2-month delay), while the Marriott cards offer their free nights after anniversary renewal(s).

  11. ^^^ Edit: I guess you basically said that when you said “…every year you have the card”, but it’s a big distinction (potentially worth a lot of money) worth emphasizing

  12. Lucky, would you recommend a current holder under the old terms upgrade to the newest version for 2500 bonus points and the $20 increased annual fee. I barely put any spend on the card and I don’t stay at Hyatt’s enough to ever achieve status about the discoverist status that comes with the card.

  13. Wondering if Park Hyatt Toronto will still be Cat 4 after the renovation… Could be one of the better North American redemption choices out there during peak season.

  14. Used my cert at Park Hyatt Siem for free night that would have cost me $445, excluding taxes. That right there paid for the card several times over…

  15. Small Luxury Hotel is a great use of them as they don’t participate in the suite upgrades per se………

  16. Any restrictions that dont exist for points bookings? Im looking at Eliza Jane in New Orleans and the dates I want dont accept points (despite having “one king bed” rooms as available for revenue bookings. On different dates the same “one king bed” room is bookable with points. I hate these games.

  17. Didn’t the old Hyatt card come with a free night certificate as well? I’ve been waiting for one to post and it hasn’t.

  18. Does the free night have to be consumed by its expiration date, or just booked by that date?

  19. Anyone ever have any luck upgrading the Hyatt card free night to a suite – with points or cash?

  20. For some of us who just got the card last year, the free nights are taking much longer to post. I’m going on 7 weeks now, and still no free night award. There are a few of us on Flyertalk with this same issue. Chase says the certs will come by 10 weeks past anniversary.

  21. Don’t forget that the free night certificate includes parking if the hotel can bill it directly. I’ve stayed at the Confidante Miami Beach many times – valet parking is $40 a day and is included on award nights, certificates or points. I am sure the Hyatt Regency Miami charges for parking.

  22. If you want to get around it all, then you can use the Chase free night award with a club access award by calling it in with a paid night. I was able to use the club access award with one night paid and one night using the free certificate. It worked for me.

  23. Wish the Explorist free night cert was good for longer than 6 months. Other than that pretty solid. The shuffling of Cat 4 properties earlier this year was a bummer, especially losing the Hyatt Regency TST as a free night property with the cert.

  24. I like Hyatt – but they need to rethink some of the restrictions on the free night awards. I go through the effort to spend all my work travel nights at Hyatt, finally reach max status and they reward me with a free night that has to be used within 180 days and can’t be upgraded using a suite upgrade award? Doesn’t really make me feel valued. At a minimum the Explorist and Globalist awards should be good for a year, imho. I should be using my Cat 7 cert in the Maldives, but instead it’s getting burned in Cabo because I can’t get to the Maldives in the short timeframe allotted.

    I’ve yet to actually use a club access or suite upgrade award. Admittedly I stay at a lot of Hyatt House properties – but when I do manage to make it to one of the nicer properties there is always some reason that the upgrades can’t apply. Starting to feel like all the 500 mile upgrades in my AA account – nice to look at, but impossible to get value out of.

  25. In reality certificates can it be combined with guest of honor or globalist suite upgrades. Concierge has repeatedly said so.

    But sometimes an agent will wrote a note for guest of honor as an exception

  26. I have felt similar pain as the posts above with the restrictions on the anniversary night, but if you are not happy with it, then cancel the card. I can still have no trouble getting much more than $95 value out of booking a category 4, and have even booked, gasp, a category 3 with a certificate in the past.

  27. @ SB – “This Free Night Award is valid only for the guest room and may not be applied toward food, beverage, incidental expenses, service charges, or hotel specific charges.”

  28. Kind of surreal to see the hotel I’m currently staying at in the list of hotels in the pics (Hyatt Regency Miami) and a hotel I stayed at a couple weeks ago (Confidante) being used as the example!

  29. Andaz Capital Gate Abu Dhabi & Hyatt Regency Casablanca on RTW19 this past May 🙂

    Andaz had 6 pm checkout with huge King room on the overhanging part of the structure. HR Casablanca had 1st night paid 1 bedroom suite and use cert for 2nd w lounge add on.

    Year before was at HR southwest Florida. Same pay 1st night for full gulf view & use cert for 2nd night

    Great value for This lowly Discoverist ;-).

  30. @Nancy- agreed. My one year anniversary and monthly closing date was June 28th. It’s now August 20th and I still haven’t received my free night. Last year it was almost instantly.

  31. Until my “free night” expired the other night I had been trying to use it in Hong Kong. No rooms were open for free night. Even though all news reports say hotels are running at 50%. I don’t believe the availability sham.

  32. Hyatt’s terms and conditions specifically allow gifting of free night awards. See Appendix B(II)(13): “Members may request that certain awards be issued to another person. Free Night Awards, certain Room Upgrade Awards, and Points + Cash Awards are currently eligible to be gifted to another person, as permitted under this provision.”

  33. @nancy I’m SO glad you posted this. My anniversary was July 11, and haven’t seen my Free Night yet. Emailed chase, and got the standard “it can take 10 weeks” line. I canceled my old card last year right after my night posted….which was immediately after my anniversary date. I reapplied because of the 60,000 point bonus. Hyatt claims it’s Chase’s fault, but I want to book rooms for Christmas, and don’t want them to disappear!!

  34. Dear all, I am living in Europe and to my knowledge these credit cards are only for US citizens. Is there anyone who has an idea how I can apply / work around?


  35. No annual free night received for this year even though annual fee hit two weeks ago.

    Did they get rid of this benefit?

  36. I tried booking a free night award online but I am only seeing the option to use points for the property I want to stay at. I called Hyatt and they said free night awards inventory is in a different bucket than points redemption inventory. So this seems to go against what Ben wrote – “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.” Anybody have the same issue?

  37. Same here as many other people have commented — the Free anniversary night is taking MUCH longer to post this year. I’m going on 8 weeks since I paid the annual fee. Will wait until 10 weeks have gone by and then will call Chase to find out what’s going on…

  38. Any tips on the best way to “search” the Hyatt website for dates that these free nights are actually available to use? I agree these free nights are a great deal, but finding availability is ridiculous. As an example, I searched a particular category 4 hotel and found only one single free night over a span of 6 months. And that required literally going in and doing a search for every single date one-by-one during that time period. What was even more frustrating was that the one free night I found, it was gone when I went back and searched for it again just a few minutes later. I waited until the next day and it was mysteriously available again. I also called the Explorist hotline hoping they might have a different view and be able to just tell me what nights were available. They were not able to help. They stated they need to search the same way a customer does.

  39. Been waiting for 8 weeks so I asked Hyatt this morning about the timeframe. They replied I should be able to see it in 2 weeks, which means now you have to wait for 10 WEEKS for free night certificate.
    So there is no “typically posts much faster than that” this kind of thing anymore.

  40. My My Awards tab shows only Brand Explorer. The Free Nights and Free Upgrades sections do not exist, though I am due another free night (not sure it’s there yet). Is this happening to anyone else?

  41. This statement:
    “(note that certificates issued between March 1 and December 31, 2020, will now be valid through December 31, 2021)”
    is inconsistent with the linked article, which states:
    “If they were supposed to expire between March 1 and December 31, 2020, they will now expire on December 31, 2021; that’s right, they’re extending expiration by anywhere from 12 to 22 months.”
    Mine expires April 1, 2021, so it would have been extended under this article, but NOT under the prior article.
    Based on the prior article, I just used mine for a one-night stay here in LA while some work is being done on my building. With travel restrictions in place, I thought it was unlikely I could use it abroad (i.e., Grand Hyatt in Bangkok) before April 1.

    You might want to clarify/confirm which of the two statements is correct.

  42. Yep, as the other poster mentioned, you do NOT need to be a Globalist to use one of these free night certificates for ANY World of Hyatt member. You just have to give their name and Hyatt # and they can transfer it to their account. My kids have done this several times. Note that the person who you give it to will get benefits at the level they are at. (i.e. if a Discoverist gives the certificate to a Globalist then the Globalist will still get their benefits.

  43. @Lucky, you state “note that certificates issued between March 1 and December 31, 2020” would now have an expiration date of 12/31/21. Is that true? I thought I read it was those expiring during that time period. Just wondering as I have a few that were issued during that period and would love if they were extended haha. Thanks!

  44. my husband and i both have a free night from last year, and another one upcoming with the annual renewal, but with travel being what it is right now, we aint going any damn place!!! and we arent interested in any “staycation”!!!

  45. FYI for all I have not received my 2020 certificates but my 10/2019 certificates have an expiration of 12/31/21.

    On another note dates for the free night certificate were not showing up at a category 3 I just booked. Points bookings were but not using the free night. I had to DM the Hyatt concierge account on twitter

  46. @Jonathan Parker, I have same question but cannot find any specific answer to this on Hyatt website. Hopefully someone here knows the answer.

  47. You should update the section “Can Hyatt free night certificates be redeemed for others?”

    Hyatt’s terms and conditions specifically allow gifting of free night awards to other members. You do not have to be a Globalist to gift a free night award. See Appendix B(II)(13) of the terms and conditions.

  48. I think it’s worthwhile to mention that these free night awards cannot be used in conjunction of club access awards (explorist benefit).

  49. Hyatt extended last years cert by 1 year to June of 2021, and the current one til Dec 2021. Marriott though only extended last years cert to Jan 2021 – which maybe hard to use. Nice job on Hyatt’s part.

  50. @EW: To amplify what you just mentioned – would it be possible for my non-Globalist wife to gift me her free night cert, thus enabling the Globalist benefits that I have? That would be valuable.

  51. Hey @Lucky, I know that the article mentions that chase hyatt 1-4 category free nights would qualify as EQN once redeemed – I have 2 of them with the 2020 free cert. extended to end of 2021. Then the free night certificate for spending 15k on the chase hyatt – would all these qualify as EQNs?

    Lastly, any idea if these free night certs are redeemed during Bonus Journeys in jan/feb 2021, if we would still get the extra EQN with the promotion? That would be valuable info for some planning, thanks!

  52. Hi,
    I have multiple certs but can’t get the free nights to show up if I search for more than one day. Do I have to book each cert separately one night at a time? The system seems to only show points if I put in more than one night?

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