In addition to being able to redeem World of Hyatt points for hotel stays, program members also have the opportunity to earn free night certificates, which can be redeemed for stays at hotels.
In this post I wanted to talk about everything you need to know about World of Hyatt free night award certificates — how do you earn them, how can you redeem them, and what are the restrictions associated with them?
How do you earn Hyatt free night awards?
There are a variety of ways to earn World of Hyatt award free night certificates:
- You can earn a Category 1-4 free night certificate on your account anniversary every year just for having the World of Hyatt Credit Card (review); this expires 12 months after it’s issued
- You can earn a second Category 1-4 free night certificate when you spend $15,000 on the World of Hyatt Card in a year (I consider this to be a spending sweet spot on the card); this expires 12 months after it’s issued
- As part of the World of Hyatt Milestone Rewards program, you can earn a Category 1-4 free night certificate after earning 30 elite nights in a calendar year; this expires 180 days after it’s issued
- As part of the World of Hyatt Milestone Rewards program, you can earn a Category 1-7 free night certificate after earning 60 elite nights in a calendar year; this expires 180 days after it’s issued
- As part of the World of Hyatt Brand Explorer promotion, you can earn a Category 1-4 free night certificate for every five Hyatt brands you stay at cumulatively; this expires 12 months after it’s issued
- World of Hyatt lifetime Globalist members receive a Category 1-7 free night certificate annually, in addition to any others they may earn through the above methods; this expires 180 days after it’s issued
For some context on the potential value of these certificates:
- World of Hyatt ordinarily charges 12,000-18,000 points per night for a Category 4 hotel
- World of Hyatt ordinarily charges 25,000-35,000 points per night for a Category 7 hotel
- With World of Hyatt having peak and off-peak pricing, you can redeem certificates up the maximum allowed category, even in peak season
- There’s no option to use points to top off these award certificates and redeem at more expensive properties, unlike with the free night awards issued by IHG One Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy
- For the expiration dates listed above, those are the dates by which you have to stay, and not just the dates by which you have to book
How do you access your Hyatt free night awards?
If you want to see your free night award certificates, just log into your World of Hyatt account. Once in there, click on the “My Awards” section. There you’ll see how many awards you have, what kind of awards you have, and when they expire (you have to stay by the expiration date, and not just book by then). You can click on “Terms & Conditions” if you want to see the terms associated with them.
You can generally expect that your free night awards will be deposited in your World of Hyatt account within a few weeks of completing eligible activity, though often even faster than that.
How do you redeem your Hyatt free night awards?
The process of redeeming your Hyatt free night awards is pretty easy, and can be done online. There are two ways you can approach this:
- You can just start searching properties at hyatt.com with the “use points” function, and seeing which are eligible for these certificates based on the award cost
- You can check out the World of Hyatt hotel explorer feature, where you can filter hotels by category, region, etc., to get inspiration
As you start to redeem World of Hyatt free night award certificates, there are a few things to note:
- For Hyatt properties, there should be no blackout dates when redeeming these certificates; as long as a standard room is available, you should also be able to redeem a certificate for this
- You can even redeem free night certificates at Small Luxury Hotels of the World properties, assuming they belong to an eligible category; however, award redemptions at these hotels have capacity controls
- All World of Hyatt members redeeming free night certificates don’t have to pay destination or resort fees
- World of Hyatt Globalist members redeeming free night certificates receive free parking
- World of Hyatt has a separate award chart for all-inclusive properties, and free night certificates can’t be redeemed for stays at those properties
- Unfortunately World of Hyatt has an increasing number of Category 8 properties, so Category 1-7 certificates can’t be redeemed at those properties
With that in mind, I think the easiest way to redeem is to just start searching on hyatt.com. Search availability for the city or hotel you want, and go through the process as if you’re trying to make a points booking, by clicking 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 within the range of the certificate you have (in other words, for a Category 1-4 free night certificate you’d want it to cost no more than 15,000 points per night).
For example, take the tommie Hollywood, which is a new Hyatt property in Los Angeles that’s a fairly good use of a free night certificate.
When you click through and view rates, you’ll be able to select whether you want to redeem your free night award certificate or points.
For what it’s worth, for a random one-night stay at this hotel, the cheapest paid rate would be over $280 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 the $95 annual fee World of Hyatt Credit Card can be used here.
There are a couple of situations in which you may want to book by phone:
- If you want to redeem free night certificates for back-to-back nights, you may want to do so by phone (alternatively you can use the “Pay My Way” feature online, in which case you’d want to start your search as if you’re making a paid stay, rather than an award stay)
- Hyatt automatically pulls whatever free night certificate expires next when you book online, which isn’t an issue if you only have Category 1-4 certificates, but it is an issue if you also have a Category 1-7 certificate; if you do, make sure you book by phone, so you can be sure the right certificate is pulled
Elite perks when redeeming Hyatt free night awards?
Much like an award night booked using points, stays booked with free night award certificates are eligible for all World of Hyatt elite benefits. If you’re a Globalist member you’ll receive a suite upgrade subject to availability, complimentary breakfast, lounge access, etc. The only restriction is that you can’t redeem a suite upgrade award or redeem a club access award for stays booked with free night awards.
Furthermore, Hyatt stays booked with free night awards are eligible to earn elite qualifying nights, so they can help you jump to the next elite tier, or help you reach the next Milestone Rewards perk.
Can you use Hyatt free night awards for others?
Assuming you’re a World of Hyatt Globalist member, you can redeem Hyatt free night awards for others through the Guest of Honor program. Not only does this allow you to treat someone else to a hotel stay, but they’d even receive your Globalist elite perks when staying, which is all the better.
Guest of Honor bookings are one of my favorite aspects of the World of Hyatt program.
How do you maximize Hyatt free night awards?
I figured it made sense to briefly share my strategy when it comes to redeeming Hyatt free night award certificates. To keep things simple, let me talk about Category 1-4 free night certificates.
While they can be redeemed at properties costing up to 18,000 points per night (in peak season), I wouldn’t value them that high, given the expiration date of the certificates (meanwhile points never expire in conjunction with activity).
Does it only make sense to redeem a Category 1-4 free night certificate at a Category 4 hotel, or under what circumstances could it make sense to redeem at a hotel that requires fewer points? My general approach is as follows:
- If a certificate still has over three months before it expires, I’ll generally only redeem it for the highest category possible, since there’s no need to settle for less
- Within three months of expiration, I will often redeem it for one category lower, since the worst thing that could happen is if the certificate expires without being used
For example, while I’ve typically used Category 1-4 free night certificates at Category 4 properties, I’ve also a couple of times redeemed them at Category 3 properties, when I wasn’t 100% sure I’d be able to use them otherwise. I think that’s ultimately still a great deal, especially if it’s a property where the cash rate would be high.
Everyone should consider their own situation, though. For example, some people consistently plan all of their travel six or more months in advance, and in that case you wouldn’t want to wait as long as I do to try to maximize certificates.
There are several ways to earn World of Hyatt free night certificates, whether it’s through the World of Hyatt Credit Card, or through earning status in the World of Hyatt program. There’s lots of value to be had with these certificates, and I’ve consistently been able to maximize their value pretty well.
Hopefully the above answers any questions you may have about Hyatt free night award certificates, though if I missed anything, please let me know.
What has your experience been with Hyatt free night award certificates?