Guide To Hyatt Free Night Award Certificates

Guide To Hyatt Free Night Award Certificates

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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 restrictions are there 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

For some context on the potential value of these certificates:

  • World of Hyatt ordinarily charges 15,000 points per night for a Category 4 hotel
  • World of Hyatt ordinarily charges 30,000 points per night for a Category 7 hotel
  • As of March 2022, World of Hyatt will introduce peak and off-peak award pricing, so the potential value of the certificates will go up, since a Category 4 will cost up to 18,000 points, while a Category 7 will cost up to 35,000 points (the certificates will be valid even in peak season)
The Park Hyatt Saigon is a Category 4 property

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.

The Hyatt Centric Fort Lauderdale is a Category 4 property

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, 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

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).

Doing a search for Miami, that leaves several options. One stands out as being the best value in terms of the cost if paying cash, and that would be The Confidante Miami Beach, an Unbound Collection property.

When you click the “View Rates” option, 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 one-night stay at this hotel in December, the cheapest paid rate would be over $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 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
The Hyatt Regency Dusseldorf is a Category 4 property

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.

Enjoy all elite perks when redeeming free night certificates

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.

Share your Hyatt Globalist perks with Guest of Honor

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 15,000 points per night, 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.

Sometimes it can make sense to redeem at lower category properties

Bottom line

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?

Conversations (21)
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  1. Sumeet

    You’d want to use the free night certificate at either the Park Hyatt Zanzibar or Saigon. I have a few nights booked during Christmas and the price is excess of 450$.

  2. Regis

    The most generous free night certificate feature among hotel loyalty programs. In a little more than two years, between card anniversaries, minimum card spending, milestones awards, brand portfolio stay awards, I have earned 10 such free night certificates. Coupled with suite upgrades because of globalist status, I gather have gotten more than $4K value from thiese guys The cat 7 award I used at the Park Hyatt NYC alone was worth >1K. I hv top...

    The most generous free night certificate feature among hotel loyalty programs. In a little more than two years, between card anniversaries, minimum card spending, milestones awards, brand portfolio stay awards, I have earned 10 such free night certificates. Coupled with suite upgrades because of globalist status, I gather have gotten more than $4K value from thiese guys The cat 7 award I used at the Park Hyatt NYC alone was worth >1K. I hv top tier status with the other big three hotel companies but none of them provide value that comes even close to WOH.

  3. David

    The first free night cat 1 to 4 for paying the annual fee is a good deal, but I can’t see spending $15,000 to get a second free night. Another credit card I have pays me back 2% cash on all spending, so $15,000 spending = $300. I don’t think most cat 1 to 4 stays would be worth $300.

    1. Jeremy

      But you would also get the 15k (or more depending on bonus categories) points from the spending so that is another free Category 4 night.

    2. Darin

      Maybe not worth $300 alone, but you’d also have at least 15k WOH points (likely more assuming you’re making purchases in bonused categories) and 6 elite nights. I can see where the elite nights may have zero value to many (if you’re not going to reach Globalist, Explorist doesn’t give you much additional value), but even 1 free night + a bare minimum of 15k points easily beats $300 if you’re playing the game right…

  4. Randy

    "If you want to redeem free night certificates for back-to-back nights, you may have to do so by phone"

    This is not always true. Each night has to be booked separately for the CC night to show. Even if you call Hyatt Reservations - the agents have to book each night separately.

    Three days ago - I was on the phone with multiple reservations supervisors for a couple of hours.

    - Trying to book 2...

    "If you want to redeem free night certificates for back-to-back nights, you may have to do so by phone"

    This is not always true. Each night has to be booked separately for the CC night to show. Even if you call Hyatt Reservations - the agents have to book each night separately.

    Three days ago - I was on the phone with multiple reservations supervisors for a couple of hours.

    - Trying to book 2 consecutive nights at an MGM property.
    - To redeem with CC cert or points required 2 night minimum. The Sat night would not show by itself - but show for 2 nights..
    - Agents have to do the same thing - book each night individually.
    - Supervisor says she can't either. But what she could do (if it was a Hyatt owned property) is override availability for the second night - so she could then book it with the cert as an individual night. And the Friday night would be booked separately.
    - Issue was - Hyatt supervisor cannot override availability on MGM properties since Hyatt does not control it.
    - Posted on Flyertalk and response was to use the Pay Your Way feature. Problem is Pay Your Way isn't supported for MGM.
    - Agents did not even know about Pay You Way - which allows to to choose from a member rate and then select different payment types for each night - say night 1 pay, night2 CC cert, night 3 points all on one reservation.

    Net I had to book the second night at a different hotel.

    But then one day ago - Sat night by itself opened at the property so I was able to cancel the other booking for the 2nd night and book the same property (as the first night) as a single night stay. So now I have two single night stays but consecutive.

  5. Jackson

    You mentioned that you may want to book via phone to make back to back free night award bookings but imo the best way to do that is to start as if you're making a cash booking, select Pay My Way, then select the free night awards for each night.

  6. Evan

    Resort fees are waived at checkin for Globalists (even though they appear when booking online)... or are they charged and then reimbursed?

    For clarity, I'm not referring to award stays (when all members get resort fees reimbursed) but for paid stays..

    1. Rick

      I've never had them charged/show upon checkout. Just review your folio prior and make sure they've been taken off, if they do reflect on there.

  7. Al

    Chase is playing tricks here, for 2021: Any spending ON the account anniversary date does not count to the $15K spending, as they claim the spend will reset to $0 on the day AFTER your account anniversary date. However, such reset was not discussed anywhere in the public marketing material. I am escalating this issue to their customer service but also looking for any advice here.

    1. UA-NYC

      Are you planning on spending massive $ on that specific day? Feels like a small problem in the big scheme of things.

    2. Al

      Only if I know. They confirmed that I satisfied the requirement when I called to check, before my next anniversary date. But then the award does not show up - I msged again and now they came up with the resetting thing on the 2nd day of account anniversary date, which is unheard of.

  8. Darin

    I discovered last night that you can now book back-to-back stays with FNC's (or mix-and-match with points). When you select the option for using WOH awards, there is a "Pay Your Way" (or some variation on that) button next to the Book option, when you click on it, you can select an option for each night. In my case, I had two FNC's and was able to select both of them, but it also would...

    I discovered last night that you can now book back-to-back stays with FNC's (or mix-and-match with points). When you select the option for using WOH awards, there is a "Pay Your Way" (or some variation on that) button next to the Book option, when you click on it, you can select an option for each night. In my case, I had two FNC's and was able to select both of them, but it also would have let me book 1 night with a FNC and 1 night with WOH points. I think this only comes up if you have certs in your account, as now that I've used mine up, I only see the "Book" option.

  9. tim

    What about getting Cat 1-4 certs extended after expiration? WOH used to have you wait until after the cert expired, then calling in to have 12,000 points put in your account as a courtesy, but I didn't know if that was still being offered

    1. Chauney

      The Hyatt rep I spoke to said they no longer offer that. I only asked one rep, but may try again if I can't use my cert before it expires at the end of August.

    2. skimegheath

      So I have been a globalist for several years. I am not American so earned it through hotel stays. Anyway I have several certificates expiring - including free nights and Suite Night Upgrades. I live in Melbourne so it is almost impossible to use them. I went to my concierge and begged for them to be extended - give my past history (literally over 200 nights a year pre pandemic) and was told no. No...

      So I have been a globalist for several years. I am not American so earned it through hotel stays. Anyway I have several certificates expiring - including free nights and Suite Night Upgrades. I live in Melbourne so it is almost impossible to use them. I went to my concierge and begged for them to be extended - give my past history (literally over 200 nights a year pre pandemic) and was told no. No great shock they agreed to extend my use of the concierge service. The cynic in me says that my local Australian concierge will have no job if they don't extend that for all long term globalists.

  10. Chauney

    One detail that burned me recently is the expiration date. Free night certs need to be redeemed the night before the expiration. So in the example showing an expiration of 12/31, the cert has to be used for a stay checking in by 12/30 at the latest. I had assumed that a stay checking in on the expiration date would qualify but I believe Hyatt is unique in this regard.

  11. Rick

    Good luck getting your free night with the Chase Hyatt Credit Card! Been 8 weeks and still nothing. Chase says there is a delay...eventhough I've paid my annual fee and have had the card for 6 years. AKA: We don't care. Ridiculous.

  12. Daniel

    Just booked 2 that I had last week. Only issue I had was the website showing space (i.e., rooms for 15,000 points, so the FNA's were unavailable to use. Phone representative even pointed out the website occasionally does that. Minor inconvenience, but made great use of the awards and saved us several hundred dollars over the weekend--easily outweighing the $95 AF.

  13. khatl

    Very easy and straight-forward to redeem FNAs. My biggest peeve with the Guest of Honor is that you can't use a suite upgrade award for your guest. They can only be used on your own stays.

  14. Steve

    Thank you for the summary, lots of readers like me got the world of hyatt card last december/january when it made getting globalist very easy. I found great value so far with my $15k spend and brand explorer nights booking cat 3 & 4 hotels for the upcoming football season, many small college towns have hyatt place or hyatt house which normally are ~$125 a night but on big gameday weekends the paid rates are $400+ so its great value to use the certificates.

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Steve

Thank you for the summary, lots of readers like me got the world of hyatt card last december/january when it made getting globalist very easy. I found great value so far with my $15k spend and brand explorer nights booking cat 3 & 4 hotels for the upcoming football season, many small college towns have hyatt place or hyatt house which normally are ~$125 a night but on big gameday weekends the paid rates are $400+ so its great value to use the certificates.

Sumeet

You’d want to use the free night certificate at either the Park Hyatt Zanzibar or Saigon. I have a few nights booked during Christmas and the price is excess of 450$.

Regis

The most generous free night certificate feature among hotel loyalty programs. In a little more than two years, between card anniversaries, minimum card spending, milestones awards, brand portfolio stay awards, I have earned 10 such free night certificates. Coupled with suite upgrades because of globalist status, I gather have gotten more than $4K value from thiese guys The cat 7 award I used at the Park Hyatt NYC alone was worth >1K. I hv top tier status with the other big three hotel companies but none of them provide value that comes even close to WOH.

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