Don’t make the mistake I did.
The World of Hyatt program was introduced early last year (replacing Hyatt Gold Passport… RIP), and one of the new aspects of the program is that frequent guests receive quite a few free night certificates:
- If you have the World of Hyatt Credit Card, you get an annual Category 1-4 free night certificate
- For staying 30 qualifying nights or earning 50,000 base points per year, you get an annual Category 1-4 free night certificate
- For staying 60 qualifying nights or earning 100,000 base points per year, you get an annual Category 1-7 free night certificate
- While this can only be earned once, World of Hyatt members get one Category 1-4 free night certificate after trying five different Hyatt brands, and another Category 1-4 certificate after trying another five Hyatt brands
The expiration dates of these certificates vary — the one offered by the credit card is valid for a year, while historically the ones offered for qualifying for Explorist and Globalist status were valid for only 120 days. However, as of the beginning of this year, Hyatt changed the expiration policy, and increased their validity from 120 days to 180 days.
I always thought 120 days was a fairly short window in which to maximize a certificate like this, though I didn’t think the expiration policy would directly impact me, since I figured I’d be able to maximize it within that period. After all, I spend a lot of nights in hotels, and have a lot of discretion as to where I stay.
Well, I just realized that my Category 1-7 certificates is expiring in less than a week, and I have no plans for it. Oops!
I’m not at this point because I’ve been completely careless and forgot about it, but rather I’m at this point because I’ve been trying so hard to maximize it, that I lost sight of the expiration.
I can’t believe I made this mistake, but I also feel like this is one of my issues as someone who is constantly looking to maximize rewards. In the same way that you want to redeem miles for top first & business class products at the best rates, you also want to redeem a Category 1-7 certificate at as expensive of a property as possible.
Clearly I tried too hard to maximize, and it’s backfiring. I remember in February I had considered using this at the Andaz 5th Avenue New York for a night, but thought to myself “that’s only a Category 6, I’m sure I’ll find a way to redeem at a Category 7.”
I recently stayed at the Park Hyatt Paris, though I made that booking last year, and couldn’t use the certificate, because there were no standard rooms available by the time I was issued my free night certificate.
Of course now I realize that I should have just used the certificate for something decent, rather than trying so hard to maximize.
I’m in the Seychelles for a few more days, though the way things are looking, I guess I’ll just redeem it for a stay at an airport hotel in the nick of time. I might as well at least earn the elite qualifying night from my stay. I do wish they made the policy change of extending the expiration from 120 days to 180 days retroactive, but I guess that’s wishful thinking.
Has anyone else had a Hyatt free night certificate expire, or ended up redeeming it sub-optimally?