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ToP Guide to Hyatt Free Night Awards

This ToP Guide walks through the ins and outs of Hyatt free night awards certificates, which offer excellent value and are easy to use.
Travel on Point(s) has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Travel on Point(s) and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

ToP Guide to Hyatt Free Night Awards

This ToP Guide walks through the ins and outs of Hyatt free night awards certificates, which offer excellent value and are easy to use.

Travel on Point(s) has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Travel on Point(s) and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

Hyatt free night awards are a great way to enjoy some free stays at Hyatt properties. Earning and redeeming these certificates is pretty straightforward. You can redeem these certificates even during peak pricing. And since Hyatt does not have dynamic pricing, you don't ever have to worry about whether your certificate will actually cover a stay. In this ToP Guide, we walk you through how to earn free night awards, the rules for redeeming these certificates, and how to use them. We also share some valuable tips and recommendations along the way.

What are Hyatt Free Night Awards

Hyatt free night awards certificates are valid for a one-night stay and come in two tiers. One tier can be redeemed at properties up to category 4, and the other tier can be redeemed at properties up to category 7. Although Hyatt's award chart includes peak pricing, you can still redeem certificates for peak awards. Hyatt does have a separate award chart for all-inclusive properties, which cannot be booked via free night certificates.

Category 4 properties charge at most 18,000 points during peak. Hyatt category 7 properties charge at most 35,000 during peak. So a category 1-4 or category 1-7 certificate can be “worth” up to 18,000 or 35,000 points. Of course, both types of certificates can save you hundreds of dollars depending on what the actual cash cost of a night is when you redeem it. But remember: unlike points, Hyatt certificates actually expire.

Hyatt does not issue certificates valid for stays at category 8 properties. This excludes famous properties like the Park Hyatt hotels in New York City, Kyoto, and Sydney. This is one way in which Hilton's Free Night Rewards certificates can be more valuable than Hyatt's certificates, since you can redeem Hilton certificates at over 99% of Hilton's properties worldwide.

You can view your existing Hyatt certificates under “My Awards” when you log into your World of Hyatt account. The website displays the category level and expiration dates clearly.

Hyatt's website makes keeping track of your Hyatt certificates is easy.

How to Earn Free Night Awards Certificates

You can earn Hyatt certificates with the World of Hyatt Credit Card from Chase(review), as milestone rewards through the World of Hyatt program, and through Hyatt's Brand Explorer program.

The Hyatt credit card earns you a category 1-4 certificate each year on your card anniversary. You can also earn a second category 1-4 certificate when you spend $15,000 on your Hyatt credit card each year. Consider timing the $15,000 spend on the Hyatt credit card to match your card anniversary. Doing so means you'll have two certificates that expire pretty close to each other. In fact, when you first open the card, you could time to earn 3 certificates expiring close to each other. You can do this by first hitting the first $15,000 spend as close to (but before) the card anniversary as possible. Then, you would spend another $15,000 right after the statement closes following your card anniversary date. This would earn you 3 certificates (two from spending and one from the anniversary) all expiring with a few weeks of each other.

You can also earn free night certificates through World of Hyatt's milestone rewards. Reaching 30 elite nights with Hyatt earns you a category 1-4 certificate. You can also earn a category 1-7 certificate when you reach 60 nights, which is also the threshold for reaching top tier Globalist status.

Lastly, you earn one category 1-4 certificate through the Brand Explorer program every time you stay at 5 new Hyatt brands. Currently, Hyatt has 26 different brands. This means you can earn up to 5 certificates as a Brand Explorer award.

Unfortunately, the World Of Hyatt Business Credit Card(review) does not offer the ability to earn any certificates.

You can redeem a category 1-7 certificate to stay at Château La Chenevière in Normandy, France.

Rules for Redeeming Hyatt Certificates

Certificates earned through the Hyatt credit card and through the brand explorer program are valid for 12 months from the date of issuance. Certificates earned as milestone rewards are valid for 180 days from the date of issuance. You must complete your stay by the certificate's expiration date. This means that if your certificate expires on December 31, you must check out by December 31.

Hyatt lets you gift free night certificates (unlike Hilton and Marriott), but you do have to call to book when gifting a certificate. The holder of the certificate must make the reservation, which must be in the name of the person actually staying. This can be a great way to earn some Hyatt elite night credits if you have friends or relatives with certificates to give away. And if you're a Globalist, you can redeem a certificate for someone else while also granting them the benefits of Globalist status through the Guest of Honor program.

Lastly, elite benefits apply to free night awards just like they do with points bookings.

You can use a category 1-7 certificate to stay at The Cape, A Thompson Hotel in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Using Free Night Awards Certificates

You can redeem Hyatt certificates online or over the phone by calling 800.544.9288. Redeeming certificates online is as easy as redeeming World of Hyatt points. You can redeem your certificate as long as the hotel has standard rooms available.

The one time you'll want to book by phone is if you want to use a category 1-4 certificate but have a category 1-7 certificate expiring first. This is because Hyatt automatically redeems the certificate with the earliest expiration date. In this scenario, we recommend booking over the phone to make sure the correct certificate is used.

To redeem a free night certificate online, simply search for the property where you want to redeem. Make sure to check the box to book by using points. If you want to combine a free night certificate with points for a longer stay, there's a separate method for this, which we cover below.

Check the box to use points when you're not combining your certificates with any points or cash.

If you don't have a hotel or city in mind, you can use the Hyatt website's handy “Explore Hotels” function. This shows you a map of all Hyatt hotels. You can click the Filters option to limit your search by category. The screenshot below shows all your options to use a category 1-4 in the U.S. Hovering the cursor over each of the blue dots will show information about that hotel. You can also zoom in and out of the map as needed.

Hyatt's “Explore Hotels” function is an easy way to search for hotels by category.

In this example, we'll look to redeem a certificate at the Grand Hyatt Washington, which is a category 4 property. When you search for award availability and you have eligible certificates that can be redeemed for that stay, Hyatt's website shows “Free Night” as an option. Note how this is different from the result next to it showing you can book the same room for 18,000 points:

Stays bookable with a Hyatt certificate appear as a “Free Night” on Hyatt's website.

After selecting the “Free Night” option, you can complete the booking like you would any other reservation. And just like with points bookings, free night stays do not incur any taxes or fees.

The price summary confirms that the booking involves a free night certificate instead of points.

Combining Free Night Awards with Points or Cash

The search process is slightly different if you want to combine a free night certificate with points or cash. When searching for availability, do not check the box to use points. Just search for a cash booking instead. This sounds counterintuitive, but doing so will bring up Hyatt's “Pay My Way” feature.

Leave the “Use Points” box unchecked if you want to combine your certificate with points or cash for a longer stay.

Searching for a cash rate enables the option to use Pay My Way, which lets you book your stay with a combination of cash, points, and awards. In this examples, I expanded the search to two nights instead of one. This brought up the option to use Pay My Way, which shows up just under the “Book Now” button among the search results:

Click the Pay My Way option if you want to book with a combination of points, cash, and awards.

With Pay My Way, you can select to pay each night with points, free night certificates, cash, or a combination of points + cash. The Pay My Way page shows you how many points and free night awards you have available for the booking.

You can combine free night awards with points or cash via Pay My Way.

Once you select your combination, you can complete the booking just like a regular reservation. The reservation summary shows that you are booking via Pay My Way and how you're paying for each night.

The reservation summary confirms we're using Pay My Way for this booking.

If you want to book a stay through a combination of free night certificates and cash, we do not recommend using Pay My Way. Unfortunately, Pay My Way is only available with more expensive rates like Standard Rates and Member Rates. Hyatt often has lower cash offerings, such as non-refundable rates or other promotions. You cannot book these via Pay My Way. To get the best of both worlds, just redeem your certificate as a standalone booking, and book the lowest cash rate you find as a separate booking. Then, call Hyatt to combine those reservations into a single one (or reach out via Twitter).

Final Thoughts

Hyatt free night awards are straightforward to use and can be very rewarding. We enjoy using them on their own for short stays or combining them with points for longer stays. Also, the many different ways to earn these certificates make it possible to put together an entire trip just with free night awards. Just remember to keep expiration dates in mind.

What is your favorite use of Hyatt free night awards? Come share your experience in our Facebook group!

Travel on Point(s) has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Travel on Point(s) and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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