For the First Quarter of 2014, Free Nights Are Back at Hyatt!

Hyatt’s promotions don’t run on a strictly quarter-by-quarter basis, and the next Hyatt Gold Passport promotion is no exception — this one will run January 15 through April 30th.

And it offers a choice between bonus points and free nights.

In both cases you will earn rewards for every 5 nights you stay during the promotion period, for each 5 night increment up to 20 nights (the promotion is capped at 20 nights, which strikes me as fairly low for a promotion that lasts 3 1/2 months).

Here’s the bonus earning table if you choose to earn points:

At the upper end of 20 nights that’s 2500 points per night, which is pretty strong for the current environment.

If you choose to earn free nights you will earn one that can redeemed for any Hyatt hotel property up to category 4 (that’s the same restriction as the annual free night earned via the Hyatt Visa).

In many ways, the free nights are far more valuable than points — especially at the lower number of nights. A category 4 free night ‘costs’ 15,000 Gold Passport points, so here’s the effective number of points you would earn if you choose free nights over points:

If you stay just 5 nights, you can earn a free night ‘worth’ 15,000 points instead of earning a 5000 point bonus. That’s clearly the better choice for most.

Even at the top end of 20 nights, the free nights you earn are ‘worth’ 60,000 points — instead of earning a 50,000 point bonus.

However, there are several drawbacks to free nights compared to points:

  • Free nights can’t be upgraded using more points or Diamond confirmed suite upgrades.
  • Free nights expire. These will have to be redeemed by July 31.
  • Free nights don’t count towards status, whereas points redeemed for Hyatt’s new cash and points awards will.
  • The free nights are capped at category 4, while points can be combined with other points and redeemed for higher award category hotels.
  • You might wind up choosing to use the free nights at hotels below category 4, in which case earning points might have been more lucrative.

I already expect to have 16 nights during the first five weeks of the promotion period, so it’s almost inconceivable that I won’t earn the full bonus from this promotion. I’m going to choose points as 50,000 are more valuable to me than four free nights at a category 4 hotel. I can combine the points towards higher value properties and I can use them for cash and points bookings (provided availability shakes out well when those are introduced next month) which cont towards status and can be upgraded with Diamond confirmed suite upgrades.

Overall this is a pretty strong promotion compared to recent offerings from Hyatt and other chains, which good value offered after only a few nights. I wish the earnings continued to grow for heavy staying guests, and of course I wish the free nights weren’t capped at category 4.

Sadly, and of course, the free night component of the bonus is no ‘Faster Free Nights’ — you knew that when Hyatt offers a promotion for free nights, a comparison to the Greatest. Hotel. Promotion. Ever. must be made. You won’t earn free nights every two stays and they won’t be good at any Hyatt in the world.

But any free nights, and a free night after five nights stayed in addition to usual points-earning is pretty good. And for folks staying closer to the full 20 nights, the points option is a great alternative.

Registration isn’t set to open until January 9.

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About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Good enough for me. Just moved a whole bunch of nights over to Hyatt during the promotion period. The ones that aren’t at Hyatt will be at SPG most likely.

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