Loyalty Traveler offers an extensive rundown of Hyatt stay certificates. The prices on the three bottom categories have recently gone up a bit, but the thing that’s made them less useful than they used to be is that the categories that hotels are assigned to, and thus the prices of some of the hotel values, have gone up substantially. But there are nonetheless some real values to be had.
In the olden days I used to make Hyatt certificate stay reservations, and only buy the certificates once I was certain of my plans. The reservations themselves are cancellable. And if I still needed to cancel the stay after buying the certificate, that’s fine, I could always use the certificate on a future stay within a year.
The cost of many of these stay certificates are less than paying for the room outright. I used to use the Grand Hyatt all the time when it was at the Premier level, $165 all-in including tax for a room there when rates could be going in the mid-$400s or low-$500s a night. In fact I once booked two rooms for eleven nights at that rate. Those 22 room nices were obtained at nearly a 75% discount to the advance purchase price once taxes were factored. Amazing.
Sadly, Hyatt changed the booking system to require the ‘certificate code’ off of each certificate in order to book a certificate stay. They wanted to clamp down on my practice of booking the room first (ensuring that certificate stay inventory was available) before buying the certificates. Put another way, they were doing their best to avoid undercutting their own web pricing through the sale of these certificates.
Of course, it wasn’t hard to figure out the certificate codes. These weren’t codes tied to each individual certificate, but rather codes tied to the type of certificate. Premier certificates used PR in the code. The number in the code corresponded to the number of nights you were using certificates for. (I always used one night certificates because they’d be more flexible in the future, that 22 room night booking some years back included the use of 22 one-night certificates.)
These stays don’t earn elite credit or points, but elite status has always been recognized in my experience. And the cost savings can very much be worthwhile.
Now that the Grand Hyatt is back at the Premier (now $185, including tax) level, it may be time to re-consider that option on New York stays. Loyalty Traveler gives examples of saving $300 to $500 or more on a two-night stay at the Andaz 5th Avenue, a property I very much favor. And the Park Hyatt Sydney and (Grand Hyatt) Tokyo are interesting at the $319 a night (including tax) level…