Hyatt Free Night Certificates Are More Useful In Hyatt’s New Peak/Off-Peak Award Pricing

I receive compensation for content and many links on this blog. Citibank is an advertising partner of this site, as is American Express, Chase, Barclays and Capital One. Any opinions expressed in this post are my own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by my advertising partners. I do not write about all credit cards that are available -- instead focusing on miles, points, and cash back (and currencies that can be converted into the same). Terms apply to the offers and benefits listed on this page.

Hyatt is peak and off peak pricing in March for all of their free night and cash and points awards. This includes standard room, club room, suite, and premium suite awards and applies to all-inclusive awards as well.

While you’ll sometimes pay fewer points for rooms, times where hotels are most likely to be booked up – and when they’re most likely to charge the most – are going to cost you more points.

I view this as a net negative because when rooms are cheap, I’m happy paying cash, in order to be able to get outsized value for my points when rooms are expensive. However there were two things that struck me as positives relative to the rest of the industry in making this move.

  • At least Hyatt still has an award chart while IHG and Hilton have hidden theirs.
  • And at least Hyatt will lay out what nights are peak and off-peak 13 months in advance, rather than manipulating peak and off-peak dates every month like Marriott in order to make sure you don’t get a great deal.

However there’s something worth noting, that some readers have asked about, and that’s that the usefulness of Hyatt’s myriad free night certificates is increasing with this change.

Hyatt offers a ton of free night possibilities:

  • Every year at card renewal for the World Of Hyatt Credit Card you receive a category 1-4 free night award

  • Every year that you spend $15,000 on a World Of Hyatt Credit Card you receive a category 1-4 free night award

  • Every year after 30 elite nights you receive a category 1-4 free night award

  • Every year after 60 elite nights you receive a category 1-7 free night award

  • Every 5 Hyatt brands you stay at you receive a category 1-4 free night award (currently Hyatt has 17 brands so you can earn 3 ‘Brand Explorer’ free nights in total).

View from the Category 4 Hyatt Regency Jersey City

The free nights at various levels are easily earned because the credit card gives you 5 elite nights each year, every $5000 spend on the card each year earns 2 more elite nights, and using free nights earns elite nights – not to mention that points transferred in from Chase for hotel nights will earn free nights when you stay, too.

The great thing is that these free night certificates remain valid whenever award rooms are available even on nights where peak pricing applies.

A category 4 hotel is 12000 points off-peak, 15000 points standard, and 18000 points at peak. You’ll want to redeem these certificates during peak nights, and use points during standard and off-peak nights (while paying attention to certificate expiration).

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 »

More articles by Gary Leff »

Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of advertisers Citibank, Chase, American Express, Barclays, Capital One or any other advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.


  1. Is there a calendar to view types of awards by night? I’d love to book my stays in the ‘shoulder’ seasons

  2. Such a nice contrast from Marriott where every decent Cat 5 I have stayed at in the past is now running 40K on weekends, making those certs more worthless

  3. Gary —

    Are you sure about your conclusion?

    Is a Category 4 night always going to be considered a Category 4, even when peak?

    I was under the impression that a Category 4 Free Night was worth 15,000 points and hence would not be usable during peak award night in Category 4.

    Could you please contact Hyatt and ask them specifically about this conclusion of yours?

    Many thanks.

  4. @HADLEY V. BAXENDALE what you describe is how it works at Marriott. I *did* check in with Hyatt specifically about this before posting.

  5. “Every 5 Hyatt brands you stay at you receive a category 1-4 free night award (currently Hyatt has 17 brands so you can earn 3 ‘Brand Explorer’ free nights in total).”

    Can this be earned every year? Or is it a one time thing?

  6. We will see how long this lasts. I suspect they will follow Marriott and make the carts worth a set number of points. Which wouldn’t be so bad if you could use points from your account to supplement and book any category.

  7. Why would Hyatt feel the need to follow a train wreck operation like Marriott?

    I really hate this peak/off peak concept and it reeks of the same lazy “follow the herd” mentality of the US3.

Comments are closed.