When the World of Hyatt program replaced Hyatt Gold Passport, expiring free nights became the currency of the realm instead of a check-in amenity of bonus points or food and beverage item. You earn them,
- Annually with The World Of Hyatt Credit Card (category 1-4)
- After $15,000 spend on The World Of Hyatt Credit Card each calendar year (category 1-4)
- After 30 elite qualifying nights in a year (category 1-4)
- After 60 elite qualifying nights in a year (category 1-7)
- For each 5 participating brands you stay in for the first time (category 1-4)
The 30 and 60 night free nights were described as a ‘celebration’ to be used quickly. They’re easy to use, bookable whenever there are free nights available on points (when a standard room is available at a qualifying property). Yet I’m finding them difficult to use, so much so as to be annoying rather than rewarding.
On the Hyatt website it’s not obvious which free nights are for category 1-7 versus category 1-4, and the source of a free night. You can see the expiration date, but not where it’s from, and how long you had to use it. (Some free nights expire faster than others.)
Unlike points redemptions for free stays, free night certificates cannot be upgraded – using confirmed suite upgrades or points.
- When I’m traveling for work, I don’t want to use my free nights, I want to use my free nights on vacation stays. On work trips by myself I don’t much care about the upgrade.
- On vacation stays with my wife and daughter I want more space. The best benefit of Globalist status is being able to confirm a suite at booking. But you cannot use this benefit in conjunction with the so-called reward of a free night.
- I’d love to use the free night certificate for a second room, but unlike Hilton, Hyatt doesn’t offer the ability to confirm a connecting room. (In practice this can be tougher with Hilton than advertised, however.)
I’ve found the best use, for me, of Hyatt category 1-7 nights is the Park Hyatt Sydney, because they don’t offer confirmed upgrades anyway. But I haven’t been allowed to enter Australia for the past year and a half and Hyatt isn’t extending expiration dates of these certificates at this point. The same strategy holds for the Park Hyatt Maldives. Historically though they’ve been willing to credit points in lieu of an expired credit card (category 1-4) certificate at least.
There’s no question that Hyatt free nights are valuable, they’re free nights! But the rules around them make them exactly what I don’t want to use on the trips I could use them. I suppose I should be gifting them.