New Hyatt Visa Annual Free Room Night Benefit

Milepoint member Kaanapali received a mailing from Chase about a new benefit of the Hyatt Visa:

As a charter member of the Hyatt Credit Card, we look forward to celebrating your one year anniversary, and we are delighted to offer you a gift in recognition of your continued loyalty to Hyatt.

Following your anniversary in (month), you will be rewarded with an Award Night.

– Your award night will be issued in November
– You’re more than welcome to redeem your reward for any available standard room at a Hyatt hotel and resort in categories 1-4
– As a cardmember, you will continue to enjoy this anniversary bonus each year hereafter.”

New benefits are great, especially ones you didn’t know you had and didn’t know what you were getting. It’s a pretty conventional benefit, something that the Marriott Visa offers for instance.

It’s somewhat disappointing that the free night is limited to Category 4 properties, that excludes the best and most expensive hotels. And so some folks on Milepoint are a bit disappointed in the benefit. Of course, no category limit would be better. And making it a suite night for Diamonds (which the signup bonus offered) would be better. And a suite night with no category limit and a pony would be better still. But I suggested to folks complaining, ‘don’t look a gift night in the mouth’.

See, I”m keeping this card because it’s a no foreign exchange fee Visa which bonuses Hyatt spend. It’s certainly not my primary card for spend, but I wasn’t getting rid of it to begin with, if I get a free night that’s nice. I’d rather use that free night in New York at one of the Andaz properties, or at the future Park Hyatt, to be sure. Rather than say in Ft Lauderdale.

But this does at least begin to address one of the shortcomings of the card, the two major ones are that it had a nice signup bonus (especially for Diamonds) but not much to encourage retention and also that while they nicely encourage you to get the card (two free nights at signup) there isn’t a whole lot of reason to spend on the card outside of for non-US transactions (to avoid foreign currency transaction fees).

I’d love to see the free night permissable at a higher redemption category, but it’s a free night. But mostly I’d love to see some sort of threshold bonus for spend, X nights and Y stays towards status for spending $Z or XXX bonus points after $ZZZ in spend in a calendar year. Those would go a long way towards incentivizing real spend on the card, something I don’t do a ton of presently.

The free night isn’t actually limited ‘to charter members’ but rather a new benefit being rolled out now, they’re informing original cardmembers first because they’re the ones who will be getting the benefit first. The free night is supposed to credit 6-8 weeks after cardmember anniversary each year.

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. I often have trouble understanding these issues. There is only one valid reason to keep a card over the long haul – that you value what you can redeem for the dollars you spend.

    I’ve had the SPG AMEX for years and have probably gotten 15 people to get it. But if I want to guarantee a suite at a top level Starwood, it’s 60,000 points per night, or $60,000 in spending on the card. For Hyatt, it’s 33,000. And the basic room is 22,000 rather than 30,000.

    Of course, SPG has Cash and Points – which is part of my point – it’s rarely black and white. In the end, sure, maybe a retention bonus might keep the card in my wallet but who cares? The real question isn’t whether you keep it or not, it’s whether you USE it. And a free night won’t change that whether it’s in a category 1-4 or a Park Hyatt.

  2. The biggest issue here is that this is the first time, ever, that any Hyatt free night award has had any sort of category cap. Let’s hope this isn’t some preamble to future “free night” promotions (if they ever come back, that is…).

  3. “thesilb said,

    The biggest issue here is that this is the first time, ever, that any Hyatt free night award has had any sort of category cap. Let’s hope this isn’t some preamble to future “free night” promotions (if they ever come back, that is…).”

    Excellent point…and I hope you are right. An FFN limited to Cat 1-4 would not be nearly as appealing.

    And this Chase card pales in comparison to the Marriott Premier Chase product – which for a smaller annual fee gives you the same benefits plus also the opportunity to earn extra elite night credits based on spending (with no cap).

  4. Did they mention when your free night expires? Is it good for one year or only for 6 months?

  5. My initial reaction was Yawn but in reality this is pretty usable… could very conceivably use at Escala Lodge Park City, Park Hyatt Melbourne, Park Hyatt Seoul maybe a few others. I’d personally rather see a higher fee version of the card (maybe up to $150) that would allow unrestricted redemption, or even a $450 version that includes Diamond status (along with the pony)

  6. @Gary, what are your recommendations for a good Cat 4 Hyatt redemption?

    @thesilb, I had a conversation with peteropny in regards to the terms and conditions of Hyatt’s FFN future offers. He had contact with some high ups in the Hyatt program, and he was told that future versions of FFN would NOT have any Category redemption restrictions.

    I think Hyatt is trying to match the benefits of the Marriott Rewards Premier Visa card which also offers an annual free night for category 1-4. Compare the cards with this link:

    I think Hyatt would be wise to bring back a version of FFN or BWB this fall as many of its members are expecting such a promotion, and Hyatt’s promos this year have not been so compelling as in previous years.

  7. “chitownflyer said,

    Hyatt’s promos this year have not been so compelling as in previous years.”

    Therein lies the heart of the matter – if you dont have a competitive promotion, at least make your promotions engaging. Without engaging promotions and leaving large gaps between bonus earning opportunities leaves us feeling all their decisions are based on cost cutting rather than generating additional spend on CC and at properties.

    A perfect example is the Welcome Credit currently running at resorts which in many cases simply kicks up the daily rate by the amount of the offsetting credit.

    C’mon Hyatt – we’re rooting for ya!

  8. Looking at that list Hyatt Cat 4 includes better properties in the States than Marriott, Cat 4 Marriott properties have very limited appeal in general, closer to Hyatt Cat 2.

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