One of the Best Ways to Save Big on Expensive Hyatt Hotel Nights: Hyatt Tweaks Pricing on Stay Certificates

I’ve written in the past how you can use Hyatt stay certificates to reduce the cost of your hotel stays.

The idea is that Hyatt sells gift certificates, you can give someone a Hyatt hotel stay as a gift. You can even give yourself a Hyatt hotel stay as a gift with these certificates. The certificates are a fixed price, with several ‘levels’ which are valid at different hotels. And those fixed prices are often substantially less than some hotels cost on a nightly basis.

Hyatt stay certificate reservations are even cancellable, the certificates have an expiration date though. And you’re supposed to have to have the certificates in hand in order to make the reservations, an innovation several years ago towards this end was to require that you enter the ‘certificate code’ when making a reservation. But the certificate codes are fixed, and easily available online. In fact, One Mile at a Time published those codes last night. But more about that in a moment.

You make a cancellable reservation for a hotel where the stay certificate rate is available, at least a few days in advance so that you have time to buy the stay certificates and have them shipped (you present the stay certificates at check-in). This generates significant savings. Elite status benefits are honored on stay certificate reservations, but you do not earn stay or night credit.

Back when the Grand Hyatt New York was $165 per night all-in using ‘Premier’ stay certificates (stay certificates include tax), I once had to book two rooms for 11 nights in Manhattan for family. The prevailing rates for those nights ranged from $469 to $519 plus tax. The savings for that stay compared to published pricing at the hotel was about $8000.

Since then they’ve adjusted which hotels take which certificates, and also increased the price of the certificates. And for 2013 they’ve bumped up some prices very modestly.

They’ve also created a new, more expensive certificate category for some of the properties that recently did not accept certificates — such as the Park Hyatt Maldives, Park Hyatt Vendome Paris, Park Hyatt Milan, and Park Hyatt Zurich. On the one hand that’s great — there’s an ability to use stay certificates where there hadn’t been previously. On the other hand there’s a future risk — that more hotels could be shifted into that higher category. That’s the skeptic in me.

Lucky publishes the ‘certiifcate codes’ for each certificate level as follows:

Classic — HSCLN1
Choice — HSCHN1
Premier — HSPRN1
Elite — HSELN1
Inspire — HSINN1
Exclusive — HSXLN1
Ultimate — HSULN1

You can change the last number in each code to correspond with the number of nights that a certificate is valid for. Although I always used and ordered 1 night stay certificates — because they are combinable (on a five night stay use five one-night certificates, for the 2 room 11 night stay use 22 one-night certificates). They’re more flexible that way, you make a reservation and buy the certificates but if you need to cancel the reservation having one night stay certificates is more flexible for later on when you make other bookings in its place.

Which hotels accept which level of stay certificate can be found here.

The prices of the certificates are:

  • Classic – $109.00
  • Choice – $152.22
  • Premier – $188.89
  • Elite – $260.00
  • Inspire – $325.55
  • Exclusive – $394.44
  • Ultimate – $461.11

Choice certificates go up $7.22, Premier increases $3.89, Elite bumps $11, and inspire is now $6.55 higher than in 2012. I’m fascinated by the strange pricing, “$152.22” but presumably they think that the $0.22 per certificate matters when multiplied out by the number they sell and relative to the reimbursement rates paid out to each hotel.

In any case, this is one of my techniques for getting the best hotel deals.

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. Do the Hyatt certificates get the 3x points when purchased with the Chase Hyatt credit card?

  2. I may just try this out. Do you think I’d be able to use one of my suite upgrades on a stay paid for with certificates?

  3. I took huge advantage of NY Grand Hyatt when it was avail for $99. I’ve watched the price creep up but there are still deals out there. I think most people don’t know about these certificates as the info is buried deep in the Hyatt website. I was given a small house when I check into the Hyatt Santiago a few years ago, using a $99 or $109 certificate. Throw in the price of bfast or use of the lounge and it’s a no brainer.

  4. I have a stay booked in Park City for $500 per night. I presume the hotel is now sold out. Is there anything I can do about using a certificate?

  5. I’m not sure if it has any value, but you can see (what seems like) the value being paid to the hotel for using a stay certificate on the Hyatt website if the certificate value is the cheapest rate… Just search for availability for multiple hotels (by location, for example) and you’ll be shown the lowest Average Daily Rate per Room (which will appear as “Rate is Confidential” once you click through). Again, not sure it is useful, but it is interesting.

  6. I tried to use these gift certificate codes in Indian properties but most of them same rates as certificate prices or sometimes less than certificate prices also. Can you help or advise how to get better deals and prices ?

  7. It seemed to me that the FAQ says that you do earn GP points when using the certificates. Are you sure that you don’t earn elite stay credits?

  8. The Faq’s seem to say the certificates never expire??

    “How long are Hyatt Gift Cards and Certificates valid?
    Hyatt Gift Cards and Certificates purchased by consumers never expire. “

  9. @DJP_707 — I knew that Gift Cards didn’t expire, but was pretty sure the certificates did, at least they did as of a year ago. Iinteresting development and it sounds like improvement.

  10. @Carl you earn GP points on your in-hotel spend. But you do not earn stay/night credit towards status, at least I haven’t seen it in the past (if it’s new for 2013 that would be great…)

  11. You mention these ressies are cancellable. A dummy reservation showed me “Cancel 72hours Prior To Arrival To Avoid One Night Pnlty”. Is there any way to see what that charge would be?

  12. I have used the certificates many times in the past – and never earned elite stay credits.

    I noticed a while back that Hyatt STOPPED making nights available on these certificates. If you look at Hawaii for example, you can not use the Inspire certificate (which is supposed to be the correct level for Maui and Kauai) but for every day of the year it says

    The Gift Certificate you have requested is unavailable during the dates selected, or it is not offered at this property.

  13. @Gary any analysis you’ve already compiled on which properties this makes the most sense at?

  14. Any chance of using these certificates in Maui? Have a stay coming up 2/10-2/14, was using 33000 pts a night for a suite but would much rather pay (if I can get it at a decent rate) and use a Diamond suite upgrade instead.

  15. Does anyone know using this certificate will be eligible for upgrades using points?

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