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.