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Hyatt free night certificates: How to earn and maximize


Despite the disappointment among Hyatt enthusiasts with this year’s category changes, there are several strategies you can use to make the most of World of Hyatt free night certificates.

You can earn World of Hyatt free night certificates through the World of Hyatt Credit Card, Hyatt Brand Explorer promotion and Hyatt Milestone Rewards. This guide will give you the essential information on earning, utilizing and maximizing Hyatt free night certificates.

Overview of Hyatt free night certificates

The Grand Hyatt Athens in Greece, a Category 3 property. CHRISTOS DRAZOS/HYATT

The free night certificates you can earn with the World of Hyatt Credit Card and the Hyatt Brand Explorer promotion are each valid for a free night at a Category 1-4 property.

You can also earn free night certificates each calendar year through Hyatt Milestone Rewards. Specifically, you’ll earn a Category 1-4 free night award once you accrue 30 nights or 50,000 base points in a calendar year. And you’ll earn a Category 1-7 free night award once you accrue 60 nights or 100,000 base points in a calendar year.

Hyatt free night certificates have different expiration policies depending on their type and how you earned them. Luckily, your active certificates and their expiration dates appear in your World of Hyatt account. To see them, log in and go to the “My Account” section, then click on the “My Awards” tab to see all the awards you’ve earned.

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Related: The 23 best Hyatt hotels in the world

How to use Hyatt free night certificates

The process of booking a free night using a certificate is relatively straightforward. Once you’ve logged in to your World of Hyatt account, enter your search criteria, check the “Use Points” box and click “Find Hotels.”

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If you’re using a Category 1-4 free night certificate, look for Hyatt Category 4 hotels and lower (Category 4 hotels should cost 12,000, 15,000 or 18,000 points per night). When you click “Select” for a hotel, the next page should automatically indicate which room types are eligible for the certificate. Click “Select & Book” on the room type you want.

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Select the tab labeled “Free Night,” not the one using points. Otherwise, you’ll have points deducted from your account.

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Note that the property you want to book must have standard award rooms available to redeem the free night certificate. If you can’t redeem points for the stay, you won’t be able to redeem the certificate. In addition, if you search for a stay with a checkout date after the certificate expires, it won’t appear as an option. Instead, it’ll only show standard awards using points.

Once you’ve chosen the room you want, click “Book Now” and review the reservation details on the final page. Then, click “Book My Stay” to confirm.

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Can you combine certificates with other forms of payment?

You can use Hyatt’s Pay My Way feature if you don’t have enough free night certificates to cover your entire stay — or you’d rather pay cash or redeem Hyatt points for some nights.

For example, let’s say you are looking at a two-night weekend stay at the Grand Hyatt Washington. In this example, you want to search for the entire stay as if you would be paying cash (don’t check the “Use Points” box). Select a standard room (such as the room type with one queen bed we selected above) and look for rates that allow you to “Pay My Way.”

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Click “Pay My Way” on the member rate to see your options. You can opt to pay for your stay with any combination of free night certificates, points and cash.

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In the above screenshot, I’d use my certificate for one of the nights and redeem 15,000 points for the other night.

Related: The best Hyatt beach hotels in the US

How to maximize Hyatt free night certificates

The Hyatt Vacation Club at Pinon Pointe is just one higher-tier property where you can redeem Category 1-4 free night certificates. CHRIS DONG/THE POINTS GUY

One way to maximize Hyatt free night certificates is to look for properties at the high end of the eligibility range. For Category 1-4 certificates, this means Hyatt Category 4 hotels and resorts, which require 18,000 points for a free night at peak pricing. And for Category 1-7 certificates, this means Hyatt Category 7 hotels and resorts, which typically require 35,000 points per night on peak dates.

There are some amazing properties in the World of Hyatt portfolio, so planning one or more special trips each year can make sense to maximize free night certificates.

Related: Your guide to World of Hyatt award charts

Another way to make the most of Hyatt free night certificates is to redeem them when paid rates are high, regardless of the category in which your desired property falls. Sometimes, saving money when you need a hotel can provide much more value than planning a trip around maximizing your free night certificate.

For example, let’s say you wanted to visit Chicago for New Year’s Eve. While most Hyatt properties are sold out over New Year’s Eve, you could use your certificate at the Thompson Chicago — when the rates after tax soar to around $700 a night.

Related: Why I aim to spend $15K on my World of Hyatt Credit Card each year

Bottom line

The easiest way to earn Hyatt free night awards is through the World of Hyatt Credit Card. With this card, you’ll get a Category 1-4 free night certificate after each cardmember anniversary. You can earn an additional Category 1-4 free night certificate if you spend $15,000 on purchases on your card within a calendar year.

Coupled with the free night certificates you can earn from Hyatt Milestone Rewards and the Brand Explorer promotion, you may be able to book a multiday stay — or several single-night stays — each year using just Hyatt free night certificates.

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