World of Hyatt has several ways of earning free night certificates this year that members can accumulate by achieving various thresholds of the new program and one should be very careful when redeeming them online.
Free night certificates are very useful and valuable awards depending on the category and usually there are two types that Hyatt offers in their World of Hyatt loyalty program:
- Category 1-4 (Hotels in Category 4 cost 15,000 points/night e.g. Grand Hyatt Shanghai, Taipei)
- Category 1-7 (Hotels in Category 7 cost 30,000 points/night e.g. Park Hyatt Tokyo, Sydney)
The first category (1-4) are standard awards that can be received easily for example by staying at 5 different Hyatt brands and/or 30 qualifying nights.
Category 1-7 certificates are very valuable for obvious reasons and those are hard to obtain. Globalist members received one this year as a welcome gift. Members who (re)qualify for Globalist with 60 nights will also receive another one into their account as did members who previously applied for the Hyatt credit card (the current offer has been changed to 40,000 points instead of 2 free nights at any Hyatt worldwide).
The problem is this: Each certificate has a different expiry date and when you redeem such an award there is no way to control or even identify which certificate will be used when completing a booking.
When I made a reservation for the Grand Hyatt Shanghai (Category 4 property) today I already suspected it might become an issue but since I was still within the cancellation allowance I decided to see what would turn out when I complete the reservation as it only shows as ‘Free Night’.
Sure enough after the reservation has been completed the certificate which expired earliest (April 19th 2018) and which is a Category 1-7 item disappeared. The system automatically pulls the certificate expiring next, irrespective of the category of the property booked.
I then cancelled the reservation and the award was redeposited into the account. After that I called and booked the award manually. The agent knew immediately what the problem was before I even finished the sentence and then applied the correct certificate manually.
This is really just a problem for you if you have multiple award certificates in your account and want to use them strategically in a way that it makes the most sense economically. I’m planning to use the high value certificate indeed at a high value property (Park Hyatt Tokyo) next year so for obvious reasons I wanted to make sure they won’t pull the wrong item.
It’s a good time of the year (in my case) to use awards as I already got my 60 nights clocked in and don’t intend to give Hyatt a dime of extra revenue after they already set the bar as high as it is now. Better keep the cash and apply it to new bookings December 31st onward to get actual, valuable stay credit for the 2018 membership period.