When it comes to the prospects of co-branded hotel credit cards and the associated earning opportunities in Canada, I don’t think I’m being too hyperbolic when I say it’s pretty much a barren wasteland. When MBNA and Best Western decided to pull the plug earlier this year, the outlook became that much bleaker, leaving us with Marriott Bonvoy as the sole remaining hotel loyalty program that still issues a co-branded credit card in the Great White North.
The two welcome bonuses and Free Night Certificates from the American Express issued Bonvoy cards are only going to get us so far. This is why many Canadian points and miles enthusiasts are quickly making the jump to the much more lucrative US credit card market, where we can engage with many more hotel loyalty programs.
Further reading: Guide to US Credit Cards for Canadians
Co-branded hotel credit cards are particularly appealing as “hold forever” cards thanks to an annual free night award for just keeping the card year after year. US-based Chase Bank issues more co-branded hotel credit cards than any other financial institution. Their co-branded hotel portfolio includes World of Hyatt, Marriott Bonvoy and IHG; though the focus of this article will be exclusively on World of Hyatt. However, if you’re looking to stock up on some additional free night certificates, there’s no shortage of options once you’ve established a few years of US credit history and obtained an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).
Thanks to their reasonably priced standard award chart and outstanding elite recognition, World of Hyatt is regarded as the best hotel loyalty program in North America. As it stands, Chase credit cards are the only avenue for Canadians to accrue a meaningful sum of World of Hyatt points and Free Night Awards.
Let’s go over everything you need to know about World of Hyatt Free Night Awards – from how to earn them to some of the best ways to use a Free Night Award.
What are Hyatt Free Night Awards?
World of Hyatt Free Night Awards are issued to members who engage with the hotel loyalty program or hold a co-branded credit card from Chase.
World of Hyatt Free Night Awards come in two different varieties, the more common Category 1-4 Free Night and the Category 1-7 Free Night. Furthermore, given that Hyatt redemptions are subject to a fixed pricing award chart, you won’t ever have to worry about whether your certificate will adequately cover the costs of your accommodation.
The expiry of a Free Night Awards varies based on how the award was earned, with most being valid for a full year and others for only 180 days.
Lastly, the Free Night Award must be redeemed for reservations with a checkout date prior to the expiration date of the award. I have seen data points suggesting that Hyatt may issue points in lieu of an expired Free Night; however, this isn’t a published policy and should not be consistently relied upon.
How to Earn Hyatt Free Night Awards
It’s possible to earn up to six World of Hyatt Free Night Awards each year through various means:
- Chase World of Hyatt Visa:
- Category 1-4 Free Night Award issued every account anniversary for every year you hold the card.
- Category 1-4 Free Night Award if you spend $15,000 on the card in a calendar year.
- World of Hyatt Milestones:
- Category 1-4 Free Night Award after completing 30 nights or earning 50,000 base points in a calendar year.
- Category 1-7 Free Night Award after completing 60 nights or earning 100,000 base points in a calendar year.
- World of Hyatt Brand Explorer:
- Category 1-4 Free Night Award after completing a stay at five unique Hyatt brands.
- World of Hyatt Lifetime Globalist:
- Category 1-7 Free Night Award issued annually.
Holding the Chase World of Hyatt Visa and spending $15,000 on it annually will probably be the easiest path for most people to earn two free nights each year.
To redeem Free Night Awards at maximum value, we obviously want to use them at properties in the highest award category (Category 4 or 7). Moreover, when planning, factor in the peak and off-peak pricing of World of Hyatt. Aim to utilize your free nights during periods of peak pricing to maximize their value. Also, a reminder that resort and destination fees are waived on World of Hyatt free nights, making them ideal for properties that tack on these fees.
With that in mind, you can think of a Category 1-4 Free Night Award being worth up to 18,000 World of Hyatt points and a Category 1-7 Free Night Award being worth up to 35,000 World of Hyatt points.
The Best Hyatt Hotels to Use Free Night Awards
- Convenience and Utility: In my experience, the most practical uses for Free Night Awards are often for overnight layovers in expensive cities or for combatting surge pricing due an event or festival in the area. In these instances, the focus isn’t primarily on maximizing for the highest possible value. Instead, I frequently rely on Free Night Awards to act as a security blanket, insulating my wallet from surging prices.
- Location, amenities, and surrounding area: Free Night Awards are ideal for weekend getaways to experience a new city, take in a sports weekend, explore a national park, or indulge in a spa retreat. Therefore, location and services in the vicinity will play a strong role here.
- Bucket List Destinations (value): Using a Free Night Award to check off destinations from your travel bucket list can result in some incredible value. If you’re willing to make the trek to areas such as Southeast Asia or the Middle East, you’ll find a Free Night Award will pull a lot more weight than compared to North America.
Lastly, my aim is to maintain a broad scope, so I’ll be including some “off the beaten path” destinations to perhaps inspire you to visit some less-prominent, but equally rewarding locations. However, I will be limiting this list to Category 1-4 locations only, as these will be the most common Free Night Awards to earn consistently.
With all of that out of the way, here are 15 World of Hyatt properties to keep an eye on when booking your next vacation.
Hyatt Place Keystone
Utilizing a Free Night Award at any mountain resort hotel in North America is a tough task. Yet, Hyatt Place Keystone is a great way to save on your next ski vacation. Within driving distance of no less than six unique alpine resorts, you’ll have no shortage of options. Situated right at the base of Keystone Mountain Resort, it offers spectacular mountain views from one of its several outdoor hot tubs.
During peak seasons, prices range from $200-$300 USD a night, which is already a great use of a Free Night Award without even mentioning the waived $35 USD a night resort fee on free nights. If winter activities aren’t your thing, this region of Colorado is also an outstanding summer destination for mountain biking and hiking.
Grand Hyatt Athens
Nestled in the heart of the historic city of Athens, Greece. With its stunning contemporary design and panoramic views of the Acropolis, this property makes for an ideal home base while out exploring the city.
Cash rates run about $400 a night during peak season, though given the immense popularity of Greece in the summer months, you’ll need to book early to grab one of the few base room awards. If you’re embarking on a cruise departing from Athens, you’re only 15 minutes from the cruise ship terminal.
Hyatt Regency Sydney
Situated in the center of Australia’s renowned harbor city, right next to Darling Harbour in Sydney’s Central Business District, this hotel offers guests a stunning backdrop of the Sydney skyline and convenient proximity to many nearby attractions.
Hotel prices in Australia – and specifically in the major cities – are extremely high year-round, especially for higher-end properties. Prices top out at around $400 a night for this property and others that are similar to it, making Australia an ideal location to cash in your stash of Free Night Awards.
Grand Hyatt São Paulo
São Paulo often serves as a primary entry point to South America for many travelers. For this reason, Grand Hyatt São Paulo can serve as an excellent use of a couple of Free Night Awards for a quick two-night stopover before heading on to your final destination. Cash rates at this property typically come in at over $200 a night, making this an easy 2X on the Chase World of Hyatt Visa annual fee.
Located in the upscale Itaim Bibi neighborhood, it’s unfortunately over an hour from São Paulo International Airport (GRU). However, if your future travels are confined to Brazil, São Paulo–Congonhas Regional Airport (CGH) is conveniently just a 10-minute drive away.
Park Hyatt Jakarta
This list of course wouldn’t be complete without including Hyatt’s top-tier brand, Park Hyatt. There are only seven Park Hyatts in the entire World of Hyatt portfolio where a Category 1-4 Free Night Award can be used, with the majority of these concentrated in South East Asia. Opened in 2022, the newest addition to the Park Hyatt collection is located in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Nightly rates come in at around $250 a night, so the savings are definitely there. Jakarta could be an ideal stopover location for a couple of nights before heading to some of Indonesia’s iconic beachfront properties, such as our next hotel.
Andaz Bali is a relatively newer property and represents one of the best possible uses for your Hyatt Free Night Awards. If you’re unfamiliar with the Andaz brand, you can think of it as Hyatt’s answer to Marriott’s W Hotels minus some of the more extravagant design touches W Hotels are (in)famous for.
From April to October, when prices often exceed $300 per night, is the ideal time to visit Bali, as the monsoon season, which lasts from December to March, brings heavy rainfall. Set amidst lush tropical gardens and overlooking the Indian Ocean, this property seamlessly blends contemporary design with authentic Balinese charm.
If I had to guess, this property just looks too good to stay as a Category 4 long-term. If you have your eye on this resort, I’d recommend you take advantage of its favorable placement in the World of Hyatt award chart before it’s subjected to what seems like an inevitable devaluation.
Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach
Due to Hawaii’s popularity and prices, it’s quite tricky to utilize a Free Night Award in the Aloha State. As a result, you won’t find any beachfront properties available for Hyatt Free Night Awards.
It wasn’t that many years ago that it was possible to redeem Marriott 35,000 Free Night Awards at quite a few Marriott properties across the Hawaiian Islands. However, Hawaii has been one of the most impacted regions related to award night devaluations; consequently, most of these opportunities have all but dried up.
So, if you have your sights set on Hawaii, a few Hyatt Free Night Awards will serve you well in saving over $300 on the nightly rates in addition to sparing you from the $35 destination fee.
Related: Two Card Trip: Aloha Hawaii
While the World of Hyatt properties on Oahu that are available with a Free Night Award are by no means the most aspirational, you’re still within walking distance of Waikiki Beach and many of the nearby attractions. Additionally, given that this is a Hyatt Place property, breakfast is complimentary for all guests, making it a significant cost-saving benefit for families traveling together.
Grand Hyatt Muscat
Hotels throughout the Middle East are often rather inexpensive, even for high-end luxury properties. Nevertheless, there are some outlier countries, such as Oman, where hotel prices are consistently very high due to the strength of their currency.
Amidst the Hajar mountains and a stone’s throw from the Arabian Sea, Grand Hyatt Muscat features a temperature-controlled pool with a lazy river and swim-up bar.
Nightly rates fall as low as $200 a night and go up to $300 during peak season, so you’ll have no trouble extracting solid value from a Free Night Award regardless of the time of year.
Lastly, the hotel pool has recently undergone a complete renovation, and a refurbishment of the lobby and restaurant is underway. Consider adding this property to your list once construction is completed later this year.
Park Hyatt Mendoza
Situated at the foothills of the Andes Mountains in the “the Napa of the South”, Mendoza is the home of Argentina’s renowned wine country. This Spanish colonial building features its very own wine-tasting bar, Vines of Mendoza, where guests can savor the region’s world-class wines.
Mendoza, located approximately 700 miles to the northwest of Buenos Aires and about 235 miles from Santiago, boasts excellent air transportation links thanks to its nearby airport.
If touring wine country isn’t your thing, the region is also home to five ski resorts, with the closest being just 90 minutes from Park Hyatt Mendoza. As Mendoza Province is a popular year-round destination, rates at this hotel are quite steep throughout the calendar. Your Hyatt Free Night Awards will go a long way here, savings of $600+ should be possible if you’re willing to make the long trek here.
Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Resort
Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando are extremely popular family destinations, as it’s just a short flight south for many Canadians. However, as you’ll probably know if you’ve been to one of these parks recently, it’s quite easy to spend $1000 a day for a family of four on park tickets alone. Two or three Hyatt Free Night Awards can really do some work in limiting the dent left in your wallet on this kind of vacation. This resort also offers complimentary shuttle service to and from Disney World and Universal Orlando.
Cash rates at this property can top out at just over $600 a night, though seem to average in the $300-$400 range. On top of that, by using a Free Night Award here, you’ll avoid that nettlesome $45-a-night resort fee.
Even while not visiting any of the nearby theme parks, there’s still plenty to do on-property. The resort features an impressive pool with caves, waterfalls, waterslides, a Jack Nicklaus-designed 18-hole golf course, and more.
Located on the outskirts of Tunis, overlooking the Gulf of Tunis is a unique property that I’ve had my eye on for a while. I’ve written about World of Hyatt’s partnership with Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) previously, and I think properties like this one are a perfect example as to why this partnership is so valuable.
If you’re seeking a change of pace from the cookie-cutter style hotels found in every major city, and instead wish to utilize your points or Free Night Awards at smaller boutique establishments, it can be quite challenging due to the limited availability of such options.
This property only has five total guest rooms, making it more akin to a luxury B&B, rather than just another glass tower.
It’s pretty easy to get solid value for your World of Hyatt Free Night Awards here, with cash rates averaging in the high $300s per night.
And remember, when booking a stay at an SLH property through World of Hyatt, members receive a host of useful benefits, regardless of their status. This includes room upgrades, free breakfast, and early check-in/late check-out.
Hyatt Regency Tokyo
Located in Shinjuku, a bustling business, shopping, and entertainment district in the center of Tokyo, Hyatt Regency Tokyo has a well-deserved reputation as a hotel with a prime location. It is a nine-minute walk from the west exit of Shinjuku station, 60-80 minutes from Haneda Airport and 120 minutes from Narita International Airport by train.
Opened in 1980, this Hyatt Regency was the first Hyatt property to open in Japan. As you’d expect, it’s reached the point where this hotel is in need of a refurbishment, with many reviews noting that this property has become very “tired”. Earlier this year Hyatt announced a sweeping renovation to this location, including all guest rooms and public spaces. So again, this is another one to keep your eye on when construction is completed later this year.
Travel to Japan has surged in recent years and remains an incredibly popular destination for travelers. As a result, prices for accommodations have risen sharply. Even during what would be considered low season for Japan, nightly rates don’t fall below $400.
As part of a larger trip through Japan, consider pairing up your Hyatt Free Night Awards with some free night certificates from Marriott and Hilton to indulge in what many consider the country that epitomizes a culture of hospitality.
Hyatt Regency Koh Samui
Josh had the opportunity to visit Koh Samui last year and raved about the beautiful beaches and numerous luxury properties (W Koh Samui, Conrad Koi Samui) situated there. To truly unwind and fully experience the numerous waterfalls and temples scattered across the island, I’d recommend that you combine several Hyatt Free Night Awards with additional nights booked using points.
Offering unparalleled views of the Gulf of Thailand and lush tropical surroundings, this family-friendly property offers an array of amenities including a spa, five pools, and a state-of-the-art fitness center.
Once again, you’ll have no trouble quadrupling the value of your Chase World of Hyatt Visa annual fee, as cash rates hover in the $400+ range during high season.
Do also keep in mind that through World of Hyatt’s Milestone Rewards, you can earn Hyatt Club Access Awards. Most Hyatt branded properties, including Hyatt Regency, have club lounges that serve breakfast, all-day refreshments, and evening drinks and canapés. These awards can be a massive money-saver, especially when staying at secluded resorts such as this one, where food prices are typically quite steep.
Hyatt Regency Paris Étoile
As one of Paris’ tallest hotels, this property offers spectacular views of “the city of lights” and its most famous monuments.
Within minutes of the Champs-Élysées and walking distance to the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe, this is an ideal location to take in all the city’s major landmarks. Consider incorporating a free one or two-night stopover into your next Air France/KLM redemption to take advantage of seeing two cities for the price of one!
Nightly rates at this hotel can reach upwards of $500 a night during the busy summer season. However, availability might be tough to come by during the warmer months. Though, in my opinion, Europe is best experienced in late May and early September. During this time there is significantly less crowding in the major cities and the weather is still reliably great.
Grand Hyatt Berlin
World of Hyatt Free Night Awards excel in expensive European cities, especially during the peak summer travel season. Grand Hyatt Berlin is a fan-favorite among Hyatt loyalists thanks to its perfect location. Within walking distance of the iconic Potsdamer Platz, it provides easy access to Berlin’s top attractions, cultural landmarks, and business districts.
Rounding out our list, this hotel prices quite consistently over $400 a night throughout the year.
With Frankfurt Airport being the most connected airport in the world, Berlin is only a three-hour train ride away and an excellent place to start an extended road trip through the country. From the Baltic coast in the North to the castles along the Rhine River, and down south to the Black Forest, Germany offers a wealth of sights to explore.
World of Hyatt offers a surprising number of ways to earn a Free Night Award. While this won’t apply to all but the most seasoned road warriors, it’s possible to accumulate five or more free nights every year as a World of Hyatt loyalist.
Regardless of how many you earn, a lot of the guesswork is taken out of the equation thanks to Hyatt continuing to maintain a reasonable award chart. Of course, devaluations are always a concern; however, as long as the award chart remains in place, I think it’s fair to say extracting good value from your Free Night Awards should be relatively straightforward.
Lastly, if I were to offer a takeaway, presuming that you’re able to cast a wide enough net in your travel destinations and are willing to make the journey to Europe or especially certain parts of Asia, you’ll find Hyatt Free Night Awards will punch well above their weight compared to redeeming at a North American property. This simply boils down to the economics of hotel loyalty programs and the often more advantageous award chart allocation for higher-end properties in Europe and Asia.
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