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Sunday Reader Question: When and How Can I Use My Free Chase Hyatt Visa Nights?

by on March 4, 2012 · 19 comments

in Chase, Hyatt, Sunday Reader Questions, Tokyo, Visa

TPG reader Chris is thinking about getting the Chase Hyatt Visa, and he wrote asking about the best way to go about redeeming the two free nights he got as a sign-up bonus:

“I’m booking my honeymoon for this fall in Southeast Asia. Our first stop will be Tokyo for two nights, and we would love to stay at the Park Hyatt Tokyo. If we sign up for this card would we be able to use our two free nights for this? Or is there some sort of blackout dates or restrictions I missed?”

I recently applied for and got the Chase Hyatt Visa myself for the sign-up bonus of two free nights at any Hyatt property in the world after $1,000 spend within the first 3 months, as well as the annual free night at a Category 1-4 property, and the low $75 annual fee. That was even before the new offer Chase came out with this week that doesn’t require a minimum spend. So this benefit has been on my mind.

To answer Chris’s question: the two free nights are deposited into your Hyatt Gold Passport account usually within two weeks of using the card and you can use them anytime after that.

However, I think it would be helpful to get into a few of the details about how this benefit works.  Because these free nights are good for use at any Hyatt property in the world—from the Hyatt Place in Ontario California to the Park Hyatt Tokyo—the credit in your account is reflected in free-night redemptions rather than as a set number of points.

To reap the most value, I recommend using these credits at the most expensive Hyatt possible—might as well get the most out of it! And remember, you must use those free nights within one year, so don’t let them expire without putting them to use!

These free night awards come out of the same inventory as award nights and to use them, you need to call Gold Passport. However, you can check availability of standard award rooms on Hyatt.com if you have the sufficient points in your account.

There’s a quirk to Hyatt’s booking system that in order to even see availability of award night redemptions, you must have enough points in your account to book the whole redemption you are looking at. So if, for instance, you wanted to stay at a Category 6 property like the Grand Hyatt Kauai for five nights at 22,000 points a night, to even see whether that is possible using the Hyatt site, you’d have to have 110,000 points already in your account, otherwise you get an error message. So if you just signed up for a Gold Passport account to get the free Hyatt nights and don’t have any points in your account yet, you will have to call the Gold Passport line at (800) 228-3360 to check availability. I hope Hyatt changes this and makes it easier to see availability, even if you don’t have points in your account.

If you do already have points, you can just check for availability on the Gold Passport site. Even if you don’t have enough points at the moment for your entire redemption, you can check the property night by night to make sure all the nights you want are free at the rate you need. Just be careful since some hotels have minimum-stay requirements over holidays, weekends and in high season.

The other thing to note is that for regular Gold Passport members, these redemptions are only good for standard rooms. So while under normal circumstances you could redeem 22,000 points for a night in a standard room at the Grand Hyatt Kauai, and choose to up that to 27,000 points for a club room, when using these free nights, the club room isn’t an option—you can’t offer just to pay 5,000 points on top of the free night certificate.

Still, when you redeem for a standard room at a property like the Park Hyatt Paris Vendome that normally costs around 700 euros a night even for a standard room, the free-night redemption seems more than worth it!

If you’re looking to combine your cardmember free nights with a redemption of your Gold Passport points, remember you can use Chase Ultimate Rewards to top up your account. Opportunities like that to combine your various points options and leverage opportunities are why you should always think about keeping your points portfolio diverse. The more options you have, the more value you will find.

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author.s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.

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  • Ron

    Do the free night certificates expire? Because I am thinking of getting the Hyatt visa card but won’t use the free nights until summer of 2013/2014.

  • David P.

    The free nights are an excellent benefit, but be aware: An important limitation, which I missed when I signed up, is that the free nights do expire after one year. Had I realized that, I would have been much more strategic in the timing of my signup. I asked for a one-month extension on the free nights and Hyatt said no. (The one-year period was there in the fine print, which I didn’t read closely enough.)

  • Bryan Schmiedeler

    I have over 50K points from this offer as well. When I tried to book rooms at Hyatt in Montreal on June 7 and 8th they showed no availability. Are there blackout dates, or are there only so many room awards per day per hotel and do once they are gone you cannot book?

  • PJ

    one year

  • Deb

    Thanks PG. We are traveling to Paris this summer and I had hoped to stay at the Park Hyatt Vendome. Unfortunately when I went to book using the 2 free nites only one of the 3 I needed was available using points. I keep calling Hyatt but I have a feeling I will not go anywhere with my efforts. In the meantime I have my 3 nites booked at the Hyatt Madeleine which I am not nearly as excited about. Any suggestions?

  • Bonniejsmt

    We used the 2 free nights in NYC…one at Andaz 5th Ave, and the other at Grand Hyatt. The Andaz was MUCH nicer (we were generously upgraded).

  • Andrew

    We used the 2 nights at the Park Hyatt Tokyo. We booked the two award nights in a standard room and then two more paid nights in a deluxe room. When we checked in, they informed me that they had upgraded our entire stay to the deluxe room so that we would not have to switch rooms. (Of course, we were hoping that might happen, but didn’t request it.) We had a nice corner room with a great view of Mt Fuji (of course, they all have great views).

    The service at the PH Tokyo was amazing and the setting above the skyline was beautiful, but the rooms themselves could use a little updating. Get a table at the New York Grill by the windows for dinner one night — it will be a romantic night.

  • Daniel

    I had a difficult time redeeming my two nights at higher end Hyatt properties. The free rooms available are only “standard rooms” – which they seem to deliberately constrain in higher end properties, of which most of the rooms are deluxe or something else. I was unsuccessful at both the Park Hyatt and Hyatt Regency in Paris and also had difficulty at the Hyatt Regency in London. Eventually I was able to use mine at the Park Hyatt in Istanbul, but it came close to losing them. I was disappointed in the available inventory at these properties, and ended up canceling my card.

  • PunkRockCTO

    Actually using my free nights at the Park Hyatt Tokyo next week Thanks for the insight!

  • Carwag25

    I typically don’t call GP if I am just looking for availability. If “standard rooms” are showing online, then award nights are available. Saves time calling GP if I am checking several properties.

  • Travel and Credit

    Pretty annoying feature of the website to not allow award searches without having the points already.

  • Jacob Weaver

    This is not always true. For whatever reason, award nights are often limited even when the hotel is not fully booked.

  • Jim D

    My wife is thinking about traveling to Tokyo in the near future. Among other things, she hopes to redeem our Hyatt nights at the wonderful Tokyo Park Hyatt. Has anyone everything that I’ve come across anything about the radiation risks for pregnant travelers in Tokyo? Everything I’ve come across on the state department website is from the middle of 2011.

  • Jim D

    My wife is thinking about traveling to Tokyo in the near future. Among other things, she hopes to redeem our Hyatt nights at the wonderful Tokyo Park Hyatt. Has anyone come across anything about the radiation risks for pregnant travelers in Tokyo? Everything I’ve come across on the state department website is from the middle of 2011.

  • Carwag25

    Interesting. I originally got that info from Lucky, and have found it to be true in every instance that I booked an award night.

  • Jollykh

    I tried redeeming my free nights at the Hyatt in Scottsdale and they said “there are no free nights”. However, if I wanted to book a room, it was available for money. I was pretty upset. The free nights are useless for high-end hotels and resorts.

  • Bill

    I got the card and my wife got the card. For some reason we each show 1 award night available on our Hyatt accounts. I called Hyatt and they said you only get two nights if you applied for the card by calling Hyatt and having them transfer you to Chase, but since I applied online I only get one award night! So I hung up and called Hyatt again, this time a different rep said I had to met a $1,000 minimum spend to get the second award night. So I called Chase and they said I get 2 award nights after first purchase, and 2 will be awarded, they may not have both hit the Hyatt account yet. So I’ll sit tight and wait and see…

  • Gavinmac

    As a data point, I called Hyatt today to cancel an upcoming booking using the two free night awards from Chase. One night is set to expire in early March, the other at the end of March. When I cancelled, I asked the girl if there was any way to extend the free nights, and she promptly extended both until the end of April.

  • vortix

    Just curious…why did your two free night awards expire on different dates?

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