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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.