The best Hyatt Category 4 hotels for family vacations
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World of Hyatt Category 4 properties serve as a sweet spot for award redemptions for many travelers. Not only do they price out at just 15,000 World of Hyatt points per night, but they are also the highest tier you can book with your World of Hyatt reward-night certificates. These certificates are extremely valuable and aren’t very hard to earn.
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On an annual basis, you can earn World of Hyatt Category 1–4 free-night certificates three ways:
- On your cardmember anniversary for the World of Hyatt Credit Card
- When you spend $15,000 in a calendar year on your World of Hyatt credit card for a second award-night certificate
- By staying 30 nights or earning 50,000 base points at Hyatt properties
Another way you can earn World of Hyatt Category 1–4 free-night certificates is with the Hyatt Brand Explorer perk — one free night after completing eligible stays at five different Hyatt brands.
Hyatt was supposed to introduce variable award pricing in 2020, though in a series of customer-friendly moves, the program has postponsed the implementation multiple times — most recently to Oct. 2021. Along with that, Hyatt said it would pause a large-scale category shift within its World of Hyatt program for 2021 — with just 11 properties changing to a new price earlier this year.
With all that being said — and with so many properties at the Category 4 level, at least through this year — now’s a great time to put your certificates to work and book a getaway for the whole family. Here are our favorite picks:
Family fun on the East Coast
Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, Spa and Marina
There are not many Hyatt resort properties on the East Coast but the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, Spa and Marina in Cambridge, Maryland, is a true resort on 342 acres.
This property on the Chesapeake Bay has a marina, golf course and a small beach (although most months you’ll find jellyfish in the water). There is also an indoor pool, two outdoor pools (with a waterslide) and a hot tub. The pool areas are incredibly kid-friendly, with floats, basketball hoops and even large chess games on the pool deck.
Related: Spring family fun in Washington, DC
There are also many family-friendly activities — everything from arts and crafts to Popsicles at the pool, cooking classes and “dive in” nightly movies. There’s also a family “Iron Chef” competition, nature walks and minigolf. And we’d be remiss not to mention the enormous fire pit the hotel lights each night for s’mores.
Most (although not all) of the activities are included in the resort fee, one that is waived when you use World of Hyatt points or a free-night certificate. There is also a Camp Hyatt for a nominal fee — though this remains closed at this time due to the coronavirus pandemic.
This hotel is about two hours from Washington, D.C., so while it’s probably not a fly-in destination, if you’re spending extended time in the D.C. area, this might be the perfect resort for a few days out of the city. For those living in the Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia areas, it is a fantastic destination for a long weekend. If you book now, it costs just 15,000 points per night and is eligible for your Category 1-4 certificates.
Hyatt Place Portland-Old Port
For a visit to New England, the Hyatt Place Portland-Old Port in Portland, Maine, is right in the city and within walking distance of many attractions, restaurants and the waterfront. You can sail on Casco Bay, take a train ride along the promenade or a ferry to Peaks Island.
This is not a fancy resort but as a Hyatt Place property, standard rooms are large enough to sleep up to six — two queen beds and a pullout sofa. There is a small indoor pool and complimentary breakfast if you book directly with Hyatt. Don’t miss out on getting one of the best doughnuts you’ve ever tried at The Holy Donut — get there first thing in the morning before the lines get long.
Although there are many other hotels in Portland, this is a great one to lock in now for this summer or the fall leaf-peeping season.
Historic or waterfront? You choose in San Diego
If San Diego is on your radar, there are two high-end properties at the Category 4 level: the Andaz San Diego and the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego. The Andaz is a small, boutique hotel in the historic district, where you’ll receive complimentary snacks and beverages from the minibar. The Grand Hyatt is a much larger complex closer to the waterfront and offers access to a great concierge floor if you have World of Hyatt Globalist status or if you redeem a Club Lounge award.
Related: Planning a family trip to San Diego
The Grand Hyatt has rooms with two queen beds; the Andaz only offers rooms with two double beds. For many families, this can be a deal-breaker. For the kids, both hotels have pools and both are also close to the San Diego Zoo and a short ride from SeaWorld.
Pit stop along the Pacific Coast Highway
Driving the Pacific Coast Highway is great for a family vacation, and stopping in the Monterey and Carmel area is definitely a must-do. Stay at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa on Del Monte Golf Course to enjoy the sights as well as a resort-style property. The resort is less than 1 mile from the Monterey County Fairgrounds, which hosts many family-friendly festivals, concerts and events. Nearby you also have the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Point Pinos Lighthouse and the Monterey Zoo.
Here you have access to two outdoor pools, many biking trails, tennis courts and nightly relaxation around the fire pits. For golf families, you also have access to Del Monte Golf Course.
Visit New York City, sleep in New Jersey
New York City is never cheap — even when you use points. With Hyatt’s integration of Thompson Hotels, you can actually stay right in New York City at Gild Hall for just 15,000 World of Hyatt points per night, but there is a problem for families: Rooms on points only offer one king bed or one queen bed. For most families, this is not a viable option.
There are two options just across the Hudson River in New Jersey. Both the Hyatt House Jersey City and the Hyatt Regency Jersey City on the Hudson cost 15,000 points for a free-night stay. In just a few minutes, you can be in downtown Manhattan at the World Trade Center via the PATH train under the Hudson River.
The Hyatt Regency is next door to Exchange Place, where the PATH is located. If you choose the Hyatt House, you are only a few minutes’ walk from the PATH train. It’s a short door-to-door commute that can save you points and score you a larger room than you would get in Manhattan. Plus, at the Hyatt House, breakfast is free.
If you want to take a break from exploring New York City for the day, you can check out Liberty Science Center in Jersey City. This is a great center, with an aquarium, a 3D theater and the largest planetarium in the Western Hemisphere.
And as an added bonus, from Jersey, you’ll actually get some of the best views of New York City.
Ski for free at the Hyatt Place Keystone
While not a true ski-in/ski-out hotel, the Hyatt Place Keystone in Colorado is a great place to stay for families. The absolute best perk of staying at this property is that you receive a free lift ticket for kids 12 and under. This can be a savings of up to $98 per day, per kid, which is a fabulous deal. Technically, this is for stays of at least two nights, but in recent years, TPG’s Summer Hull has had this offer honored on one-night stays. All guests staying at this property also receive free night skiing (4-8 p.m.) on the day of arrival.
About a third of a mile from the base of the mountain, there are many hot tubs available for post-skiing relaxation and there is a complimentary breakfast buffet (for those who book directly with Hyatt). This is a great place to redeem your reward-night certificate.
Visit South Florida
South Florida is a great winter escape for many families. Although the Hyatt Place Delray Beach is not an oceanfront property, you are less than a mile from the public beach and within walking distance of many restaurants, shops and art galleries. You can play minigolf or tennis and then finish the day with a picnic at a nearby park. You can also visit Boomers!, a favorite for kids of all ages. Here you can ride bumper cars, bumper boats and even go-karts. On a rainy day, you can spend the day inside with arcade games and laser tag.
The Confidante Miami Beach, part of Hyatt’s Unbound Collection, is an oceanfront property in Miami’s South Beach that allows you to book rooms with two queen beds when redeeming points or certificates. The outdoor areas are gorgeous and playful. Even if your children are young, there are plenty of family-friendly attractions in the area. And kids under 4 qualify for free breakfast, and those between the ages of 4 and 12 “pay their age” at breakfast.
Related: The best beaches in Florida
Museums, monuments and more
Being able to stay in a major city on a free-night certificate is rare, but it can be done at the Grand Hyatt Washington, which is a few blocks from the White House, museums and monuments in the U.S. capital.
Another good Category 4 option is the Hyatt Place Washington DC/White House. This property is good if you don’t have Hyatt status, because all members who book direct with Hyatt receive free breakfast. Large families also benefit from rooms that have both two queen beds and a sofa bed. The location is a bit more business-oriented, but it’s walking distance from the White House and right next to the D.C. Metro — only two stops from the Smithsonian museums. (You can also stay at the Category 3 Hyatt House Washington DC/The Wharf for only 12,000 points per night.)
Related: Best Smithsonian exhibits for kids
Enjoy a 5-acre waterpark
The Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa in San Antonio might be one of the best properties on the Category 4 list. With a 950-foot lazy river, a 22-foot waterslide, many pools and a beach area, this is a true resort that your family will absolutely love. Other amenities include bikes, playground, s’mores and outdoor movies.
Although there are many Category 4 properties, these are some of the best for that next family-friendly vacation, where you can use those World of Hyatt reward-night certificates.
Related: World of Hyatt credit card review
Another thing to know is that you cannot apply suite-upgrade certificates when redeeming a free-night certificate. If you have a multinight stay and you wish to apply a suite upgrade, use the free-night certificate for the last night of your reservation and then call the hotel to ask them to link the reservation. This should ensure that the free-night certificate stay keeps you in the same room.
Where will your family be staying with your free-night certificate(s)?
Featured photo courtesy of Art Wager/Getty Images
Welcome to The Points Guy!
- Earn 30,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. Plus, up to 30,000 More Bonus Points by earning 2 Bonus Points total per $1 spent in the first 6 months from account opening on purchases that normally earn 1 Bonus Point, on up to $15,000 spent
- Get 1 free night each year after your Cardmember anniversary at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel or resort
- Enjoy complimentary World of Hyatt Discoverist status for as long as your account is open
- Receive 5 tier qualifying night credits towards status after account opening, and each year after that for as long as your account is open
- Earn an extra free night at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel if you spend $15,000 in a calendar year
- Earn 2 qualifying night credits towards tier status every time you spend $5,000 on your card
- Earn up to 9 points total for Hyatt stays – 4 Bonus Points per $1 spent at Hyatt hotels & 5 Base Points per $1 from Hyatt as a World of Hyatt member
- Earn 2 Bonus Points per $1 spent at restaurants, on airlines tickets purchased directly from the airlines, on local transit and commuting and on fitness club and gym memberships