How a simple game of bingo scored me a free night with Hyatt
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There’s nothing better than waking up to an email with the subject line, “You Earned It — Enjoy a Night on Us.”
No, this isn’t junk mail. It’s a legitimate email I got containing a free night award valid at any Category 1-4 World of Hyatt property.
How could this be? I’m not currently a World of Hyatt Credit Card holder so it can’t be the anniversary free night. And I sure as heck didn’t spend enough nights with Hyatt this year to earn the 30-night Milestone Reward. In fact, I’ve only spent six qualifying nights with Hyatt so far this year so I barely achieved entry-level Discoverist status.
Enter: Brand Explorer. This lesser-known perk is essentially World of Hyatt’s version of bingo, and arguably one of the easiest ways to earn a free night award without even trying.
World of Hyatt Brand Explorer perk overview
Brand Explorer exists to entice World of Hyatt members to experience all of the different brands Hyatt has under its umbrella. Plain and simple, it allows you to earn a Category 1-4 free night award for every five unique Hyatt brands you stay at.
This perk is available to all World of Hyatt members. You don’t need to be an elite member or carry a specific credit card. There’s also no additional registration to participate and no end date. Unlike other World of Hyatt Milestone Rewards, this benefit isn’t tied to the calendar year — it runs over the lifetime of the account. So, infrequent Hyatt guests can take as long as they need to reach the threshold.
Any qualifying stay attached to your World of Hyatt account counts, including both paid nights and award nights. The only major exception is stays booked through third parties, which typically don’t earn World of Hyatt credit. You only need to spend one night with each brand and there’s no minimum spending requirement.
Hyatt hotel brands
Hyatt currently offers 18 different brands so you can currently earn up to three free nights through this promotion. They range from the ultra-luxurious Park Hyatt to the boutique Destination by Hyatt, all-inclusive Hyatt Ziva and Hyatt Zilara and family-friendly Hyatt House and Hyatt Place properties:
- Park Hyatt
- Grand Hyatt
- Hyatt Ziva
- Hyatt Zilara
- The Unbound Collection by Hyatt
- Hyatt Regency
- Hyatt Centric
- Hyatt House
- Hyatt Place
- Thompson Hotels
- Destination by Hyatt.
- JdV by Hyatt
- Hyatt Residence Club
- UrCove by Hyatt
Tracking your Brand Explorer progress
Fortunately, Hyatt makes it easy to track your Brand Explorer progress. To see how many brands you’ve stayed at so far, head to your online World of Hyatt account and click the “My Awards” tab.
From there, simply click on the “Brand Explorer” button to see which brands you’ve stayed at and how many more you need to visit to earn a free night. Brands you’ve stayed at are shown in color with a checkmark at the top right corner while the rest are grayed out.
Redeeming Brand Explorer free nights
As soon as you hit five unique brands, you’ll automatically be issued a Category 1-4 free night certificate. These are treated like any other Hyatt free night awards. They’re valid for 12 months and the stay must be completed — not just booked — by the expiration date.
In addition to the email confirmation, the certificate will appear in your World of Hyatt account under the “My Awards” tab. To redeem it, search for a hotel as you normally would with the “Use Points” box checked off.
Since these certificates are only valid at Category 1-4 properties, you’re looking for rooms that cost up to 15,000 points per night. Once you select a hotel, you’ll be able to select whether you want to redeem your free night award or points. Or, you can combine the certificate with other forms of payment by using Hyatt’s relatively new Pay My Way option.
I redeemed my free night award at the Confidante Miami Beach. With paid nights well over $300 most of the year, this is easily one of the “best bang for your buck” Category 4 World of Hyatt properties. Plus, just like points stays, you don’t need to pay resort fees when redeeming free night awards. That said, if you really want to maximize your certificate and get a head start on earning a second Brand Explorer award, I’d suggest booking a brand you haven’t stayed at before.
How other TPG staffers stand on the challenge
Having just hit my fifth unique brand, I was curious to see how other TPG staffers stand on the challenge and what some of the most popular Hyatt brands are among our team. It appears that TPG director of travel content Summer Hull currently holds the record for visiting the most brands — 11.
Joseph Hostetler, credit cards writer
Juan Ruiz, credit cards editor
Summer Hull, director of travel content
Katie Genter, senior writer
Nick Ewen, senior editor
The Brand Explorer perk is a fun, easy opportunity to earn a free night award for every five unique World of Hyatt brands you stay at. Hyatt currently has 18 brands so you could earn up to three free nights with the perk but odds are high as they add a couple more brands at some point that we could see that opportunity go up to four nights with 20 brands.
There are lots of ways to earn even more free Hyatt night awards, including through the World of Hyatt Credit Card and Hyatt’s Milestone Rewards making the World of Hyatt program one of our perennial favorites.
Featured photo of the Hyatt Regency JFK Airport by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy.
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