A cup of coffee kept my points alive — reader success story

Nov 27, 2019

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Today I want to share a story from TPG reader David, who found an easy way to keep his Hyatt account active:

While I have a number of World of Hyatt points, I haven’t stayed in one of their hotels in years, and I don’t tend to rent cars to earn hotel points. Two years ago, I purchased 1,000 points (with a bonus) to keep my points from expiring. I was going to do the same this year, but since there was no bonus available, I looked for another way of extending them.

I called World of Hyatt and the customer service agent gave me a great tip. She suggested that I go to any Hyatt hotel, buy a cup of coffee and present my World of Hyatt membership number. I went one morning recently, and for a couple of dollars I got a decent cup of coffee and a two-year reprieve. My points were in my account before I managed to finish my coffee.

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You can earn rewards for dining at hotel restaurants and other charges applied to your room folio, but some hotels go a step further and offer rewards for on-site purchases even if you’re not a registered guest. That means you can boost your account balance (or just keep it active like David did) without having to book a stay. World of Hyatt awards points not only for dining, but also for other incidentals like spa services and gift shop purchases when you provide your member number. However, you should confirm your purchase is eligible beforehand, since independent establishments might not offer rewards even if they’re on hotel property. Also, note that you’ll only earn base points (with no elite bonuses) for charges that are unaffiliated with a stay.

This approach won’t work at all hotels; while World of Hyatt and Marriott Bonvoy explicitly offer rewards for non-guests (in at least in some cases), other programs are less generous. Naturally, it won’t work for airlines either, since you can’t readily pop onto a plane and order an inflight beverage unless you actually mean to fly. My favorite strategies to keep those rewards active are to transfer points in from a program like Chase Ultimate Rewards or Amex Membership Rewards, or to make a small purchase through an affiliated online shopping portal. In either case, confirm that your rewards post correctly and the expiration clock resets, or your account may lapse unexpectedly (as my United MileagePlus account did in 2017).

Related: Do I earn hotel points for food and beverage charges on award stays?

I love this story and I want to hear more like it! In appreciation for sharing this experience (and for allowing me to post it online), I’m sending David a gift card to enjoy on future travels, and I’d like to do the same for you. Please email your own award travel success stories to info@thepointsguy.com; be sure to include details about how you earned and redeemed your rewards, and put “Reader Success Story” in the subject line. Feel free to also submit your most woeful travel mistakes. If your story is published, we’ll send you a gift to jump-start your next adventure. Due to the volume of submissions, we can’t respond to each story individually, but we’ll be in touch if yours is selected.

Safe and happy travels to all, and I look forward to hearing from you!

Featured photo by emre gencer/Unsplash.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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