Bet you didn’t know: Gift Hyatt free night certificates to someone else.

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Julian Kheel over at CNN Underscored is probably going to berate me for the use of his old column title, but I don’t remember a ceremony retiring his number when he headed off for greener pastures and there just wasn’t a better title for this (and if he wants to sue me, my liability is limited). At any rate, I am indeed willing to bet that most readers didn’t know that Hyatt will allow you to gift your free night certificates to someone else. Several members of our Frequent Miler Insiders group have confirmed that they have successfully done this. That’s huge because it means that a couple playing in 2-player mode could potentially combine forces to earn those nights toward elite status and/or enjoy the elite status benefits of the recipient.

I certainly didn’t know this was possible, though in hindsight perhaps I should have made this guess sooner. A couple of years ago, when I only had Explorist status, I called Hyatt asking whether there was some way to reserve a room for friends (we were traveling together but had separate flights home; their itinerary included an overnight layover one way).  Guest of Honor bookings can only be made by Hyatt Globalist members, but the front line agent with whom I spoke told me that Hyatt allows members to gift a stay to someone else. My friends wouldn’t get any elite benefits, but all they needed was a place to sleep for a few hours. In my case, my friends weren’t even World of Hyatt members, which is part of the reason that I needed a solution other than transferring points to them. In hindsight, I could have connected the dots to apply the same gifting situation to a free night certificate. However, conventional wisdom has long been that you can’t use a free night certificate to make a booking in someone else’s name – which is still (mostly) true.

And that’s why I thought the answer was no when a member of our Frequent Miler Insiders Facebook group posted this week to ask the following question:

Does anyone know if there is any way for me to use my wife’s Hyatt free night certificates and get the nights credited to my own account for purposes of hitting the Globalist threshold?

Much to my surprise, several group members commented about how this could indeed be done — by gifting the free night certificate rather than asking to book it in someone else’s name. See these responses:

Yes, but she has to specifically say she’s gifting it to you when you call to make the reservation. She can’t just say I want to book a room in my husband’s name.
Did this last month and it worked.

And:

Yes I just did it a few weeks ago. You can’t do it online but you can call to gift. But I can confirm I received the elite credit for my wife’s credit card nights.
However, make sure you don’t have free nights sitting around in your own account when your wife gifts you hers. I had a bit of a fiasco when I had 2 free nights disappear when my wife gifted me her 2 certs (so 4 free night certs were used for 2 nights in the hotel). I didn’t discover it until I was already checked in so it took an hour on the phone with Hyatt to resolve the issue.

This isn’t a feature that I can find in the official World of Hyatt terms, but thinking back on my experience with gifting a free night (booked with points) to my friends, it seems like this may have long been possible with the right terminology. Again, you can’t use your certificate to book a room in someone else’s name, but it seems that you may be able to gift it.

I therefore followed up with my Globalist Concierge to ask generally whether someone like my sister could gift her free night certificate to me. I was told that “in general any member is able to gift their points or free night awards to somebody else”. The gift giver would just need to call reservations and let them know that she was authorizing the use of the free night for me and she would need to be able to confirm my account details.

Obviously that could be huge for folks in a 2-player household who have multiple free night certificates thanks to the pandemic extensions and credit card spend. This means that they could consolidate the use of free night certificates by having one member gift their free night certificates to the other. It could also be very useful in a household where, for example, Player 1 has Globalist status but Player 2 doesn’t; Player 2 could gift their free night certificates to Player 1 in order to take advantage of Globalist benefits on a stay.

Based on the data points above, I don’t think you can do this proactively. That is to say that I don’t think you can gift someone an open-ended certificate but rather I think you would need to gift it at the time of making a reservation (but this is just a best guess based on data points, so I could be wrong). Any way you slice it, this is great to know and a good tool to keep in your belt if you are collecting Hyatt free night certificates in a multi-player household.

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