Bet You Didn’t Know: New(ish) Rules on Hyatt Free Night Certificates


By Julian, author of Devil’s Advocate


There are two different flavors of Hyatt Free Night certificates associated with the Hyatt Visa credit card. One of them is awesome. The other is not actually even free.

The first type of certificate are the ones you get as a signup bonus after completing $1,000 in spend when you apply for the Hyatt Visa. You get two of them, good for one night each at any Hyatt in the world. This includes Hyatts that cost a gazillion dollars a night and look like you might possibly run into the Duchess of York in the hallways.

hyatt free night

The second type of certificate is the one that arrives each year when you have a Hyatt Visa card, roughly around the anniversary of when you first applied for the card. It serves as a distraction from the $75 annual fee that appears very shortly thereafter.

hyatt free night
Hey, look at this shiny object! Isn’t it shiny? Doesn’t it make you forget you’re paying $75 for a “free” night?

This would actually be a pretty great deal if this annual free night could be used just like the original signup bonus nights. Sadly, the anniversary night is limited to only category 1-4 Hyatt hotels. Granted, if you travel regularly you can probably find decent value for this certificate without too much effort, but it’s not a home run by any means.

However, the biggest downside with both of these types of certificates is their expiration dates. They both carry a 1-year expiration, which means they have to be used (not just booked, but actually used) within one year of being issued.

Now, in the past this expiration restriction has been a little loosey-goosey. Hyatt would routinely allow you to extend the anniversary certificates by at least 30 days. And if you called the Hyatt Gold Passport line enough times, you could usually find an agent who would be willing to extend the all-powerful signup bonus certificates, especially if you had a specific redemption in mind (i.e.: “I was really hoping to use these at the Park Hyatt Sydney for my grandmother’s 148th birthday, is there anything you could do to help?”)

But unfortunately there are new rules, and even more unfortunately you won’t be able to talk your way around them anymore. There is also one very small upside to the new rules, which will at least allow you to get some value out of your free nights, even if you can’t find time to use them before they disappear.

No more extending expiration dates.

As most readers know, last December Hyatt made a significant upgrade to their IT systems which resulted in most Gold Passport activity (redemptions, upgrades, etc.) being unavailable for 4 full days. has always been a notoriously terrible and unreliable website, but after being down for 4 days of upgrades, I’m pleased to report it is now a mostly notoriously terrible and unreliable website.

hyatt free night
This is literally what is showing as I write this post. I’m not exaggerating.

That being said, Hyatt has managed to make a few recent website improvements. They now show online availability of Points + Cash inventory and offer the ability to book upgrades to club rooms online with points. So that’s good. I’m sure Hyatt’s IT team is very proud of their recent work and if they ever manage to make it through an entire week without the website being down for several hours, they’ll probably nominate themselves for a Webby award.

In any case, the flip side of these IT improvements is that the expiration dates of Hyatt free night certificates are now hard coded into the computers. Which means agents no longer have the ability to change or extend them even if they might otherwise be willing to do so.

So for both types of Hyatt free night certificates, the rule is now consistent and identical to the new Diamond Suite Upgrade rule — you must use the free night (not just book, but complete the stay) by the expiration date. No exceptions. Boooo.

But hang on, because if your certificates are going to expire without being used, you may have one other option…

Converting free nights to points for Diamond and Platinum members.

The following info (and the new expiration rule described above) comes directly from the Hyatt Gold Passport Concierge on Flyertalk who is an official company representative, so it’s safe to assume this is policy and not subject to the whims of phone agents.

It is extremely important to keep in mind the different types of free night certificates when considering this option. If you have any anniversary free night certificates that you cannot use before they expire, you are unfortunately out of luck. They cannot be extended or converted to points.

However, if you have any of the signup bonus free night award certificates and you cannot use them before their expiration, you may be able to convert them to Hyatt Gold Passport points if you meet either of the following criteria:

  • If you are a Diamond member, either from a trial offer or having completed 25 stays/50 nights in the last 12 months, you can convert each unused free night certificate to 20,000 Hyatt points.
  • If you are a Platinum member from having completed 5 stays or 15 nights in the last 12 months (the Platinum status awarded from the credit card does not count), you can convert each unused free night certificate to 10,000 Hyatt points.

Note that if you choose this option to convert your certificates to points, you will have to wait until after the certificates have expired in order to do so. However, do not wait too long as you have only 90 days after the expiration to call and get them converted to points. So it’s essentially a 90 day window to get it done.

The old policies were better, but no longer apply.

hyatt free night

Before the start of 2016, there were different (and better) rules in place for what you could do with Hyatt free nights to convert or extend them. You may find old information floating around the intertubes, but regrettably all of those more favorable rules are null and void and should be ignored. As of January 2016, the info in this post is the current official Hyatt policy and IT upgrades make it impossible for agents to override them.

I understand why Hyatt made some of these recent changes, especially the one that newly limits Diamond Suite Upgrades which had in practice been usable almost a year past their stated expiration. But not having the option to extend the expiration date by even 30 days is unduly harsh.

Frankly, my own Hyatt Visa anniversary is upon me and I’m seriously considering canceling the card, even though it would effectively mean I’d probably never be able to get it again if Chase does in fact extend their 5/24 rule to all their cards next month. But I figure if I can live without Hyatt Diamond status, I can live without the Hyatt Visa too. Besides, didn’t I hear something about an increased limited time bonus on the SPG card?…

Did you know the new rules for converting or extending Hyatt Free Night certificates?

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[…] New(ish) Rules on Hyatt Free Night Certificates […]


Cat 1-4 are fine for me.. I never go to luxury hotels so a night where a room cost 130 bucks is still worth it because it covers the AF and more.

My question, how do I book Hyatt’s 2 bonus nights I got.. Online. I’ve looked all over and they tell me how but I have no reserve button etc. It’s a pain in the ass..Thanks.


Has anyone tried to use these certificates for levels beyond 4? I’m also seeing availability all the way up to 7!


The annual free night

[…] earned from the sign up bonus with no category restriction, not the annual free night certificate). Frequent Miler also had a post on this in 2016, but since then World of Hyatt has been […]


FWIW, I called Hyatt the other day about an anniversary night that was expiring the next day.
I had no immediate use for it, and I would have needed to book and use that stay the same day. The representative told me that if I let it expire and then called back in, they could convert that expired night into 10,000 points.
I was a little skeptical, as this was an anniversary night, but I had no other options.
Two days later I called back in, and was honestly expecting to have to fight for it a bit. To my surprise, the representative immediately processed the 10k points into my account.


I just called to convert my expiring cat1-4 certificate into points and was told that conversion is no longer an option under the new World of Hyatt program. Pretty big change to make without notice.


I’m looking to used the 2 free nights February 2018 (specifically starting on 2/16) – is now the right time to open the card? I was told it would take approx 30 days for the points to populate following the 2k spend, but I’m nervous that if the billing cycle is shorter or I spend the 2k too quickly or too slowly it will screw up my free night redemption.


Can you use the 2 free nights for any type of room? For instance, the Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa and Marina has a garden view room for $129 and a penthouse suite for $1200. Thanks!


Add me to the list of folks wondering what happens if I book my anniversary free night for check-in beyond the expiration date.

[…] night must also be used (not booked) “within 12 months from issuance.” Also, Hyatt no longer offers extensions to these deadlines as they did in the […]

[…] The Hyatt Olive 8 comprises almost half of the Olive 8 building in downtown Seattle with the remaining higher floors being utilized as condominiums. The Luxury King Suite layout is a little strange in that it is an extraordinarily long unit–I’m sure there is a story behind it. The staff was friendly and the rooms were clean and not worn-feeling. There is no wonder why many bloggers always highlight the Category 4 Olive 8 was a great value to use a Chase Hyatt Credit Card free annual night. […]


I am also finding that Hyatt is letting me book my free night after expiration. Wondering what will happen if I do book a couple weeks after expiration.


Hi there! I have a free night award in my account but I already canceled my CHASE card. Can I still redeem the free night award without my CHASE card? thanks


It looks like is letting me use my annual free night cert for booking at cat 5 hotel. Have people tried this before? Will this be rejected at check-in?


Good find. Upon seeing your post, I logged in and checked. It shows me a FREE NIGHT at the Grand Hyatt Kauai which is a Cat. 6 hotel.



Im getting this result too when I search in San Diego, free night available at category 5, but Im nervous about showing up and being stuck with the $400 bill. Has anyone had success with a completed stay?


Did you try this booking? any updates??


Did you try this booking? any updates??


do you have to pay the $75 annual fee to use the free anniversary night? just got my free night (cat 1-4) , can i cancel the card (void the annual fee) and still use the free night within the next year or do i have to keep the card?


You should email GoldPassport. Technically, I’d say it’s possible but don’t take my word for it.