Caution: Don’t accidentally use a Hyatt 1-7 certificate for a Category 4 stay

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A friend of the blog reached out with a situation that I narrowly avoided recently but is worth knowing about for anyone who has multiple Hyatt free night certificates: Hyatt.com might take your Category 1-7 free night certificate when you intend to use your Category 1-4 free night certificate. To avoid this, contact Hyatt either via phone or the Twitter concierge before your stay. This situation typically applies to Globalists who received a Category 1-7 free night certificate as a 60-night milestone benefit (and who also have Category 1-4 certificates whether from 30-night milestone benefits or the Hyatt credit cards) and it is good to be aware of this if that applies to you.

Unlike Marriott, Hyatt does not give you an opportunity to choose which type of certificate to apply to a reservation. For example, I have both a Category 1-4 and a Category 1-7 free night certificate in my account:

Last month, I spent a night at The Confidante in Miami Beach. When I went to make the reservation, the website only gave me the option to choose a free night or 15,000 points.

That’s not very descript and I was concerned that it might take my Category 1-7 free night certificate for this Category 4 hotel. I reached out to the Hyatt Concierge on Twitter to ask if they could make the reservation for me to make sure that it used one of my Category 1-4 free night certificates.

The Hyatt Concierge told me to go ahead and make the reservation myself and then give them the confirmation number and they would check it. I did and they checked and sure enough Hyatt had taken my Category 1-7 free night certificate, but they were able to switch it to use one of my Category 1-4 certificates and put my 1-7 back in my account for future use.

Unfortunately, a friend reached out who wasn’t so lucky. He expected that Hyatt would correctly take the Category 1-4 free night certificate and didn’t realize that Hyatt had automatically applied the 1-7 certificate until after the stay was completed. When he realized that Hyatt had redeemed the wrong certificate, he reached out to customer service.

In short, Hyatt told him that all they could do was provide 10K points as an apology. They said that there was no way for them to reinstate a used certificate.

I thought that was a surprisingly poor response to the situation given that it isn’t the member’s mistake but rather Hyatt’s underperforming IT to blame for the wrong certificate being used. No reasonable member who stays 60 nights in a year would intentionally use a Category 1-7 free night certificate instead of a Category 1-4 on a Category 4 hotel.

By contrast, Marriott’s system automatically recognizes when you have multiple certificates in your account and lets you choose which certificate(s) to use.

To me, an extra 10K points from Hyatt was weak compensation. Yes, he still has his Category 1-4 certificate, but even if he uses that to maximum value (“saving” him 15K points), the additional 10K points here only nets him 25K points ahead — which isn’t enough points for a Category 7 Hyatt at standard pricing (30K), never mind that a Cat 1-7 certificate even covers a Category 7 property at peak pricing. He pushed back but Hyatt was firm that 10K was the best that they could do.

That’s not reflective of Hyatt’s typically excellent customer service. Hyatt usually goes above and beyond. In this case, I believe that the phone rep likely didn’t have a way to reinstate a Category 1-7 certificate otherwise I think Hyatt would have done that. Still, it stinks that they wouldn’t offer more points.

The moral of the story here is that if you have both Category 1-4 and 1-7 certificates in your account and you want to use a certificate for a reservation at a Category 4 (or lower) property, proactively reach out to Hyatt to confirm that the correct certificate is attached before consuming the stay.

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16 Comments
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Elchonon

Wow! This happened to me this week, booked 3 nights at a cat 4 of 15k a night.

Was randomly checking my awards and noticed a 1-7 was used, emailed my concierge during stay and she fixed.

Really weak on Hyatt part not to accommodate your friend, this seems like something happening to very savvy elite members. It’s just bad medicine

SgFm

I had this happen three nights ago at a Category 2 hotel. I booked on the app and missed that the first option when booking a non cash stay is a “free night” whereas a point stay is underneath that and I hadn’t scrolled down that far on my phone. I discovered the mistake the next morning, as I was about to book a Category 7 stay using the Cat 1-7 award, for a stay that night. The machinations that multiple WOH reps and the hotel’s front desk went through to fix this were unsuccessful, unfortunately. In the end I asked the hotel to make the stay a paid stay and as soon as I was told by the revenue manager that I could do that instead, I had WOH call the hotel and the hotel was able to release the award; it then went immediately back into my account. Considering that the Cat 7 hotel was going for $995 and my Category 2 cash stay was for $99, I was happy to pay the $ to fix my mistake.

THEsocalledfan

Cripes, forgot a cert I had applied to a category 3 was one of these….cancelled!

Lee klein

Just make a Cat 7 placeholder Res for next year. Then make your Cat 4 Res desired (only 1 cert for Hyatt to use). Then CXL the placeholder Cat 7. No fuss, no muss

CJ Horn

Agreed.

Jerry Maguire

Yup – just park the Cat 7, do your business, and cancel.

Stevie

This happened to me too but with it taking a 1-4 cert expiring in 2022 and leaving the one expiring that month. I bucked back a bit at the 10K offer on Twitter and they upped it to 15K to cover a cat 4 booking.

Brands

Yeah, exact same thing happened to me. Redeemed my 1-7 cert at a Hyatt Place(lol) instead of my 1-4. In the end it worked out well for me, because I had no good use for a 1-7 cert(planned trip to Hawaii was cancelled due to pandemic), and I was able to get 15,000 points as a courtesy credit from my concierge, who is awesome, and got to use my 1-4 cert, which had a much later expiration date, at a $400 a night hotel in downtown Chicago.

Pam

If you book through the Hyatt website instead of the app, you can go to Awards then pick the specific one you want & book it.

Grant

Hey Nick, off topic, but I noticed that you still have the old Chase Marriott Rewards Premier CC that comes with the 25k cert. Do you think you would ever want to upgrade to the Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless CC for a 35k cert or another Ritz Carlton CC for another 50k cert? Curious about your answer. You can answer it on the YouTube live too 🙂

Brant

I think that if they use your Cat.7 cert. for a Cat. 4 night, it improves your stay. You’ll get extra bottled water and a free breakfast at Hyatt Place hotels. It’s like an upgrade.

mark jackson

My trick with this is to book a category 7 reservation far in advance of the stay that I want to use my category 4 certificate on, book the cat 4 room, and then cancel the cat 7. Guarantees it doesn’t get misused and no call needed.

Jamal

This is exactly what happened to me! I called to make a booking and the rep applied a cat 1-7 for a stay at a cat 1-4. Several weeks later, I checked in for the stay (via the Hyatt app on my phone) and then noticed my 1-7 was missing. I immediately called Hyatt and the rep could see that I had called and the rep had applied it incorrectly. She said she could NOT reinstate the cert but she could give me 30k for it, so I took that.

Ed S

Same thing happened to me. Basically got the cat 4 night free and converted a 1-7 cert into 30k points. I was pleased, since I thought I had messed up by not specifying which cert to use when booking. Apparently, this is a common issue.

David

Similar experience where I had two Category 1-4 certificates with vastly different expiration dates. Made a reservation and Hyatt’s system automatically used the cert set to expire in 11 months instead of one expiring next month. Thankfully, I caught this and was able to contact Hyatt to make a switch.

Matthew

This just happened to me actually. I would tell him to contact his concierge and see if they can throw in some more points. I am really surprised that Hyatt’s IT isn’t more clear about certificate usage. But the system just defaults to whatever expires sooner. I’m sure a lot of Globalists with the credit card are in a similar situation.