Say what you will about Chase, but their hotel cards that come with a free anniversary night are worth every penny.
I wrote how I got $500 in value from the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card earlier this year. And I’ve used my World of Hyatt Credit Card free night certificate at the Hyatt Centric in New Orleans and the Hyatt at the Bellevue in Philadelphia. I also wrote about 5 worthwhile Category 4 hotels where you can get a lot of bang for your Hyatt free night cert.
And this past weekend, I got a stay worth ~$284 at the Hyatt Place Austin Downtown (full review soon!) in exchange for my $75 annual fee.
With values like this, a card with a valuable free night each cardmember year is a no-brainer to keep year after year. Especially when you can get outsized value in popular areas like downtown Austin.
A cute lil weekend trip
On a whim, I planned a trip to Austin. And coincidentally realized I had a free night certificate set to expire soonish. I checked to see what hotels, if any, would be in reach with my free night at a Hyatt Category 1 through 4 hotel. And was surprised to see the Hyatt Place Austin Downtown was available (it’s a Category 4).
As I’m always curious about these things, I had to know what the cash rate for the room would be.
Wasn’t surprised to see it was touching the $300 mark. Makes sense, as it’s easy walking distance to 6th Street, Rainey Street, the Capitol building, and more bars and restaurants than you could ever possibly explore. I also walked over to the farmers market at Republic Square and admired the selection of produce and handiworks.
After logging into my account, it was easy to book my free night as it was already applied at the checkout screen.
I pondered using the certificate in New Orleans again. Or maybe in Chicago. Both hotels are on this list of high-value options.
In the end, I decided to make a weekend trip out of it. Requested a 2pm late checkout the next day. And had a free breakfast, a small lie-down, brunch out with friends, and then a leisurely afternoon because they held our bags and let us stay parked in the garage.
All in all, a fantastic start to the weekend.
Two problems with free night certificates
As great as these things are, there are a couple of things to watch for.
1. They’re use it or lose it
- Link: AwardWallet
I believe there’s a way to cash in your Hyatt free night for Hyatt points. But for the other free nights mentioned above at IHG and Marriott, they are use or lose. And man, it sneaks up on you!
My solution is to use AwardWallet, which alerts you when you have a cert (or points!) about to expire. You could also set a calendar reminder. Or an alert on your phone. Whatever you choose, be sure to keep track of that expiration date. Because nothing is a good deal if you don’t use it.
2. They’re only 1 night
Grrrr. Who wants to stay somewhere for a night? Luckily, I had friends to stay with on Saturday night. Otherwise, I could’ve:
- Used Hyatt points for an additional night
- Paid cash for another night
- Switched hotels and used other hotel points/certs
Option 1 is my go-to because switching hotels is kind of a pain. Although it can be worth it sometimes to see different parts of a city.
You could also use your free cert for the most expensive night of your stay (assuming there is one). And pay cash for the other night(s).
With IHG, there’s a 2-week overlap with the certificate beginning/expiration dates. So if you time it *just right* you can get a free 2-night stay, like I did earlier this year in New York.
I love love love these free nights. Although you have to track the expiration date. And it can be tough to only have 1 night somewhere. But I got lucky this time and stayed with friends for the next night of the weekend. And it ended up being a perfect setup for a fun night out on the town because of the easy walking distance to 6th Street.
Best of all, you can get ALL of these even if you’re over 5/24. Here are a few other hotels to consider for your Hyatt free night.
All this to say… I can’t freaking wait for that new Amex Hilton Aspire card to come out in early 2018. More on that soon, too. 😈
Have you gotten great value from a free night certificate? If you don’t have one of the cards above, they are all worth a looky-loo if only for the free night each year!* If you liked this post, consider signing up to receive free blog posts in an RSS reader and you’ll never miss an update!
- Capital One Venture X Rewards—Earn 90,000 Venture miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening, plus a $300 annual statement credit for travel booked through Capital One
- Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card—Earn 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months and 3X bonus points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year
- Amex Blue Business Plus—Earn 15,00 Membership Rewards points once you spend after you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months of Card Membership and 2X bonus points on up to $50,000 in spending per year with NO annual fee
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