Oct012009

Hyatt’s Faster Free Nights, Stays Count Double, and United Miles

Thousands of Hyatt Gold Passport members are half-way to a free night after checking out of a Hyatt Hotel today, October 1, 2009. Hyatt Gold Passport’s “The Next Big Thing” promotion is huge this year with Faster Free Nights, Stays Count Double, and bonus United miles available in combinable promotions.

In August, I was speaking with Barbara DeLollis of USA Today and discussing with her the current hotel loyalty program climate of 2009 as the best year in the past decade for hotel loyalty program promotions.

I’ve had the equivalent of $3,000+ in free hotel nights over the past six weeks with Starwood Preferred Guest staying at the St. Regis San Francisco, St. Regis Monarch Beach in Dana Point, W San Francisco, and Westin Napa Verasa. The hotel stays in May during Starwood’s Stay 2 times and earn a free weekend night only cost me $1,800 for the 16 hotel stays to earn 8 free nights.

And now Starwood is offering double elite credit for the remainder of 2009 for current SPG elite members. My SPG Platinum elite status provided added value, including full two-room suites at several hotels.

In August, I stayed in some low cost Holiday Inn hotels while traveling.  Priority Club’s Stay 2 nights and earn a free night allowed me to redeem a free hotel stay at the $300 per night InterContinental San Francisco. Too bad their promotion was limited to four free nights.

As a Hyatt Diamond elite member (25 stays or 50 nights) I recently received a free night credit for a Hyatt Place or Summerfield Suites to use by the end of 2009. As a SPG Platinum member (25 stays or 50 nights) I received a free night credit for any Starwood Hotel up to a Category 5 to use by the end of 2009. Ken Burns’ National Parks documentary has really stoked my interest in driving through Yosemite to stay at the Westin Monache in Mammoth Lakes this month before snow season begins.

I have stayed twice this past year for free at the Hyatt Carmel Highlands Inn. That is truly my staycation destination. The Highlands Inn is just a short 8 miles south of my home in Monterey. Kelley and I think it is one of the most beautiful locations in the world. Of course we are biased locals.

My point is not to espouse on my great travel trips.

I am simply a loyalty traveler and you can be one too.

Seriously, this Hyatt Faster Free Nights offer with Stays Count Double elite credit is truly an offer not to be missed.

And now that Gold Passport has opened Faster Free Nights to members who choose miles rather than points for earning preference, this promotion is a no-brainer if you are a United 1K member (and perhaps even if you are just a 1P, 2P, or general UA member like myself).

Whether your travel plans take you to London, Paris, Tokyo, Aruba, New York, or to a Hyatt resort just over the hill, the opportunity to earn free nights while attaining elite status and building up your frequent flier miles is an unprecedented hotel loyalty opportunity.

Priority Club had an earning limit of 4 free nights during their spring/summer promotion and SPG only allowed free nights to be redeemed for Friday, Saturday or Sunday this summer. Hyatt will allow you to book your winter 2010 7-night free vacation in a resort if you earn the nights and find the availability.

Here are some Loyalty Traveler tips for Hyatt Hotels Faster Free Nights planning:

1.       Chart the rates for your regional Hyatt Hotels and plan discretionary trips to hotels when rates are low. For example, during Starwood’s Free Weekend nights promotion I was able to stay in every Starwood Hotel in San Francisco and only once did I pay over $125 for a hotel room. This coming weekend most of these hotels are in the $300 per night range.

 

I find creating a spreadsheet helpful in plotting my stays during low rate nights at the Hyatt Hotels in my region. If you don’t have computer spreadsheet skills, then just draw out a grid on paper and track hotel rates. You will see patterns and with a little effort and research you can save hundreds of dollars on hotel rates.

 

Compare rates on Hyatt.com to online travel agency (OTA) rates. I like to check Kayak.com to get a meta-search view of rates. Hyatt’s Best Rate Guarantee allows a member to make a claim over the phone without having to book a room first. If you see a rate discrepancy with a lower rate on another OTA site and Hyatt approves your claim, then Hyatt will match the lower rate and take an additional 20% off. Discrepancies are more common than you might think.

 

Look for Gold Passport G Bonuses when making reservations. A simple check for a G Bonus link to the hotel you are planning to stay can increase your points earning by 1,000 to 2,000 points.

 

Hyatt Hotels Room Rates Spreadsheet

Hyatt Hotels Room Rates Spreadsheet

 

2.       Vary your stays to make the acquisition of free nights more pleasurable. Hyatt Place Fremont is my local cheap night hotel at just $70 all-in on most weekends, but no upgrades, fewer Diamond amenity points, and no lounge.

 

$20 more can put me in the Hyatt Santa Clara where there is a lounge, a breakfast restaurant, and the opportunity for nice upgrades.

 

In 2008 I only stayed in half of the Hyatt brand hotels in the San Francisco Bay region during an elite fast-track Stays Count Double promotion. This fall I will try and make at least one stay in the hotels I missed last year and check in with more Hyatt Hotels in southern California. I hear San Diego calling me.

 

3.       Be persistent and be flexible when it comes time to redeem your free nights. Starwood Lurker reported St. Regis Monarch Beach was the most requested free night property during the SPG promotion. I found availability over half the weekends in summer during my regular periodic checks. Sometimes availability lasted less than an hour. Westin Napa was a difficult property to get. I got it.

Hyatt Carmel Highlands is one of the more difficult hotels to get with FFN. I stayed twice this past year using FFN credits there.

Related Boarding Area blogger posts for Hyatt’s fall 2009 promotion:

One Mile at a Time – http://boardingarea.com/onemileatatime/2009/09/30/13500-united-miles-and-one-free-night-at-any-hyatt-for-every-second-stay-united-1ks-only/

View from the Wing – http://boardingarea.com/viewfromthewing/2009/10/01/the-best-hotel-promo-ive-ever-seen-13500-united-miles-and-a-free-night-for-every-two-cheap-one-night-hyatt-stays/

Loyalty Traveler – Analysis of Hyatt FFN and Stays Count Double (Sep 17, 2009)

Related Loyalty Traveler posts:

Loyalty Traveler – Carmel Highlands Inn review (Jan 5, 2009)

Loyalty Traveler – Hyatt Regency San Francisco Review and Stays Count Double Economic Rationale (March 22, 2008)

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

More articles by Ric Garrido »

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  1. My husband travels often and has status on both Hyatt and SPG. He has determined that while SPG offers a lot of hotels and brands, and their program is rated number 1 — for key locations, Hyatt has very good choices and he prefers to stay at hyatt. If you keep track of their bonus promotions you can get really good deals. Since points is not an issue for us, the free stays are meaningless as they expire very quickly. The new offer from hyatt for points or free stays is amazing to us – We have already collected a good number of points for many stays.

  2. Hyatt and Starwood combined will meet many leisure travelers needs with just these two programs. Elite benefits are good and attaining top elite status in both programs is as easy or easier than reaching top elite in Hilton or Marriott.

    Both Hyatt and Starwood hotel chains tend to have fast-track elite promotions each year. Hyatt Diamond or SPG Platinum is when the elite benefits provide substantial added value to hotel stays.

    Some people who travel frequently to destinations away from major cities may need a larger hotel program, but I find Starwood and Hyatt in most places I travel.

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