One of the credit cards I have for the ongoing benefits is the World of Hyatt Visa card from Chase. While it has regularly offered a sign-up bonus worth enough points for several nights at all but the highest tier hotels, that’s no reason to keep the card. I’m not going to keep it because of the low-tier Discoverist status that it gives me either. All that’s worth is premium internet and a bottle of water daily.
The perk that keeps me paying the $95 annual fee every year is the free night certificate good at any category 1-4 Hyatt hotel that you get after your account anniversary date. While a category 1-4 hotel with Hilton or Marriott won’t get you much more than a roadside hotel, with Hyatt you can still stay at some nice places with that certificate.
Chase does have a restriction in place which helps them keep people from gaming the system.
The Annual Fee Workaround
One way that some people would try to wring all of the possible benefits out of a credit card is by canceling the card after the certificate showed up in their account. Chase allows you to get a refund of the annual fee if you cancel a card within 30 days of the charge showing up on your account so people would wait the full 30 days before calling to cancel their card. That way they’d keep the free night and not have to pay an anything to get it.
This trick was no secret. There were whole articles written saying about how you can easily double the value of a card by doing this. Now, I’ve never done this and I’d never suggest this method to someone else. It’s my thing about not telling you to do things I wouldn’t do myself. That’s one of the things I won’t do for Your Mileage May Vary.
Free Night Certificates
With the World of Hyatt card, not only do you get a free night upon the account renewal, you can get another free night if you spend $15,000 on the card during your “anniversary” year (that’s just a way to say it’s not Jan-Dec but from one account renewal to another).
Since I’ve discovered that having a series of one free night at hotels doesn’t have much value for us, I thought maybe having two free nights would be better. That way we could stay for a long weekend somewhere. That’s way more appealing than only getting 20 hours in a room for free. I decided to put the spending on the card for an extra free night.
I called Chase because I wanted to see if they could tell me if I’d hit the $15,000 mark to get the certificate (spoiler: they can’t) but the rep told me the free night would show up in my Hyatt account after the statement closed where I hit the requirement. I would also receive another free night after my account anniversary, which would show up in my account 10 weeks after the annual fee is charged.
I never knew of this policy so I made sure I was understanding it correctly. After the call, I was able to find this restriction listed when I did a search for “Hyatt Certificate 10 weeks” but it’s not well-publicized. You can also find it if you look in the fine print of cardmember benefits for the World of Hyatt card.
Please allow up to 10 weeks after your cardmember anniversary each year for your Free Night Award to be issued to you.
While most reports are that the free night doesn’t usually take that long to show up in your account, the delay gives Chase the opportunity to slow-walk the depositing of certificates, if they so choose, to make sure cardholders keep accounts open and pay the annual fee before giving away the free night.
While I have all intentions of keeping my account open and paying the annual fee, having to wait up to over 2 months to get my free night means I have to take that into account when planning where to use it. While it could show up sooner, I’m going to plan for getting it on the later side.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary