Disclosure: I do not receive a commission for this card.
The Chase Hyatt card has one of the most valuable sign-up bonuses when it comes to hotels. That is because it does not give points for the bonus but gives free nights. Since the top tier hotels require 30,000 points per night, that is like getting a maximum of 60,000 points with the sign-up bonus! The trick to getting the most out of it is using those free nights at higher priced hotels, not the low category locations.
Chase Hyatt Card
Annual Free Night
However, in addition to the great sign-up bonus, the card also offers an anniversary night each year you hold the card. This free night can be redeemed at hotels that are in category 1 – 4. It is not a “free” night since you are paying the annual fee of $75 for the card, but the card does carry some other benefits that can help to offset that fee as well, if you stay at Hyatts.
While category 4 is the highest category the free night can be used on, it is not a bad thing at all! There are some fantastic hotels that fall in those categories and they can be a steal for only paying $75 for the annual fee. The only problem with this is that the single free night can be an annoyance if you are trying to travel to redeem it at a more expensive hotel. No one really wants to travel far for one night but paying for subsequent nights might be more than you would like to shell out as well.
And that is where our strategy tip comes in! The free night is good for one year but the one year typically overlaps the previous year’s free night’s eligibility by about a month. That means, you can use both free nights at once, if it is within that overlapping month. Yes, you will be using two year’s worth of free nights at once, but if you have your spouse apply for the card as well, you can do the same thing with their nights as well, basically having two nights in a row for each card.
If planned very well, you can actually get four nights in a row every two years! The way to do that is to have both of you apply in the same month and then use your nights back-to-back. This comes in very handy when staying at someplace like the Andaz Papagayo. Instead of only staying one night for free, you could get four nights in a row. You would need to communicate with the hotel to ensure that you can stay in the same room for the duration. This should not normally be much of a trouble because as a Platinum member (which you become with the Hyatt card) you get a 2PM late checkout which is within the check-in period as well.
So, which month do you apply for it? It all depends on which locations you want to keep for your vacation nights. If you are going someplace seasonal, the availability may be better on the shoulder season or the off-season. These nights are not bookable all the time, they are out of a special pool of availability so it makes sense to look into the availability ahead of time to see what months show the most availability. The problem is that you can only look at those award nights if you already have one in your account. However, you can call in and ask about the availability.
Does this really matter all that much? Sure, because it can give you an actual vacation instead of just a single night, but it will depend on when you apply for the card as to whether it will work out well for you. Try to pick a month when you know that you will be taking vacation each year or for a month where your airline award availability might be better than others.
Even if you have already applied for this card, you can still use the overlapping annual nights on back-to-back nights to create a mini vacation. You just cannot choose your month anymore.