Hotel Credit Card Anniversary Free Night Expiring? Treat Yourself to a Staycation Instead of Letting It Go

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Yikes – I almost missed that the expiration date on my annual category 1 to 4 Hyatt free night certificate is fast approaching.  With no travel plans in the coming weeks, my options are to let it lapse or burn it on a “staycation” nearby.

Initially, I was bummed about this, because you can often squeeze hundreds of dollars in value from the anniversary night you’ll get from The World Of Hyatt Credit Card (or old Chase Hyatt card) in lots of interesting locations.  It really is the best hotel credit card with a free night on your account anniversary, so it stings a little to burn it on a relatively mediocre redemption.

But then I realized I shouldn’t feel guilty.  It’s okay to use a certificate on a local getaway!

The Kids and I Will Be Sticking Close to Home by Redeeming a Hotel Credit Card Anniversary Free Night Certificate at the Nearby Hyatt Regency Rochester

Here’s how I’m not letting my free night certificate go to waste – and why you might consider doing the same.

I’ll Use My Hotel Credit Card Anniversary Night to Treat the Kids to a Winter Escape

I’ve had the Chase Hyatt (now World Of Hyatt) credit card for many years, and have made great use of the category 1 to 4 free night each account anniversary at wonderful hotels like the Hyatt Regency Paris – Etoile and Grand Hyatt Berlin.

This year, it’s not in the cards to burn the certificate in a fancy international location or big city.   Hyatt anniversary free night certificates expire 1 year after the date of issue, and my certificate expires in ~2 weeks.  I’d hoped to use it somewhere exotic but it just didn’t pan out, and there’s no way to extend its validity.  In the past, some folks have reported being able to “cash in” the certificates for 10,000 Hyatt points after expiration, but apparently Hyatt will no longer do this.

Instead of letting it expire, I’ll redeem my certificate at the freshly renovated category 2 Hyatt Regency Rochester.  We’ve stayed here in the past, but not since upgrades have been done, so it’ll be interesting to see what they’ve done with the property.

The paid rate for our night is ~$175, so I feel like we’re getting a decent value from the annual fee, too.

Not a Bad Rate for a Free Anniversary Night – Still Well Worth the Annual Fee

The kids can’t wait for this night out because they’ll get to enjoy the hotel’s indoor heated pool and fancy breakfast.  I’m mostly just looking forward to not having to make dinner for a night!  It’ll also be interesting to see if they give me an upgrade for having Hyatt Discoverist elite status (another perk of the card).

It’s almost like a forced mini-break, and a way to step away from the drudgery of everyday life even for a quick stay.  Sure, I’d prefer to use the certificate somewhere tropical in the middle of February, but at least the kids and I are making memories and getting a decent value from the annual fee I pay on the card each year.

If you’re looking for somewhere close to home (or anywhere) to redeem a Hyatt free night certificate, Hyatt’s website has a handy map tool, and you can filter just category 1 to 4 hotels as well.

Use Hyatt’s Map Search to Find Hotels Close to Home

Here are other cards that come with an anniversary free night certificate

How about you?  Have you ever redeemed a hotel credit card anniversary night certificate somewhere local or less glamorous just to not let it go to waste?  I’d love to hear your stories in the comments.

Jasmin Baron is a contributor to Million Mile Secrets, he covers topics on points and miles, credit cards, airlines, hotels, and general travel.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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ku
1 year ago

Hi all, my annual fee is charged on April, I plan to cancel it before I notice a free night cert was in my Marriott account. Would anyone know if I do go ahead and cancel the credit card, will I still be able to use the free night that is in my Marriott account?Thanks in advance!

Andrew Wan
Reply to  ku
1 year ago

Hi Ku,

I found some data points in online forums that suggest it would still be valid.

The value of the free night can be pretty amazing though, and more than enough to cover the card’s annual fee. Any reason you are thinking of cancelling?

Boonie
1 year ago

I’ve used it close to home a couple of times luckily we live about an hour into Chicago so have enjoyed a night away in the city. Great date night!

Thane
1 year ago

Just used our Bonvoy free nights in Auckland and IHG will be used in Vancouver. road trips and airport stays are always a good way as well. I monitor with Award Wallet and haven’t lost one yet. Marriott actually extended one for me and raised it from a 25k to 35k. Just keep your eyes on it or quit the card

Traveller Tom
1 year ago

same here as well. I have a Marriott certificate (up to $25K – level 4 hotel) so we picked a Residence Inn close by home. Pool, decent breakfast and good ratings on Tripadvisor). Always check the Ratings feedback first before you book even a free night!

Marilyn B
1 year ago

Same for us. We have an IHG certificate expiring at the end of March, another in July, and a Hilton weekend night expiring in July. So we are making the 5+ hour drive to DC and spending a Sunday night at the Graham in Georgetown (Hilton) which isn’t on the metro, and then 2 nights at the Willard Intercontinental where we’ve used a free night before.

Larry
1 year ago

I think the free hotel anniversary nights are a wonderful value when I am on top of them and their expiration dates. However, in normal life it’s very easy to run up against the expiration date with no good plan for a good redemption. My wife and I have 2 Hyatt, 2 IHG, and 3 Marriott free anniversary hotel nights. 7 different expiration dates is a lot. I so wish these could be converted to their value in hotel points which are flexible and don’t expire. I also wish it was possible to use the credit of a Hyatt cat 4 free night toward a cat 6 or 7 and pay the difference with Hyatt points.

Cabet
1 year ago

How timely! Discovered yesterday that my anniversary night free certificate expires in three weeks, so I booked a night at the Hyatt Centric in San Francisco, about 45 minutes rom home. We’ll have a staycation close to home! There will be no Hyatt category 1-4 in SF after the upcoming devaluation.

Thanks so much for the map. It’s a great resource.

shamit
1 year ago

I have a similar situation with Marriott credit card free anniversary stay. It expires in March.

I will need hotel reservations in May. Will they allow me to make an advance booking for May with this free anniversary stay. I haven’t called them yet. Just wanted to find out readers experience.

Paul B
Reply to  shamit
1 year ago

Shamit,

My wife and I both have the Marriott cards. Our free nights were expiring in January and March of 2019. We booked a two night stay at a Sheraton to use the certificates in early December of 2018. Due to an illness in the family we would not be able to go. I called Marriot several days before we were due to arrive. I asked the rep if he would return our certicates to our accounts. He did so and said he was adding an extra year to each free night certificate from the date I called in. New expiration date is November of 2019. I rebooked the certificates for September, when we will be in Washington, D.C.