Hyatt has introduced a number of discounts lately, and while I haven’t seen the need to detail each one individually, a limited-time promotion has motivated me to summarize them in this post. The net result is that no one should be paying full price to stay at a Hyatt hotel.
Get a Membership Discount
Don’t forget your AAA and Costco discounts., which normally save 10-20% and provide a more flexible cancellation policy than prepaid rates. You will need a AAA number to book the room online, but the Costco discount only requires entering “COSTCO” in the discount field. Only once (for each) have I been asked to present the card at check-in. I have both memberships, have used them for non-Hyatt purposes, and encourage you to get them as well before you use take advantage of these discounts.
Get an Elite Discount
If you are a Hyatt Gold Passport Platinum or Diamond member, Hyatt just introduced a way to save 20% off by booking a “My Elite” rate for stays after January 7, 2014. These are capacity controlled and not available for every stay. It’s not clear exactly what the terms of these rates will be but I am guessing they are nonrefundable. They may provide a greater discount than AAA or Costco and be worth the loss of flexibility.
Buy Gift Cards at a Discount
Once you lock in a good rate, find a way to save further by paying with a discounted gift card, which can only be used at participating hotels in the U.S., Canada, and Caribbean (unselect all filters except “Gift Card”). Hyatt is currently selling up to $7,000 in gift cards at a 10% discount, and you’ll still earn points and elite stay credit when you use them to pay (you won’t earn points when you buy the card). Note that gift cards cannot be used for prepaid rates.
For the first $2,000, Hyatt has a limited-time promotion through December 31, 2013. Use the code GPGIFT to save 10% at checkout, but you will still have to pay a $6 shipping and handling fee. If possible, use an American Express business card that participates in the OPEN Savings program (see below) for another 5% off. You can also apply this discount to Hyatt Check Certificates, which can be used worldwide but still only at participating hotels.
For the second $5,000 in gift cards, those who have paid $49 for a MilePoint Premium Membership can get 10% off for the duration of the year-long membership. The same $6 fee and other T&Cs apply. Even though this is offered via MilePoint, members have reported receiving the 5% OPEN Savings discount on top (see below).
I recommend buying small denominations (e.g., $50) so that you can easily track how many cards you have left and the value of each one. It’s very unlikely you will ever have a bill less than $50. Some hotels aren’t familiar with them and don’t know how to process them. I like being able to leave it at the desk so they can figure it out without having to go back for the remaining balance. Check certificates act like gift cards but must be used in full, so definitely get low denominations.
Pay with a Business OPEN American Express Card
Many American Express business cards are part of OPEN Savings, which provides discounts at select merchants including Hyatt properties within the U.S. You can get a 5% credit on your statement when you use your participating card to pay for your stay. However, you should be careful about which card you use to pay.
Most of the time you should use your SPG Business Amex. Starwood is an entirely different hotel program, but its points are very valuable and can be easily transferred to an airline program. You get cash back and Starpoints, which is a great deal.
If you’re traveling internationally, the OPEN Savings benefit doesn’t apply, so I recommend just using your Hyatt Visa, Ink Bold, or Sapphire Preferred. They’ll all earn two or more points per dollar without imposing foreign transaction fees. You can also get the OPEN Savings discount on the gift card purchases mentioned above, but keep in mind that the gift cards still can’t be used everywhere — just the U.S., Canada, and Caribbean.