Hyatt Brand Explorer Free Night: Best Domestic Options
The Hyatt brand explorer free night is a pretty cool feature of the World of Hyatt loyalty program. There have been other brand promotions in the past with various chains, but Hyatt’s is essentially a standing offer where you can earn up to 3 free nights staying at their various brands.
Hyatt Brand Explorer Free Night Basics
Earning a Hyatt brand explorer free night is pretty simple: stay with five different Hyatt brands, and you’ll be awarded Category 1-4 free night. Since Hyatt has over 15 different brands after their acquisition of Two Roads Hospitality, this means that you can earn up to three free nights total.
Both paid and award nights count toward earning free nights (anything that earns you Hyatt elite night credit). Third-party bookings do not qualify.
Note that this is a lifetime tally. When the promotion first launched, I thought this was an annual promotion, which is entirely wrong. It would be super cool if it was, and I’d be positioning myself to earn at least one extra free night each year this way. But, alas, this is not the case.
The certificate awarded from Hyatt brand explorer free nights is analogous to the free nights earned through holding (or spending $15,000 on) the World of Hyatt Visa. I’m pretty sure that they are good for 12 months. If you are a Hyatt aficionado and don’t have the co-branded card, I highly suggest you pick it up. I consider it the best hotel credit card.
Cheapest Hotels for Earning the Brand Explorer
One thing I’ve wondered is how “cheaply” you can earn the Hyatt brand explorer free nights. Since cash rates vary substantially, I’m going to focus on finding the cheapest award cost for hitting 5, and then 10, brands. Although you could head overseas to find the absolutely cheapest properties (e.g. there is a Category 1 Park Hyatt in Chennai, India), I’ve restricted my research to the U.S. I’ve also used the award rates that go into effect next month.
Category 1 Hyatt Place hotels are rather common, so I’m not going to even bother presenting options for these. Aside from the most expensive markets (e.g. NYC, California) they are pretty easy to find.
Category 1 Hyatt House hotels are a bit more limited, but you can find properties for just 5,000 points in the Washington D.C., Houston, Dallas, and Chicago areas.
Finally, Category 1 Hyatt Regency properties are few and far between domestically, but you can find these in D.C. (Dulles Airport), Chicago, Houston, Albuquerque, Rochester, Dallas, Topeka and Wichita.
Category 1 Hotel Remarks
In all honesty, with three brands for 5,000 points in the D.C. and Chicago areas, you could knock out three brands in one trip, if you’re willing to hotel hop!
Assuming you manage to snag each of these at the upcoming off-peak rates. If this is the case, you will have checked off three brands for just, 10,500 Hyatt points!!
Joie de Vivre
You can find the Hotel Revival in Baltimore, Maryland for just 8,000 points, the only Category 2 Joie de Vivre property. It’s a bit further from the Inner Harbor than other chain hotels, but appears to often be a steal as an award stay.
The cheapest award stay you can enjoy with Destination Hotels is Category 2 The Elms Hotel & Spa in Excelsior Springs, Missouri (near Kansas City). It honestly looks lovely, especially for just 8,000 Hyatt points.
Finally, there are two Category 2 “vanilla” Hyatt properties in the Chicago area that are available for just 8,000 points per night: the Hyatt Rosemont and the Hyatt Lodge Oak Brook.
Category 2 Hotel Remarks
If you manage to hit two of these along with the three brands available for 5,000 points per night, you could spend just 31,000 Hyatt points for an additional free night. At all off-peak pricing, you would theoretically spend just 23,500 points. As your Category 1-4 free night is worth a maximum of 18,000 points (during peak dates), this is a crazy return.
There are three Category 3 Hyatt Centric properties available for just 12,000 points per night: Hyatt Centric Atlanta Midtown, Hyatt Centric Arlington, and the Hyatt Centric The Pike Long Beach.
You have a handful of Category 3 Grand Hyatt options, including: Grand Hyatt Denver, Grand Hyatt San Antonio, Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead, and Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay. Each will set you back 12,000 points per night during standard dates, or just 9,000 points per night during off-peak dates.
The Andaz Savannah and the Andaz San Diego are cheapest locations of the chain within the U.S. Both look excellent for 15,000 points. However, I can’t help but mention that there is a Category 3 Andaz property in Ottawa, Canada. Located in the Byward Market neighborhood, this one actually looks lovely.
The Eliza Jane in New Orleans (an excellent hotel, but the way), The Confidante Miami Beach, and the Bellevue Hotel in Philadelphia are your cheapest Unbound Collection options. All are Category 4 properties available for 15,000 points per night.
The Thompson Chicago and the Thompson Gild Hall NYC are the two cheapest picks within the limited footprint of this brand. I’m actually surprised that the Thompson Gild Hall isn’t increasing in price with the coming, as it is basically the only Category 4 hotel in Manhattan!
Hyatt Residence Club
The Hyatt Residence Club Sedona is the cheapest location you can find within the U.S. At 15,000 points per night, it looks like a great choice in this picturesque Arizona town. Residence Club properties aren’t always available on points, and they are condo-style, since these are actually time shares. But if you’re looking for a little more space than normal, it might not be a back pick. Plus, Sedona is amazing.
Category 3 & 4 Hotel Remarks
Assuming you pick the cheapest options during off-peak dates, it’ll cost you a minimum of 42,000 points to check off four more Hyatt brands (more realistically, it’ll cost 54,000 points). At this point, you’ll be very limited in terms of brand options for moving toward your third and final Hyatt brand explorer free night.
The Park Hyatt Chicago, Park Hyatt Washington D.C., and the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort, Golf Club & Spa in Carlsbad, CA are your three cheapest domestic options for this brand. Each is Category 5 and will set you back 20,000 points. Hop up to Toronto, though, and you can find a Category 4 Park Hyatt!
There is only one domestic U.S. Alila location hidden away on California’s central coast. You can enjoy the Ventana Big Sur for a whopping 30,000 points. This Category 7 property often goes for $700 to $1,000 per night.
If you want to stay at an all-inclusive Miraval property, be prepared to shell out some significant points. They don’t price into the standard award tiers, instead costing 45,000 Hyatt points for single occupancy and 65,000 points for double occupancy. Talk about pricey! I have no plans to hit this brand anytime soon.
Hyatt Ziva and Zilara?
Well…there aren’t any U.S. locations. You’ll have to head to the beach locations in Mexico and on the Caribbean to enjoy these. Ziva properties start at 20,000 points per night and Zilar start at 25,000.
Why Would Anyone Chase This?
If you’re asking yourself why you’d want to find the cheapest way to earn the Hyatt brand explorer free nights, you’re asking a valid question. Spending points specifically to earn a free night makes no sense.
But if you’re already headed to any of the above destinations, knowing that you can spend fewer points at these locations is something that may interest you. It might prevent you from booking a more expensive hotel brand down the road, just to hit your 5th (or 10th or 15th) brand.
There are some other potential strategies for trying to earn a Hyatt brand explorer free night, including hitting as many brands as you can in a specific market. There are two in particular in the U.S. that are especially good with over 7 brands in close proximity!
Just make sure hitting a new brand makes the most sense. A night at the Park Hyatt Chicago for 20,000 points might not make sense when the Regency is available for just 12,000 points.
What do you think of Hyatt brand explorer free night awards? Isn’t this a cool perk for trying out new properties?