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As has been widely written about in the past few days, there is a current promotional code to obtain 10% off the price of Hyatt Gift Cards. The code which is entered at checkout is GPGIFT14 and the link to order (which also sets forth the terms and conditions) is HERE.
Thus a $2,000 Gift Card would cost only $1,800. Additionally, if you purchase the gift card with an American Express Small Business Card that has “Open Savings” you should get an additional 5% off. The Fed Ex shipping charge is $6 (Loyalty Lobby reports that there will also be a comparable e-gift card promotion without shipping fees available in mid-November).
Last year, I bought a $2000 Hyatt Gift Card during a comparable sale. The 10% off code brought the price down to $1,800. I purchased the card with my SPG business American Express Card, which reduced the price an additional $90. I thus paid $1,710 for a $2,000 Hyatt Gift Card. By paying with the SPG card instead of a Chase Hyatt Visa, I earned SPG points and sacrificed some amount of Hyatt Gold Passport points (which is probably OK since it is harder to earn SPG points).
Now that the scenario is set forth, here are some of my experiences with the Hyatt Gift Card that you should keep in mind when deciding whether or not to purchase a Hyatt Gift Card.
1. You have to remember to bring the Gift Card with you. I know this sounds dumb, but the card does no good sitting in your sock drawer. Similarly, if you lose it, it is like cash. If you are traveling with the card on you, you need to worry about the safekeeping of the card.
2. The gift card is only valid at Hyatt hotels in the US, Canada and the Caribbean. If you plan a lot of international travel, the gift card is of no value.
3. Using the Hyatt Gift Card is a PITA. It is simply not user-friendly. It is very hard to keep track of the balance. I used to write the balance with a sharpie on the card each time I used it. But there is no website to check balances. I had to go on faith that the numbers I was given were correct.
4. The Hyatt Gift Card does not automatically swipe. Instead the Hyatt employee has to manually enter the numbers and wait for a confirmation. There are frequent glitches, and they often have to make phone calls (to whom I don’t know, and it doesn’t look like they know either). Check-out is thus not simple or expedited. I have had to wait as long as 3 days with frequent call backs to ensure that the card was properly charged. Time is money. There is a certain lack-of-clarity feeling when using the card.
5. Many Hyatt employees have never seen a Hyatt Gift Card and have no idea how to use them. This is especially so with the night staff – I have almost missed early morning flights because a night employee has no idea what to do with a gift card.
6. In many instances, my credit card on file got charged anyway. Since you always have to have a credit card on file at a Hyatt (or any) hotel for incidentals, often when I went to pay with the gift card the credit card had already been charged for the stay. Then comes the job of reversing the charge, which often leads to problems requiring calls to the credit card company, etc.
Having said all that, it is for you to decide whether to purchase a Hyatt Gift Card. The Hyatt Gift Card I bought last year is almost depleted. I am still deciding whether I will purchase another one or not.
Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.