Can MGM free nights be Hyatt qualifying nights?

World of Hyatt and MGM have a partnership that allows some reciprocal benefits. One key benefit for World of Hyatt members is that nights spent at MGM resorts count towards Hyatt status, which means that they qualify for promotions and for earning Hyatt points. That can be great since some MGM properties can be really cheap — sometimes under $30 per night (plus a ~$35 resort fee), so it can be a cheap way to pick up qualifying nights. But what about MGM M Life free night offers? World of Hyatt award stays generally count towards status as qualifying nights. Can MGM free nights count towards Hyatt status and promotions? Despite terms that suggest they will not, my recent experience indicates that they can. That doesn’t mean they always will, but it’s definitely worth making sure your Hyatt number is attached to your M Life profile and reservation just in case.

The bedroom in a standard room at Delano (all suites), my preferred place to stay in Las Vegas. This is not a stock image – this was an actual room I stayed in.

One of the things I enjoy about going to Las Vegas is the ability to rack up Hyatt points. That’s because in addition to earning Hyatt points on your room rate, you also earn World of Hyatt points on things like meals charged to your folio (you’ll earn points on up to $5,000 in MGM spend, though terms aren’t clear as to whether that is per stay or per year or something else). What’s especially good here is that MGM will allow you to charge things to your folio across resorts. For instance, you can stay at Mandalay Bay and charge a meal from Bellagio to your Mandalay Bay folio. Since MGM owns tons of casinos on the strip (Bellagio, Park MGM, New York New York, Aria, MGM Grand, Excalibur, Luxor, and Mandalay Bay in addition to non-casino properties Vdara, Delano, and The Signature at MGM Grand), there are lots of places where you can charge things to your room.

I recently spent a few nights in Las Vegas. I have World of Hyatt Explorist status, which I’ve matched to M Life Gold (see this post for more about why and how, just keep in mind that you will no longer get club access awards when matching back to Hyatt). As an M Life Gold member, I sometimes receive email offers and/or find offers in my online account for cheap or free room nights at various casinos (the offers vary by property). When searching for my dates in Las Vegas, I found an offer for up to 2 free nights at Mandalay Bay.

Those offers always depend on when you’ll be traveling (some nights will be available complimentary, others may just be discounted). However, it turned out that if we stayed over the weekend, I could get Friday and Sunday night for free and a rate of just $25 on Saturday night. That’s of course before the $37 resort fee – so in reality I’d be paying $37 for Friday night, $62 for Saturday night, and $37 for Sunday night. For a weekend in Las Vegas, that didn’t sound bad at all. As I’ve previously noted, Delano is actually my preferred Las Vegas hotel, but as you can see my offer for Delano was “rates from $55”, which were in the $200-per-night neighborhood for the weekend.

I was initially pretty excited about this whole Vegas trip because of two overlapping special offers from Hyatt: the recently-expired offer to earn 1,000 bonus points per night for stays through 5/15 and the new promo to earn double points at MGM properties. I figured that if I could earn 1,000 Hyatt points per night while paying $37 to $62 per night, that would be icing on the cake.

Unfortunately, program terms indicate that M Life complimentary nights are not “eligible nights” for earning Hyatt elite credit and/or points. Here’s the relevant section of the appendix to the World of Hyatt terms that deals with the M Life partnership (I’ve bolded the relevant parts for emphasis):

An “M life-Eligible Night” is any night stayed at an M life Rewards destination where (i) payment is made directly to MGM or the applicable M life Rewards destination (including reservations booked through mlife.com or mgmresorts.com), (ii) the reservation is booked through hyatt.com (subject to the exclusions below), or (iii) the reservation is booked through a Hyatt Global Contact Center (subject to the exclusions below). Any night other than as described above will not be considered an M life-Eligible Night, including, without limitation, any nights booked under one of the following booking types or rates: M life Rewards destination complimentary room nights, master account/posting master group bookings, rooms booked on third-party online retailers (such as Expedia.com, Travelocity.com, Hotels.com, Booking.com, Priceline.com, Tripadvisor.com, Inspirato.com, or any other third-party online/mobile travel portal or bookings made directly on Google.com and TripAdvisor Instant Book), traditional wholesale rates (examples include, without limitation, GOGO Worldwide Vacations, Pleasant Holidays, Tourico, and Hotelbeds), airline crew rates, airline employee rates, travel agency employee rates, media rates, . . .

It’s pretty clear from the terms that complimentary room nights should not qualify, though any night where payment is made directly to MGM should qualify. Does paying the resort fee count? By the definition above, I wouldn’t think so.

Yet sure enough, my cake got iced after all. I find that it takes MGM stays much longer to credit than regular Hyatt stays, but about a week after check out the nights — and bonus points — posted to my account.

The 1K bonus points per night credited. I’m still waiting on double points, though I expect they will eventually post. Those three nights even brought me up to a Milestone reward (club access awards), so I’d say the stay was a net win.

You might notice that the picture above says “Delano Las Vegas” instead of Mandalay Bay. That’s because at check-in I asked if they had any suites available for a complimentary upgrade (using the old $20 trick). The agent was happy to put me in what I’d call a “Junior Suite” at Mandalay Bay (just a large room with a sofa, basically). I was looking for a room with separate bedroom (which is much better for traveling with a baby). I had mentioned Delano and the agent asked if I liked Delano. When I said I did, he offered to move my reservation to Delano — same deal with 2 free nights plus $25 for the third night. He was even able to put us in a panoramic end suite with a nice view of the strip. I was happy to take him up on that.

Excuse the blue hue, but the view was pretty cool from this panoramic suite at Delano.

But maybe this won’t work for you

Of course, since the terms of the partnership seem to indicate that complimentary nights through MGM do not count, I wouldn’t take my experience as the rule of law. It’s possible that I got credit for the three nights because I actually paid a cash rate ($25) for one of the nights in my reservation. Had all of my nights been complimentary and/or had my resort fee been comped, I don’t know for sure whether or not I’d have gotten Hyatt points. This post isn’t to say that it will always work, but rather that it can work. Really, this is a reminder to always register for hotel promotions and attach relevant loyalty program numbers because you never know when the stars might align for you.

Make sure your World of Hyatt number is attached

One tip to make sure you get credit: always confirm at check-in / check-out that your World of Hyatt number is attached to your reservation. I make a habit of asking at both ends of the trip as I’ve had experiences where my World of Hyatt number somehow unattached itself during my stay (or more likely the initial agent didn’t attach it properly). Theoretically, once you’ve attached your Hyatt number to your MGM M Life profile, it should still be there for future visits, but I always check. The agents always mention that my M Life profile comes up in yellow, which indicates that other loyalty programs are attached (in my case both Southwest and Hyatt are attached, though I don’t think you still earn Southwest points on MGM stays).

One benefit of M Life Gold status is that you can skip the check-in line with a dedicated area for Gold and Platinum members. I certainly wouldn’t want to wait in this line to verify that my Hyatt number is on file.

Thankfully, I didn’t have to since there was a separate place with no line at all for Gold and Platinum members down at the far end of the left side of the desk. One thing I do not like about Delano is that they do not have a separate line for Gold members — just a check-in lounge for Platinum members. That meant I did need to plan a little extra time for check-out so I could make sure my World of Hyatt number was attached.

However, if you are not properly credited, you’re not just out of luck: the Hyatt / M Life partnership terms do provide a way to request retroactive credit for stays within the past year. That’s pretty generous and I once put it to the test, getting credit for a stay almost a year afterwards. See the section titled “requesting retroactive credit” within the program terms for more info.

Bottom line

You can earn World of Hyatt elite credit and points when staying at MGM M Life resorts. The terms indicate that complimentary nights do not qualify for Hyatt elite credit and points, but my anecdotal experience (both present and past) is that they sometimes do. That may be triggered by having at least one paid night in your reservation or perhaps by paying the resort fee or maybe just by IT limitations that don’t know the difference one way or another — but the main takeaway is to make sure you get your World of Hyatt number attached to any MGM M Life stays so you can enjoy elite credit / points / promotions if you’re lucky. When it comes to Vegas, everyone likes a little luck.

About Nick Reyes

Nick Reyes is a (fairly) regular guy with an animalistic passion for maximizing the value of miles and money to travel the world in comfort and style. There is little in life that he loves more than finding a fantastic deal and helping you shop smarter & harder to achieve your travel dreams.

More articles by Nick Reyes »

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Matt
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Matt

I was there recently on a comp rate at Aria and, despite ensuring my WOH number was attached, nothing has posted to my account (Even room charges). Guess you can’t win them all.

Tom
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Tom

Consider yourself VERY lucky to have received the stay credit. I’ve had two comp stays and neither posted as qualifying stays. One stay gave me Hyatt points for the resort fee and the other didn’t.

Robert
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Robert

I had 4 comp nights and 3 paid at Park MGM recently. All 7 nights posted as qualified. This was just before the 1,000 per night bonus promotion.

Chris
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Chris

I’ve had the nights also count both when I’ve wiped out the charges with MGM points or have had nights comped at the back end based on play.

Richard
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Richard

I had 3 night comp stay at Aria as well. I got Hyatt points for room charges but no qualifying stay credit. Just the points. I didn’t get the double bonus points from their current MGM promo, so still waiting on that to hopefully post to my account! And I stacked this with the AMEX offer for MGM, so I feel I got some kind of win.

toomanybooks
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toomanybooks

Are those MGM resort fees waived for Globalists?

HanShotFirst
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HanShotFirst

My experience has been that the $5k spend limit is per stay. I definitely have more than $5k a year of room charges and I’ve always gotten Hyatt points.

smitty06
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smitty06

My experience is that you get credit for all nights as long as one night is paid. If you go for the weekend, just add a Sunday night to your comped weekend nights to get 3 nights credit for the price of a Sunday (cheap) stay.

Brian
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Brian

I’ve found that as long as pay for one of my nights, I get stay credit for ALL of my nights. If I have all of my nights comp, I get 0 stay credit.