by Leo Jakobson | June 10, 2011
The market for hospitality gift cards and certificates used for individual travel incentives is booming. While they have long been used in points-based corporate incentive and consumer loyalty programs, individual travel award cards have grown significantly in the wake of the recent economic downturn, as companies canceling group incentive travel programs turned to them as an award alternative.

There is a growing number of travel award cards available for anything from budget to five-star hospitality, and at price points ranging from $50 to five figures.

Below is a short list of options in the market. For more on the individual incentive travel trend and more award choices, see our feature, "Individual Incentive Travel Is Booming.”

Hyatt Hotels & Resorts

Hyatt Stay Certificates are redeemable for stays of one, two, or three nights at Hyatt Hotels & Resorts worldwide. The certificates are available in five levels that determine the properties at which they can be used. Prices range from $109 per night for Classic to $319 per night for Inspire and include taxes. Each Hyatt Weekend Certificate, good for weekend stays of two or three nights, includes a full breakfast for two people each morning. The certificates are available in two levels of participating Hyatt locations in the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean. 

Hyatt Gift Cards can be used by guests for lodging charges and any other Hyatt-handled on-property services charged to their rooms; non-guests can use them for on-property dining and lounge charges at U.S., Canadian, and Caribbean properties.

Hyatt Check Certificates are redeemable around the world for any on-property service managed by the chain, including dining, golf fees, spa services, and lodging. Hyatt’s Pure Spa certificates are usable for either standard (50-to-60-minute) or deluxe (80-to-90-minute) massages, including taxes, at participating properties worldwide for guests and non-guests.

The Walt Disney Company

For individual incentive travel awards, the highly flexible and customizable Disney Gift Cards can be used for once-in-a-lifetime experiences at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando and Disneyland in Anaheim, CA. The gift cards also are usable for three-, four-, and seven-day cruises on Disney Cruise Lines; professionally guided individual, group, and family tours by Adventures by Disney; and dining, merchandise, and more. Volume discounts are available for orders of $2,500 or more.

The Leading Hotels of the World and Relais & Chateaux

Gift certificates from the Leading Hotels of the World are available in denominations from $50 to $500 and can be redeemed at participating Leading Hotels of the World or Relais & Chateaux properties worldwide, from Anguilla to Zimbabwe. They may be used by guests for accommodations and for goods and services chargeable to the room, such as dining, bar, spa, and gift shops. Non-guests may use them for on-property goods and services, as well.

Royal Caribbean Cruises

Royal Caribbean Gift Certificates are available in denominations from $50 to $3,000 and can be redeemed for cruise tickets or onboard credit toward goods and services, including spa, bar, gift shop, and specialty restaurants. The gift certificates come in paper and e-mail versions.

Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises’ gift certificates are good for two persons on three-, four-, five-, and seven-night cruises, covering the cruise fare and government fees, taxes, and fuel supplement charges. There are three types of certificates—Inside, Ocean View, and Veranda—available in six levels that determine the cruise length, embarkation ports, ship classes, and the blackout dates. Certificate holders can pay to upgrade their cabin types, cruise lengths, itineraries, and other aspects, including adding a third of fourth stateroom guest.