Liam Lawrence guaranteed Stoke's Barclays Premier League survival with a stunning strike in a 2-1 win that pushed Hull closer to relegation.
Lawrence blasted home from 25 yards with 18 minutes remaining at the KC Stadium to double his side's advantage after an earlier Ricardo Fuller effort.
Andy Dawson replied with an injury-time free-kick but it was too late as Stoke held on to clamber to 42 points and safety.
Hull complained after substitute Geovanni thought his late shot had been deflected for a corner but referee Howard Webb awarded a goal-kick and then blew the final whistle.
The result left Hull with just two wins in 26 games since October and with their survival hopes depending largely on the form of Middlesbrough and Newcastle below them.
Stoke, whose position had seemed relatively safe anyway, can now plan for next season with certainty they will again be rubbing shoulders with the elite.