Steve Bruce's men were unable to secure the three points against the champions which would have guaranteed them second spot, yet they had a helping hand from Yorkshire rivals Leeds who beat third-placed Watford 2-1.
With just minutes to go in the Tigers' game, they were heading up against the 10-man Bluebirds yet an incredible finale with one red card, two penalties and a mini pitch-invasion left the door open for Gianfranco Zola's men at Vicarage Road.
However, with their clash delayed due to an injury, they were unable to score the goal which would have sent them into the top flight and it was Brian McDermott's side instead who got the goal to send the Tigers into delirium.
Former Hull loanee Fraizer Campbell had threatened to derail the Tigers' hopes by breaking the deadlock just after half-time, but two goals in five minutes through Nick Proschwitz and Paul McShane looked to have turned Hull's entire season back around.
Andrew Taylor was then sent off before Proschwitz had a penalty which would surely have guaranteed promotion saved. His spot-kick was kept out by David Marshall and it was Nicky Maynard, back on the pitch having been sidelined since September, who Cardiff a share of the spoils although matters at Vicarage Road would ultimately transpire in Hull's favour.