While I’ve been disappointed in the 2011 hotel promotions so far this year, I have been very impressed with branded hotel credit card offerings. Hyatt rolled out a pretty spectacular new no-foreign fee, two free night Visa card last summer and Priority Club is fighting back with a pretty strong Visa product of their own. Priority Club is offering 80,000 points targeted to some customers, but since their general offer is 60,000, I’ll use that to compare to the Hyatt card. Since Chase issues both of these cards, you generally can’t apply for both and get approved. It has been reported that Chase will decline more than one credit card application in 6 months. So if you want one of these cards now, you should choose the one that you’ll get the most value from and then apply for the other later in the year if needed.
Lets take a look:
Annual Fee: Hyatt: $75 - NOT waived the first year Priority Club: $49 – waived for the first year Edge: Priority Club
Point Earning: Hyatt: 3 per dollar on Hyatt stays. 1 per dollar on everything else. Priority Club: 5 points per dollar spent on Priority Club hotels, 2 points per dollar on gas, groceries, dining, 1 point per dollar on everything else Edge: Priority Club Sign-up Bonus: Hyatt: 2 free nights at any Hyatt. For Diamond members, the 2 nights are in a suite. 434 properties globally. Priority Club: 60,000 points – enough for one night at a top hotel (40,000 points) and one night at a mid-tier Staybridge Suites. Since these are points, they can be used for the cheaper hotels too, including up to 13 nights at a PointBreaks hotel (cardholders get a 10% rebate on point redemptions, which is outlined below). Over 4,500 hotels globally. Edge: For those who like high-end properties in major cities: Hyatt. For those who’d rather stretch their points at medium or low level properties: Priority Club.
Status: Hyatt: Platinum status, which is usually earned after 5 stays or 15 nights. Main benefits: 15% point bonus, and free Internet. Priority Club: Gold status, which is usually earned after 15 nights or 20,000 points. Main benefits: 10% point bonus, priority check-in/ late check-out. However, the first year you will get Platinum status after the 60-80,000 bonus points post. Platinum is usually earned after 60,000 points or 5o nights and gets room upgrades and 50% point bonus. Edge: Hyatt Foreign transaction fees waived: Hyatt: Yes Priority Club: Yes Edge: Tie
Other benefits: Hyatt: None Priority Club: 10% point rebate on all redemptions up to 100,000 points a year and an annual free night certificate upon renewal Edge: Priority Club.
Score: Hyatt 1, Priority Club 4 Overall, I think the Priority Club provides more flexibility and benefits than the Hyatt Card. That being said, I still think the Hyatt card is a fantastic deal, especially if you are a Hyatt Diamond and can redeem for suite nights at Park Hyatts. In fact, if I had to pick, I’d still choose Hyatt because I identify more with that brand. While there is less of a footprint, their hotel offerings generally work for me and they have a good number of aspiration properties that keep me excited (they also treat me extremely well, like during my recent Park Hyatt Buenos Aires stay). However, I think the Priority Club program and credit card appeal to a much wider audience, including those looking to stretch the value of their hotel points. While the current PointBreaks list is a bit disappointing, the fact is that Priority Club offers amazing redemptions (and cash and points) while Hyatt does not. So the overall winner is the card that works most for your travel needs. Feel free to share your comments on either card or program below.