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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – The Enhanced Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN
TPG reader Chris asks:
“I have an expensive Hyatt stay coming and I’m not sure which card would be best: Chase Hyatt Visa (3x Hyatt points for Hyatt stays), Sapphire Preferred (2.14x Ultimate Rewards) or the Amex Business Gold (1x Membership Rewards points and either 5% discount or 2x Membership Rewards through OPEN Savings)?”
In general, I’d use the American Express Business Gold Rewards card which offers 1x Membership Rewards and either a 5% OPEN Savings Discount or 2x Membership Rewards points as the most valuable of the three options. I value Membership Rewards points at about 1.8 cents apiece plus the 5% is a 6.8% rebate. I wouldn’t choose this option if the stay is at a non-US Hyatt, because the card has a nasty 2.7% foreign transaction fee which would negate 2.7% of those savings.
Second would be the Hyatt Visa at 3x Hyatt points. Hyatt points are valuable because top-tier hotels are only 22,000 points, so I conservatively value Hyatt points at about 1.9 cents a piece, so a 5.7% rebate. The downside here is that you doubling down on Hyatt, but depending on any upcoming promotions you may be able to get even more points and lately Hyatt has been adding extra bonuses for Hyatt Visa cardholders which could easily make this the best option.
Also, the card gives 2 stay credits and 5 night credits toward Diamond status upon spending $20,000 in each calendar year. You can get an additional 3 stay credits and 5 night credits toward Diamond status upon spending $40,000 in each calendar year. So if this stay will push you over either of these thresholds and you’re chasing Diamond status, this may be the best choice. Note: If you make a booking at Hyatt.com, you’ll often get offered the card with the $75 annual fee waived for the first year (usually the fee is not waived).
Third would be the Sapphire Preferred, which gives 2x points on all travel and then a yearly 7% annual dividend on points earned, so 2.14x points per dollar. I value Chase points at about 2.1 cents a piece because they can be instantly transferred to Hyatt, United, Southwest, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Korean Air, Ritz-Carlton, Marriott, Intercontinental and Amtrak. Essentially you’re getting ~4.5% back through this method – more or less depending on how you can leverage those transfer partners.