Should You Get the Hyatt Card Now or Later?

Jun 23, 2017

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Earlier this month, we learned that the sign-up bonus on The Hyatt Credit Card would be changing as of June 29, 2017 (just a few days from now!). Instead of offering two free nights at any Hyatt property in the world, you’ll now earn 40,000 World of Hyatt points after you spend $2,000 in the first three months of account opening. The most common question we’ve received since this announcement is, “Should I apply now or wait for the new offer?” Today I’m here to help you make that very decision.

Let’s start off with the basics. World of Hyatt currently has 7 categories of hotels, ranging from simple Category 1 hotels like the Hyatt Place Orlando Airport to luxury Category 7 properties like the Park Hyatt Zurich. If you’re considering applying for the Hyatt Card, the timing of the application should depend on what category you plan to book with the sign-up bonus. Here’s a quick look at the award rates and how many nights you’d be able to snag with the new offer:

Hotel Category Points Required
For a Free Night
Free Nights with
Current Bonus
Free Nights with
New Bonus
When Should
You Apply?
1 5,000 2 8 After 6/29
2 8,000 2 5 After 6/29
3 12,000 2 3 (plus 4,000
points leftover)
After 6/29
4 15,000 2 2 (plus 10,000
points leftover)
After 6/29
5 20,000 2 2 Anytime
6 25,000 2 1 (plus 15,000
points leftover)
Before 6/29
7 30,000 2 1 (plus 10,000
points leftover)
Before 6/29

As you can see, if your desired hotel is a Category 1-4 property, you’re better off waiting until after June 29 to apply, as the points you’d earn with the new sign-up bonus would get you the same two nights plus leave you with additional points to redeem for other uses, and in some cases, you could get up to eight free nights with the new sign-up bonus. On the other hand, If you’re considering a Category 6 or Category 7 hotel (like the incredible Park Hyatt Maldives), it’s best to apply now. Finally, if you’re looking at Category 5 (like the Park Hyatt Mallorca), it doesn’t matter when you apply, as both sign-up bonuses will get you two free nights at those properties.

However, things aren’t as simple as this table may make them seem. Here are a few additional considerations:

If you’re thinking of applying a suite or club upgrade, earning the sign-up bonus in points could be a better option.

If you’re a Globalist or Explorist member, consider waiting until after June 29.

When the new World of Hyatt program was launched, many loyalists were excited about the improvements to Hyatt’s top elite status tier. Globalist members still receive four Suite Upgrade Awards when qualifying (or requalifying), but these can now be used on paid and award stays. Meanwhile, Explorist members now receive four Club Lounge Access Awards, allowing you to gain access to club lounges at applicable properties when you pay or redeem points (Explorist members aren’t otherwise eligible for upgrades to club rooms).

Even though both of these awards are valid on award stays, they can’t be used in conjunction with the free night certificates you currently earn on the Hyatt Card. Here are the relevant portions of the World of Hyatt Terms & Conditions (emphasis mine) for both of these awards:

“Not valid in connection with any Free Night Award other than those identified above, including, without limitation, Hyatt Credit Card premium and anniversary Free Night Awards, 5-brand Free Night Awards, Category 1-7 Free Night Awards (defined below), or any other promotional Free Night Award.”

Since the new sign-up bonus gives you points rather than free night certificates, you’ll be able to redeem those points and then apply a Suite Night or Club Lounge Access Award to those reservations.

For example, let’s say you’re an Explorist member and are planning a trip to the fantastic Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen in Mexico, a Category 5 property that would require 20,000 points per night. As noted above, both the old and new sign-up bonuses will get you two free nights at this level. However, this property has a terrific club lounge, so if you wait to apply and earn the points instead of the certificates, you could book a two-night stay and the apply a Club Lounge Access Award.

Hyatt allows you to share points with friends or family members, another reason earning points instead of certificates would be preferred.
Hyatt allows you to share points with friends or family members, another reason earning points instead of certificates could be preferable.

If you want the flexibility to book for others, consider waiting until June 29.

Another reason you may want to wait until June 29 is if you’re thinking about using your points for a friend or family member’s trip. One of the unique aspects of the World of Hyatt program is that you can transfer points from your account to another account without any fees. On the other hand, reservations using the free night certificates from the Hyatt Card must be made in the name of the account holder to which they were issued. Note that I have read reports of travelers adding a friend or family member as a second guest on the reservation and successfully having him/her check in, but I’d recommend against trying that strategy.

To initiate the transfer process, simply download the point combining request form and email (or mail) it to World of Hyatt customer service. Keep in mind that you can only transfer or receive points once every 30 days, and it could take 2-4 weeks for the transaction to be processed. Nevertheless, it’s a great option to unlock additional awards and share the love of the points and miles hobby with a friend or family member.

If you’re looking at booking upgraded accommodations, consider waiting until June 29.

A third reason to wait until June 29 is if you’re interested in booking upgraded accommodations. While the free night certificates on the Hyatt Card are only valid for standard award rooms, the points you’d earn with the new sign-up bonus give you the added flexibility of redeeming for higher room categories. Here’s a breakdown of how many points you’d need to redeem across the spectrum of Hyatt properties:

Hotel Category Standard Room
Points per Night
Regency/Grand Club
Points per Night
Suite Points per Night
1 5,000 7,000 8,000
2 10,000 12,000 13,000
3 12,000 17,000 20,000
4 15,000 21,000 24,000
5 20,000 27,000 32,000
6 25,000 33,000 40,000
7 30,000 39,000 48,000

As you can see, these higher room categories do require a decent premium over standard rooms, but if you don’t hold elite status and want to ensure a comfortable stay, it could be worth paying these increased rates.

Waiting until June 29 will also give you the added flexibility of redeeming points for an upgrade to Club rooms or standard suites on paid rates as well. The World of Hyatt program has consistent rates for these upgrades across all categories:

  • Regency Club/Grand Club Upgrade: 3,000 points per night
  • Suite Upgrade: 6,000 points per night

Based on TPG’s most recent valuations, you’d be redeeming $54 worth of points per night for the club upgrade and $108 per night for the suite upgrade. However, I’ve seen properties where suites can easily be $300+ more than the standard paid rate, so this could be another great option.

Other Considerations

Even though the sign-up bonus on the card is shifting, it’s important to note that the other key benefits on the Hyatt Card are not changing. You’ll still earn 3x points on Hyatt purchases, 2x points at restaurants, on airline tickets purchased directly from the airline and at car rental agencies and 1x points on all other purchases. In addition, you’ll continue to get a free night at any Category 1-4 property every year as long as you’re a cardholder, plus complimentary Discoverist status. Additionally, there will continue to be no foreign transaction fees.

Finally, keep in mind that this card doesn’t appear to fall under Chase’s 5/24 policy, so even if you’ve opened for 5 or more new credit cards in the last 24 months, you shouldn’t have any problem getting approved.

Bottom Line

Park Hyatt Mallorca featured
Regardless of whether you apply now or later, the card still provides an array of perks that should earn it a permanent place in your wallet.

Any time an issuer changes the sign-up bonus on a card, there are always winners and losers. With The Hyatt Credit Card shifting to a new sign-up bonus of points instead of certificates as of June 29, now is a great time to consider whether you should apply for the card. If you’re eyeing Category 6 of 7 properties, pull the trigger now! However, there are a handful of reasons why waiting could pay off as well. Regardless of when you apply, the card does provide a solid value proposition, and hopefully this post has given you a framework to use as you decide your future with the card!

Are you planning on applying for the Hyatt Card now or waiting until June 29?

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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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