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Should I get the World of Hyatt Credit Card or transfer points from Chase instead?

April 20, 2020
7 min read
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Hyatt offers its loyal travelers a unique advantage over the other major hotel chains when it comes to earning points. Unlike all the big hotel brands (Hyatt, Hilton, Marriott and IHG) that have transfer partnership with programs like Chase Ultimate Rewards and Amex Membership Rewards, Hyatt is the only one that generally presents a good transfer value.

Given how much love there is for the World of Hyatt program, many people wonder whether they'd be better off earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points with the intention of transferring them to Hyatt or simply sticking to The World Of Hyatt Credit Card. Today we'll take a look at which option makes more sense to help you maximize both your points and travel benefits.

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The World of Hyatt Credit Card

After rebranding its loyalty program in 2017, Hyatt also updated its cobranded credit card to the new World of Hyatt card. You can read our full review of the card, but here are the important details:

  • New applicants can earn up to 50,000 Hyatt points --- 25,000 after spending $3,000 in the first three months and another 25,000 after spending $6,000 total in the first six months of account opening.
  • $95 annual fee
  • Earn 4x points at Hyatt hotels; 2x on airfare, restaurants, local transit and commuting (including ride-sharing services), and fitness club/gym memberships; and 1x everywhere else
  • Receive a free Category 1-4 free night certificate each year on your account anniversary
  • Enjoy complimentary Hyatt Discoverist status
  • Receive five elite night credits each year, plus two additional qualifying nights for every $5,000 spent on the card

Earning Potential & Redemptions

Let's start with an obvious disadvantage of sticking solely to the World of Hyatt credit card: You're giving up access to all of Chase's other transfer partners, including United, British Airways, Singapore and more. The flexibility of these programs drives much of the value of Ultimate Rewards points, which is why TPG values them at 2 cents each compared to 1.7 cents for Hyatt. Unless you're sticking solely to road trips, you'll need a way to travel to whatever Hyatt property you're staying in. Chase Ultimate Rewards points are one of the best options for getting you there.

This flexibility is further enhanced by cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which offers a 50% bonus when you redeem your points through the Chase portal. This allows you to book a ticket on any flight you want without hunting for award space, making it even easier to plan your next vacation. Hyatt points, on the other hand, can only be redeemed for stays and upgrades at Hyatt hotels. Even if you're fiercely loyal to Hyatt over other hotel chains, you might be shortchanging yourself by not working towards free flights as well.

Now let's turn our attention to bonus categories and see how the World of Hyatt card stacks up against the three most popular Ultimate Rewards-earning cards:

BonusChase Sapphire Reserve®Chase Sapphire Preferred® CardInk Business Preferred Credit CardThe World Of Hyatt Credit Card
4xHyatt hotels
3xTravel and diningDiningYour first $150,000 spent each account anniversary year on:

  • Travel
  • Shipping purchases
  • Internet, cable and phone services
  • Advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines
2xTravelAirfare, restaurants, local transit and commuting (including ride-sharing services), and fitness club/gym memberships
1xAll other purchasesAll other purchasesAll other purchasesAll other purchases

At this point you'll have to take a hard look at your own spending patterns to see which card comes out ahead. Sure, the World of Hyatt card earns the most points for Hyatt purchases, but if you're frequently booking award stays, that category bonus might not help you that much. Also, earning more points isn't always the most important thing, as Hyatt points are less flexible (and therefore less valuable) than Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

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If you're trying to decide between the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the World of Hyatt card, the Sapphire Reserve has a clear edge in travel and dining purchases. Hyatt's saving grace is the unique bonus category for fitness clubs and gym memberships.

Related Reading: Maximizing the Chase Trifecta

Balancing Perks and Annual Fees

Of course, welcome bonuses and bonus categories are only one component of picking the right credit card. Finding the most perks for the lowest annual fee is another important consideration. The World of Hyatt card offers a free night certificate each year on your account anniversary, valid at any Category 1-4 hotel. You can really get outsized value if you time these redemptions well, such as the Category 4 Grand Hyatt Washington, which goes for almost $600 per night during peak season.

You'll also enjoy complimentary Hyatt Discoverist status, which can add a few hundred dollars of value to your annual travels through perks like late checkout and bonus points. However, the perks of this card are limited to Hyatt stays.

If you want a card that will enhance your travel at the airport, hotels, when you're renting a car and more, you'll want the Chase Sapphire Reserve instead. Even occasional travelers will get more value out of the Priority Pass select membership and concierge service than they will out of Hyatt Discoverist status. Plus, you can even use your $300 annual travel credit from the Sapphire Reserve to cover expenses at a Hyatt property.

Related Reading: Calculating break-even points on the Chase Sapphire Reserve

Why Choose?

At the end of the day, it's possible for many Hyatt loyalists to hold both a Chase Sapphire and the World of Hyatt card and get the best of both worlds. The biggest caveat is that all of the cards mentioned in this post are restricted by Chase's 5/24 rule, meaning you'll be automatically rejected if you've opened five or more cards in the last 24 months. Make sure to account for the opportunity cost of using up your 5/24 slots on these applications.

It's also important to note that Chase restricts Sapphire card sign-up bonuses to one per 48 months.

Bottom Line

Cobranded airline and hotel cards have a tough time measuring up against transferable points cards that offer a better return and more benefits, but there's a compelling case to be made for the World of Hyatt card. At the very least, the free night certificate is enough to negate the annual fee. Plus, if you frequently find yourself paying for Hyatt stays, those 4x points will add up quickly.

Just remember that streamlining your earning process onto one card isn't necessarily a good thing. While you have to go through an extra step to transfer points from Chase to Hyatt before you can make an award reservation, Ultimate Rewards points are much more flexible and valuable. By limiting yourself to only earning Hyatt points, you'll wind up leaving a lot on the table.

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

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Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
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