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Hyatt still doesn't have a luxury credit card; here's how it could fix that

May 23, 2022
17 min read
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Rumors swirled in 2021, claiming that World of Hyatt was finally launching a luxury credit card. Instead, Hyatt surprised us with a card geared toward small businesses: the World of Hyatt Business Credit Card.

Now that the dust has settled, Hyatt still doesn't have a luxury credit card on the market, despite the fact that Marriott and Hilton both do (the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card and the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, respectively).

So what's going on with Hyatt?

Let's look at Hyatt's current cards and then use this data to analyze the gap in the program's credit card portfolio, as compared to other hotel chains. Then, we can use this to discuss what a theoretical Hyatt luxury credit card might look like.

The information for the Hilton Aspire card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

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What credit cards does Hyatt have at present?

The Driskill in Austin. (Photo courtesy of Hyatt)

World of Hyatt — the loyalty program of Hyatt hotels — currently has two credit cards. Both are issued by Chase in the U.S.

The World of Hyatt Credit Card is a consumer (personal) credit card. The card has a modest $95 annual fee and comes with perks you would expect from a lower-tier hotel credit card: entry-level hotel status, a free night award on your account anniversary (plus the ability to earn another free night award by spending $15,000 on the card in a calendar year) and decent bonus categories for spending on the card.

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You can also spend your way to elite status on the card each year.

Related: ‘One of the most valuable hotel cards’: A review of the World of Hyatt Credit Card

The World of Hyatt Business Credit Card is a small-business credit card introduced last year. It comes with an annual fee of $199 and doesn't offer any free night awards. Instead, its perks increase in value the more you spend on the card, offering a way to spend toward elite status, qualify for a 10% points rebate via spending and gain membership in Hyatt Leverage, which can provide up to 15% off on paid hotel bookings.

Related: Big perks for big spenders: World of Hyatt Business Credit Card review

Both cards offer entry-level Discoverist status in the World of Hyatt program. Additionally, both cards can help you keep your Hyatt points from expiring by providing activity that keeps your account active.

Comparing the World of Hyatt Credit Card to other hotel cards

(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)

Hotel credit cards abound. Broadly speaking, the personal credit cards from hotel programs fall into three categories:

  1. Basic (no annual fees).
  2. Entry-level (moderate annual fees and simple perks).
  3. Luxury (high annual fees and significant perks).

The World of Hyatt card falls into the "entry-level" category.

Let's look at how it compares to similar cards from other hotel programs (the rate of return is based on TPG's valuations).

Rewards programCredit cardAnnual feeStatus offeredFree night awardsOther key perksHotel spending return rate
Hilton HonorsHilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card. $95 annual fee (see rates and fees).Gold status (third tier of four).Free weekend night reward after spending $15,000 on the card in a calendar year.10 Priority Pass visits per year.7.2%.
IHG One RewardsIHG Rewards Premier Credit Card.$99.Platinum Elite (fourth tier of five).Anniversary free night worth up to 40,000 points.Fourth night free on award stays and up to $50 in United TravelBank credit each year.5%.
Marriott BonvoyMarriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card.$95.Silver Elite (second tier of six).Free night award on account anniversary, capped at 35,000 points.15 elite night credits each year, plus one elite night credit for every $5,000 spent on the card.4.8%.
World of HyattWorld of Hyatt Credit Card.$95.Discoverist (second tier of four).Free night award on account anniversary, valid at category 1-4 hotels. Earn another category 1-4 free night after spending $15,000 in a calendar year.Five qualifying night credits toward status automatically, plus two qualifying nights for each $5,000 spent on the card in a calendar year.6.8%.
Wyndham RewardsWyndham Rewards Earner® Plus Card$75.Platinum (third tier of four).None.15,000 anniversary points with no spending requirement and 10% redemption discount on Go Free awards.6.6%.

Among these cards, only Wyndham's offering doesn't include a path to a free night award, but the free night award on Hilton's card requires spending to earn it. Other cards offer free night awards automatically.

In addition, Hyatt and Marriott offer the lowest status level with these entry-level credit cards, and other perks offered by the cards are quite different.

Finally, it's worth noting that only Hyatt's card has a path to earning a second free night award each year.

Related: The 12 hotels where you’ll get the most out of your Hyatt reward night certificate

Comparing the World of Hyatt Business Credit Card to other hotel cards

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Hotel programs also have credit cards targeted at small-business owners. Again, the rate of return is based on TPG's valuations (enrollment is required for select benefits).

Rewards programCredit cardAnnual feeStatus offeredFree night awardsOther key perksHotel spending return rate
Hilton HonorsThe Hilton Honors American Express Business Card$95 (see rates and fees).Gold status (third tier of four).Free weekend night reward after spending $15,000 on the card in a calendar year, plus another free weekend night reward after spending $60,000 on the card in a calendar year.10 Priority Pass visits per year.7.2%.
IHG One RewardsIHG Rewards Premier Business Credit Card$99.Platinum Elite (fourth tier of five).Anniversary free night worth up to 40,000 points.Fourth night free on award stays and up to $50 in United TravelBank credit each year.5%.
Marriott BonvoyMarriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card$125 (see rates and fees).Gold Elite (third tier of six).Free night award on account anniversary, capped at 35,000 points, plus another free night award after spending $60,000 on the card in a calendar year.15 elite night credits each year.4.8%.
World of HyattWorld of Hyatt Business Credit Card$199.Discoverist (second tier of four).None.Hyatt Leverage membership for discounts, up to $100 in Hyatt credits annually, spend your way toward 10% points redemption rebate and earn five qualifying nights toward status for each $10,000 spent on the card.6.8%.
Wyndham RewardsWyndham Rewards Earner® Business Card$95.Diamond (top tier of four).None.15,000 anniversary points with no spending requirement and 10% redemption discount on Go Free awards.8.8%.

The information for the Wyndham Business card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

When we look at the small-business hotel credit card market, what they offer varies widely. Wyndham's business card offers top-tier status in its program, yet it doesn't provide a path to any free night certificates. The two most expensive cards (from Hyatt and Marriott) offer the lowest elite status tiers of the bunch. And only two of the business cards here offer a free night award without any spending requirements: IHG and Marriott.

In terms of other perks, the most robust option is the Hyatt Business card, but these perks require serious spending to unlock their value. There's an opportunity cost to consider when you devote lots of spending to just one card, rather than spreading that spending out over multiple cards to earn points at higher rates or to earn sign-up bonuses on multiple new cards.

A look at luxury hotel cards from other programs

(Photo courtesy of the Grand Hyatt Washington)

Now that we see how Hyatt's existing credit cards stack up against their respective competitors, let's look at what a theoretical luxury card from World of Hyatt could look like by analyzing other cards in the market.

Right now, there are two such products. And as before, the rate of return is based on TPG's valuations (enrollment is required for select benefits).

Rewards programCredit cardAnnual feeStatus offeredFree night awardsOther key perksHotel spending return rate
Hilton HonorsHilton Honors American Express Aspire Card$450 (see rates and fees).Diamond (top tier of four).Free weekend night reward on your account anniversary, plus another free weekend night reward after spending $60,000 on the card in a calendar year.Up to $250 in Hilton resort statement credits each cardmember year, up to $250 in airline incidental credits each calendar year, up to $100 Hilton property credit on select stays and Priority Pass Select membership.8.4%.
Marriott BonvoyMarriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card$650 (see rates and fees).Platinum Elite (fourth tier of six).Free night award each cardmember year, worth up to 85,000 points.25 elite night credits each year, up to $300 in restaurant credits each cardmember year, $100 property credit on select stays and Priority Pass Select membership.4.8%.

The information for the Hilton Aspire card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Marriott and Hilton have taken similar approaches to their luxury credit cards, albeit with some notable differences. Both offer a Priority Pass Select membership. and a free night award on your account anniversary, but only Hilton provides a path to a second free night award through spending.

Key differences include the annual credits on the card — with Hilton offering higher dollar values plus an airline-based credit — and the status conferred by the card. The Bonvoy Brilliant card offers Marriott Platinum Elite status, which TPG values at $2,475 annually. Conversely, the Hilton Honors Aspire card offers Hilton Diamond status that TPG values at $3,025 per year.

The Aspire card also earns at a higher rate than the entry-level Surpass card, earning an extra 1.2% in return at Hilton properties. However, Marriott's luxury card and entry-level card earn at the same rates on Marriott stays.

If we build a theoretical Hyatt luxury card based on this data, what would it look like?

Annual fee and earning rates

First, the annual fee would likely be $450 to match its Hilton's.

When it comes to earning rates, however, I see two possibilities. First, Hyatt could match what it currently offers and award 4 points per dollar at Hyatt properties (a 6.8% return). This would be the same approach that Marriott takes, with a standardized earning structure across its entry-level, small-business and luxury cards (though it's worth noting that the no-annual-fee Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card only awards 3 points per dollar spent in this category).

Alternatively, Hyatt could take a page out of Hilton's playbook and offer a higher earning rate. Five points per dollar would represent an 8.5% return (based on TPG's valuations), putting it right in line with the Hilton Aspire card.

Free night awards

Since the high-end cards from Hilton and Marriott offer a free night award, Hyatt's card would need to offer something comparable. And the entry-level World of Hyatt card already offers a category 1-4 award on your account anniversary, plus the opportunity to earn another award after spending $15,000 on the card in a calendar year. As a result, a luxury card would need to be a step higher.

One way to do this would be for Hyatt to award a category 1-7 free night on your account anniversary. This follows Marriott's approach of offering a more valuable free night award on its luxury product.

Then, since Hilton's luxury card offers a pathway to earning a second free night through spending, Hyatt could offer something similar. However, I'd think that the spending threshold would be at least $60,000 (which would match the Hilton Aspire card).

That said, remember that these category 1-7 awards are the only free night awards valid at Hyatt's growing list of all-inclusive properties. As a result, it would be reasonable to see a premium card with just one certificate each year.

A future Hyatt luxury card could include higher elite status for cardholders. (Photo by Stella Shon/The Points Guy)

Elite status

In terms of status, Hyatt's luxury card would likely need to confer mid-tier elite status — Explorist — at a minimum, since the other hotel luxury cards offer higher status in their respective programs than the entry-level ones do. I could also see the card awarding more qualifying nights each year than the existing World of Hyatt card. Maybe this would be 10 instead of five, in an effort to jump-start a cardholder's qualification.

Hyatt could offer Globalist, but I find that unlikely for a couple of reasons.

First, Globalist is typically viewed as the most exclusive (and rewarding) top-tier hotel status. Giving it away to cardholders would likely affect this impression. In addition, the sheer costs of honoring Globalist benefits like waived resort fees and free (full) breakfast would likely make it prohibitive.

Instead, I can see Hyatt continuing to offer a way to spend toward status on the card, though potentially at an improved rate over what the entry-level card offers.

Perks and benefits

Lastly, Hyatt's luxury card would need to offer benefits and perks to match its competitors.

For starters, Priority Pass Select membership would likely be required, if for no other reason than to match what Hilton and Marriott offer.

Beyond that, the other two luxury hotel credit cards provide several hundred dollars of credits per year. Both of them incentivize you to spend at properties within their respective portfolios, while the Hilton Aspire card adds an airline fee credit as well.

In order to be a worthy competitor, I think that Hyatt's luxury card would need to offer at least $300 in annual credits to compete in this market. This could come from simple spending at any participating Hyatt property, but there could be additional incentives for certain kinds of spending as well. Maybe it's $200 for all Hyatt properties but then $200 for incidentals at an all-inclusive.

It could even provide airline credits. After all, the Ritz-Carlton Rewards Card (no longer open to new applicants but still available as a product change) is issued by Chase, and this premium Hyatt card would be a Chase product as well. As a result, it's conceivable to see something beyond Hyatt credits to encourage customers to swipe the card elsewhere.

Bottom line

Hyatt Regency Kuantan Resort. (Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy)

It may be surprising that World of Hyatt continues to lack a luxury credit card, despite the fact that its two main competitors (Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy) do.

That said, until several months ago, the program also lacked a business card — so maybe there's still hope for a Hyatt luxury card in the near future.

The World of Hyatt Credit Card stacks up well against its entry-level hotel card competitors, and the World of Hyatt Business Credit Card offers some unique perks if you're willing to spend enough to unlock their value. If Hyatt did launch a premium card product, it would likely take many of the above features in order to favorably compete with Hilton and Marriott offerings.

Now, all we can do is wait and see if Hyatt will launch a long-awaited luxury credit card.

For rates and fees of the Hilton Surpass card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Business card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Aspire card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card, click here.

Featured image by Park Hyatt Beaver Creek (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
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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