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Hyatt offers its loyal travelers a unique advantage over the other major hotel chains when it comes to points earning. While all the big hotel brands (Hyatt, Hilton, Marriott and IHG) offer both cobranded cards and the ability to transfer points from programs like Chase Ultimate Rewards or Amex Membership Rewards, Hyatt is the only one that usually represents 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.
The World of Hyatt Credit Card
After rebranding its loyalty program in 2017, Hyatt also updated its single 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 3 months and another 25,000 after spending $6,000 total in the first 6 months.
- $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, 1x everywhere else
- Receive a free category 1-4 free night certificate each year on your account anniversary
- Enjoy complimentary Hyatt Discoverist status
- Receive 5 elite night credits each year, plus 2 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 drive 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, and 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 short changing 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:
|Bonus||Chase Sapphire Reserve®||Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card||Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card||The World Of Hyatt Credit Card|
|3x||Travel and dining||Your first $150,000 spent each year on:
|2x||Travel and dining||Airfare, restaurants, local transit and commuting (including ride-sharing services) and fitness club/gym memberships|
|1x||All other purchases||All other purchases||All other purchases||All 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 redeeming points for your stays that 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.
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.
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 and 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 get a really outsized value if you time these redemptions well, such as the category 4 Grand Hyatt Washington, which sells for almost $600 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 travels in the airport, at hotels, when you’re renting a car and more, you’ll want a card like 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, and you can even use your $300 annual travel credit with the Sapphire to cover expenses at a Hyatt property.
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 5 or more cards in the last 24 months. For Hyatt travelers, pairing a Sapphire Reserve and World of Hyatt card offers the best combination of earning rates and travel benefits, but make sure to account for the opportunity cost of using up your 5/24 slots on these applications.
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. And if you frequently find yourself paying cash 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, that’s because 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.
Know before you go.
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NEW INCREASED OFFER: 60,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards