50,000 points vs. $200 credit and a free night: Which Hyatt sign-up bonus should you apply for?

Oct 16, 2020

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Hyatt has been pretty proactive when it comes to responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Back in April, the hotel chain introduced new cleaning standards to entice concerned guests. The World of Hyatt program suspended plans for peak and off-peak pricing and eventually extended point expiration, elite status free night certificates and club lounge and suite night awards. Now Hyatt is taking another step to accommodate members during the pandemic by offering a choice between two credit card sign-up bonuses.

Starting today, The World Of Hyatt Credit Card applicants can choose between two sign-up bonuses:

  • Up to 50,000 bonus points – 25,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 within the first three months from account opening, plus an additional 25,000 points after spending $6,000 within the first six months of account opening.

Or:

  • $200 statement credit and a free night at any Category 1-7 hotel worldwide – the statement credit is issued after your first purchase. The free night requires spending $3,000 within the first three months of account opening.

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

Hyatt is also offering 10 Tier-Qualifying Night credits toward status in both 2020 and 2021, making this a great time to apply for the card if you want a head start on elite status for next year. The first set of credits will apply eight weeks after account opening, plus you can earn an additional five credits annually and two credits per $5,000 spent.

All of that sounds great, but let’s focus on the sign-up bonuses. With two options available, which one should you pick? The answer, as usual, depends on how you redeem your points. 

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Which offer should you get?

These sign-up bonuses are designed with the pandemic in mind. With travel at a stand-still, some travelers will find the second bonus more appealing than the first. So which offer should you go with?

TPG values Hyatt points at 1.7 cents each, so the 50,000-point sign-up bonus could be worth about $850. You can cover between one and 10 free nights at Category 1-8 hotels. This bonus is great if you want to further stretch your sign-up bonus at mid- and lower category hotels. If you have points saved up for a top-tier award, this is also a great way to top it off. Plus, you can stretch your points further by taking advantage of Points + Cash or suite night awards.

Meanwhile, the sign-up bonus from the second offer is valid for just one unrestricted night. You also get a $200 statement credit, which you can put to use at lower category Hyatt hotels, like Hyatt Place or Hyatt House, or redeem for any other expenses you see fit. Based on TPG’s valuation, you could get up to $710 worth of value out of this sign-up bonus ($510 from the free night and $200 from the statement credit)

The $200 statement credit could be appealing to those who prefer the flexibility of a sign-up bonus that can be used toward virtually any purchase. We’ve heard from many readers who are considering using their points for cash-equivalent rewards now that they’re not traveling anymore.

For those types of travelers, the $200 statement credit and unrestricted free night award might be more appealing than a 50,000-point sign-up bonus, especially since Hyatt has extended all unused free night awards earned in 2020 through Dec. 31, 2021.

The best offer for top-tier redemptions

Evaluating sign-up bonuses based on set valuations is a good starting point, but let’s review actual use cases. Let’s say you’re saving up points for a stay at the Category 7 Park Hyatt Maldives in March, when rates top $1,000 per night and a free night costs 30,000 points.

Park Hyatt Maldives March 2021 rates

With the first The World Of Hyatt Credit Card sign-up bonus, you can cover a free night and a Points + Cash award that costs $525. Not ideal, but still half off the cash rate.

Meanwhile, the second sign-up bonus will get you one free night and brings the cash rate down to around $745. In this scenario, you’re better off with the full-point sign-up bonus than the statement credit option.

The best offer for mid-tier redemptions

Hyatt’s all-inclusive hotels are a pretty spectacular and great use of points. You redeem points and can totally check out with a $0 folio if you skip the spa and off-site activities. The all-inclusive Hyatt’s Ziva and Zilara all-are reasonably priced at 20,000 – 25,000 points per night.

Let’s say you’re planning a stay at the Hyatt Ziva Cancun for March 2021. Cash rates at this time are $425 per night or 25,000 points. With the 50,000-point sign-up bonus you can cover two nights outright, saving you more than $950.

Hyatt Ziva Cancun March 2021 rates

Meanwhile, the second sign-up bonus option would cover one night and knock the second night rate down to $225. While the free night award might be a good use in this scenario, coming out of pocket for the second night isn’t ideal. If Hyatt extends its current 4x Bonus Journeys promotion for Hyatt cardholders, you’d earn 4,500 points on the cash portion of this booking, valued at $76.50. Clearly, the all-point bonus would be a better option in this case.

There is one exception: If you’re traveling this year, you’ll see much lower rates at the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos. We’re talking $200 nightly rates in October. These rates are too low for either cash or a free night award redemption, so the $200 statement credit from the second sign-up bonus option would be a preferable redemption.

Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos Marhch 2021 rates $202 per night

The best offer for low-tier redemptions

If you’re taking advantage of low rates, both sign-up bonuses have their merits. For example, the Thompson Playa del Carmen Main House offers cash rates as low as $86 per night in October, while point rates are as low as 12,000.

Thompson Playa del Carmen Main House

In this scenario, it makes much more sense to use the $200 statement credit from the second sign-up bonus option to book up to three nights at this hotel. Then, save the unrestricted free night award for a high-end redemption next year, when many higher hotel rates.

Bottom line

For most people, the 50,000-point sign-up bonus from The World Of Hyatt Credit Card is a better option than the $200 statement credit and free night. That bonus offers much more flexibility since you can use it for at least one free night at virtually any Hyatt hotel, with the option to stretch it further by booking Category 6 hotels and lower. You can also use your points to book club rooms, suites or choose a Points + Cash award.

On the other hand, the $200 statement credit and unrestricted free night award is great if you’re taking advantage of cheap paid rates during the pandemic. The $200 credit could be a much better use than points when you’re getting less than 1.7 cents per Hyatt point.

Screenshots courtesy of Hyatt.com.

Featured photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy

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