Trying to use a benefit I didn’t have — reader mistake story

Jan 24, 2020

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Today, I want to share a story from TPG reader Cari, who mixed up her credit card with another affiliated with the same loyalty program:

I was working to increase my Hyatt points last summer, and saw I had charged a large amount to my Hyatt credit card for the year. In November, I remembered reading that I could earn a free night certificate by spending $15,000 on the card, so I spent enough to hit that amount before the end of the year.

As I was looking to see when the free night would post, I realized that offer was only for the new World Of Hyatt Credit Card with the $95 annual fee, not my older Hyatt card with a $75 annual fee. I thought I was smart for keeping the older card and saving myself $20 a year. Now I think I will wait to drop below 5/24 so I can open a newer Hyatt card and get the sign-up bonus, and then I can work on the extra free night offer!

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Cari’s most glaring error was mixing up the benefits on the two Hyatt cards — it’s important to note the distinctions between credit cards from the same family. But I think she also dug herself a hole when deciding whether to keep her old card or get the new one. The old Hyatt Credit Card carries a lower annual fee, but the newer World Of Hyatt card offers a higher earning rate for Hyatt purchases, an easier path to earning elite-night credits and the bonus free-night certificate after spending $15,000 in a cardmember year. Those benefits more than offset the extra $20 annual fee for anyone who uses the card regularly, so Cari would have been better off upgrading her account or applying for the new card outright.

If Cari’s objective is purely to earn Hyatt points, then her best option might be a different credit card altogether. World Of Hyatt is a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner, so she can effectively earn Hyatt points by earning transferable Ultimate Rewards points. The right combination of Chase cards would yield a superior earning rate on most purchases, though it wouldn’t offer the opportunity to earn elite credits or the free night certificate. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of which card to get, so what works for Cari might not work for you. If you’re facing a similar decision, run the numbers based on your own spending patterns and how much you value those additional benefits.

Related: Your guide to maximizing redemptions with Hyatt

I appreciate this story, and I hope it can help other readers avoid making the same mistake. In appreciation for sharing this experience (and for allowing us to post it online), I’m sending Cari a gift card to enjoy on future travels, and I’d like to do the same for you. Please email your own travel mistake stories to info@thepointsguy.com, and put “Reader Mistake Story” in the subject line. Tell us how things went wrong, and (where applicable) how you made them right. Offer any wisdom you gained from the experience, and explain what the rest of us can do to avoid the same pitfalls.

Feel free to also submit your best travel success stories. If your story is published in either case, I’ll send you a gift to jump-start your next adventure. Due to the volume of submissions, we can’t respond to each story individually, but we’ll be in touch if yours is selected. I look forward to hearing from you, and until then, I wish you a safe and mistake-free journey!

Featured photo by John Greim/LightRocket/Getty Images.

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