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It’s not surprising that 2018 has become the year of the revamped hotel co-branded credit card. When the Hilton portfolio was scooped up in its entirety by Amex, the issuer introduced a full new set of Hilton cards in January. That was followed by Chase’s release of two new IHG credit cards in April to replace its old IHG Select, and then the announcement of changes to the Marriott and SPG suites of cards to better align them with the new Marriott loyalty program launching in August.
Now it’s Hyatt’s turn at bat, and overall, the changes are likely to be welcome news for fans of the hotelier, especially those who may have looked elsewhere for hotel elite status after the chain did away with its popular Hyatt Gold Passport loyalty program and introduced “World of Hyatt.” The new World of Hyatt Credit Card, which is issued by Chase and now available for applications, comes with a revamped earning structure, a limited-time increased sign-up bonus and the ability to earn all the way up to Globalist status entirely through credit card spend, or by a combination of spending and Hyatt stays.
The most popular features of the old Hyatt Credit Card remain, while the new benefits offer something for almost everyone, from the once-in-a-while Hyatt customer to the Hyatt fanatic. Let’s take a look at all the details.
Let’s start with the sign-up bonus. For a limited time, the World of Hyatt card comes with a tiered 60,000-point sign-up bonus. You’ll get the first 40,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening, then another 20,000 points after you spend $6,000 total on purchases within the first 6 months of account opening.
That’s 15,000 more points than the old Hyatt card offered as a standard sign-up bonus (which included 5,000 points for adding an authorized user), and while the total spend required to earn the entire bonus is higher, you have a relatively comfortable 6 months to make that spend. In his most recent monthly valuations, TPG values Hyatt points at 1.8 cents apiece, which makes this overall bonus worth an impressive $1,080.
The new card has also added several bonus categories, along with increasing the earning rate on transactions at Hyatts. With this card, you’ll earn…
- 4 points per dollar on purchases at Hyatts (including onsite restaurants and spas)
- 2 points per dollar at restaurants
- 2 points per dollar on airline tickets purchased directly from airlines
- 2 points per dollar on local transit and commuting, which includes rideshares, taxis, mass transit and tolls
- 2 points per dollar on fitness clubs and gym memberships
- 1 point per dollar on all other purchases
The old Hyatt card only offered 3 points per dollar at Hyatts, and 2 points per dollar at restaurants, on airline tickets and at car rental agencies. So only one bonus category has been eliminated (car rental agencies) while extra points can now be earned on local transit and commuting, plus fitness clubs and gyms.
The new categories seem more likely to get regular use than the old car rental one, and the fitness club category in particular is intriguing since very few other cards offer bonus points for it. It’ll be simple enough to park your monthly gym membership on this card and earn Hyatt points for it each and every month. That being said, the Chase Sapphire Reserve earns 3x on all travel (excluding $300 travel credit), so aside from purchases at Hyatt itself, you’ll want to keep your travel spend on your CSR if you have one.
When Hyatt switched its program to World of Hyatt in 2017, it also axed the ability to earn 10 elite nights by spending $40,000 on its co-branded card in a calendar year. That was a double whammy, coming on top of Hyatt eliminating the ability to earn status based on stays and increasing the number of nights required for top-tier status from 50 to 60 (with requalification at 55 nights for those who have Globalist status in the previous year). The only elite status features that remained on the old Hyatt card were automatic Discoverist status just for having the card, and the chance to earn mid-tier Explorist status by spending $50,000 in a calendar year.
The new World of Hyatt card retains the complimentary Discoverist status, but replaces the one-size-fits-all Explorist option with two new features. First, the new card comes with 5 free elite qualifying nights each year just for having the card, effectively dropping the elite night requirement for anyone who has the card to 25 nights for Explorist and 55 nights for Globalist (or 50 nights for those who already have Globalist from the previous year). Second, for every $5,000 spent on the new card, you’ll earn credit for an additional 2 elite nights, with no cap on the number of elite nights you can earn.
This effectively means that if you wanted, you could outright spend your way to Explorist status for $62,500 a year, or Globalist for $125,000 per year (assuming you’re already a Globalist). But it’s more likely that you’ll want to combine actual nights stayed at Hyatt with elite credits from this card. Since Hyatt has a small footprint with only 700+ hotels in its portfolio, this change allows customers to still maintain loyalty to Hyatt while not having to focus every last ounce of energy on finding a Hyatt in every city they travel to.
An important note is that any status earned with these elite night credits — whether in whole or in part — will be considered earned status, not a stripped-down version of elite status. That means those who earn Globalist with any form of elite night credits from the card will still get all the features of that status, including confirmed suite night upgrades and a My Hyatt Concierge.
Free Night Certificates
One other popular feature of the old Hyatt card has been the anniversary free night certificate usable at any category 1-4 Hyatt property. That benefit remains on the World of Hyatt card, but is augmented with the ability to earn an additional category 1-4 free night by spending $15,000 on the card in a cardmember year.
These free nights will be valid for one year after you earn them, so the expiration date on the anniversary night certificate will roughly correspond with your card anniversary date, while the additional free night will expire roughly one year after you hit the $15,000 spend threshold.
Annual Fee and Existing Hyatt Cardholders
The new World of Hyatt card has no foreign transaction fees and carries a $95 annual fee, which is $20 more than the fee on the old Hyatt card. It’s fair to say the additional benefits more than make up for the extra cost, but if you already have the existing Hyatt card, you can keep it and maintain its $75 annual fee and existing perks. However, the old card will no longer be available for new applications.
If you’re an existing cardholder and want to upgrade to the World of Hyatt card, Chase is offering 2,000 bonus points for doing so. Note that just like the Marriott family of Chase cards, you cannot have both the old and new Hyatt card at the same time. Also, like the Sapphire and Southwest lines of cards, if you’ve earned a sign-up bonus on the old Hyatt card in the last 24 months, you won’t be eligible for the new sign-up bonus until the 24 months have elapsed and you’ve closed your existing Hyatt card.
Of course, a key question is whether the new World of Hyatt card will be subject to Chase’s 5/24 rule — the current Hyatt card is one of the few that is not. A Chase representative wouldn’t address the subject directly, but our impression is that the card will not be subject to 5/24 at this time, though Chase may very well add that restriction to this card in the future. Keep in mind this has not been confirmed by Chase, as the issuer is reticent to talk publicly about its application rules, and specifically about 5/24. We’ll only know for certain once people begin applying for the new card.
Hyatt has been tweaking World of Hyatt since the beginning of 2018, as it appears to have realized it went too far with its changes. Earlier this year it extended the expiration date of its free night certificates earned from elite status from 120 to 180 days, and also began counting award stays for elite credit. The new World of Hyatt Credit Card is another step forward, and definitely a major improvement over the old Hyatt card.
While it’s not a card that the general traveler will necessarily be interested in (although a free night for $95 is pretty solid), it’s certainly one that regular Hyatt customers should take a hard look at, especially those looking to earn Hyatt elite status. And the changes may even be good enough to bring some former Hyatt fans who left in recent years back home.
Featured image by pcruciatti / Getty Images.
This is one of the top premium cards out there since you earn 3x on all travel (excluding $300 travel credit) and dining and have access to great perks like a $300 travel credit each cardmember year, 50% more value when you redeem points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards and you get elite travel benefits like Global Entry application fee rebate, Priority Pass Select and special rental car privileges.
- Earn 50K 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®
- $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
- Named a ‘Best Travel Credit Card for 2017’ by MONEY® Magazine
- 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
- Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
- Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®