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How a quick road trip to Savannah got me Globalist status and a pair of free-night certificates

Feb. 20, 2021
6 min read
How a quick road trip to Savannah got me Globalist status and a pair of free-night certificates
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To status run, or not to status run? That is the question.

(Or at least, that's been the question for travelers interested in World of Hyatt status ever since the program announced an extension of its incredibly lucrative Bonus Journeys promotion and halved elite qualification thresholds for 2021.)

It almost seemed too good to be true. Eligible nights from Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, 2020, counted toward elite-status qualification last year and this year. In addition, any nights completed between Jan. 1 and Feb. 28, 2021, would count twice toward the newly-reduced requirements. And when you factor in the annual elite nights granted to holders of the World of Hyatt Credit Card, top-tier Globalist status was suddenly just a stone's throw away for many.

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That's the exact situation I found myself in as of mid-January. And after a short road trip to Savannah, I am now a newly-minted Globalist member — with a pair of new free-night certificates to boot.

But this story really begins back in the fall.

In November 2020, I took advantage of the Work from Hyatt program to book an eight-night stay at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay. I got a great rate and a number of added perks — including free breakfast and an extra room from which I could work during Airlines Week at the 2020 TPG Awards.

Related: Out of office: What it’s like to ‘Work From Hyatt’ at the Andaz Mayakoba

In addition, thanks to Bonus Journeys and my Hyatt card, I netted a total of 42,155 points for the stay — worth $716.64 based on TPG's most recent valuations. This was a fantastic return of over 40%.

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I had a few short Hyatt stays in December and January, so all of a sudden, I found myself just six nights away from the 30-night threshold required for Globalist status in 2021 — which meant just three actual nights if I could complete them by the end of February.

This was simply too tempting to pass up.

I was enticed by the thought of Globalist suite upgrades and free breakfast — but I quickly realized there was even more value to be had. (Photo by Nick Ellis/The Points Guy)

I knew that I was spending a night at Pirate Island Hotel outside Legoland Florida, so I began looking at possible cities for a quick road trip. After no time at all, I landed on Savannah, Georgia, home to one of the best-value Hyatt properties around: the Andaz Savannah.

Sure, I could've stayed closer to home — picking a property in Orlando or Tampa. But there was one key factor that led me to select the Andaz: Hyatt's Brand Explorer Award.

For those of you who aren't familiar, the World of Hyatt program gives you a free-night certificate (valid in a Category 1-4 property) for every five brands you visit. During my planning process, I noticed that I was sitting on four. Yes, I had visited multiple Andaz properties in the past — including San Diego, Maui and both the Wall Street and Fifth Avenue locations in New York. However, these trips all happened under the legacy Hyatt Gold Passport program — so they didn't count toward my Brand Explorer tally.

Read more: Complete guide to the World of Hyatt program

As a result, completing a stay at the Andaz Savannah would get me the following:

Needless to say, I was sold.

After finishing up my commitments at Legoland with my wife and daughter, we began the drive and spent one night at a Hyatt Place near Jacksonville — for which I paid with my Chase Sapphire Reserve to earn 3x points and get 10% back thanks to a targeted Chase Offer. Then, we completed the trek and spent two nights at the Andaz. As a Category 4 property, I could've used an existing free-night certificate in my account, but the paid rates for a one-bedroom suite were quite reasonable, so I decided to pay cash to confirm us straight into the large room.

(This would end up being an inadvertently-prescient decision, as rain kept us inside the room for virtually the entire 48 hours we were there — so we were grateful for the additional space.)

And when all was said and done, I wound up with over 8,000 Hyatt points, a $60 discount, top-tier status and a pair of free-night certificates.

Related: The 11 hotels where you’ll get the most out of your Hyatt reward night certificate

The lesson? There are many things that can turn a potentially borderline hotel stay to earn status into a no-brainer. Maybe it's another milestone bonus with Hilton Honors, or maybe you'll reach Marriott Titanium status and earn another Choice Benefit.

This is especially true if you can turn a status run into an actual vacation rather than a less-than-exciting getaway. I probably would've booked a more convenient, run-of-the-mill Hyatt Place if I was solely after the status. But once I realized that I could snag an extra certificate and enjoy some quality time with my family at a truly outstanding property, the decision was simple.

Status run: complete.

Featured image by Getty Images/iStockphoto
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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TPG featured card

Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 10X points
10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

80,000 bonus points
Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

Annual Fee

$550

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 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.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    80,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 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.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more