5 reasons why I went all in on this hotel credit card
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Since I opened my first credit card nearly a decade ago, I have had a number of different cards — from cash-back cards to airline cards to premium travel cards — but it wasn’t until last year that I actually opened my first cobranded hotel credit card.
I had never been much of a hotel loyalist (however, airline loyalty is another matter). Airbnb was my preferred platform and when I did stay at hotels, I typically chose based on price, not brand. Besides, my The Platinum Card® from American Express already came with Hilton and Marriott Gold status (enrollment required).
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However, by recently adding the World of Hyatt Credit Card to my arsenal, I realized I was going all in on hotel cards. In particular, while I’ve always known the value of Hyatt points — which you can transfer from Chase Ultimate Rewards — I finally decided to go deeper into the World of Hyatt program.
Ironically, it was the lack of travel that helped me reevaluate my portfolio of credit cards. Here are five reasons why I decided to apply for this hotel card, in the midst of a global pandemic.
Card sign-up bonus and benefits
A major reason why I decided to apply for the World of Hyatt card last month — instead of waiting — was because of the sign-up bonus and extra elite nights for new card applicants through August 31, 2020.
Here’s the news on the sign-up bonus front: 30,000 Bonus Points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening. Plus, up to 30,000 more Bonus Points by earning 2 Bonus Points total per $1 spend on purchases that normally earn 1 Bonus Point, on up to $15,000 in the first six months of account opening. Those 60,000 Hyatt points are worth up to $1,020 according to TPG’s most recent valuations.
Extra elite nights
Then, there are elite nights. Hyatt has five levels of elite status: Member, Discoverist, Explorist, Globalist and Lifetime Globalist. You’ll get Discoverist status simply by having the World of Hyatt card, which comes with benefits such as late checkout, preferred rooms and a 10% points bonus on eligible purchases.
And by applying for the card now through August 31, 2020, you’ll receive 10 elite night credits (double the usual) as part of the welcome bonus. This is a handy perk to have if you’re a few nights shy of earning the next status level or want to quickly earn elite status.
Typically, I wouldn’t care too much about hotel elite nights. But since I had a few Hyatt stays (with points) under my belt before the pandemic, the accelerated earnings likely would bump me up to Explorist status (30 elite nights) and edge me closer to Globalist status (60 elite nights) by the end of the year.
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A long weekend getaway (read: quick winter escape!) doesn’t have to cost a fortune. With so much capacity to San Juan from the NYC area, we scored a great flight deal during a traditionally expensive weekend. Other ways to keep costs low: 1. Stay at an Airbnb for part or all of your trip — an entire one bedroom apartment in San Juan cost us $50/night 2. Rent a car and explore on your own instead of booking a tour to El Yunque. 3. Use points instead of cash when it makes sense — we redeemed 12,000 Hyatt points for a night at the Hyatt Regency Grand Reserve (it would’ve cost $400 cash) P.S. Puerto Rico is very much open for business after recent setbacks from earthquakes so go, go, go!
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Free night certificate
In my opinion, this is the best perk of them all. The World of Hyatt card gives you an annual free-night certificate at a Category 1-4 Hyatt property which you’ll receive every account anniversary. This alone can be worth way more than the card’s $95 annual fee.
Related reading: The best hotel credit cards that come with an annual free night
Using points and certificates at local hotels
With no flights planned in the next couple of months, I’ll be traveling locally — and exploring all of my accommodation options.
Just last weekend, I stayed at a fantastic Hyatt Place on the East End of Long Island right on the water. While it’s a Category 4 and eligible for a free night certificate, cash rates were reasonably priced. And as a Discoverist by virtue of holding the World of Hyatt card, I received a preferred room with a river view and 2:00 P.M. late checkout.
I have sights set on other Hyatt properties in the Northeast US, too. TPG’s Zach Griff raved about the Topping Rose House in the Hamptons, part of Hyatt’s Small Luxury Hotel of the World collection.
Then, there’s the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Resort, an under-the-radar Category 4 property that’s only a few hours drive from my home in New York City.
Related reading: How I earned Hyatt Globalist status for $0 out of pocket
Plenty of airline miles, not enough hotel points
Since I haven’t flown in months — and don’t have imminent plans to do so, — my airline miles balances remain pretty full. I also didn’t want to apply for an airline card, and just have additional miles sitting in my account, ripe for a devaluation.
That’s why I thought now was the ideal time to accumulate hotel points. One can make the case that sitting on any loyalty currency might not be the wisest choice, but that won’t be the case here. I plan on earning and burning my Hyatt points this summer and fall — and continue to rack up more elite nights.
Related reading: Best ways to earn points with the World of Hyatt program
Complements my Chase points and American miles
Earning on a cobranded hotel card can only go so far. That’s why I like that you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to the World of Hyatt program. Even if I didn’t have enough points for a redemption purely within my Hyatt account, I can instantly move points over from Chase to book a hotel stay.
And as a Hyatt elite member, you’ll also earn 1 point for every $1 you spend on qualifying American Airlines flights — and 1 American mile for every $1 you spend on Hyatt purchases — when you link your two loyalty accounts. I’m an American frequent flyer so mutual earnings with both programs are an ideal scenario.
I was eligible to apply
Last but certainly not least, I wouldn’t even be able to apply for this card if I hadn’t fallen below Chase’s 5/24 rule. The World of Hyatt card is subject to this restriction, so you won’t be approved if you’ve opened five or more credit cards from any bank in the last 24 months. I had just dropped under that threshold in April so I became eligible to apply.
After weighing which Chase-issued card to apply for, I ultimately went with the Hyatt card. I also considered other valuable Chase cards such as those that earn Ultimate Rewards points.
Hotel credit cards weren’t my thing for years. I’d use Airbnb, book through an online travel agency, or transfer points to hotels whenever I needed to pad my loyalty program balances for a redemption. However, other the past year, things have changed. And in the midst of the pandemic, I reevaluated my credit card strategy and saw how much it made sense to apply for the World of Hyatt card.
Related reading: The best hotel credit cards for 2020
Featured photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy
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