More on the New Hyatt Credit Card, Free Award Nights, and Other Promotions

This afternoon I spoke with Hyatt’s Chris Walker about their new co-branded Visa card from Chase, which I posted about earlier this morning.

I can only imagine that when their PR reps set up media calls for execs, they probably don’t know quite what they’re in for talking to me! Because I tend to at least try to push them off their talking points and into the nuts and bolts of their strategy and offerings, and hopefully learn a little something along the way.

Chris was surprisingly forthcoming, and offered that they were trying to develop a unique value proposition for each level of member with this new card.

For new and base members, the card comes with Platinum status in the program. Hey, that gets you free internet at their properties.

For the diamond member, as I had noted this morning, the card didn’t just offer two free nights as a signup bonus, but those nights would be confirmed in suites.

It sounded from the initial offerings on the website that existing Platinum members were left out of the equation. Sure they’d get two free nights like everyone else, but the Platinum status from the card signup was useless to them if they already had it and they wouldn’t get their free nights confirmed in suites.

Well, Chris shared that Platinum members will receive 2 confirmed suite upgrades for use on paid stays as an additional signup bonus for the card, in addition to the two free nights at Hyatt properties. Cool offer.

I had been most disappointed this morning that one of the benefits that had been surveyed — allowing Diamond confirmed suite upgrades to be used on award nights for cardholders — wasn’t included with the card. Chris did share that they’d be “exploring what they might do with suite upgrades in the future, with the card or otherwise.” And that’s at least a little bit encouraging.

He did intimate in the future that there would be additional promotions targeted at cardmembers in the future, that naturally there’ll be some time to let folks sign up for the card but that they’ve certainly discussed promotions that required cardmembership for some future period. Way in the past the traditional ‘faster free nights’ promotion required paying for a stay with a Mastercard. One could imagine them bringing back free night awards that require paying with their co-branded Chase Visa.

I did ask about why they chose to offer “The Big 10k” points bonus instead of a ‘Faster Free Nights’ style (stay 2, get a free night) bonus in the fourth quarter.

He offered that they wanted to try something based on nights rather than stays. But that this was especially true with the launch of the credit card, that with the introduction of the card this was the way to get free nights at the moment. Makes sense if that’s your card signup bonus and you want to incentivize applications.

In the end, this is clearly the go-to card for use when abroad, offering the most valuable points available from among cards with no foreign currency transaction fee. There’s a nice signup bonus of two free nights (without capacity controls for standard rooms) at any Hyatt in the world. And different modest kickers for Platinum and Diamond members.

I’m not sure this is the best all-around all-purpose rewards card killer app, the default for all spending for everyone. Just for those whose highest valued points accrual is Hyatt Gold Passport points, which is a worthwhile value proposition. I’ll likely sign up, certainly Diamonds who want to accrue more free nights and leverage their Diamond benefits on vacation will value this (though using suite upgrades on points-burning vacation stays would have been nice…). But it won’t get me to shred my Starwood Amex.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community Milepoint.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I waited and waited for this card to come out. From the chat going round I thought it would be really good. I just don’t think Hyatt has really that good of an offer. Get a credit card for only 2 free nights? Not worth it for me. I will pass!

  2. Nice write-up Gary. I agree. Chase Hyatt Visa is good card to have, but definitely not a SPG Amex killer. I’ll have both cards and I will continue to use the SPG Amex as my go to card. Now if Hyatt introduces a spending level for additional free nights, I may change my mind.

  3. Gary, what you were told re suite upgrades sounds as though diamonds will get 6 instead of 4, and that they can only be used on paid nights. The Gold Passport Concierge posted on FlyerTalk today “Diamond members receive an exclusive two nights in a suite at Hyatt properties, anywhere in the world, based on availability, when you use the Hyatt Card for the first time.” There’s a significant difference in what has been said by two folks representing Hyatt.

  4. Gary, You should have asked him what non-US members would get! I think a lot of who aren’t in the US are feeling pain =)

  5. I was incorrect in what I posted. A reread of your write up indeed says that diamonds will get the award nights in suites.

  6. Pleased with a couple aspects of the card – it does not initially devalue points with a huge sign-up bonus, and it does reward use for stays at properties. The platinum member paid-stay suite upgrades do devalue diamond bene’s somewhat, and some diamonds hard-pressed to re-qualify with 25 stays may be tempted to just remain platinum in the future.

  7. Got the card ($75 fee) and made one purchase. Chase/Hyatt were as good as their word. Booked two complimentary rooms at Park Hyatt Place Vendome in Paris for June ($2400 value). Thanks Chase and Hyatt!

  8. Same process as Spida above. I’ve booked two nights at the Park Hyatt Istanbul: $900 value, + no currency exchange charge. What’s not to like?

  9. Spida wrote booked two nights and made one purchase. Is this true or do I need to make 2 purchases? I thought you had to spend up to $1000 on the second purchase in order to qualify.

  10. Details on the signup bonus have changed since the card was launched. Non-elites who sign up for the card have to make a modest minimum spend before receiving the second free night bonus from signup.

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