I love the Hyatt Gold Passport program largely because
- They have some great high-end aspirational properties, and their award chart makes those affordable — the Park Hyatts in Paris, Sydney, and the Maldives cost no more points than the Grand Hyatt in New York.
- Their suite awards are only 50% more points than a standard room, and upgrades with points are reasonable, making better rooms on awards within reach of all members — not just elites.
- Their upgrade benefit (confirmed at booking 4 times a year), and their breakfast benefit (full, not continental when lounge is not available) are the best in the industry for top tier elites
As a result I stay with Hyatt often, I’m currently sitting at 24 stays (so need one more this year to re-qualify as Diamond) and will wind up with about 50 nights including award nights (which do not count towards status, so I will requalify on stays).
And each time I check out of a Hyatt I’m faced with a decision of what card to pay my bill with?
The two logical choices for me would normally be:
- Hyatt Visa which earns 3 points per dollar on Hyatt spend. Also no foreign currency transaction fees, so this works as one of the most rewarding options outside the U.S. as well.
- Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Chase Ink Cards. These earn 2 ‘Ultimate Rewards’ points per dollar, which transfer to Hyatt (2 Hyatt points per dollar is obviously not as good as 3) but also transfer to United among other airlines (United miles generally worth more than Hyatt points, and flexibility is valuable too).
BUT neither one is actually the best choice, at least for a U.S. Hyatt property.
Because American Express business cards come with ‘OPEN savings‘. Spend at a participating merchant and you get a rebate applied to your card, in addition to the points you earn.
The Business Gold Rewards card, for instance, generates a rebate on Hyatt stays and earns Membership Rewards points. I say that this is good only in the US though because the card doesn’t waive foreign currency transaction fees.
Outside the U.S., the Business Platinum card offers both OPEN savings and no foreign currency transaction fees. Making that the hands down winner for non-US Hyatt stays — cash rebate on your stay and American Express Membership Rewards points.
OPEN savings earns rebates (automatically) with FedEx Office, Hertz, HPdirect, OfficeMax, FedEx, 1-800-Flowers, Barnes & Noble, Microsoft Store, five different Marriott brands, and Hyatt.
You’re limited to $500 in rebates on Hyatt spend, which means that this applies only to your first $10,000 in spend. Somehow I think most of us can manage to keep our Hyatt spend under $10,000 in a year. Which makes American Express business cards the most lucrative way to pay for Hyatt stays — 5% cash back and points beats 2 Ultimate Rewards points in my book.
I suppose the only exception to this advice would be — at a US Hyatt — to use an Ink card, buy Amex or Visa gift cards at an office supply store, and pay for your stay with those in order to earn 5 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on your stay.
(HT: Jett Rink on Milepoint)
Update: It appears that I was merely lucky in receiving this rebate outside of the U.S., the terms and conditions do say that it applies to U.S. properties only (and wouldn’t even consider doing this outside the US without a Business Platinum in any case).