Hyatt Visa’s Role in the New World of Hyatt Program

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The Hyatt Credit Card

I wasn’t one of the first Hyatt credit card cardholders when the product first launched in September 2010, but I’ve had mine for about six years. And I’ve spent $40,000 a year on the card the past few years.

Now that Hyatt has made changes to their loyalty program this year, I think the role of the card changes as well.

Fantastic Signup Bonus

The signup bonus is great since you can earn 2 free nights at any Hyatt hotel or resort worldwide after $2,000 in purchases in the first 3 months after account opening. You also get 5000 bonus points for adding an authorized user to your account and making a purchase with the card in that same 3 month timeframe.

View from the Park Hyatt Sydney — Eligible for Signup Bonus Free Night Use!

There are no category caps on the free nights. I met a couple at the Park Hyatt Hadahaa in the Maldives, each of them had signed up for the card and they had four free nights to use between them. I can’t imagine a better use!

Cocktails on the Beach at the Park Hyatt Maldives

And reports I’ve seen is that Chase doesn’t exclude customers who have had 5 or more new card applications within the past 24 months from being approved for this one.

Using the Card for Spending

Earning on the card is 3 points per dollar at Hyatt properties and double points at restaurants, on airlines tickets purchased directly from the airlines and at car rental agencies.

The card is reasonable to use for spend at Hyatt properties however I’d rate the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card and Citi Prestige Card as better since they earn 3 points per dollar in currencies that transfer to various loyalty programs.

Of course I’ve long transferred points from my Chase Sapphire Preferred Card to Hyatt so I’ve had plenty of access to Hyatt points as-needed.

The Card is Worth Keeping — Even in the Sock Drawer

The card‘s $75 annual fee is certainly worthwhile as well since you receive a free night award every year after your cardmember anniversary at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel or resort.

There are fantastic category 4’s, for instance I’ve got an upcoming stay planned at the Andaz Papagayo in Costa Rica.

While staff at the Hyatt Place Austin Downtown (down the street from me) say they’re the best Hyatt Place, and I love the Park Hyatt Saigon and I’d kill for the Saigon baguette at breakfast with grilled pork, pate, pickles, chilies, and mayo, I think my favorite category 4 is the Park Hyatt Siem Reap in Cambodia which is where I stayed visiting Angkor Wat.

Angkor Wat Entrance

Elite Status With the Card

Cardmembers receive Discoverist status good for 2 p.m. late checkout and upgrades which are supposed to be the best room in category reserved (higher floor, better view).

Discoverist also matches to MGM M life Rewards Pearl status. That’s good for free self parking and buffet line passes as well when staying at properties like Bellagio, MGM Grand, and Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

Each year you spend $50,000 on the card you’ll earn Explorist status through the following year, good for best available room excluding club rooms and suites and 4 club lounge upgrades per year — plus it matches to MGM M life Rewards Gold status which gets you VIP check-in, a big deal at monster casino hotels.

Club Lounge at the Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur

Here’s How to View the Card

Spend on the Hyatt Credit Card no longer gets you progress towards top tier elite status however, so my plan is to view the card as a great signup bonus and great keeping for the annual free night (and for the 2 p.m. late check-out if you’re not a Hyatt elite already) as well as because points in your account don’t expire as long as your Hyatt Credit Card account is open. But right now it’s not a card to use for your ongoing spend.

Since reports are that customers with 5 or more new card accounts in the last 24 months aren’t excluded from approval, it’s a fantastic Chase card for those who are at or above ‘5/24’ to get.

The Hyatt Credit Card

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, 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. Yeah, what’s Chase’s current bonus refresh period — 24 months since holding the card, or 24 months since receiving the bonus?

    I recently dropped both my United and Hyatt cards. I had kept my United Platinum Class for the 10k PQMs but the non-waivable 1K PQD target made that useless for me. Not being able to spend toward Diamond-ist killed the Hyatt card. But I’d certainly go for the signup bonuses again….

    Do card companies blacklist you if you bonus?

  2. While Hyatt has extended some nice benefits to Globalists on points award stays, I don’t think they extend to free credit card nights, do they?

    It’s sad that I might let mine go unredeemed beccause I pencil out at 60 nights exactly for my year’s planning (and these don’t count towards the 60 nights needed to requalify).

  3. Hi Gary can you contact chase and see if they can make some changes to the new Hyatt card bonuses as basically I still pay the same per year and still get my cat 4 cert but basically loose the best benefits without a reduction in my yearly fee. To me the best reason was the extra 5 stays for status, if they would equate that to 10 nights for example I would happily move 20k a year their way. Most of the hotel cards provide some sort of spend bonus towards elite status as far as I can tell.

    Also they used to match with a mid tier status out of the box now it’s the first tier status, again half the benefits gone without reduction in fee.

    I agree the sign up bonus is cool if your going to the Maldives or park Hyatt, but what about existing card holders? Come on chase what the heck!!

  4. Gary,
    Concerning Chase’s 5 cards in 24 months policy:
    You wrote, “And reports I’ve seen is that Chase doesn’t exclude customers who have had 5 or more new card applications within the past 24 months from being approved for this one.”
    I assume that means that if you are at (or over) 5 new cards in the last 24 months, Chase will go ahead and consider you for this card. Does it mean, however, that if you have gotten 4 new cards in the last 24 months, that Chase won’t count this one as your fifth?
    I think I may pass just because I still need to get the Ink Preferred, Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Unlimited. Then I’ll consider cards from Chase like the Hyatt and IHG Cards that aren’t subject to the 5 card rule.
    Unless I’m wrong about all this. 😉

  5. @beachfan you cannot use confirmed suite upgrades on free night awards, but upgrades at check-ins including to standard suites would apply

  6. @Jered here’s what the terms say:

    “This product is not available to either (i) current cardmembers of this credit card, or (ii) previous cardmembers of this credit card who received a new cardmember bonus for this credit card within the last 24 months.”

    So if you are not a current cardholder, and it’s been over 24 months since you received the bonus for the card, then they’ll be open to welcoming you back and awarding the bonus.

  7. @Mike After two years and if you don’t currently have the card open you can get bonus again

    @Jered Its 2 years from earning the bonus not the account opening date.

  8. This card is basically useless except for the signup bonus, there are very few Cat 4s that I find useful particularly for one night. The CSR and JPMR provide better ROI for travel and dining, and those of us with corporate cards can’t use it to bonus up Hyatt spend. Can’t imagine anyone will spend 50k unless they stay at a lot of Hyatts (and in that case they probably earn top status anyway). Chase strategy is to cannibalize its affinity cards with the higher fee CSR, which supposedly went from 0 to 1 million in < 1 year.

  9. @Gary – You can use confirmed suite upgrades on award nights. I have that exact circumstance coming up in June.

  10. Constructive advice: There is no need to say how much you spend on a card, most especially if there isn’t an added bonus you are trying to get (I.e EQM/EQDs, British Airways companion, extra night w/ Citi Hilton Reserve, etc). You just sound like a braggard when you do.

  11. @Norman other readers have asked for details like that, that I was spending for elite qualifying nights, not just mentioning a benefit but explaining that I was using the benefit.

  12. @Christian — yes, correct you can use confirmed suite upgrades on award nights (paid with points) but not on free night awards (the credit card free night, the free nights for reaching tier status) at least how it’s *supposed to* work

  13. Got the Hyatt Card last year prior to WOH changes being announced. It won’t make it past the first year as the reduction in MGM benefits is a Big hit. And with Marriott/SPG Plat status and SW Companion Pass it doesn’t make much sense to spend on Hyatt Card.

  14. After 34 years on the Hyatt Card, and a former Diamond, with this new program where they seem to enjoy insulting their customer base, I have dropped down from thousands per month to practically nothing; if they don’t appreciate my business I will not grant them any business.

  15. This post gets it exactly right.

    I got good mileage out of my signup bonus — 2 free suite upgrade certificates — 4 years ago after I signed up for this card. I’d made the simple calculation that if I booked a standard room for cash, then I upgraded it to a suite and tacked on one or standard award night(s) after that, the property would not kick me out of the suite when it was time to consume the subsequent award nights in a standard room. So, in Manila at the now defunct Hyatt Regency Hotel and Casino, I booked one dirt cheap revenue night in a standard room, upgraded it to a suite using one of the certificates, and then I tacked on 3 standard award nights for a total of 4 nights. Then I repeated the same thing at Park Hyatt Siem Reap, except that I booked 2 revenue nights in a standard room, upgraded it to a suite with the second certificate, and then I tacked on 2 standard award nights for a total of 4 nights.

    My gamble paid off in both instances, as the properties simply let me stay in the suites when it was time to vacate and move to standard rooms for the award part of the stays, and they told me at check-in that was what would happen.

    I still use my yearly (card anniversary) free night, each time so far at PH Siem Reap, which has rates that vary between $300 and $500 per night, making it a good-value redemption. The card is thus worth keeping even if I do not pay for anything with. Rather, when I stay at Hyatt properties there days, I pay all charges with the CSR to get 3 transferable UR points rather than 3 Hyatt points.

  16. It amazes me that hotel chains don’t think it’s worth giving one decent free night, once a year, in order to have you carry and use their card. The only ones that are worth carrying are the ones that give a free night at *any category* for your annual fee The Marriott is a joke with their category 1-4. Good luck finding a hotel where you can use it. So I cancelled that card. The reason it is shortsighted is a) you are likely to discover a hotel you will go back to, b) chances are your trip will be more than one night, and you’d probably pay for the second night. In fact maybe those certificates need to become 2 nights at 50% off instead. At least then they’d have some value.

  17. Cindi 100% correct. 1 night at any property might incentivize me to book 1 or more expensive paid nights in NYC, London, SF, etc. because most leisure trips include 2-3 nights at top properties. But 1 night at a cheapo property is basically useless as I rarely stay at airports or exurbs. As we see from the responses, they only bring high value in some far flung third world locations. At least with Marriott 15 EQN makes a significant dent in the 50 Gold/75 Plat requirement. Less so with Amex/SPG though the SPG 25 EGN requirement is a lot lower than current Hyatt and Marriott top elite qual.

  18. If you app via the hyatt website during the reservation process you get the same offer along with a $50 credit after your first purchase. You do not need to complete the reservation to app.

  19. Would be nice if you could book a higher cat on the annual free cert and pay the difference in points.

  20. How do I add an authorized user and insure I get the 5K bonus? I received the card about 2 weeks ago and just saw the authorized user bonus. On the Chase web site there is a place to add the user but no mention of the bonus. Thanks

  21. In case anyone is interested, there are four cat 4’s in Boston:

    Hyatt Regency Boston (Downtown)
    Hyatt Regency Boston Harbor (Next to airport but the other side (and restaurant) has a great view of the skyline across the harbor)
    Hyatt Regency Cambridge (also has a view of skyline across the Charles river)

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