Even Some Great Credit Cards Aren’t No Brainers to Get Anymore

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A couple of days ago I wrote that Hyatt cardmembers can now get 10,000 points for successfully referring friends to the card. I think it has a nice signup bonus, albeit arguably not as nice as when they offered 2 free nights at any property, and the annual free night with renewal is worth the card’s fee. And all reports are that it isn’t subject to 5/24 for getting approved.

It’s not good for spending, though, because earning 1 Hyatt point per dollar isn’t as good as earning 1 mile in many cases and definitely not as good as earning 1 transferrable points currency like Chase Ultimate Rewards or American Epxress Membership Rewards. And spending for category bonuses on the card can be done more rewardingly with other cards.

Park Hyatt Sydney is 30,000 points per night

One Mile at a Time wrote that the card “is an all around no brainer.”

I’d argue that used to be true but because of Chase’s 5/24 rule it no longer is. Chase will only approve most people for many of their cards if they haven’t had 5 new credit cards within the past 24 months. So you have to pick and choose carefully which cards to sign up for.

If you’re under 5/24 — meaning you haven’t had 5 new card accounts in the last 24 months — you shouldn’t get the Hyatt card. You want to get cards where the limit applies, because you’ll be out of luck for them later. Get the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card first, so you don’t lose out. And get the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card which has the best publicly available signup bonus of any card and very strong earn for your spending (both earn points that transfer to many different airline and hotel points programs).

If you’re over 5/24 you can consider the Hyatt Credit Card, as you aren’t excluded from it on that basis. Although I’d argue the British Airways Visa Signature® Card is a better choice among Chase cards where 5/24 reportedly doesn’t apply.

British Airways First Class

The point is that issuer restrictions on card approvals and signup bonuses that have been introduced over the last couple of years make us pickier about which cards to get, and more strategic. I certainly wouldn’t prioritize the Hyatt card over a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card for someone that has not yet had 5 new cards in the last 24 months.

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 InsideFlyer.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. Even if you are not a churner the card Is not that great anymore because (1j CSR offers better ROI for the bonus spend (2) Perks under the new WOH are not as good as the old perks cardholders received as Plats and (3) the annual Cat 1-4 cert is not all that useful if you mostly want free nights at world class city or resort properties. Like many cards it is worth a signup bonus but not worth holding unless you need the free night cert.

  2. @Boraxo

    Totally disagree that it’s not worth holding onto. The annual fee is only $75. Even if you can’t get world class hotels, a Hyatt Place near the airport costs more than $75. I make a profit on this card every single year

  3. Marriott Cat 1-5 is basically useless. But the Hyatt Cat 1-4 offers great value. I’ve hung on to this card solely for that purpose and I too have saved so much $$$ just by using my wife and mine’s annual free night cert……just like our IHG Cards. We’ve used the annual Free night Cert all over the world…recently used it @ the InterContinental Buenos Aires. These are the two cards that I will gladly pay for the AF every freakin’ year. You can’t pay AF’s on every card that you have that charges it. But, you have to be strategic as to which ones you pay.

  4. For me, it’s 5/24 that makes the Hyatt card a no-brainer.

    It’s not that I prioritize Hyatt over the Sapphire Preferred. It’s that I prioritize Hyatt, IHG, two Amex cards, two Citi cards, a BofA, a USBank, a BarclayCard, and an FBNO card over the CSP.

    I’ve made my peace that I won’t be eligible for some of the better Chase cards until I exhaust all the other options. With 6-7 new cards a year, that will be quite some time.

  5. For those who claim an airport Hyatt Place makes the fee worthwhile, have you looked at the point level for those properties? Many of such properties are Cat 2 on Hyatt chart, meaning an 8K property – you transfer your UR pts to your Hyatt account and voila, you can book the property on points.

    The beauty of having UR pts is they are versatile, do not expire as long as you have one UR earning card, and of course one card that has the ability to do the transfer.

    Of our 2 free night certs, 1 was used at Hyatt Place AMS, a Cat 3 12K property. The cash rate is around 100 to 120 euro at the time of our stay. So we were slightly better than breakeven. The second FN cert will expire in August and we currently have no idea how we would be using it. Should have used it in HR TST in HKG when our plan to Macao was disrupted by a coming Typhoon but my mind was not working logically at that time, and we transferred 30K SPG to Marriott to extend 2 more days at JWM (Cat 9 45K) instead. Duh. Should have used the 15K pts already in my Hyatt account and the freshly posted FN cert and be done with Hyatt account for a while. Blonde moment due to we had a very comfortable 2 nights before at the JWM and being well taken care of, so the first reaction was to extend the stay…. Now I need to remember to use the FN cert in first half of 2019… facepalm.

  6. A few more things –

    IHG card is a no brainer for at least 2 years as their FN cert can be used anywhere in the world on any property – NOW that is the true meaning of no brainer! Plus the first year fee is Waived. Not for Hyatt card!
    We used ours the last 3 years at IC HKG. Prior years we used them at IC Amstel in Amsterdam and some European cities.

    Marriott 1-5 certs can be useful in limited geographic locations, as well as when there is special event in town. But if your plan is to use them in locations of main cities both domestic and aboard, you would need to be in some “cheap” international locations to find the properties!

    BA program seems would go revenue based in 2018. With that, I dont think anyone should cumulate Avios without immediate usage in mind.

  7. @Jimmy G yea I think some people become soo focused on getting under 5/24 for a chase card that they miss out on a lot of other cards they could have gotten where when you add the bonuses together you will have a much higher return than you could have ever gotten with the chase card. Also, whose to say in two years that the chase card will be all that great or they won’t have switched to once in a lifetime language? In this game its all about striking when the iron is hot, because programs change way too much in the span of a single year.

  8. Yes, Bill, I feel that same sense of urgency about the CSReserve. Missing out on 100k URs would have been a real bummer if instead taking out too many other credit lines. And 3 points earned for their broad-range travel category & redemption at 1.5 cents could decrease in the future, so I am earning and redeeming as much as I can now! The ease of ongoing earning/luxury redemptions outweighs the value of even its initial bonus if a few thousand of travel dollars are put on the card monthly. Not to mention tons of $ saved with auto primary rental insurance if you rent a car even once a month.

    I also have the Hyatt card, though, & gotta say the 4 all-inclusive nights recently spent at Miraval (my gf & I combined cc awards) valued around $6k wayyy outweighed our cumulative $150 annual fees! I already also just redeemed my first anniv cert for a $300 room during the holidays at the Woodlands. I signed up for the Hyatt card to leverage Hyatt dollars spent for/during a timeshare presentation (discounted) stay at their Kaanapali Residence property. I bumbled into the card, but it has been my best “earner” this year (besides my retired free Fairmont night card). Definitely a keeper!

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