Review: The Hyatt Credit Card

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I personally find Hyatt Hotels one of the top hotel brands in today’s market. And the Hyatt Gold Passport loyalty program one of the best programs for redeeming points for free hotel nights at a reasonable rate.Unknown

The primary reason Hyatt stands out from among a wide range of hotel chain offerings is that its footprint, or number of hotels, is not as great as many of its competitors.

Its smaller size allows it to focus on the details somewhat better than the larger chains do, as well as provide a better return on its customers’ loyalty.

To be loyal to Hyatt takes a little more effort than it does to a chain such as Marriott or Hilton. And Hyatt does a good job rewarding that loyalty.

My wife and I have stayed at a number of Hyatt properties, ranging from its family/business friendly Hyatt Places, to its mid-level Hyatt Regencies, to its Grand Hyatt hotels and resorts. The service at all properties is typically top notch and the hotels themselves well-appointed, clean and welcoming. With some, such as the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa to name just one, the experience is simply amazing.

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Which is why I value Hyatt Gold Passport points so highly, and, in turn, The Hyatt credit card as a way to earn those points.

DETAILS AND BENEFITS

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Here’s a complete look at the details and benefits of The Hyatt credit card:

  • Earn 2 free nights at any Hyatt property, worldwide, after making $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • 5,000 Hyatt Gold Passport bonus points when an authorized user is added to your account and a purchase is made with that card during the first 3 months as a cardmember
  • 1 free night at any category 1 – 4 Hyatt every year after your cardmember anniversary
  • $0 introductory annual fee the first year, $75 per year after the first year
  • Earn 3 Hyatt Gold Passport points for every $1 spent on purchases at all Hyatt properties
  • Earn 2 Hyatt Gold Passport points for every $1 spent at restaurants, on airline tickets purchased directly from the airline and at car rental agencies
  • Earn 1 Hyatt Gold Passport point for all other purchases
  • The Hyatt card provides Hyatt Gold Passport Platinum status, which includes 15% point bonus on eligible spend (Hyatt Hotels), complimentary in-room Internet access, and late checkout to name a few of the benefits

MY TAKE

If you’re a traveler who books the majority of your hotel stays at Hyatt, getting The Hyatt card and using it to pay for your hotel stays is the way to go.

If you’re new to Hyatt, or don’t go out of your way to stay at Hyatt Hotels, then I would still recommend getting the Hyatt card, but probably not encourage it for everyday/travel spend.

However, it’s a great card to keep simply for the annual free night on your cardmember anniversary. With Hyatt, it’s easy to get more than the $75 annual fee in value when using that free night.

Most of the lower category Hyatts, Hyatt Places and Hyatt Houses, depending on location, can easily price out at $85 – $120 per night. So right there you’re saving money by paying the annual fee and using the associated free night.

But, the nice thing about Hyatt is there are a number of really nice properties than fall into the 1 – 4 categories, and at which the annual free night can be used.

Here’s a glance at Hyatt category 4 properties. Note that this list does not include all of the hotels in Asia/Pacific, Europe, Africa and the Middle East where the free annual night can be used, as well, should your travels happen to take you overseas.

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To get a feel for all of Hyatt’s hotels, you can view them, by category, here.

USING THE FREE NIGHTS

And I haven’t even touched on the card’s sign-up bonus of 2 free nights in any Hyatt.

Obviously, if you’re looking for the best bang-for-your-buck, you’ll use the 2 free nights at a high category property.

In the U.S., that would be the category 7, Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort and Spa and the Park Hyatt New York.

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Overseas you could pick from the Park Hyatt Sydney, Park Hyatt Tokyo, Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome, Park Hyatt Milan or the Park Hyatt Zurich. All of which also fall into the highest Hyatt category, category 7.

Of course, as I always say in the Miles and Points game, the absolute best use of points (or free nights in this case) is whatever will make your, specific, travel desires come true.

If using the 2 free nights at a Hyatt Place so you can visit family over the holidays is your choice, then so be it. Free travel mission accomplished.

USING GOLD PASSPORT POINTS

As I mentioned, Hyatt Gold Passport points are a great value when compared to many other hotel loyalty programs.

Hotel night redemptions start at 5,000 Gold Passport points per night and top out at 30,000 points per night for the category 7 properties.

As a comparison, Marriott award night redemptions start at 7,500 for category 1 properties and max out at 45,000 for category 9 hotels. Marriott does have a PointSavers option that drops those redemption levels to 6,000 and 40,000, respectively, but those are time-period specific/property specific redemption amounts.

And Hilton award nights range from 7,500 for lower-level properties up to 50,000 for its top end hotels. Yes, Hilton has a “saver” option as well, but, again, it’s date/property specific.

While the differences may not seem huge, believe me, a lower category Hyatt stands tall above the lower-level Marriotts, Hiltons, etc. Give me a Hyatt Place over a Fairfield Inn any day.

OTHER WAYS TO BUILD HYATT POINTS

While this piece is about The Hyatt credit card, I do want to note there are other ways to build your Hyatt Gold Passport balance in addition to putting spend on The Hyatt card.

Obviously, paid stays at Hyatt properties will add 5 points per dollar spent for anyone who is a Gold Passport member (Hyatt credit card holder or not), in addition to whatever spend you put on The Hyatt card. And if you hold Platinum status (which you get with The Hyatt card) you earn an extra 15%, while Diamond members get a 30% bonus on the points earned via paid stays.

But, another option isn’t quite as obvious. Hyatt points can be earned through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program by virtue of their partnership.

Which means, Ultimate Rewards points earned by using the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit cardChase Freedom and Chase Freedom Unlimited cards (when used in conjunction with the Sapphire Preferred card) and the Chase Ink Plus Business Card can be transferred to your Hyatt Gold Passport account at a 1:1 transfer rate, making it easy to build your Gold Passport balance.

WRAP UP

You just can’t beat the Hyatt brand. Excellent service and outstanding properties make Hyatt my go-to hotel whenever possible.

If you’re familiar with Hyatt, then I’m sure the 2 free nights you’ll receive as a sign-up bonus for the card is more than enough to entice you to apply. And the free category 1 – 4 night on your cardmember anniversary will surely keep the card in your rotation for years to come.

If you’re not familiar with Hyatt, do yourself a favor and submit your Hyatt card application. Use the 2 free nights on an aspirational experience you otherwise would not have.

After which, you’ll be hooked, and a new Hyatt devotee will be born.

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