Best Credit Card For Maximizing Hyatt Points & Benefits

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Reader Prem asked the following question on the Ask Lucky page of the blog:

Hi Lucky,

I am an existing Hyatt Diamond member. Do you know which credit card I should apply for to get more benefits at Hyatt?

I’m a huge fan of Hyatt, and end up staying at their hotels more than any others. I find they do an amazing job of managing expectations with elite status, and rarely have stays that leave me disappointed (even if some of their properties — particularly in the US — are a bit bland).

Anyway, regarding Prem’s question, I figured I wouldn’t just answer it, but also answer the bigger question of “how do you use credit cards to maximize Hyatt stays?” which isn’t quite as straightforward as one might expect.

If you’re not a Diamond member, Hyatt also offers one of the most generous top tier status challenges of any hotel program.

Best credit card to use for Hyatt stays

In many cases you’ll maximize your return on Hyatt stays by paying with a Starwood co-branded credit card, as crazy as it sounds.

I pay for Hyatt stays as follows:

Amex-Open-Savings

And if you don’t have either card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a great option, as it offers double points on travel.

Best credit card for Hyatt perks

If you’re already a Diamond member, there isn’t really a card that will get you more perks for Hyatt stays. The Chase Hyatt Visa Card will potentially get you a couple of things, though:

  • While not the case anymore, it used to be that if you signed up for the Chase Hyatt Visa Card as a Diamond member, your two free nights would be in a suite rather than standard room
  • You can earn bonus stay/night credits by putting spend on Hyatt’s co-branded Visa Card — you receive two stay credits and five night credits when you spend $20,000 on the card in a calendar year, and an additional three stay credits and five night credits towards Diamond when you spend $40,000 on the card in a calendar year, for a total of five stay credits and ten night credits

Park-Hyatt-Zurich
I redeemed my two free nights in a suite at the Park Hyatt Zurich

I would love to see Hyatt add:

  • Marginal benefits for staying 50 nights per calendar year, as there’s currently not much of an incentive to do so (meanwhile Starwood does offer extra benefits for staying 75 or 100 nights per year)
  • Offer Diamond members with the co-branded credit card some sort of additional perks/points

Starwood-Benefits

I don’t know what exactly would make sense, but maybe a couple of additional Diamond Suite Upgrade Awards or something?

Best credit card for earning Hyatt points from everyday spend

For actually accruing Hyatt points through everyday credit card spend, your best options are Chase’s cards which accrue Ultimate Rewards points, given the generous category bonuses:

  • The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, earn 2X points on travel and dining, no foreign transaction fees (plus a sign-up bonus of 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 within the first three months, plus an additional 5,000 bonus points when you add an authorized user and they make their first purchase within the first three months)
  • The Ink Plus® Business Card and Ink Bold® Business Card, which offer 5x points on office supply stores, and on cellular phone, landline, internet, and cable TV services

Is Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card better than Chase Hyatt Visa Card?

Only mildly related, but reader Scott left the following comment yesterday on my “Which Credit Cards Are In My Wallet?” post:

@Lucky,

It seems like unless you spend a bunch on car rentals, uber (I’m sure thats free for you), trains, busses, and parking, that you may be better off dropping saphire and using the hyatt card for meals. It takes a bunch of spending on those non-covered categories to make up for the $95 fee.

That’s my plan, anyway, when my annual fee comes due. I have other cards which bonus airlines, hotels, and meals. Maybe that will sway me, since I’ll probably have tens of thousands of points through that.

And he raises an interesting point. The annual fee on the Hyatt Visa Card is $75, and that’s worth paying solely for the annual free night certificate you get each year just for having the card. So if you’re going to have that card anyway, is it worth paying the $95 annual fee on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card?

The Hyatt Visa Card also offers double points on dining and airline ticket purchases, so if the goal is to collect Hyatt points, the only thing you’re missing out on by not having the Sapphire Preferred is:

  • The 7% annual points dividend

    (no longer a feature of the Sapphire Preferred Card, see current offer for full terms)

  • Double points on non-airline travel purchases, like trains, parking, etc.

If your sole goal is to collect Hyatt points through credit card spend then I’d say it’s probably not worth having both cards. However, for me a lot of the value of Ultimate Rewards points comes in the flexibility of the points, and the ability to transfer them to Korean Air SkyPass and Singapore KrisFlyer, which I consider to be among the most valuable mileage currencies. There’s a lot of value to me in that, and I consider it well worth the $95 annual fee. But if your goal is simply to earn Hyatt points, then maybe it’s not worthwhile.

Korean-Air-First-Class
I also like redeeming Ultimate Rewards points for Korean Air first class

Bottom line

I usually get dirty looks when I check into a US Hyatt property with my Starwood credit card, but at the end of the day the best deal is the best deal. The strategy for maximizing earnings of Hyatt points isn’t as straightforward as with some other hotel chains, so hopefully the above helps.

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Comments

  1. Amex SimplyCash business offers 5% open savings + 3% cash back given hotels are your selected category. Apparently Amex is not offering referrals for this card, though unless you value Starpoints at 3 cents a piece (plus a CC annual fee), I’d recommend looking in to the SimplyCash card.

  2. Don’t forget the Platinum status with Hyatt that the credit card provides, which gets free internet, etc.

  3. Hi Lucky!

    Would you please explain more in detail how can i get my 2 free night into a SUITE?? “Not relevant to Prem, but if you’re just signing up for the Chase Hyatt Visa Card, your two free nights would be in a suite rather than standard room” Because I apply for this card Hyatt Chase credit card last month and i already received the 2 night free. My plan is to redeem this for a 1 room 3 people at the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme in October of this year. But i am not sure how to upgrade this into a suite instead of standard room, please let me know thanks in advance!

  4. Hyatt quit the 2 free nights with credit card signup for diamonds as suite nights. Now everyone gets 2 regular nights.

  5. Has Barclay bought your silence? You still haven’t remarked on Barclay Arrival vs. Fidelity Amex.

    Id also be curious to know if you are maxing out the Chase Ink benefit.

    AND… I’d be curious to have you parcel out every benefit of Amex Plat and say how much each is worth.

  6. Do you really get dirty looks checking in with an SPG card? I do it for every Hyatt stay and I’ve never noticed a negative reaction. It’s either no reaction at all or they know about the 5% cash back. I don’t think front desk agents get paid enough to care that much about “their” brand versus the competition 🙂

  7. The best deal for domestic stays is to buy Hyatt Gift cards at a discount (Milepoint Premium, etc) with your SPG Business card, and then pay for domestic stays with the Hyatt gift card. But, this is a bit of a PITA, IMO.

  8. Lucky,
    When you have diamond status for the diamond challenge, do hotels know that you’re on the challenge or do you look the exact same as any other diamond to them? Only asking because I’m making a special request for a stay and am thinking about mentioning that I’m diamond (but if they know I’m on the challenge, that will look kind of silly).

  9. I thought they got rid of the 2 nights in a suite for diamonds applying for the chase card? Also the open savings is not for every domestic hyatt. It is only for participating hyatts.

  10. You say “The annual fee on the Hyatt Visa Card is $75, and that’s worth paying solely for the annual free night certificate you get each year just for having the card.”
    The free night is good only at hotels rated level 4 or lower. If you want to stay in Manhattan, there is no level 4 hotel there. The one on 36th st is really a 4, evn though Hyatt rates it a 5.

  11. Readers should be aware that using a Hyatt CC at Grand Hyatt MEL may avoid the Foreign Exc fee but you do get hit with a 1% CC usage fee.

  12. @Tom While it’s true that there aren’t any category 4 or lower hotels in Manhattan, what does that really have to do with anything? I didn’t see Lucky say anything about using the night to stay in Manhattan. There are plenty of category 4 hotels worldwide that would cost far more than $75 to stay in (Andaz Papagayo comes to mind as a great one).

  13. @ Tom — Correct, but there are a ton of $200+ per night hotels that accept them, so I think for most people it’s still well worth it.

  14. @ Jamie — I don’t believe they know you’re on a challenge, but I could be wrong. I wouldn’t hesitate to mention being Diamond, though.

  15. @ Are We There Yet? — Hah, I’ve never gotten *truly* dirty looks, but rather more jokes/comments about it.

  16. @ Stvr — No, and you guys have made good points, and I’ll have a separate post about it shortly.

    As far as AmEx Platinum benefits, my other primary airline is Alaska, so keep in mind I also get Board Room membership out of it, which adds even more value.

  17. Lucky or anyone know about this!

    Would you please explain more in detail how can i get my 2 free night into a SUITE?? “Not relevant to Prem, but if you’re just signing up for the Chase Hyatt Visa Card, your two free nights would be in a suite rather than standard room” Because I apply for this card Hyatt Chase credit card last month and i already received the 2 night free. My plan is to redeem this for a 1 room 3 people at the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme in October of this year. But i am not sure how to upgrade this into a suite instead of standard room, please let me know thanks in advance!

  18. Maybe for Diamond members the Hyatt CC could provide a better than 1 to 4 cert for spend on the card. (e.g. 1 to 5 cert for $X spend on the card, 1-6 cert for $Y spend , etc.). Heck, should probably get a 1 to 5 cert being a Diamond member and just having the card and then the opportunity to get higher category cert based on spend.

  19. @ Lee — This was a benefit that was discontinued. Used to be the case for years but it’s no longer the case.

  20. Thanks for this. I have both Hyatt and Chase SP, and I never really thought about ditching the Chase SP. However, since I would mostly redeem for Hyatt anyway, maybe it’s not that bad of a deal. My annual fee just came due on the SP – I may give it another year and then re-evaluate.

    In any event, I wanted to suggest one more Hyatt improvement: 5th night free on award reservations, to match Hilton, SPG and Marriott …

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