In the interest of full disclosure, One Mile At A Time earns a referral bonus for anyone that’s approved through some of the below links. These are the best publicly available offers that we have found for each card. Please check out our advertiser policy for further details about the partners we work with. Thanks for your support!
My two favorite hotel credit cards issued by Chase are The Hyatt Credit Card and the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card. My favorite benefit of each card is the annual free night certificates they offer, which to me more than justify the annual fees. However, there are lots of other perks to the cards. Neither of these cards are subjected to the 5/24 rule, so you’re potentially eligible to be approved even if you’ve opened five or more new card accounts in the past 24 months.
The Hyatt Credit Card basics
The Hyatt Credit Card has a $75 annual fee, and most notably offers:
- An anniversary free night certificate valid at any Category 1-4 Hyatt property
- Discoverist status for as long as you have the card
- Explorist status when you spend $50,000 on the card in a calendar year
- Access to cardmember promotions that we seem to see every so often, including discounted award redemptions
World of Hyatt Explorist status comes with four club lounge passes per year
The IHG Rewards Card has a $49 annual fee (waived the first year), and most notably offers:
- An anniversary free night certificate valid at virtually any IHG hotel in the world
- IHG Rewards Club Platinum status for as long as you have the card
- 10% off points redemptions, for a refund of up to 100,000 points per year
The InterContinental Hong Kong, where I redeemed my free night certificate last year
The pros and cons of the IHG annual free night
Personally I have both of these credit cards, and I value them immensely for their respective privileges. Purely in terms of the annual free night certificate, historically I’ve valued the one offered on the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card more. That’s because it’s valid at virtually any IHG hotel, even those that would cost 60,000 points per night. Furthermore, the annual fee on the card is $26 per year lower than on Hyatt’s card.
But there are some downsides to the IHG annual free night certificate as well. For example, while Hyatt offers free night availability as long as a standard room is available for sale, IHG has capacity controls. You still shouldn’t have issues redeeming it, but availability isn’t quite as good as with Hyatt’s certificate. Furthermore, personally I’m not loyal to IHG, and even IHG Platinum status doesn’t get you much in the way of elite recognition.
As far as I’m concerned that’s totally fine, since you’re literally paying a $49 annual fee to get that free night certificate. It’s hard not to get outsized value from that. With the IHG certificate you have access to about 5,000 hotels, while with the Hyatt certificate you have access to a few hundred hotels.
Why the Hyatt Card annual free night is growing on me
Historically I would have said the IHG free night is hands down worth more, given that it’s redeemable at even IHG’s best hotels, while the Hyatt certificate has category caps. However, my opinion on this is starting to change. As a World of Hyatt Globalist member, there are now some significant advantages to this certificate, including that as of 2018 you receive elite credit for stays booked with this certificate, which you didn’t previously.
On top of that, Globalist members receive suite upgrades even on free night stays, complimentary breakfast, and waived resort fees and parking on award stays.
The Park Hyatt Saigon, where I redeemed my Hyatt certificate last year
While you are capped at a Category 4 property, personally I think I now value the free night certificate on The Hyatt Credit Card more than on the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card. Don’t get me wrong, I have (and will continue to have) both cards, and I think a large reason I feel the way I do is because I’m a Hyatt loyalist and not IHG loyalist. However, even so my perception has only recently changed, especially now that Globalist members get unlimited suite upgrades, free parking on award stays, and most importantly, stay credits for stays booked with these certificates.
I’m curious how you guys feel — do you value the free night certificate on the Hyatt or IHG card more?