My two favorite hotel credit cards issued by Chase are The World of Hyatt Credit Card and the IHG® Rewards Club Premier 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 World Hyatt Credit Card has a $95 annual fee, and most notably offers:
- Receive 1 free night every year after your cardmember anniversary at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel or resort
- Earn an extra free night at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel or resort if you spend $15,000 during your cardmember anniversary year
- Get automatic World of Hyatt Discoverist status for as long as your account is open and 5 qualifying night credits toward your next tier status every year
- Earn 2 qualifying night credits towards your next tier status every time you spend $5,000 on your card
The IHG Rewards Card has a $89 annual fee, 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 Premier 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 slightly lower per year 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 World of Hyatt Credit 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 World of Hyatt Credit Card more than on the IHG® Rewards Club Premier 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?