There’s lots of value to having hotel credit cards, including elite status and in some cases free night certificates.
Two of my favorite hotel credit cards are the World of Hyatt Credit Card (review) and the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card (review), and I have both of them. In many ways these cards are comparable — they’re both Chase cards, they have similar annual fees, and they have (sort of) similar benefits.
Should you get the Hyatt or IHG credit card?
In this post I wanted to compare the two best personal credit cards issued by Hyatt and IHG. If you’re someone who is considering one of these cards, but can’t or doesn’t want to get both (due to 5/24, or whatever other reason), which is a better option? Let’s compare these cards across a variety of factors, including welcome bonuses, annual fees, eligibility, perks, and return on spending.
Comparing welcome bonuses
Both cards offer solid welcome bonuses:
- The World of Hyatt Card offers a welcome bonus of up to 60,000 World of Hyatt points — earn 30,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 within the first three months, plus one additional bonus points per dollar on purchases that earn one point per dollar, on up to $15,000 spent in the first six months; I value World of Hyatt points at 1.5 cents each
- The IHG Premier Card offers a welcome bonus of 175,000 IHG One Rewards bonus points after spending $3,000 within the first three months; I value IHG One Rewards points at 0.5 cents each
Winner: Assuming you value points similarly to how I do, the Hyatt card offers a better bonus but with a much larger spend requirement.
Comparing annual fees
Both cards have roughly comparable annual fees after the first year:
- The World of Hyatt Card has a $95 annual fee
- The IHG Premier Card has a $99 annual fee
Winner: It’s a toss-up, as you’re looking at a $4 difference, so that shouldn’t be a deciding factor here.
Both cards are subjected to the general Chase application rules, and here are the eligibility restrictions beyond that:
- The World of Hyatt Card is available to those who don’t currently have the World of Hyatt Card, and those who haven’t received a welcome bonus on the card in the past 24 months; however, you are eligible if you have the World of Hyatt Business Card (review)
- The IHG Premier Card is available to those who don’t have any personal IHG credit card, including the IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card (review), and those haven’t received a new cardmember bonus on one of these cards in the past 24 months; however, you are eligible if you have the IHG® Rewards Premier Business Credit Card (review)
Winner: This is another toss-up, as both cards are subjected to the 5/24 rule, and otherwise have similar bonus limitations.
The primary draw of both of these cards is the rich perks that they offer.
The World of Hyatt Card offers a variety of perks, including:
- An anniversary free night certificate valid at a Category 1-4 property on your account anniversary every year
- An additional free night certificate valid at a Category 1-4 property when you spend $15,000 on the card in a calendar year
- Five elite qualifying nights toward status annually just for being a cardmember
- An additional two elite qualifying nights for every $5,000 spent on the card
- World of Hyatt Discoverist status for as long as you have the card
Meanwhile, the IHG Premier Card offers a variety of perks, including:
- An anniversary free night certificate on your account anniversary every year, valid a property that retails for up to 40,000 IHG One Rewards points per night; you can also use points to top this off and redeem at a more expensive property
- A fourth night free on award bookings; when you redeem points for a consecutive four night stay, you only have to redeem points for the cost of the first three nights
- 20% off when you purchase IHG One Rewards points
- IHG One Rewards Platinum status for as long as you have the card
- A TSA PreCheck or Global Entry fee credit once every four years
Winner: I know “it depends” isn’t a good answer, but it really does depend. Personally, I find the Hyatt perks more valuable, but that’s because I’m a Hyatt loyalist. Hyatt Globalist status is my favorite top-tier hotel status, and having the card makes it easier to earn. The catch is that Hyatt has a smaller global footprint than IHG, so understandably not everyone will feel the same. The IHG option might just be the better “one size fits all” card.
Comparing return on spending
While I don’t rank either of these as being the top cards for everyday spending, there is a difference in the overall value proposition of spending money on these cards. I have both of these cards, and spend a significant amount every year on one card, but not the other:
- The World of Hyatt Card offers 4x points for spending at Hyatt properties, and 2x points on dining at restaurants, airline tickets purchased directly from airlines, on fitness club and gym memberships, and on local transit and commuting, including ridesharing services, and 1x points elsewhere
- The IHG Premier Card offers 10x points for spending at IHG properties, and 5x points on travel (outside of IHG), gas stations, and restaurants, and 3x points elsewhere
It’s important to keep in mind the difference in the value of the points, as I value Hyatt points at 1.5 cents each, and value IHG points at 0.5 cents each. In other words:
- The Hyatt Card offers a 6% return on Hyatt purchases, a 3% return in select categories, and a 1.5% return on everyday spending
- The IHG Card offers a 5% return on IHG purchases, a 2.5% return in select categories, and a 1.5% return on everyday spending
But with Hyatt there’s a further benefit to spending:
- Spending $15,000 every calendar year gets you a second free night certificate
- You earn two elite nights for every $5,000 spent
Therefore I think there’s a sweet spot of spending $15,000 per year on the Hyatt Card, as you earn an additional free night certificate and additional six elite nights, in addition to the usual points.
In fairness, with IHG you can earn IHG One Rewards Diamond status if you spend $40,000 on the card in a calendar year. However, that doesn’t come with any Milestone Rewards perks, which are arguably the best part of IHG status.
Winner: It can make a lot of sense to spend money on the Hyatt Card, given the generous spend categories in the form of free night certificates and elite nights. With the IHG Card having recently been revamped, some also may find it to be worthwhile to spend money on the card.
Personally I think both the World of Hyatt Card and IHG Premier Card are worth having. If you travel with any frequency, the anniversary free night certificates along should more than justify the annual fees on the cards. One of the great things about hotel credit cards is that they can be worth holding onto for the perks alone, even if you don’t spend much on them.
Which of these two cards is more compelling really depends on the type of traveler you are, though. Personally I think the World of Hyatt Card has the potential to be more lucrative, assuming you’re at all involved in the Hyatt ecosystem.
That being said, I think the IHG Premier Card is probably more of a no-brainer. IHG has a larger global footprint, IHG offers mid-tier Platinum status just for having the card, IHG offers cardmembers a fourth night free on award redemptions, and IHG’s free night certificates can be topped off with points, so you can redeem at virtually any IHG property.
To those who have either (or both) the World of Hyatt Card and IHG Premier Card, which do you find to be more valuable?
The Hilton Surpass makes for an interesting comparison: no free night, but Priority Pass admission coupons instead, Hilton Gold status, reasonable bonus categories. at 15k spend in a calendar year a SYSTEMWIDE free weekend night.
I agree hotel credit cards can have great value. I have 5 of them (Chase IHG, Hyatt and Marriott cards plus Amex Hilton Surpass and Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant). While my CSR gets better value I use the card of the chain at all hotel stays (mainly to diversify my points since I have health Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate balances). I also get 6 free night certificates (run $15K in unbonused categories through Hilton Surpass and Chase Hyatt cards).
Hyatt greater than IHG
Mainly because they offer lifetime status
Doesn't the IHG card have a bonus at $20,000? Earn $100 credit and 10,000 bonus points. I think you should add an analysis on the return on spend if spending exactly $20,000. That would increase overall value by basically $50, right? Effectively earns 4x on un-bonused spend meaning 2.0% return which would be above hyatt but at a higher spend threshold.
Maybe I've got my math all wrong, but that's why I come here in the first place.