Review: The Hyatt Credit Card

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We’ve seen several new hotel credit cards introduced the past couple of months, including the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card and the Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card. When new cards are introduced it’s often easy to forget about some of the rewarding and worthwhile cards that have been around for a while.

One hotel card that I really like and that I’ve had for years is The Hyatt Credit Card. The card doesn’t get that much attention nowadays given all the new cards that have been introduced, so in this post I wanted to take a closer look at the card, including at the welcome bonus, annual fee, return on spend, and perks.

Hyatt Credit Card welcome bonus

The Hyatt Credit Card offers the following welcome bonus:

  • 40,000 World of Hyatt bonus points after spending $2,000 within three months
  • 5,000 World of Hyatt bonus points after you add an authorized user and have them make a purchase within that same timeframe

I value World of Hyatt points at 1.5 cents each, so to me the 45,000 points are worth $675. The welcome bonus gives you lots of flexibility in terms of how you can redeem the rewards. Here’s Hyatt’s award chart:

As you can see, 45,000 points would be enough for nine nights at a Category 1 property, or there are a variety of other ways you could use those points.

Hyatt Credit Card eligibility

The welcome bonus on The Hyatt Credit Card is only available to those who don’t have this card, and those who have not received a new cardmember bonus for this card in the past 24 months. So if you’ve had this card in the past, you may potentially be eligible for the card again.

This card isn’t subjected to the 5/24 rule, meaning that you should be eligible for the card even if you’ve opened five or more new card accounts in the past 24 months.

That means this is one of the easier Chase cards to be approved for.

Hyatt Credit Card annual fee

The annual fee on The Hyatt Credit Card is $75, and the fee isn’t waived for the first year. This is one of the lowest annual fees for a hotel credit card. As a point of comparison:

Hyatt Credit Card points earning opportunities

The Hyatt Credit Card offers the following spend bonuses:

  • 3x points per dollar spent at Hyatt hotels
  • 2x points per dollar spent at restaurants, on airline tickets purchased directly from airlines, and on car rentals
  • 1x point per dollar spent on everything else

The card has a solid rewards structure as far as hotel cards go, though personally I wouldn’t put much spend on it, unless you’re going for Explorist status (as I’ll explain below). Ultimate Rewards points can be converted into Hyatt points, and have bonus on earnings as well, while giving you more flexibility with your points:

Redeem your World of Hyatt points at the Park Hyatt Paris

Hyatt Credit Card annual free night

In my opinion the single best perk of The Hyatt Credit Card is that it offers an annual free night certificate valid at any Category 1-4 Hyatt property. As long as a standard room is available you should be able to redeem the certificate there. Furthermore, you’ll receive all elite benefits on these stays, so as a Globalist member you’d get a room upgrade, free breakfast, lounge access, etc. You’ll even receive elite night credits for stays with this certificate, so it will get you closer to requalifying for status.

If you’re curious what hotels this includes, you can see a listing of all Hyatt properties by category on this page. There are seven categories of Hyatt hotels, so Category 1-4 covers most of them. There are many great Category 4 properties, including the Hyatt Olive 8 Seattle, the Hyatt Capital Gate Abu Dhabi, and the Park Hyatt Saigon.

Redeem your free night certificate at the Park Hyatt Saigon

Hyatt Credit Card status benefits

Having The Hyatt Credit Card can help you with earning Discoverist and Explorist status with Hyatt:

  • You receive Discoverist status for as long as you have the card
  • You receive Explorist status when you spend $50,000 or more on purchases on the card in a calendar year

Discoverist status gets you the following perks:

  • A 10% points bonus
  • Premium internet
  • A complimentary bottle of water
  • Priority check-in
  • 2PM late check-out
  • A preferred room within the category booked

Explorist status gets you the following incremental perks:

  • A 20% points bonus
  • Upgrade to the best available room, excluding suites
  • Four club lounge passes annually, valid for a stay of up to seven nights on eligible rates or when redeeming points for free night awards

Use an Explorist club pass at the Grand Hyatt Chengdu

Unfortunately the credit card won’t get you any perks towards earning Hyatt’s top tier Globalist status.

Other Hyatt Credit Card perks

While there are no guarantees as to what will be offered in the future, The Hyatt Credit Card has historically offered some great additional promotions for cardmembers:

Hyatt Credit Card best complements

One of the things I love about The Hyatt Credit Card is the easy opportunity to efficiently top off your points balance. Since World of Hyatt is a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner, you can complement this card with any card earning Ultimate Rewards points. The benefit is that you can take advantage of the perks on this card (like the anniversary free night certificate), and then top off your Hyatt account with points earned on cards earning Ultimate Rewards points.

So personally I’d try to have the card in conjunction with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, and/or Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, to maximize the points you can earn.

Hyatt Credit Card best substitutes

One of the best alternatives to The Hyatt Credit Card is another hotel card. For example:

  • The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card offers an anniversary free night certificate valid at a hotel retailing for up to 40,000 points per night, IHG Rewards Club Platinum status for as long as you have the card, a fourth night free on award redemptions, and more
  • The Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card offers an anniversary free night certificate valid at a hotel retailing for up to 35,000 points per night, Marriott Silver status for as long as you have the card (Gold status when you spend $35,000 on the card in an account year), and more
  • The Hilton Honors Ascend Card from American Express offers Hilton Honors Gold status for as long as you have the card (Diamond status when you spend $40,000 on the card in a calendar year, a weekend night reward when you spend $15,000 on the card in a calendar year, and more

While these cards are substitutes, I’d say in many ways they’re also complements. After all, who doesn’t want to receive as many free night certificates as possible?

Bottom line

The Hyatt Credit Card offers an excellent welcome bonus that a lot of people are eligible for. I’d actually argue it’s one of the all around most lucrative hotel card bonuses. The card is also worth holding onto long term, as it offers an anniversary free night certificate that for most should more than justify the annual fee, plus Discoverist status for as long as you have the card.

While this card offers one of the better rewards structures of any hotel credit card, it’s still not a card I’d generally use for everyday spend. That’s because you can earn Hyatt points more quickly and with more flexibility using cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points.

So if you don’t have this card I’d highly recommend getting it.

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  1. You should mention that you cannot use your club upgrades from Explorist status in conjunction the the Chase free nights granted by this card. Club upgrades can only be used on cash, cash + points, or just points. Not Chase free nights.

  2. As a current and long time card holder I don’t even need to read this article to tell you the current iteration of this card is garbage. Pretty much takes after WOH in general. Gary did a good job of hilighting the current problems at Hyatt the other day.

  3. @Evan- Garbage? I used sign up points and my free night for a 3 night stay at the PH Saigon last month. That’s $900 usd worth of value from the card sign up.

    Maybe it ain’t what it used to be, but what is? I’ll take ‘garbage’ lake that all day, everyday.

  4. While Evans comment is a little harsh as it relates to the card, I too canceled my card after the free night posted. After how they handled their gift card debacle to their WOH I have given up on Hyatt. I’ll stay there hear and there but I’m off the hamster wheel. They have become very consumer unfriendly and seem to be very market and business driven (implementing stupid stuff) and in their industry they need to set themselves apart in a good way and are failing to do so.

  5. The review forgot to mention that Discoverist status, obtained from holding the Hyatt credit card, matches to MLife Pearl status for MGM Hotels. MLife Pearl includes free parking at MGM Hotels in Las Vegas, and other benefits.

  6. Hyatt and it’s card may not be complete garbage, but I’m “recycling” the program and have thrown it in the wastebin until improvements are made. Voting with my time/money to Hilton and the new Marriott (SPG).

  7. We need a good promotion bonus rate. An extra 10k would be enough to make me bite, and be in line with their old 2 night rate (2x25k = 50k… worth while bonus).

    And, while we’re chatting, $50k in spend for just explorist is crap. That should definitely be Globalist.

  8. As a long-time card holder and Globalist, I have to totally concur …something I have even brought up to the SVP of WOH personally. Instead of capitalizing on a pending HUGE vacuum come 8/1 with SPG card, Hyatt is unfortunately CLEARLY missing the boat. They should be wooing SPG holders to migrate over with a higher end card as well as a business version.

    One can only hope something changes but I gave up hoping a long time ago within the industry.

  9. The only thing this card is still good for, if you already have it, is its annual free night, which I have used every year since I got it. On actual spending and everything else, the CSR made it obsolete.

  10. I got the card the last time you wrote about it and translated the welcome bonus + an ultimate rewards transfer into a category 6 stay in NYC that was worth it to me at the time. Thanks so much!

  11. I’ve had this card for several years and have really enjoyed the stays and have consistently been able to use the free night. But I must admit, most of the properties I’ve seen lately do not offer Cash + points. I think that’s a great way to reduce the cost of the trip and not deplete all your miles. Recently, several places that were consistently $75 + 6000 points are now only 12,000 points. I wish the firm would offer Cash + points across all properties.

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