Should You Get The Hyatt Or IHG Credit Card?

Filed Under: Chase, Credit Card Comparisons
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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 Club Premier Credit Card (review). In many ways these cards are comparable — they’re both Chase cards, they have similar annual fees, and they have (sort of) similar benefits.

Hyatt vs. IHG credit cards: which is better?

In this post, I wanted to compare the two best cards issued by Hyatt and IHG. If you’re someone who is considering one of these cards, but can’t get both (due to 5/24, or whatever other reason), which is a better option?

Let’s compare the annual fees, welcome bonuses, eligibility, perks, and return on spending.

Comparing welcome bonuses

Both cards offer excellent welcome bonuses, with the IHG Card offering a best-ever welcome bonus at the moment:

  • The World of Hyatt Card offers a welcome bonus of up to 60,000 World of Hyatt points — 30,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from your account opening. Plus, 1 additional Bonus Point per dollar on purchases that earn 1 point per dollar on up to $15,000 spent in the first 6 months of account opening for an additional 30,000 points. I value World of Hyatt points at 1.5 cents each, so to me the 60,000 points are worth $900
  • The IHG Rewards Club Premier Card offers a welcome bonus of 125,000 bonus points plus a Reward Night after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening; I value IHG Rewards Club points at 0.5 cents each, so to me the 125,000 points plus the value of up to 40,000 points in the free night award are worth $825

Winner: Assuming you value points similarly to how I do, the Hyatt Card has a marginally better welcome bonus, though also has a significantly higher spending requirement.

Redeem Hyatt points at the Hyatt Regency Bali

Comparing annual fees

Both cards have roughly comparable annual fees after the first year:

Winner: A toss-up. You’re looking at a $6 difference, so that shouldn’t be a deciding factor here.

Comparing eligibility

While both cards are subjected to the general Chase rules on new card applications, there is another important distinction when it comes to eligibility:

Winner: Both cards are subjected to 5/24, though with the IHG Card you have the advantage of being eligible even if you have the older or other version of the card, which isn’t true with the Hyatt Card.

Comparing perks

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 a free night certificate, status, and more:

  • An anniversary free night certificate valid at a Category 1-4 property on your account anniversary every year
  • An additional anniversary free night certificate valid at a Category 1-4 property when you spend $15,000 on the card in an account anniversary year
  • Five elite qualifying nights towards status annually
  • 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 Rewards Club Premier Card offers a variety of perks, including discounted award redemptions, a free night annually, status, and more:

  • An anniversary free night certificate on your account anniversary every year, valid at any property that retails for up to 40,000 IHG Rewards Club points per night
  • 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 Rewards Club points
  • IHG Rewards Club Platinum status for as long as you have the card
  • A TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry fee credit 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.

Redeem your IHG free night certificate at the Crowne Plaza Changi

Comparing return on spending

While I don’t rank either of these as being the top cards for everyday spending, there is a significant 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
  • The IHG Rewards Club Premier Card offers 10x points for spending at IHG properties, and 2x points on gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants

It’s important to keep in mind the difference in the value of the points, as I value World of Hyatt points at 1.5 cents each, and 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 1% return in select categories, and a 0.5% return on everyday spending

But with Hyatt there’s a further benefit to spending:

  • Spending $15,000 gets you a second free night certificate
  • You earn two elite nights for every $5,000 spent

Therefore I personally 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.

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.

Hyatt Globalist status can get you perks like suite upgrades and free breakfast

Bottom line

Personally, I think both of these cards are worth having since I think for anyone who travels with some frequency, the anniversary free night certificates alone will 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.

That being said, I do think the Hyatt Card is probably a bit more compelling all around. The card has a more valuable welcome bonus, offers better incentives for spending, and can help you earn my favorite top-tier hotel status. The catch is that Hyatt’s global footprint is relatively small (though constantly improving), especially in comparison to IHG.

Getting an annual free night certificate, IHG Platinum status, and fourth-night free award redemptions for the IHG Card can be super valuable as well.

To summarize, if I could only have one card, I’d probably choose Hyatt’s, but I do think both are worthwhile (and I have both of them, and they’re part of my overall Chase card strategy).

To those who have either card (or both), which do you find to be more valuable?

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  1. It really comes down to how you plan to use the cards. If you plan to spend on the card and have any interest in Explorist or Globalist, the Hyatt is a pretty clear winner and can provide significant long term value. If you simply want a free night for a low annual fee on a sock drawer card, the IHG Platinum and Pre Check/reentry credit win the day. Discoverist won’t provide much of anything to occasional Hyatt travelers.

  2. So, if it’s been more than 24 mos. since we received the sign-up bonus, should we cancel the card and reapply to get a new signup bonus?

  3. It depends if the night in a Hyatt or IHG equals the annual fee or above. It is not recommended to use these cards for everyday spend or for collecting more points than you need. As most of us know credit card points are more flexible. One big drawback of IHG is that you still have to pay the service fees, taxes, and other fees when you redeem points and compared to Marriott and other brands that include ALL of the charges for the room when you use points unless otherwise stated when making the reservation (e.g. points and money combined which is usually a bad deal).

  4. Where is it in writing on Chase’s website about ten elite nights if applied by 12-31? I cannot find that language anywhere. It still just says 5 elite nights.

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