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 50,000 World of Hyatt points — earn 25,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 within the first three months, plus another 25,000 bonus points after spending a total of $6,000 within the first six months; I value World of Hyatt points at 1.5 cents each, so to me the 50,000 points are worth $750
  • The IHG Rewards Club Premier Card offers a welcome bonus of 140,000 IHG Rewards Club points after spending $3,000 within the first three months; I value IHG Rewards Club points at 0.5 cents each, so to me the 140,000 points are worth $700

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


Redeem Hyatt points at the Hyatt Regency Bali

Comparing annual fees

Both cards have roughly comparable annual fees:

Winner: The IHG Card wins, with the waived annual fee the first year. After that, 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:

  • The World of Hyatt Card is available to those who don’t currently have any Hyatt Card, and those who haven’t received the welcome bonus on any Hyatt Card (including the old version of this card) in the past 24 months
  • The IHG Rewards Club Premier Card is available to those who don’t currently have this card, and haven’t received a new cardmember bonus on this card in the past 24 months; however, you are eligible for this card (including the welcome bonus) if you have the old version of the IHG Card

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 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
  • A second 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.

More specifically, 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 quite small, 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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Comments
  1. What about the cell phone protection plan with IHG? You spend a $1000 on a phone its good to have coverage…

  2. I would argue that the return on spending for IHG purchased on the premier card is better than shown here. For IHG spend, you do get the 10 pts/dollar from the card. However, you also get 10 pts/dollar for being a base IHG member (though not at all brands), plus an additional 5 pts/dollar for being a platinum elite (from the card). Therefore, you earn 25 pts/dollar total for IHG spend with the card, which comes out to a 12.5% return assuming 1pt = 0.5 cents.

  3. @ Robin…Do you know what the requirements are for cell coverage to kick in? I know you need to pay the cell bill with the IHG card, but is it every bill since it was added to cell plan or the most recent paid with credit card when claim made?

  4. @Greg….But you get the additional 15 points regardless of the credit card you use. So, for example, if I use my CSR I earn 3 points per dollar and if you value Chase points at 2, that equates to a 6% return on my purchase, 1% more than the IHG card.

  5. @James…I agree, for the best overall percent return (IHG points + points from whatever card) you would want to put the spend on a different card. However, it’s hard to disentangle for this card, because I wouldn’t be a platinum elite without the card and wouldn’t earn those bonus points. It’s just my personal preference for co-branded cards to calculate the complete return amount with both base and bonus points since they all end up the same currency. If I use my CSR, I’m splitting between IHG points and UR points. I’m thinking it will be useful to consolidate IHG spend to take advantage of the 4th night free premier benefit on the more reasonably points priced IHG hotels.

  6. @Lucky — Why doesn’t Hyatt offer a premium Visa card, similar to the Hilton Amex Aspire? I have the current WOH Visa, but would love to see a premium Chase WOH card offering 3x points on restaurants/travel/etc., complimentary Explorist status, and a free night certificate good at any Category 1-7 hotel for a $495 annual fee.

  7. P.S. How is Winston doing? 🙂 He needs to have his own stories and pics on this site, kinda like a travelling gnome. Maybe a section called The Wild World of Winston.

  8. It also depends on where you travel. I’ve had both cards for a few years and I’ve been to something like 100 cities around the world. In my experience, there are far fewer Hyatt hotels worldwide — or even within different areas of the same city — than the multiple options usually offered by IHG. At this point, I just use the Hyatt card for the free night.

  9. I’d argue that this is a bit biased towards you having a Globalist status.

    If you are an average Joe not staying enough to earn status on either program aside from what the card gives you I think IHG has the edge here.

    Larger footprint means more opportunity to redeem points. But same argument can be said with Bonvoy too.
    The status, which I don’t think benefits vary that much, still gives you some edge. IHG would give you mid level status vs Hyatt will give you entry level (ignoring the received benefit).
    I personally say I have a better luck with IHG upgrades vs Hyatt upgrades (both from cards).

    If you can make it to a higher status on one of the brands, you should stick with one. But if you are just paying the AF for the free nights and isn’t loyal to any brand you could get any card with the best welcome bonus and the rest won’t matter that much.

  10. Also, The IHG status, even with zero spend, can be turned into Caesars status that has significant hard dollar value if you stay at any Caesars property.

  11. I have both; I like Hyatt properties better overall in the top to midrange and even economy brands; I like IHG for its ease in earning top premier status, accruing points and earning free nights.
    #1 pet peeve for Hyatt: Great difficulty obtaining a level of premier status that is meaningful; having and using the Card doesn’t help much, gives you elite membership 1 level above basic entry level that comes with simply joining.. Both Hilton and IHG offer cards that put you into top status which Offers Concrete perks that enhance ones stay. With IHG I’m at Spire Elite which is the top; the Aspire card places you at Platinum, one step below. I also purchased Ambassador status specific to Intercontinental Hotels as the perks pay for it.
    #1 Pet peeve with IHG: No status includes complimentary access to Executive Club as a perk, Or even complimentary breakfast. They do now give you $20-25 credit towards any incidentals including meals, but it’s not daily; it’s for the whole stay.
    I really like the Kimpton brand as they are totally dog friendly. I also like their 2 properties in Vegas, Venetian and Palazzo which are grouped with the Intercontinental brand. IntercoNtinental hotels can vary in quality from 5 star Service and amenities and old world elegance, to tired, outdated and 2nd rate or worse. Hyatt tends to keep the individual hotels at a basic standard more consistently.

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