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 after the first year:
- The World of Hyatt Card has a $95 annual fee
- The IHG Rewards Club Premier Card has an $89 annual fee
Winner: A toss-up. You’re looking at a $6 difference, so that shouldn’t be a deciding factor here.
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 or the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card (review)
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.
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 (if you apply by December 31, 2020, you’ll receive 10 elite nights towards status for both 2020 and 2021)
- 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
- 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
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?