Chapter 1: Earning Hyatt Rewards Points
Earning Hyatt Points via Credit Cards
Hyatt is married to Chase. The only transfer option is from Chase Ultimate Rewards Points, and the Hyatt credit card is a Chase card. Thus these are the credit cards that can get you Hyatt points or free nights:
Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to Hyatt
I generally don’t transfer points from Chase to Hyatt since there are a ton of great uses of Chase UR points, including my favorite United Miles. Still, there are great redemptions and I have transferred points a number of times.
Also, let me take a second to explain Chase transfers.
How to Transfer
When you log into Chase.com you can select Ultimate Rewards Points, and from there you can select to “Transfer to Travel Partners”. When you select Hyatt you can transfer in 1,000 point chunks.
The thing to note here is that only the two Chase cards listed above, the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Ink Plus (and Bold) transfer to airlines and hotels. However, you can still earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points via other cards like the Chase Freedom card, and then combine them with your Sapphire Preferred to transfer.
In a way there are a number of cards that you could spend on for a potential transfer to Hyatt. Any Chase card that earns Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred to Hyatt via a middleman of the CSP or Ink Plus.
These only transfer points that can be redeemed via Hyatt’s reward chart. Once points are transferred from Chase to Hyatt, they are in the world of Hyatt and there are no refunds. And because they are now Hyatt points, it doesn’t matter what you do with your card. If you cancel the card after points are in your Hyatt account, the points are not taken back. At that point they have no relationship to Chase.
Hyatt’s Own Cards
The sign up bonus for the Hyatt card has long been “2 free nights” at any Hyatt hotel. This is a great bonus considering some of the incredible properties that Hyatt has out there. The Park Hyatt Sydney or the Park Hyatt Paris can easily be over $1,000 a night for a standard room.
The 2 free nights (after meeting the minimum spend requirement) post right to your Hyatt account and don’t expire for a year. You can use them online by logging into Hyatt and clicking “My Account”.
Understand that any “free night” has to have award availability for a standard room (which can also be searched for online).
Annual free night
There is also a bonus every year you have the card for a free night at any category 4 hotel. There are 7 categories for Hyatt Rewards, and most of the hotels are in the first 4 categories. So obviously there are some really nice category 4 hotels out there.
This year we used our cat 4 cert for the Grand Hyatt Muscat, which was going for over $400 a night when we were there. Previously we’ve used a category 4 cert for the Park Hyatt Hamburg which is on the Travel & Leisure Top 500 Hotels list. Both were great hotels.
The annual fee is $75 a year and is waived for the first year. So many people think of the category 4 cert given as an annual bonus as costing $75. Although, we did end up canceling our card this year after the 12 month mark, but were lucky enough to have already received the annual free night.
Earn points from spending
While the sign up bonus and annual bonus are free nights, the card still earns Hyatt points on regular spending. Here are the earnings from regular spending:
Luckily the card waives foreign transaction fees, so it’s a decent choice for paying for Hyatt hotels (if that’s something you do). But for the most part you’re really just earning 1 point per dollar spent. It doesn’t make it the highest earning card or the best daily spender. In fact, there are similar cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards Points faster. And since UR transfers are 1:1 it rarely makes sense to actually use your Hyatt card instead of the best Chase UR card you have.
Earning Hyatt Points via Paid Stays
Despite earning Hyatt points from paid stays being obvious, it’s kind of my backup strategy. Hyatt isn’t the best in terms of earning points from stays, but they have a solid enough rewards program that it could be right for you.
Hyatt starts you out earning 5 points per dollar. Which isn’t a lot… A $100 stay would earn you 500 points. Unfortunately status doesn’t give you much of a boost either.
The Hyatt credit card does come with Platinum status, which bumps your earnings from 5 points per dollar on stays, to 5.75 points per dollar. Or with Diamond status, that would be 6.5 points per dollar. Not a big lift, especially considering that Club Carlson starts you out earning 20 points per dollar, and IHG 10 points per dollar.
But doing the math with just the credit card which gets you 3 points per dollar at Hyatt hotels and Platinum status (from the credit card), that’s 8.75 points per dollar when you pay for your stay with the Hyatt card. On a $100 stay that’s 875 points. At that rate it would take $572 of Hyatt spends to get enough points for a category 1 and $3,429 of Hyatt spends to get a free night at a category 7 hotel.
At first glance you’re way better off joining another program for your paid stays or using points.
Years ago Hyatt had some of the most generous promotions giving away free nights after a couple of stays, but in the last four years the promotions have consistently been middle of the road. During no quarter have I thought to myself, “Hyatt currently has the most lucrative promotions”. They haven’t been worthy of chasing, but more something you should enroll in if you already have paid stays coming up.
Lately, the promotions have been favoring high numbers of paid nights, generally earning 2,000 points per night. Again, not great. However, it’s always worth signing up. If you’re enrolled for emails you won’t be able to help it but to know about each of their quarterly promotions.
Other tricks for earning
A couple other things to mention that could make a stay a little more rewarding…
Check for hotel specific promos
First is just the fact that Hyatt lists a large numbers of hotels with promotional rates to earn more points. A lot of them are double points, and often at good rates. Doesn’t hurt to just check the rates here.
Diamond member club lounge guarantee
Oddly enough, one of the ways to earn the most points is the old club lounge guarantee. If you are a Diamond member, you are guaranteed club lounge access, for properties that have a club lounge. However, many lounges are closed on the weekend or temporarily under renovation. In these cases Diamond members can receive 2,500 points per stay and breakfast in the restaurant daily. Check out the list of club lounges temporarily closed here.
Buying points is hardly ever worth it to me, but especially in the case of Hyatt. They typically sell points for 2.4 cents a point, which is more than the value is ever worth to me. However, there are sometimes bonuses to get something like 40% more points when buying. Still not worth it to me. Although, some have been able to get points cheaper through random third party sales like Daily Getaways. Personally, I’ve never bought Hyatt points, and based on previous sales, I doubt I ever will.
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