The first part of the year in the points and miles world might as well be referred to as “Companion Pass Season” when you consider how many people are trying to earn the Southwest Companion Pass.

But, I’ve long found that there are other cards to consider where the application time impacts their value. One of those cards is The World of Hyatt Credit Card issued by Chase. Let’s take a look at this card in detail in order to understand the tremendous value offered during its first year being a cardmember to see if this card is a good fit for you.

In This Article

The World of Hyatt Credit Card Welcome Bonus

Currently, the World of Hyatt Credit Card has a tiered welcome bonus:

  • 25,000 points after spending $3,000 within 3 months of account opening
  • 25,000 points after spending $6,000 total within 6 months of account opening

Combining these two tiers, we can simplify the welcome bonus to 50,000 points after $6,000 in spend within the first 6 months of account opening, with at least $3,000 of that spend coming within the first 3 months of account opening.

Keep in mind that the Hyatt Card is issued by Chase, so it’s restricted by the 5/24 rule.

The Hyatt Card Benefits

Hyatt is an often overlooked credit card in the greater hotel credit card space, especially when compared to Marriott and Hilton since each offers multiple credit cards. Hyatt offers just one card – the World of Hyatt Credit Card – and it offers some great perks that can help it earn a place in your wallet.

The card benefits include:

  • 4X points per $1 on purchases at all Hyatt hotels.
  • 2X points per $1 spent on purchases at restaurants, on airline tickets purchased directly from the airline, local transit and commuting as well as fitness club and gym memberships.
  • Discoverist status in the World of Hyatt program for as long as you’re a cardholder.
  • 1 Free Night Certificate in a Category 1-4 Hyatt property after your cardmember anniversary.
  • 1 Free Night Certificate in a Category 1-4 Hyatt property after spending $15,000 in a cardmember year.
  • 5 qualifying night credits towards your next Hyatt elite status every year
  • 2 qualifying night credits towards your next Hyatt elite status for each time you spend $5,000 on your card.

Is the First Year the Hyatt Card Sweet Spot?

Looking at the benefits above, we can identify a number of perks that are unlocked and awarded at different spending thresholds during your cardmember year. A few of these stand out in particular to me, especially during the first year being a cardmember:

  • 1 Free Night Certificate in a Category 1-4 Hyatt property after spending $15,000 in a cardmember year.
  • 2 qualifying night credits towards your next Hyatt elite status for each time you spend $5,000 on your card.

The first one that really stands out is the 1 free night certificate you’ll earn after spending $15,000 in a single cardmember year.

Under normal circumstances, I’d argue that it’s not worth the opportunity cost of diverting $15,000 worth of spend (if you’re even able to spend that much in a single calendar year on a card) to the World of Hyatt Credit Card. Instead, you should use this spend to focus on cards that earn higher value transferable points or welcome bonuses.

By meeting the tiered minimum spend requirement for this card, this means that you’ve spent at least $6,000 (or potentially more) of the $15,000 requirement for the free night certificate. This means that it would take up to $9,000 of additional spending to earn the free night certificate.

Hyatt Place Augusta
Photo Credit: Hyatt Place Augusta

The other benefit that stands out to me as pointed out above, is the 2 qualifying night credits you will earn for each $5,000 you spend on the World of Hyatt Credit Card annually. And yes, this benefit overlaps with meeting the welcome bonus spend as well as the free night certificate for spending $15,000. So by meeting the $6,000 minimum spend for the welcome bonus, you’ll already have earned 2 additional qualifying night credits.

So if you are in fact able to spend $15,000 in a single calendar year, by doing so you would earn 6 additional qualifying night credits towards earning elite status with World of Hyatt in addition to the free night certificate.

Let’s also not forget that by simply being a World of Hyatt cardholder, you earn 5 qualifying night credits towards your next Hyatt elite status level for every year that you’re a cardholder.

So to total things up, by opening the World of Hyatt Credit Card, and meeting not only the minimum spend to earn the welcome bonus, but also spending $15,000 on the card during your first year of being a cardmember, you’d earn the following:

  • At least 65,000 World of Hyatt points – 50,000 from the welcome bonus plus an additional minimum of 15,000 points from 1 point per $1 spent on all non-bonus purchases (you’ll earn even more if you’re able to spend in some of the bonus categories that this card offers such as Hyatt properties (4x) or restaurants, on airline tickets purchased directly from the airline, local transit and commuting as well as fitness club and gym membership (2x)).
  • 11 qualifying night credits – 5 from simply being a cardmember, and 6 due to the $15,000 in spend on the card (you’ll earn 2 qualifying nights for each $5,000 of spend on the card)
  • 1 Free Night Certificate in a Category 1-4 Hyatt property

Even with the higher spend requirement, that’s not a bad return on investment. Especially when you can leverage that certificate to redeem at a Category 1-4 during a time with high cash prices, such as the Hyatt Place Augusta during the week of The Masters.

Normally rooms go for ~$100-$200 per night depending on when you are traveling, but during Masters week, rates skyrocket to over $1,040 per room per night!

Astonishing? Yes.

A unique circumstance? Yes.

A tremendous value for that additional $9,000 in spend? Arguably yes.

Screenshot 2020 01 02 16.05.54

Another item to consider is how the additional first year qualifying night credits gives you a boost to earning Milestone Rewards. Hyatt describes these as “completely separate from elite status, Milestone Rewards are available to everyone and are based on the number of nights you stay in a calendar year.”

The first Milestone is at 20 qualifying night credits, and you earn 2 Club Lounge Access Awards from this. What makes this valuable, is that Club Lounge Access Awards can be used to access a hotel’s club lounge for a stay of up to seven consecutive nights on both paid rates, free night awards, and Points+Cash bookings. (Note: free night certificate redemptions are not eligible). And you earn 2 of these at 20 qualifying night credits.

At 30 nights, you’ll hit another milestone that includes Explorist status, an additional Category 1-4 Free Night Certificate and 2 more Club Lounge Awards. At 50 nights, you’ll get 2 Suite Upgrade Awards. At 60 nights, you’ll earn Globalist status, a Category 1-7 Free Night Certificate and 2 Suite Upgrade Awards.

So, any additional spending to earn qualifying night credits will help you also earn these Milestone Rewards, but the boost and jumpstart in your first year with the first card to the first Milestone will be very rewarding.

Booking the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome with Points

What’s the Opportunity Cost of Spending on the Hyatt Card?

As mentioned earlier, not everyone can spend $15,000 on credit cards in a single year to begin with, or allocate $15,000 in spend towards a card. But if you can, it’s very much worth working through the opportunity cost of this to really see if this makes sense to do.

For our example, we’re looking solely at the first year, and the incremental difference of $9,000 between the welcome bonus and the category 1-4 free night certificate earned after  $15,000 of total spend.

First off, it’s important to analyze this spend as an opportunity cost. If you’re not a finance or economics whiz, the opportunity cost is simply “what is the price of the next best thing you could have earned had you not made your first choice?” In our scenario, it’s more or less “what am I forgoing by spending an additional $9,000 on the Hyatt card that could have earned me better elsewhere?”

If you’re working on a welcome bonus on virtually any other card, then you’ll likely get a higher return on investment by spending on that card vs. the additional $9,000 on the Hyatt card probably 99 out of 100 times. This means that the opportunity cost of the $9,000 of additional spend on the Hyatt card could easily be 2 or 3 welcome bonuses, since often times welcome bonus minimum spend requirements are in the $1,000 – $4,000 range and you’d be able to meet 2 or 3 of them with this level of spending.

There’s some interesting math to also look into to consider whether or not it’s worth diverting the incremental $9,000 worth of spend.

The first component to consider is that you’ll be earning the category 1-4 free night certificate, which is worth up to 15,000 World of Hyatt points since Category 4 Hyatt properties require 15,000 points for an award night.

With the $9,000 in incremental spend needed for this, not only do you earn the certificate worth up to 15,000 World of Hyatt points, but you also earn at least 9,000 World of Hyatt points from that spending, assuming that it’s all non-bonus category spend that earns 1 point per $1.

This totals up to the equivalent of 24,000 World of Hyatt points earned after spending $9,000, giving you a return of approximately 2.67 World of Hyatt per $1 of spend. This translates into an excellent return on your spending, and would get exponentially better if you were able to put some of that $9,000 of spend into Hyatt bonus category spend of 4x.

Why Now Is the Best Time for the Hyatt Card

If you’re on the fence as to whether or not you can or even want to meet the $15,000 spend during the first year, by opening it early in the year as I’m recommending to do now, you’ll have the maximum amount of time to potentially meet this threshold throughout the year. Who knows, come November you might just find yourself $1,000 away from meeting it and decide that it’s worth it!

Final Thoughts on the Hyatt Card

Hopefully, this article serves as a good exercise for really analyzing the particular benefits of credit cards in order to determine how you can extract maximum value out of these benefits.

For the majority of you, spending an extra $9,000 on the Hyatt card just doesn’t make sense. Maybe you don’t have a heavy amount of annual spend on credit cards, so you’d rather put that $9,000 towards welcome bonuses on other cards.

Maybe you’re flush with Chase Ultimate Rewards points and would rather transfer points from Ultimate Rewards to World of Hyatt for Category 1-4 award bookings rather than spend your way to another certificate. Or maybe you don’t care about World of Hyatt elite status, so the extra 6 qualifying night credits don’t do you any good.

But for some of you, the first year of being a Hyatt cardmember will offer a great opportunity to extract tremendous value from the card. Maybe you’re a business or personal road warrior who spends close to 50 nights per year at Hyatt properties.

If so, using the Hyatt card for spending (especially Hyatt spend), could be a great opportunity to help you not only earn additional points, but also to cross that threshold to earn top-rated Globalist status that may have been just out of reach before.