Rewards credit cards come with various packages and offer a realm of different perks and bonuses. Whether cash back or travel rewards, the best deal depends primarily on your specific needs and spending habits. Once you figure out which cards can most benefit your situation, you have a better chance of coming out ahead in the credit card game.
Credit card rewards are often cash back, credit toward flights, or gasoline discounts. However, you may find that a card that rewards you with hotel accommodations and perks, such as the Chase Hyatt Card, may best suit you.
- Sign-up Bonus. As a new cardholder, you receive at least two free nights. If you are Platinum or Diamond member in the Hyatt Gold Passport program at the time of application, you will receive two free nights and two free upgrades as a Platinum member, or two free nights in a suite as a Diamond member. These free stays are awarded after spending $1,000 with the card within the first three months of account opening, and are valid for a year.
- Fees. The Chase Hyatt card has an annual membership fee of $75, and balance transfers cost 3% or $5, whichever is greater. There are no foreign transaction fees or over-limit fees.
- APR. The APR on balance transfers and purchases is 15.24%, which may vary with the market based on the prime rate, and is dependent upon your credit rating. In order to qualify for the Hyatt card, you need a credit score greater than 700, or in the “excellent” range. The lowest APR is reserved for those with perfect credit scores. If your score falls below 700, you may not be approved for this card.
- Points to Spend on Hyatt Properties. You earn three Hyatt Gold Passport points per dollar spent at all Hyatt properties, two points per dollar spent at restaurants, on airline tickets purchased from the airline, and car rental agencies, and one point per dollar spent everywhere else. There are six category properties with Hyatt, with Category 1 being the most standard and Category 6 the most luxurious. The amount of points needed to redeem for each category varies. For example, a standard room at a Category 1 property requires 5,000 points, and a Regency/Grand Club room in the same category is 7,000 points (per room, per night). On the other hand, free nights at Category 6 properties (which are not available for the Anniversary Bonus) are 22,000 points for a standard room and 27,000 points for a Regency/Grand Club room. Suites range from 8,000 to 33,000 points per night, and studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom condos require 12,000 to 30,000 points per night.
- Hyatt Gold Passport Membership. With the Hyatt card, you become a member at one of three levels (Member, Platinum, or Diamond) in the Hyatt Gold Passport Program. Each level has different requirements based on the number of eligible stays in Hyatt Hotels and the number of nights. As a Chase Hyatt credit card member, you automatically gain Platinum membership for as long as you are a cardholder in good standing, or until you earn points to reach the Diamond level. Authorized users do not qualify for Platinum status or the benefits associated with being a Platinum member.
- Platinum Member Benefits. As a Platinum member, you receive a 15% point bonus on eligible spending, plus complimentary in-room Internet, upgrades to preferred rooms, and a dedicated check-in area.
- Diamond Member Benefits. Diamond status requires 25 eligible stays or 50 eligible nights within a calendar year. Upon reaching Diamond status, you are eligible for a 30% point bonus on eligible spending, plus complimentary breakfasts and exclusive access to Regency Club and Grand Club lounges. If you are already a Diamond Member through the Hyatt program or another related program when you apply to become a cardmember, you will be considered a Diamond Member and will become eligible for the Diamond Member sign-up bonus. As a Diamond status member, you receive two stay credits and five night credits toward Diamond status each year you spend at least $20,000 on the card. If you spend $40,000 within a calendar year, you will receive three stay credits and five night credits toward Diamond status.
- Anniversary Bonus. On your card anniversary date, you receive one free night each year, at any Category 1 through 4 property (which are available in many states and countries).
- Smart Chip Technology. Smart chip technology is also included, which allows you to use the card for chip-based purchases in Europe and other locations. This chip is embedded into the card and usually requires either a PIN number or signature instead of just simply swiping the card, and provides added security against fraudulent use and credit card hackers. In fact, many hotels and restaurants in Europe no longer accept simple swipe credit cards.
- Travel Benefits and Insurance. The Chase Hyatt credit card includes trip cancellation insurance. If your trip is cancelled or interrupted due to death or illness (or another covered reason), you will be reimbursed up to $5,000 in fees for tickets purchased with the Hyatt credit card – even if the seller does not issue reimbursement. Additionally, if your trip is delayed, you will receive up to $300 for covered expenses with travel delay reimbursement, as well as travel insurance of up to $500,000 for common carrier (train, plane, bus, or ship), accidental death, or dismemberment.
- Lost Luggage Reimbursement. If your checked or carry-on luggage is lost or damaged, you will be reimbursed up to $3,000.
- Baggage Delay. Receive up to $100 per day for five days to spend on essentials if your bags are delayed 18 hours or longer.
- Two Free Nights Bonus. You receive at least two free nights at a Hyatt property just for spending $1,000 within three months of opening the account.
- Earn, Pay, or Give Points. You are given a number of options with membership points. You may choose to purchase points, or give them to family and friends through Hyatt Gold Passport. Points can be purchased and given in increments of 1,000 up to 40,000 per year (individuals can receive no more than 40,000 points per year). Points may be purchased or given via the Hyatt Gold Passport web site – 1,000 points plus a 100 point bonus can be purchased for as little as $24, or 23,000 points plus a 4,600 point bonus can be had for $552.
- Anniversary Award. Even if you don’t rack up a ton of points or make large purchases with your card, you will receive a free night each year on the date that you became a cardholder. This award should be considered if you are debating whether the card will provide enough of a return to justify the annual fee of $75.
- Easily Redeem Free Nights. There are no blackout dates or resort fees on free nights earned through the rewards program.
- No Foreign Transaction Fee. While a handful of travel cards charge foreign transaction fees, the Chase Hyatt card does not. This saves anywhere from 1% to 3% on any purchases made when you travel outside of the United States.
- No Introductory APR. This card offers no introductory APR on purchases or balance transfers.
- Annual Fee. The annual card fee is $75 per year, which when compared to other cards that provide similar benefits is standard, but still a disadvantage. If you don’t use the yearly anniversary free night or earn enough from the rewards, you will not be able to offset the annual fee. Chase’s own Marriott Rewards Premier Visa Signature Card currently offers 50,000 bonus points, which is enough for six free nights at a Category 1 hotel, and waives the annual fee for the first year. The American Express Hilton HHonors offers 40,000 bonus points with no annual fee, and hotel stays start as low as 5,000 points, which could result in as many as eight free nights.
- Penalty APR. There is a penalty APR of 29.99% on most of the Chase credit cards. This fee is applied in addition to any late fees or over-limit fees, and can be affected by other Chase accounts or loans. In other words, if you make a late payment on your Chase loan (or any other Chase credit card), you could be charged the penalty APR of 29.99% on your Chase Hyatt credit card. The penalty APR affects the credit card indefinitely, making it even more important to just pay the balance off each month. According to the CARD Act of 2009, the card issuer must restore the lower APR to the existing balance after you have made six months of payments on time and as agreed, but this does not prevent application of the default APR on future purchases. While most Chase cards carry this penalty APR, there are rewards cards that do not, such as the Discover It and the American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card.
- High APR. There is no introductory APR, and while 15.24% and higher interest rates are standard with rewards and miles credit cards, if you carry a balance, you will not be able to maximize the rewards opportunities. If you know you will not be able to pay off your balance in full most of the time, you should consider a credit card with lower fees and interest rates, and just skip the rewards altogether.
The Chase Hyatt card is great if you are a diehard fan of Hyatt Hotels. However, many other hotel cards not only offer better sign-up bonuses, but also waive annual fees the first year or provide more points or awards per dollar spent. For example, the American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Card provides a 25,000 point signup bonus, where weekend nights start as low as 2,000 points and weekday nights start at 3,000. Additionally, the annual fee of $65 is waived the first year.
If you are fine with free night stays in lower category properties, you can earn many more with other hotel cards than just the two free nights that Chase Hyatt offers. The Chase Hyatt credit card offer will not be beneficial to you if you aren’t able to use the two free nights within a year.
The Chase Hyatt Card is a great hotel card if you frequent Hyatt properties or would like to but otherwise cannot afford to.
3.8 stars out of 5: Great bonus if you plan on staying at Hyatt properties. However, for the annual fee there are credit cards with other hotel properties that provide better sign-up bonuses and rewards.
Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.