Hyatt Credit Card changing: better or worse?


As you may have heard yesterday, the sign up bonus on the Hyatt Credit Card is set to change. Beginning a week from today (June 29, 2017), the sign up bonus will change from the long-standard two free nights after $2,000 spend in the first three months to 40,000 Hyatt points (presumably after the same amount of spend).

The Change

Current sign-up bonus: 2 free nights at any Hyatt hotel in the world after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months

New Sign-up bonus begins June 29, 2017: 40,000 Hyatt points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months

Which is better?

On the face of it, the change seems like a decrease — and indeed it is for those who intend to stay at top-tier properties. Category 6 and 7 Hyatts run 25,000 or 30,000 points per night, meaning that the current “two free nights” could get you a room worth the equivalent of as much as 60,000 points. If you had your heart set on the Park Hyatt Maldives or Tokyo or the Andaz 5th Ave, the new bonus is a bummer (and perhaps a reason to apply now while you can still get 2 free nights anywhere).

However, there are three groups of people who might find the new bonus to be a better deal.

Group 1: Those without status

If you have no Hyatt status, you might come out better with the points in several scenarios.

First, if you have a friend who is a Globalist member, you can transfer your points to that friend and have him or her book a room for you via Hyatt’s Guest-of-Honor program – meaning that you can enjoy his or her Globalist benefits on your stay. Hyatt allows free transfers between members, though note that you can only send or receive points once per 30-day period. Things like lounge access or free breakfast for two or free parking can really add up. I recently stayed at the Andaz 5th Ave in New York. My stay was far from stellar, but the savings on two nights of parking is substantial (standard-size car overnight parking is $67 a night). Of course, with the new signup bonus you wouldn’t have enough points for two nights at the Andaz New York — but there are plenty of Category 5 hotels where free parking would be a valuable benefit and 40K can buy you two nights. Add in lounge access or free breakfast at the right hotels and points could be much more valuable than nights (which can’t be transferred for Guest-of-Honor stays).

Further, points can be used to buy at least some of the benefits of status. For example, you can book a club level room or a suite with points. I stayed at the Hyatt Regency Saipan in 2015, where a standard room costs 8,000 points a night. A club-level room was 12,000 points per night. Club-level rooms there often go for north of $400 a night before tax. If you’re not a Hyatt Elite member, you can still get the benefits of status (club access) for 3 nights with the new offer.

Furthermore, you might be able to book a suite for a reasonable rate as well. See the chart below for the number of points you’d need. As you can see, the 40K sign up bonus would get you multiple nights in a suite up to Category 3.

Not even Hyatt Globalists can confirm a suite on the 2 free night sign up bonus from the credit card — so being able to use points might be more valuable if you need a room with more space.

Group 2: People who prefer more nights at simpler hotels

Those who prefer multiple nights at lower-level hotels will make out much better. I’ve mentioned in the past that the Hyatt Place Poughkeepsie is a good value as a Category 1. I just booked a weekend there this summer. It’s definitely not our favorite Hyatt, but it’s close enough to the Culinary Institute of America, and we enjoy a meal there now and then. Cash rates for the weekend I booked were higher than normal:

Note that advance purchase is cheaper, but nonrefundable. All-points reservations, like the Member Discount rate, can be cancelled up to 24 hours in advance.

We normally go for just a night and have dinner. At 5,000 points a night, we could get a number of weekend getaways out of the 40K sign up bonus.

That’s an outsized example — most Category 1 hotels are probably more like $100-$150 a night, but Hyatt House and Hyatt Place locations all include free breakfast and typically include a room with a sofa (and a kitchenette in the case of Hyatt House). Not bad for a family.

Group 3: Hyatt Globalists

This one might seem counter-intuitive. Globalists get free breakfast and lounge access — why would they prefer the points over the 2 free nights?  Suite upgrades. One of the benefits of the new World of Hyatt program is that Globalist Tier Upgrade Awards (suite upgrades) can be applied to pure award stays (100% points). However, they can not be applied to free night stays (such as with the 2 free nights from the Hyatt Credit Card). With four suite upgrades to use per year, Globalists may prefer to have the points so they can use them for a stay with a suite upgrade award attached.

So which is better?

In the end, which sign up bonus is better really just depends on how you intend to use it. Two free nights at any property in the world certainly has its appeal and could be incredibly valuable — other folks may find one of the arguments above more compelling. Either way, it’s nice that we know in advance so you can plan accordingly. Again, the bonus will change on June 29th. If you’re interested in the nights, you’ll want to sign up before then.

For more information on this card and all of the best current offers, see our Best Offers page.

Points or nights? What’s your preference? Let us know which bonus appeals to you.

H/T: View from the Wing

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