Those who hanker for the Hyatt brand when making travel plans will find a lot to love about the World of Hyatt Credit Card. It's a top choice among hotel cards, offering a compelling suite of first-rate benefits: a big sign-up bonus, generous ongoing rewards, high-value points, automatic elite status, a free night certificate every anniversary year and a way to notch an additional free night with enough spending. The free night benefit alone could make up for the annual fee of $95.
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World of Hyatt Credit Card: Basics and benefits
Card type: Hotel.
Annual fee: $95.
Sign-up bonus: Earn 30,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. Plus, up to 30,000 More Bonus Points by earning 2 Bonus Points total per $1 spent in the first 6 months from account opening on purchases that normally earn 1 Bonus Point, on up to $15,000 spent.
4 bonus points per $1 spent with your card at Hyatt hotels, including participating restaurants and spas. Properties under the Hyatt umbrella include the Park Hyatt, Miraval, Andaz and Hyatt Place.(Video) Hotel Credit Cards Have the BEST BONUSES Right NOW
2 points per dollar spent on dining at restaurants, cafes and coffee shops; airline tickets purchased through the airline; fitness club and gym memberships; and local transit and commuting including rideshare services.
1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
NerdWallet values Hyatt points at 2.8 cents each. This is a baseline value, drawn from real-world data, not a maximized value. In other words, you should aim for award redemptions that offer 2.8 cents or more in value from your Hyatt points.
Points can be redeemed for hotel stays, room upgrades and certain purchases at participating Hyatt locations, such as fitness classes, spa therapy and dining. You can also transfer points to certain airline partners, but the unfavorable transfer ratios make this a low-value option.
Foreign transaction fee: None.
APR: The ongoing APR is 20.49%-27.49% Variable APR.
One free night each card anniversary year at a Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel or resort. (Categories range from 1 to 8.)
An additional free night at a Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel or resort after spending $15,000 in an anniversary year.(Video) TOP 3 HOTEL CREDIT CARDS YOU NEED | HOTEL TRIFECTA 2019
Automatic elite status: Your card grants you Discoverist status, which includes expedited check-in, room upgrades and late checkout when available. Plus, it allows you to reach the next elite status tier, Explorist, through card spending.
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Where World of Hyatt Credit Card shines
Free nights aplenty
Let's start with the card's valuable sign-up bonus: Earn 30,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. Plus, up to 30,000 More Bonus Points by earning 2 Bonus Points total per $1 spent in the first 6 months from account opening on purchases that normally earn 1 Bonus Point, on up to $15,000 spent.
Depending on how you choose to carve up that points cache, you could be looking at as many as 17 free nights at a Category 1 hotel of your choosing, or living the high life with a one-night stay at a swanky Category 8 property. And that's on top of the free annual night that comes with the World of Hyatt Credit Card. Spend $15,000 in an anniversary year, and you can earn a second free night.
»MORE: Top hotel credit cards that offer free anniversary nights
Rich ongoing rewards
World of Hyatt Credit Card will earn you 4 points per dollar spent at Hyatt properties. Those points from the card come on top of the 5 points per dollar you earn from the hotel just by being a World of Hyatt member. That adds up to 9 points per dollar spent on Hyatt hotels and resorts, including participating restaurants and spas.
You'll also earn bonus rewards in everyday spending categories, including commuting, dining out and working out. And points are worth a lot more than the standard 1 cent each. Many current hotel programs offer substantially less than a penny of value per point.
Automatic elite status
World of Hyatt Credit Card gives you automatic Discoverist status, which offers:
A 10% bonus on points earned on eligible room rates and incidental charges.
An upgrade to a preferred room based on availability.
Late 2 p.m. checkout, when available.
Waived resort fees on free night awards.
These perks could make your next stay a lot more pleasant. Without the World of Hyatt Credit Card, you'd need to earn 25,000 base points or stay 10 qualifying nights each calendar year to reach Discoverist status.
A path to higher elite status
World of Hyatt Credit Card also gives you an accelerated path to the next level of elite status, Explorist status, which comes with even swankier perks like a 20% bonus points on eligible spending and two club-level passes to fill up on complimentary continental breakfast and evening hors d’oeuvres.
In order to be eligible for Explorist status, you'll need to have 30 qualifying nights. But ownership of the World of Hyatt Credit Card gives you credit for five nights, and you'll earn credit for two additional nights every time you spend $5,000 on the card. This means big spenders could potentially reach Explorist status quickly through spending alone. With other hotel cards, reaching a higher elite status through card spending often isn't an option.
World of Hyatt Credit Card: Pitfalls and other possibilities
Somewhat complex rewards categories
World of Hyatt Credit Card rewards you handsomely for Hyatt stays, but you may find its other reward tiers difficult to keep track of or take advantage of. For example, you get 2 points back for airline tickets, but only if purchased directly through the airline. And if you don't normally work out at the gym, the 2 points back on fitness club and gym memberships may not do much for you.
You might fare better with a general travel card that earns a flat rate back on everything and lets you use your rewards for multiple forms of travel. For example, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card earns 2 miles per $1 spent, and you can redeem rewards for any hotel or flight you'd like.
Visit NerdWallet's roundup of top credit cards to find out whether this is the best credit card to apply for based on your goals and priorities.
Worldwide, but not everywhere
Although Hyatt is a relatively large hotel chain, that doesn't mean there's one where you want to go — and if your travel inclinations take you somewhere that a Hyatt isn't, it doesn't matter how many free nights you have saved up. Some locations don't have any Hyatt-owned spots; others have only a handful that may not be near your destination.
If a hotel chain that's virtually ubiquitous is more valuable to you than any other attribute, consider the $95-annual-fee Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card, which comes with a free night award every year after your account anniversary. While Hyatt has over 900 properties, Marriott has over 7,000.
Should you get the World of Hyatt Credit Card?
World of Hyatt Credit Card is ideal for someone who stays within the brand at least a few times a year and wants perks and hotel status served up alongside their stay. The annual free night certificate alone can easily outstrip the cost of the card's annual fee, and if you’re the sort who puts a lot of spending on your card, you’ll be raking in those plush elite status perks in no time.