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Snorkeling and paddleboarding among the unique creatures of the Galapagos. Snowshoeing through Antarctica. Sailing past Norway’s towering fjords. Those are all experiences you can take via a trip with Lindblad Expeditions — which you can pay for using World of Hyatt points.
Or, if you’re paying for one of those expeditions in cash (and yes, they’re pretty pricey), you can earn World of Hyatt points — which will likely be enough to subsidize your next hotel stay. Additionally, you can use your trip to fast track your way to .
This is thanks to a partnership made in 2019 between World of Hyatt and Lindblad Expeditions, an adventure travel company specializing in high-end cruises and land expeditions.
Lindblad, which has been around for more than 50 years, sends guests with a penchant for adventure (and a pretty penny in their pocket) out on expeditions to remote — and often extreme — locations, typically out on ships of fewer than 150 passengers alongside staffed scientists, researchers, explorers and photographers.
Destinations include the Amazon rainforest, the Tuamotu Archipelago in the South Pacific, Patagonia and the far east side of Russia by way of the Bering Sea.
For every eligible $1 spent with Lindblad, you’ll earn 5 World of Hyatt base points. Given the lowest-cost itineraries start at about $3,000 per person and the most expensive itineraries easily exceed $30,000 (and sometimes even $40,000), the expense is an easy way to rack up a pile of points, simply for entering your World of Hyatt membership number when booking your excursion.
If you opted for a $20,000 expedition, you’d earn 100,000 World of Hyatt points. Given that at , you’re looking at almost $2,000 back in the form of World of Hyatt points for your trip.
The World of Hyatt program has a , with room costs ranging from 5,000 to 40,000 points. In that $20,000 excursion example, you could net as many as 20 Hyatt hotel nights.
It gets even better if you pay with a , which earns an additional 4 bonus points per $1 spent on eligible Lindblad Expeditions. So in that $20,000 excursion example, you’re now looking at 180,000 Hyatt points, which are worth nearly $3,500 by our estimates — enough to book 36 nights at the lowest-tier Hyatt properties.
Sure, that’s a lot of money required to earn those points, but if you’re shelling out your vacation savings on a Lindblad Expedition anyway, you may as well also gain oodles of Hyatt points from it.
The points are swell, but your benefits don’t stop there. You’ll receive a $250 on-board credit per reservation, which can be used for any of the “Aboard Ship” charges. Those include add-ons like spa treatments, scuba diving, laundry, internet and items from the gift shop.
Go on a Lindblad Excursion with a linked World of Hyatt account, and you’ll more than likely earn Hyatt elite status off that trip alone. That’s because members earn one tier-qualifying night credit for every night you stay on an eligible Lindblad Expedition.
Here’s how many tier-qualifying nights you typically need to reach each tier of Hyatt elite status:
Given that most Lindblad itineraries are at least a week long — and some span multiple weeks — you could potentially attain Discoverist from this single journey. If you already have some nights logged this year, a longer trip could push you into the Explorist level as well.
Pair that with a , which grants you five qualifying night credits toward your next tier status every year to get even closer to the next status level.
Just be patient when it comes to earning status. While you may think of yourself as an explorer, you won’t necessarily head home from the expedition an Explorist. Hyatt says to allow up to 15 business days after your qualifying activity for points and tier-qualifying nights to be credited to your account.
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If you have a glacier-sized mountain of points, you can also use them to pay for Lindblad Expedition trips. And we mean it when we say you need a lot of points, as you cannot pay with a combination of points and cash.
But let's say you do have enough Hyatt points to redeem for a Lindblad trip. Should you?
The cons: You won’t earn any points when redeeming points, so you can kiss those dreams of earning a fat stack of Hyatt points goodbye.
Also, while not the worst redemption, it typically isn't the most valuable use of your points (especially relative to redeeming points for Hyatt hotels).
Here are some sample itineraries, and their cash prices versus points. The third column shows our estimate of how much those are worth, based on our summer 2021 estimation that Hyatt points are worth each.
The pros: If the expedition typically charges a resort fee or taxes, both are waived when you redeem World of Hyatt points, unless prohibited by law. Fees vary by trip, so calculate those when doing the final tally of whether to book on points versus cash.
If you’re a frugal traveler looking for a budget vacation, then run for the fjords. Redeeming Hyatt points for a Lindblad Expedition is probably not going to be for you.
But if you’re eyeing a once-in-a-lifetime type bucket list trip, then look to Lindblad. By adding your World of Hyatt membership to your booking, your trip will net you anywhere from a few days to potentially a month of free hotel stays, plus it’ll likely earn you automatic Hyatt elite status. So even if your vacation budget feels like it’s been depleted from your Lindblad booking, you’ll earn free hotel stays (and more than likely automatic elite status) for what will likely be many trips to come.
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the , including those best for: