Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.
Whether you’re an infrequent budget traveler or a business road warrior, two of the most popular brands, Hyatt and Marriott, could be contenders for your loyalty. They are major players in the hospitality industry with hotels around the world and a plethora of brands to satisfy every budget and style.
It’s not always an easy choice when deciding which brand to award your loyalty to. After all, sticking with one can lead to hotel elite status with some hefty perks. There’s a lot to consider, though, when comparing brands: hotel room prices, geographic location of hotels, program perks, hotel benefits and ease of redeeming points for free nights.
Here’s a breakdown of these two popular hotel programs to help you decide which is better for you.
Where you can find them
Winner for hotel availability: Marriott
Where to find Marriotts
Marriott is one of the largest hotel brands in the world, with 30 brands and more than 8,000 properties in over 130 countries and territories, which means you’re likely to find at least one Marriott hotel wherever you’re traveling. Here’s a list of Marriott hotel brands:
With so many brands, you’ll find multiple Marriott hotels to choose from in popular travel destinations. As just one example: California’s Santa Monica beachfront is home to three Marriott brand hotels: a Courtyard by Marriott, a JW Marriott and Le Méridien.
Where to find Hyatts
With over 1,150 hotels, Hyatt isn’t the largest chain, but it has a global presence with hotels in 70 countries. Hyatt has been adding hotels in recent years through acquisitions and partnerships, including the addition of Miraval, Small Luxury Hotels of the World, and, recently, numerous all-inclusive brands. Here are the brands in the portfolio of World of Hyatt, the hotel's loyalty program:
Hyatt’s hotel roster features several popular luxury all-inclusive hotels, including the Hyatt Ziva and Zilara, located in the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Mexico. The all-inclusive Miraval Resorts are in Austin, Texas; Tucson, Arizona; and Lenox, Massachusetts.
» Learn more: How to find and book hotels
Best co-branded credit card
Marriott credit cards
Marriott offers five consumer credit cards and one business credit card. Three personal cards are issued by Chase and the two by American Express. Here’s how a few of the personal hotel credit cards compare:
Marriott Bonvoy bonus points
Marriott Bonvoy bonus points
Earn 30,000 Bonus Points after spending $1,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening with the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card.
Earn 3 Free Night Awards (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after spending $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card.
Earn 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $6,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.
You might also consider Marriott's newer personal cards, which were launched in fall 2022. Both have an annual fee of $250 and identical benefits; only the issuer differs.
Marriott offers potential cardholders a variety of price points and value, plus larger welcome bonuses. Though, it's worth considering NerdWallet's recent hotel points valuation, which paints a more complex picture. Our analysis determined that World of Hyatt points are worth an impressive 2.3 cents a piece, while Marriott Bonvoy points are worth 0.8 cent each. That means that the potential value of the welcome bonuses varies significantly.
Even so, the current travel credit card offerings from Marriott are too good to pass up, whether you want the middle-of-the-road or high-priced card option.
Hyatt credit cards
Hyatt offers a personal and business credit card.
Here's what you need to know about the World of Hyatt Credit Card.
Welcome 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.
Annual fee: $95.
Earning rate: 9 points per $1 spent on Hyatt stays, 2 points per $1 spent on airline tickets purchased directly from airlines, fitness club and gym memberships, and local transit and commuting, and 1 point per $1 on everything else.
Perks: One free night each year after your cardmember anniversary at any Category 1 through 4 World of Hyatt property. Cardholders also receive complimentary World of Hyatt Discoverist status.
If you’re looking for a business card, here is how the World of Hyatt Business Credit Card shakes out:
Welcome bonus: 60,000 Bonus Points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
Annual fee: $199.
Earning rate: 9 points per $1 on Hyatt stays and experiences including restaurants and spas, 2 points per $1 on fitness, and 2 points per $1 in your top three eligible spend categories through 12/31/24. Thereafter, you'll receive 2 points per $1 on your top two categories.
Perks: $100 in Hyatt statement credit after spending $50 at a Hyatt, and $50 (up to two times) on your cardmember anniversary. Discoverist status is also provided to cardholders.
Hyatt is a Chase Ultimate Rewards® transfer partner, which means that if you have an eligible Chase credit card, like Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you can move your Chase Ultimate Rewards® points to your World of Hyatt loyalty account.
Hotel loyalty programs
Winner for loyalty program: Hyatt
World of Hyatt
World of Hyatt is popular because it offers several sweet spots, plus no blackout dates and the ability to redeem points at all-inclusive hotels. Plus, you don’t pay resort fees when you use points to book a stay. There is a lot of value to be had from this network of hotels, even though it has a smaller footprint than Marriott.
Members earn 5 base points for every $1 spent on qualifying stays at World of Hyatt-participating properties as well as eligible dining and spa experiences charged at the hotel. Members earn 10 points for every $1 spent on FIND experiences.
The cost of a free night in a standard Hyatt room depends on the property. In March 2022, Hyatt introduced peak/off-peak pricing for points redemptions, making certain award stays more expensive.
Award night prices range from 3,500 points per night for an off-peak date at a Category 1 World of Hyatt hotel to 45,000 points per night for a peak date at a Category 8 hotel. NerdWallet values Hyatt points at 2.3 cents each.
It’s easy to earn Hyatt points with its co-branded credit card, on eligible paid stays or by transferring points from an eligible Chase Ultimate Rewards® credit card.
» Learn more: The complete guide to World of Hyatt
Marriott uses dynamic award pricing, so points rates vary based on demand.
You can earn Marriott Bonvoy points for eligible stays in participating hotels. Most hotels award 10 points per dollar spent although some brands only offer between 2.5 and 5 points (these include: Marriott Executive Apartments and Residence Inn by Marriott among others). You can also earn points with one of the chain’s co-branded credit cards mentioned above. Additionally, Marriott is a transfer partner for Chase Ultimate Rewards® and American Express Membership Rewards.
NerdWallet values Marriott points at 0.8 cent each, but it’s possible to get more for your points depending on the redemption.
» Learn more: The guide to Marriott Bonvoy
Winner for elite status: Hyatt
World of Hyatt
In the World of Hyatt loyalty program, there are three elite status membership levels: Discoverist, Explorist and Globalist. The higher the ladder you climb, the more benefits you receive. Discoverist is the easiest to earn, but the perks are rather paltry (namely a free bottle of water and faster internet).
Globalist, however, the program’s top-tier level is a gold mine of perks if you know how to use them. Among the benefits are room upgrades (including to standard suites), club level access or breakfast, free parking and the Guest of Honor perk where you can share your status with someone else. You can also earn low-level elite status by signing up for a Hyatt credit card.
According to NerdWallet's analysis, Discoverist status costs $1,460 to earn, but yields $11 in benefits. It costs $4,380 to earn Explorist status, which comes with benefits valued at $561. It’s not until Globalist status that members can really cash in on perks. While it costs $8,760 to earn Globalist status, the value of the elite status benefits clocks in at a whopping $5,099, providing an exceptional return on your annual hotel stay spend.
Even better, members that earn million base World of Hyatt points during their membership in the program receive lifetime status, which immediately skyrockets the value you receive.
Hyatt wins for the greatest return on investment once achieving the top tier thanks to the quality of benefits given to members.
Marriott Bonvoy spreads its wings quite far, both in the number of brands it has, locations around the world and number of elite status tiers. There are five elite status levels: Silver, Gold, Platinum, Titanium and Ambassador. The higher your status, the greater the value.
Silver Elite members earn basic perks like faster internet and bonus points. In addition, mid-tier status members, like Gold and Platinum Elite, receive space-available room upgrades, a welcome gift and late checkout.
Platinum Elite members also receive access to the club lounge, when available, or breakfast. It’s not until Titanium and Ambassador Elite levels that the most valuable perks arrive. These include access to club lounges, breakfast, welcome amenities, better room upgrades and the most bonus points. Ambassador Elite members can take advantage of Your24, which allows guests to check in or check out at any hour of day for at least a 24-hour stay.
They are tended to by a team of phone concierges that can assist with special requests. You can also earn elite status by signing up for a Marriott credit card.
NerdWallet's analysis values Silver Elite benefits at $10 despite costing $1,460 to reach that level. Gold Elite would take $3,650 to earn for only $126 in valued perks. Platinum Elite has a $7,300 price tag for $3,314 in benefits.
Perk-heavy Titanium Elite members would spend around $10,950 to achieve status and receive $5,233 worth of benefits in exchange. At the Ambassador Elite level, the benefits are valued at $7,167, but it would take $20,000 in spend to get there.
If choice of brand and location is imperative, Marriott is a solid bet, but its elite status perks are less rewarding when it comes to the cost it takes to get there.
Winner for lower fees: Marriott
NerdWallet's analysis of resort fees for Marriott brands shows that it charges less as a percentage of room rate than Hyatt does. Marriott typically charges a resort fee that is roughly 2.81% of the room rate and a parking fee of 11.25% of the room rate.
Those traveling with pets would pay 28.83% of the room rate. Across the board, these are lower than Hyatt, and while we dislike fees in general, Marriott wins in this comparison.
» Learn more: The best hotels that allow pets
World of Hyatt
Hyatt fared worse in the NerdWallet data with its fees trending higher than Marriott. Resort fees are generally 5.41% of the room rate; parking charges are 12.91% of the room rate, and pet fees are 37.39% of the room rate. These can be costly for travelers, but Hyatt does deserve accolades for waiving these resort fees on award stays, no matter what your elite status.
Globalist members don’t need to pay it, no matter how they are paying for their stay; when staying on an award, they don’t need to pay for parking, either.
Family travel considerations
How Hyatt caters to families
Hyatt has lots of family-friendly Category 1 and Category 2 Hyatt Place hotels around the world. Standard award stays at these hotels cost 5,000 to 8,000 points per night, and budget-conscious families can find great deals at these lower-cost hotels. Plus, World of Hyatt members will get free breakfast at Hyatt Place hotels when booking through Hyatt, including award stays.
Families who use points to book getaways to resort-style Hyatt hotels won’t have to worry about paying resort fees, potentially saving a good deal on daily charges that otherwise add up fast.
Plus, Hyatt offers myriad hotels with bunk beds you can book with points — which can be handy for families.
How Marriott caters to families
Amenities like pools and free breakfasts can be appealing to large groups of travelers (like a family). Marriott has nearly 3,000 hotels with free breakfast in the U.S. alone, found at the following brands:
Fairfield Inn and Suites.
Marriott also offers Stay for 5, Pay for 4 redemptions: You'll receive a complimentary fifth night when you redeem points for consecutive nights. This can save you a significant number of points during a five-night getaway. However, the challenge remains that you’ll have to find consecutive night award availability, which can be challenging, especially during peak travel times.
» Learn more: 6 tips for families traveling with points and miles
Business travel considerations
How Marriott caters to business travelers
With 30 brands, Marriott has numerous hotels designed for corporate travelers, whether you’re focused on luxury or cost. Plus, given the density of Marriott hotels in many travel destinations, you’ll typically have multiple options when deciding which property to book. Business travelers on extended stays may prefer Residence Inn hotels, which have larger accommodations.
If cost isn’t a concern, business travelers can enjoy luxury accommodations at St. Regis or Ritz-Carlton branded hotels.
How Hyatt caters to business travelers
Hyatt brands appealing to business travelers include Caption by Hyatt, Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Centric and Hyatt Regency. For business travelers who aren’t on a strict budget, you might consider splurging on luxury stays at Park Hyatt branded hotels. Business travelers will need to factor in that Hyatt simply doesn't have as many hotel locations as Marriott.
» Learn more: Best hotels for business travel
If you’re choosing between Hyatt vs. Marriott
Is Hyatt better than Marriott? Though Marriott is attractive to business travelers, has more locations and more credit card options, there's still a clear winner: Hyatt.
No blackout dates and no resort fees on award stays are two extremely valuable benefits of the World of Hyatt program. Plus, an off-peak award night starts at just 3,500 points for an off-peak night and tops out at 45,000 points for a peak night, which makes it easy to get terrific value from its points valued at 2.3 cents each. Meanwhile, Marriott’s dynamic pricing system makes it hard to know how much you need to save for a redemption.
That said, your preference will ultimately depend on what type of traveler you are. Global travelers who appreciate variety will want to stick with Marriott because of the breadth of its portfolio and number of brands. Those who like to secure solid value from elite status, however, will fare better with Hyatt, which has a much more rewarding elite status program.
This gives Hyatt the win over Marriott unless Marriott’s far and wide international portfolio can’t be turned down.
Information related to the Marriott Bonvoy Bountiful™ Card has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card