The World of Hyatt Credit Card comes with some valuable benefits for frequent travelers, including a free night at a participating hotel or resort that you earn every year on your cardmember anniversary. But you can earn a second free night every year that you spend $15,000 on the card.
So should you go for that second free night? To decide, look at the full value you get for spending that $15,000 — not just the free night. Then, you can determine whether you’d do better by putting that spending on another card.
Things to consider
The bonus spending categories
The World of Hyatt Credit Card pays World of Hyatt points on every dollar you spend, but some purchases pay more points than others.
4x points at Hyatt properties.
2x points on dining, flights, gym memberships and local transit and commuting.
1x points on all other purchases after the first six months of card membership.
The sixth-month points bonus
For the first six months of card membership, those 1x categories will pay you 2x points on up to $15,000, making it easier to squeeze value out of your spending.
That’s on top of the card’s 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.
So while you’re earning a second Hyatt free night award, you’re also earning a minimum of 15,000 World of Hyatt points (at a 1 point per dollar spent). What's more, if you hit the $15,000 in the first six months, you earn a minimum of 30,000 points (2 points per dollar spent for the period). Further, if you spent the full $15,000 at Hyatt hotels, you would earn 60,000 points for your spending (4 points per dollar spent).
Nerdy tip: To put those points in perspective, you can get a night in a Category 1 hotel for 5,000 World of Hyatt points. A night in a Category 4 costs 15,000 points. And a night in a top-tier Category 8 property is 40,000 points. So the points you’re earning on your way to your second free night credit can add up to some nice hotel stays.
Add up the points you’ll earn in bonus spending categories. If they provide outsize value to you beyond the free night award, that $15,000 spend might be worth pursuing.
» Learn more: Amazing suites you can book at Hyatt hotels with points
Elite night credits
For every $5,000 spent on the card, cardmembers get two elite night credits toward the next level of status. So while you’re racking up spending to earn a second free night, you’re also earning six elite night credits.
If these credits put you over the top to the next tier of elite status, you’ll earn even more World of Hyatt points on paid hotel stays, further accelerating the value you’re getting.
Cardmembers automatically get Discoverist elite status in World of Hyatt. Benefits for this status level include complimentary premium internet and daily bottled water. They'll earn 5 base points per eligible $1 spent at Hyatt properties, plus 10% bonus points on all eligible purchases. Subject to availability, Discoverist members also enjoy 2 p.m. late checkout and upgrades to a preferred room within the same type you booked.
Without the card, members can earn the Discoverist level by:
Staying 10 nights.
Earning 25,000 points.
Scheduling three qualifying events at a Hyatt property.
Holding the World of Hyatt Credit Card.
2021 elite status program changes
The World of Hyatt halved its requirements for earning status for 2021 — this means that it's easier to get to the Discoverist status. Members need to stay five nights and earn 12,500 points to enter the tier this year.
» Learn more: Which hotel elite status is worth pursuing in 2021?
Sizing up your options
But the big question remains: Would $15,000 be better spent with a different credit card? The answer depends on what other cards you have and how much you normally spend on them.
For example, if you were to use a 1% cash-back earning card, you could get $150 back on $15,000 in charges. Double that if the card earns 2% cash back.
Compare that to the value you’re getting using the World of Hyatt Credit Card. Charging $15,000 on this card would earn you the free night award, plus at least 15,000 World of Hyatt points. NerdWallet values Hyatt points at2 cents each.
A free night award is good for a night at a Category 1 through 4 hotel, so do a quick check of the cash rates at desirable properties (you can browse the complete list of Category 1 through 4 hotels here).
Nerdy tip: Award stays can be especially valuable during holidays or special events because cash stays are more expensive at those times.
To see how much value you could squeeze out of your rewards, we looked at a New Orleans hotel during Mardi Gras close enough to walk to the festivities. The Eliza Jane in New Orleans is just a few blocks from the French Quarter. Pay in cash and two-night stay will set you back nearly $700.
However, using your free night award and the 15,000 points you earned while pursuing a second free night award, you would cover not only the room charges, but also those extra taxes and fees — which can add up really quickly.
In this case, you’re getting $700 of value out of the perks you earned by spending $15,000. That’s considerably better than earning $150 or $300 on a cash back card. But depending on where and when you redeem your Hyatt rewards, the value could be lower.
» Learn more: What to know about World of Hyatt
The bottom line
Even after your first year of card membership, there’s more value to be had from the World of Hyatt Credit Card. So if you’re on the fence about spending the $15,000 in your second year and beyond, make the value calculations based on your travel plans.
Do you see a vacation in your future where you can use a Category 1 through 4 hotel and the 15,000 points? If so, using this credit card instead of another for your everyday spending with the goal of earning that extra free night usually makes sense especially when combined with the extra World of Hyatt points you'll earn along the way.
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 2021, including those best for:
Airline miles and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
Flat-rate rewards with no annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Premium travel rewards: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card