Improvements Coming to the Hyatt Visa from Chase

Relevant Links:

It’s been about a year and a half now since Chase introduced a co-branded Hyatt Visa. This was much anticipated, because Hyatt Gold Passport points were pretty difficult to earn, not a lot of partners, so earning was overwhelmingly done through stays and without supplement.

Jeff Zidell, Hyatt’s Vice President of Gold Passport, explained at the Randy Petersen Travel Executive Summit last April that their Chase partnership was part and parcel of their overall strategy of using the loyalty program to ‘put heads in beds’ rather than a move to sell points, the goal was to put the piece of plastic into their guests’ wallets so that they would have an ongoing relationship with Hyatt every day, as they used their credit cards, and as they integrated the goal of staying at Hyatts with their routines.

And the card was a good one — a generous signup bonus of two free nights (which were nights confirmed in Suites for Diamond members, and existing Platinums would get the two free nights plus confirmed suite upgrades on paid stays), plus Platinum status for all cardholders which means free internet and avoiding the room over the HVAC generally. In addition to earning one point per dollar on all spend, it earns 3 points per dollar on Hyatt spend, and waives foreign currency transaction fees.

My immediate reaction, though, was that while a good card — it’s one to get for the bonus, and then once you have it to use on foreign spend and at Hyatts, but would’t become my everyday card. And no incentives were built into the card for hitting spend levels, you just earn the points for each dollar of spend.

After several months Hyatt and Chase added an annual free night benefit, posting to your account on your cardmember anniversary. It’s valid up to category 4, which is somewhat limiting, but does cover the new Hyatt 48Lex in New York so is a pretty good value.

Chase is also sending out new cards with new chip technology, one of a handful of cards in the US that have adopted standards prevalent in Europe and which makes the card easier to use abroad — though I’m not personally a fan, the actual chip and PIN technology winds up offering fewer consumer protections as banks will argue that PIN transactions not made by you were the result of your failure to safeguard your PIN and thus you rather than they have the liability for those transactions.

Still, it’s very much worth getting the card for the signup bonus (though I’d have preferred points!) and worth keeping even with the annual fee for the annual free night. But not really worth putting spending on, except for Hyatt stays, and even there it’s arguably been trumped.

See, not long after Chase introduced the co-branded Hyatt card they began making a huge investment in their Chase Sapphire Preferred card. And it trumps the Hyatt card in almost all cases, Sapphire Preferred has become probably the killer app for credit card spend.

  • Sapphire Preferred has a better signup bonus — 50,000 points, which transfer to various programs including Hyatt, and which is more than enough for 2 nights at any Hyatt property in the world (the signup bonus for existing Hyatt Diamond members is two nights in a suite which arguably trumps, though the Sapphire points are more flexible)
  • It also waives foreign currency transaction fees.
  • It earns a 7% annual bonus on all points earned (including the signup bonus)
  • It earns double points on all travel and restaurant spend.
  • Points transfer to United, British Airways, Korean Airlines, Southwest, Amtrak, Hyatt, Marriott, and Priority Club.

This means that everyday, non-bonused spending earns 1.07 points per dollar which transfer to Hyatt to other programs, you get to pick later, and you can even choose whose points account you want to transfer to. That clearly trumps spending on the Hyatt Visa where you earn 1 Hyatt point per dollar into your Gold Passport account.

And even Hyatt spending earns 2 points from the Sapphire Preferred card which can be transferred to Hyatt, or to United. So the relevant question for whether to put spend on the Sapphire Preferred or Hyatt Visa for stays at a Hyatt is a tough one, do you value 2 United miles more than 3 Hyatt points? Generally, I do find the United miles more valuable. But I’ve been using the Hyatt Visa at Hyatts anyway because I have plenty of United miles and am much poorer in my Gold Passport balance. Plus I happen to try to use those Gold Passport points where they offer exceptional value, such as the Park Hyatt Maldives and I’m intending a trip to the Park Hyatt in Paris.

It seems that Hyatt and Chase recognize these limitations — while they’ve built a good card they haven’t quite built a go-to card, even for Hyatt’s most loyal members. My contacts tell me that they’re currently cooking up some improved benefits, but what those benefits are haven’t been finalized yet.

Here are some of the ideas that have been in the hopper, though I have no idea which ones are more realistic for actual implementation.

  • 10-15% point rebate on award stays. Chase offers this on their (very low value) Priority Club Visa, I would find it valuable, I could easily see this as worth 10,000 Hyatt points or more to me each year. This would incentivize keeping the card, but it won’t incentivize incremental spend.
  • Guaranteed 9am early check-in.Wow. I would love this. Starwood is offering this to Platinums staying 75 nights, Intercontinental offers this to Royal Ambassadors, it’s a huge benefit and one of my biggest wishes for the Gold Passport program, it’s reasonable to tie it to cardmembership.
  • No expiration for earned free nights for spending $1,000 or more each month.This would be the signup nights, annual free night for the credit card, and potentially Faster Free Nights if those were to come back. I like this a lot, I admit I got less than optimal use out of my signup suite nights, burning them at the Grand Hyatt Singapore as part of a longer stay because they were expiring.
  • 15% discount on price of hotel room when booking using credit card.Good, but presumably these will be advance purchase rates, and those usually yield a 10% discount. I’d still probably book AAA rates where available which are cancellable and often around the same price as an advance purchase night.
  • 5 nights credit toward status for $15,000 in annual spend, also mentioned as one night per $3000 spend. This is something they need to do, making spending on the card integrated with elite status, every other major program lets you earn credit towards status through spend. Although I think they need to offer stays and not just nights.
  • Airline lounge access twice a year, also mentioned as every time you travel.I’m not sure how they’d handle this, bulk purchase of lounge passes or Priority Pass basic membership that throws in two visits or unlimited visits?
  • Transfer Gold Passport points to airlines at 1:1. This would be a huge increase in the value of Gold Passport points, it strikes me as too big of an increase. It would put the Hyatt Visa on comparable terms with the Starwood Amex (Hyatt and Starwood have different airline partners though lots of overlap, so depending on your airline preference would determine which card worked better for you). This seems too valuableand I don’t expect it to come to fruition.
  • Bonuses for additional spending categories.Probably 2 points per dollar for restaurants and groceries or similar.
  • $75 folio credit on any 2-night stay. If this was once a year, well, I’ll take it and it covers the annual fee. But it’s not superior value. Now, a $75 credit on every 2-night stay would be huge.
  • Existing Diamonds can retain status for $4000 monthly average spend. I’d love this, most Diamonds would feel this makes the status too diluted, though it’s interesting that where Hilton offers their Diamond status for $40,000 in spend on their Amex Surpass card this is described as retaining that status — meaning that guests would have to first earn Diamond through stays.

Lots of ideas out there, and they’ve been surveying members on them.

Apparently the 15% discount on room rate is very possible, though I think folks are missing that it’s only a modest incremental discount beyond other publicly available rates, I hope this isn’t where they go. The rebate on award stays is also popular, along with the $75 folio credit, bonus points for ‘everyday spend’, and improved points transfer to airline mileage programs. The most popular airline lounge choice is United — which seems doable considering the role that Chase plays with United.

Me, I’d love to see something not on the list, probably the single most frequent request from the Gold Passport program is using Diamond confirmed suite upgrades on award stays, I think it would be reasonable to pair this benefit with holding the co-branded credit card. But I don’t ever really expect this to happen because the benefit itself is already so valuable — it’s the benefit in all of hotel loyalty in my mind — that making it even more valuable seems difficult and I imagine they’d have pushback from properties who would be giving out their suites on what are in effect deep-discount rates most of the time (since Gold Passport buys room nights from the hotels at a significant discount, at least on nights when properties aren’t full).

I do believe though that what they need is improved earning such as bonusable spend, and incentives to spend at higher levels like earning credit towards elite status or earning additional benefits at specific spend levels.

I don’t have any special knowledge about when any changes or improvements would be announced, but they’re certainly thinking about them.

(Note that I do not receive referral credit if you use my links for credit cards in this post.)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »



  1. Hyatt card benefit upgrades would be nice – my thoughts…A lot of those would be pretty good options. My favorites would be 9:00 a.m. check in, retain diamond for $4k spending a month, suite upgrade on award stays, and bonus spending categories. The $75 credit on EVERY two night stay would be extremely nice, but I doubt they would do that. Award rebates would be good too.

    I would have no interest in two free lounge visits. The 15% discount would not be too attractive either, as you can usually beat the Hyatt rate by that (or close to it) already. Also, night credits for spending wouldn’t be valuable to me either, as I earn status on stays.

  2. Hm. Heads in beds, or more spend on the card?

    At first glance,9am early check-in sounds huge, but TBH, that’s most useful for European properties, which Hyatt has very few of. So the places where *I* would want to use it most pretty much don’t exist.

    Any sort of marginal rebate won’t help me get my head in their bed, at least not with any regularity. Discounts help, but it still becomes an easily calculable math problem — I’m not going to pick Hyatt over the competition just because I get 10% off.

    What Hyatt would need to do for me is increase the points earning rate on the card. I’m most likely to use a chain hotel on award nights, it’s rare that I would outright pay cash. Marginally discounted points stays aren’t going to drive me to the Hyatt card and therefore Hyatt properties. I can keep the card for the annual free night and discounted points redemptions, and use the Sapphire Preferred to do the earning. But, I could end up transferring my points to United, so Hyatt would have lost out.

    To get me in a Hyatt hotel, they’d have to get me thinking that my Hyatt card is the go-to card for everyday spend. That means they’d have to up the earn rate over what the Sapphire gives me — I’d really be looking for 3x spend on travel/dining and potentially 6x spend on Hyatt stays.

    As long as Sapphire Preferred has an equal or better earning rate that the Hyatt card, it’s my go-to card. If it’s my go-to card, I’m not thinking Hyatt, and that’s where Hyatt loses.

  3. Here’s a suggested improvement for your blog: go two weeks without promoting the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

    Last three mentions of that card: 3/11, 3/1, 2/27.

    Trust me, your readers have gotten the message.

    However much Chase is paying you, it’s not enough.

  4. i second Ann, stop promoting the sapphire card, we know it is good. we get plastered by enough of their tv commercials

  5. @Ann: Why do you care? Does it bother you because you got rejected for the card? I can’t think of any other reason. Gary’s doing a card comparison, which is more than legitimate. You need to get a life – just stop reading if it bothers you so much. Improve your credit, so you can get approved for the card next time.

    Gary – Good post! Looking forward to the new enhancements, whatever they may be.

  6. I have the Hyatt card and have to say the only thing that would make me use it more would be increasing the earnings ability. As someone else mentioned 3x spend on gas/groceries and travel would entice me away from my Gold AMEX and would convince me to leave my Sapphire card at home for a while.

  7. Au contraire Ann, I think there are a lot of only occassional readers who benefit from reading the blog occassionally.

    I have saved myself a lot of hassle by just telling my friends to check this blog periodically (instead of pestering me). While I’m proud that the help I’ve given my friends has gotten them thousands of BA, Cap One, AA, United, Starwood points, I am weary of the task. Now I just tell them to check View from the Wing.

    Maybe you could just not read the stuff that bothers you?

  8. @Ann, @mastaplaya

    1. The most lucrative thing you can do for earning miles is maximizing miles from credit cards.
    2. A plurality of all miles earned are earned via credit cards.
    3. Yet I’ve made 144 posts this year. I went back and checked. Fewer than 10% of those have included even a tangential mention of credit cards which earn me any sorrt of referral credit.

    I get questions almost every day about Sapphire Preferred and also about the best way to maximize points earning from credit cards.

    Comparing the Hyatt card to Sapphire Preferred makes tons of sense — same issuer, ability to earn Hyatt points with both, which is better? And the fact that Hyatt’s card while good is lagging its own internal competition certainly drives much of the considered changes to that card. I felt it was on point news.

    Of course if the posts on this blog aren’t meeting your needs I will refund your subscription price! 🙂

  9. My two favorite words in the points/miles world are Hyatt and Sapphire. I simply can’t get enough of them (ditto for their points!)

    And here’s a post with plenty of both! Splendid! I have had both cards (including the humongous 100,000 Sapphire bonus Chase was so generous in giving around last June 20th) for close to nine months now, plan on keeping them, and still enjoy seeing posts touting their generous bonuses and benefits.

    If I had not been checking the key blogs (and Gary is in my opinion the most informed and best connected; Daraius is the most thorough and is incredibly patient with “negative” posters) regularly I would have missed those extra 50,000 Sapphire points. And although I would have made my successful Hyatt Diamond status match a reality, reading the key blogs shifted it back by two weeks so that I could be a diamond when I got the card. That added two “suite” nights to the most wonderful stay I ever had in hotel. Just thinking of it takes me away.

    As far as I am concerned, regularly “plugging” the best card is a favor to the newbies, and a “smile-bringer” to those who already have the Sapphire card. They have all said it often, you can’t beat those huge bonuses to get closer to the trips of your dreams. And it is my great pleasure to have them have any referral fee or whatever if I use their links! I wish they got $1,000 for each of us that uses them, but I suspect the actual number may be just a “tad” lower!

    And, for the friendly Hyatt folks reading this comment, my vote for “make the Hyatt card even better” is also Gary’s: please let Hyatt card users be able to use those four confirmed upgrades on award stays!

    Finally, I’d like to thank Gary (and others) again for such wonderful and generous posts! 🙂

  10. Since everyone seems to acknowledge the reasons why Hyatt would be reluctant to give 4 confirmed upgrades on award nights, how about Hyatt card allows you to get one additional confirmed upgrade that is good for award nights (up to a cap of 4-7 nights)? This would definitely be worth the $75 dollar annual fee.

  11. Gary, any idea if the new benefits will come with a spend requirement?

    Some links for Hyatt’s card have spend requirements to get the second night free.

    I’m thinking of applying now, and then trying to improve the offer if it’s much better. I don’t intend to put much spend on the card, I’m a Starwood guy, but I’ve run out of Starwood points and 2 free nights at the Paris Vendome is nothing to sneeze at.

    (Wish I hadn’t squandered my status match many years ago).

  12. @LIH Prem – sorry if I wasn’t clear, I meant to contrast the Hyatt Visa’s offering with “the actual” chip and PIN in my comments but I see that I didn’t underscore that Hyatt Visa wasn’t offering that.

  13. I agree completely with Gary. I’m considering getting the Hyatt Visa for the free nights and the platinum status. It’s already, in my opinion, a decent card to carry. However, as Gary points out, as it is now, I can’t think of any reason to put any spending on it other than maybe Hyatt stays, even if getting Hyatt points were my main goal.

    If they want people to actually use it, they need to provide a reason. Either they need some good bonus categories or they need to grant status for some level of spend. Personally, Hyatt status wouldn’t draw me in, but I’m sure it would have value to some people.

    Allowing a better transfer rate of GP points to airlines would be awesome, but it still wouldn’t cause people to want to use the Hyatt card — it would just improve the value of the Sapphire Preferred!

  14. Chase is perfectly poised here to up their game and achieve multiple goals at once: provide bonus spend categories, and make sure they differ from those of Sapphire (so as not to simply poach from Sapphire spending). Moreover, make the categories interesting to AMEX cardholders, so Chase can snag a few million of them as well. The answer: 3x on gas and groceries. This will not poach from Sapphire spending- in fact it will simply broaden the base for putting nearly all your spend on Chase products- and will entice many Amex PR Gold cardholders over to Chase: they are earning 2x gas/groceries on PRG, so they will not migrate from more versatile MR points over to Chase for merely the same 2x valid at Hyatt alone. For 3x, they could possibly be persuaded…now combine that with interesting Hyatt airline xfer possibilities as discussed, and Chase could significantly increase Hyatt spending, plus grab a boatload of business from their competitor- with the right program, they could smack a huge hit, rather than simply making small incremental improvements….

  15. Hey all, I just applied for the Chase Saphire card yesterday. I’m really new to this, have “excellent credit”, and a total of 2 credit cards right now.

    I am taking a trip to Hong Kong in May. Applying for the Chase Hyatt card seems really tempting so I could splurge and stay two nights in Grand Hyatt in Hong Kong.

    Would this be logical thinking? Or would it not be worth it?

    Any feedback, positive or negative is greatly appreciated. Love the site, thank you.

  16. I think it’s well established that there’s no advantage to putting spending on the Hyatt card, as long as you have the Sapphire Preferred. But, for those of us who don’t have huge monthly expenditures, it’s harder to justify the Sapphire Preferred’s annual fee. The Hyatt card, meanwhile, is a good card to keep around whether or not you put spend on it. Any of the improvements discussed in this post would make it that much better.

  17. Would like to see the Chase Hyatt card go from free Platinum status to providing the nights/stays that equals Plat status into your account each year. Would like to see the free cat 1 to 4 cert be allowed on all the higher categories by adding points. So a cat 5 would be the cert plus 3K points and cat 6 would be the cert plus 7K points. That would make the cert useful at all properties. The card should provide a annual bonus of points. Could be like the Chase Sapphire Preferred’s 7% bonus. Might want to make it tiered. Say X% on first 10K points earned on the card, Y% on the next 10K earned, and Z% on all earned above 20K.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *