The Park Hyatt Sydney could be a great getaway spot when travel returns to normal.
The Park Hyatt Sydney could be a great getaway spot when travel returns to normal. PHOTO: Hyatt Hotels

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Hyatt Hotels is known for treating their loyalty program members quite well, so it’s no surprise that award travelers are constantly looking for ways to earn free nights, and even Hyatt elite status, to make their stays more cost effective and luxurious.

One way to do that is with the World of Hyatt Credit Card, and Hyatt has upped the ante by making it easier for new card holders to earn elite status, especially since travel is extremely restricted at the moment.

All new World of Hyatt Credit Card customers who get the card between now and Aug. 31, 2020, earn 10 qualifying nights toward elite status for this calendar year. That’s double the 5 nights normally offered with the card each year that you have it. This offer was originally slated to expire on June 30, but Hyatt recently extended it.

This comes on top of the existing sign-up bonus offer for the World of Hyatt Credit Card, which offers up to 50,000 bonus points — 25,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening, then an additional 25,000 points after you spend $6,000 in total on purchases within the first six months of account opening. The bonus points alone are worth about $850, based on the point valuations of CNN Underscored’s partner The Points Guy.

Additionally, for just a few more days through June 30, all World of Hyatt card members — both existing and new card holders — earn 3 nights toward status for every $5,000 spent on the card. This is a 50% increase of what you’d typically earn as a normal card benefit.

Five key benefits of the World of Hyatt credit card

While you likely aren’t staying at a lot of Hyatt hotels at the moment, eventually travel will return to normal. And if you do frequently stay at Hyatt properties, you’ll get many perks by having a World of Hyatt Credit Card that can more than outweigh its $95 annual fee.

1. Receive a reward night every year on your card’s anniversary

One of the best benefits of this card is the reward night you receive on a yearly basis. Starting with the second year you have the card, on each card anniversary you’ll receive a certificate that can be redeemed at any Category 1-4 property within the Hyatt chain.

Although this means top-tier Hyatt properties are excluded, there are definitely some hidden gems where this certificate can be used. Some noteworthy properties include the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, the Andaz San Diego, the Hyatt Regency Jersey City on the Hudson, the Grand Hyatt Washington and the Hyatt Regency Grand Reserve Puerto Rico.

Use your reward night certificate at properties like the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort.
Use your reward night certificate at properties like the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort. PHOTO: Hyatt Hotels

Even if you aren’t able to get maximum value for this certificate each year, as long as you’re using it at a property that would have otherwise cost more than $95, this benefit alone pays for the annual fee.

2. Receive a second reward night by spending on your card

You can also earn a second certificate annually in addition to the one you receive simply by being a World of Hyatt Credit Card customer. Every year — including the first year you have the card -— if you spend $15,000 on your card within your card member year, you’ll receive another reward night certificate. (Your “card member year” is the 12-month period between annual fees.)

These certificates work in the same manner as the regular reward night, where they can be used at any Category 1-4 Hyatt property. If you’re able to put this much money on your credit card — which comes to an average of $1,250 per month — you could have two certificates to use back-to-back for a sorely-needed weekend getaway when travel returns to normal.

3. Automatic Discoverist elite status

Just for being a World of Hyatt Credit Card holder, you’ll receive complimentary Hyatt Discoverist status. This basic-level status gives you a 10% point bonus on all Hyatt stays, 2 p.m. late check-out at participating properties and the possibility of a room upgrade based on availability.

Although Discoverist is the lowest tier of elite status within the World of Hyatt program, you’re always better off having some status versus no status at all when checking in at the front desk of a hotel.

4. Easier to earn higher-level elite status

If you’re looking to earn a higher status level than Discoverist within the World of Hyatt program, the World of Hyatt Credit Card can help you earn either Explorist or Globalist status — Hyatt’s top two tier levels — without ever stepping foot into a Hyatt property.

With the current limited-time promotion that gives new World of Hyatt Credit Card applicants 10 qualifying nights toward status for 2020, you’ll only need another 20 nights to earn Explorist status, or 50 nights to earn Globalist status by the end of the year. Just keep in mind that after 2020, you’ll only get 5 qualifying nights annually with the credit card.

Also, since even after June 30 you can still earn another 2 nights toward elite status for each $5,000 you spend on the card, you could theoretically earn a higher status solely by spending on your credit card — although it would require an incredibly high amount of spending. For new card holders, earning another 20 nights for Explorist would mean spending $50,000 in purchases at that rate.

CNN Underscored recommends that you never spend more on a credit card than you would otherwise spend using cash, so don’t try to use this offer to spend more money in an attempt to get elite status. A better plan is to combine these extra qualifying nights with actual stays at Hyatts to get to a higher elite status level more quickly.

5. Earn bonus points with Hyatt stays and everyday spend

The World of Hyatt Credit Card is one of the best cards to use for stays at Hyatt properties.
The World of Hyatt Credit Card is one of the best cards to use for stays at Hyatt properties. PHOTO: Hyatt Hotels

With the World of Hyatt Credit Card, you’ll earn an additional 4 bonus points for every dollar you spend at Hyatt properties (which when added to the 5 base points you typically earn comes to a total of 9 points per dollar) and 2 points per dollar on local transit and commuting, restaurants, airline tickets purchased directly from the airline, fitness clubs and gym memberships. On all other purchases, you’ll earn 1 point per dollar.

This is actually one of the best cards to use for your Hyatt stays and, unlike some other hotel credit cards, also offers a strong return on many of the other increased categories. Of course, the Chase Sapphire Reserve is still a better card to use for many of your non-Hyatt travel purchases, since it earns 3 points per dollar on all travel and you can transfer Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt at a 1-to-1 ratio.

Also, for categories that don’t earn bonus points on this card, you might find that you’ll earn more on CNN Underscored’s benchmark credit card, the Citi® Double Cash Card, which earns 2% cash back — 1% when you make a purchase, and another 1% when you pay it off — on everything you buy.

Since Hyatt points are worth 1.7 cents apiece according to The Points Guy, you’re getting a 6.8% return when using the World of Hyatt Credit Card at Hyatt hotels, but only a 1.7% return for purchases that don’t earn a bonus.

However, if you want to keep everything simple and use just one credit card for all your purchases, the Hyatt card is a decent option for maximizing your Hyatt points.

Should you get the World of Hyatt credit card?

If you’re looking to stay at Hyatt properties regularly once travel starts up again and want to earn Hyatt status, then this is absolutely a great time to consider the card. With hotel stays close to non-existent right now, the World of Hyatt Credit Card still offers a way for you to earn status and receive those much desired perks from the comfort of your home.

For Hyatt loyalists, this is also a recommended card simply for the benefits. In the first year alone, you’ll end up with 50,000 bonus points after meeting the full minimum spending requirement, and then every year thereafter, you’ll get a nightly certificate good at any Category 1-4 Hyatt property. Being able to earn a second reward certificate after spending $15,000 on the card each year is also a nice option.

Despite paying a $95 fee annually for the card, you should have no problem getting your money’s worth with the reward certificate and points earned. And of course, the option to earn qualifying status nights by spending on the card is a huge perk. So if you’re going to have a tough time earning elite status this year without traveling, this might be a great time to consider applying for the World of Hyatt Credit Card.

Learn more about the World of Hyatt Credit Card.

Find out which credit cards CNN Underscored chose as its best credit cards of 2020.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Note: While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they’re subject to change at any time and may have changed, or may no longer be available.