The Hyatt VISA credit card from Chase was released in September 2010 and it looks like current card members are being surveyed to find out what type of additional benefits would enhance the value of the card. As it stands now, I think there’s very little value to the card to justify the annual fee, outside of the sign up bonus. But of course there’s no right answer for everyone. Everyone has different travel patterns and what’s good for me may not be good for others, and vice versa. The card and its details were mentioned briefly in a previous post but here’s a recap and a more in depth look.
The features of the card include:
- 2 free nights anywhere in the world just for signing up
- 3 Hyatt points per dollar spent at a Hyatt hotel, 1 point per dollar spent everywhere else
- Hyatt Platinum status for as long as you’re a card holder
- No foreign transaction fees
- $75 annual fee
The big feature of this card is the sign up bonus. One of my best friends just got this card to use the free nights on a European vacation. The nights were redeemed at the Park Hyatt Vendome in Paris. The actual cost of the rooms for the dates that were booked was over $1,000 so those two free nights are definitely worth the $75 annual fee.
A lot of people will say not to get a credit card with an annual fee. I was like that for awhile and I agree that it sucks to have to pay a fee. Ever since I got into the travel game, my view has changed. While I would still prefer to not pay a fee, I wouldn’t mind paying if the value was there.
Hyatt Platinum status is a nice benefit for those who don’t travel often but want to enjoy some additional benefits without the hassle of actually staying at the hotel to get the status. If that’s something that interests you, then I’d say the card is worth it. To get Platinum with Hyatt, you need 5 stays or 15 nights. It’s cheaper to qualify on stays but even then, you’d be looking at spending at least $350, and that’s assuming you can find the right weekends with the cheapest rates.
But what if you travel more and you can get Platinum status on your own, or even get to Diamond status? That pretty much eliminates the status benefit that comes with the card. You should also know that even though the card gives you Platinum status, you are not comped the 5 stays or 15 nights. So if you’re going for Diamond, you still need to complete the required 25 stays/50 nights.
Hyatt values their points at about $0.024 and the common value among frequent travelers is $0.015. For the purpose of this post, let’s meet in the middle and say a Hyatt point is worth $0.02. Assuming you don’t stay at Hyatt hotels and are earning 1 point per dollar spent on daily spend, you’ll need to spend approximately $3,750 (3750 points x $0.02 = $75) to recoup the annual fee. If you’re staying at Hyatt hotels then you’re earning 3 additional points per dollar, for a total of 8 points per dollar and you can recoup the annual fee even faster.
The Hyatt VISA is only available in the United States and the no foreign exchange fees makes this a nice card to have if you tend to travel abroad or, in the case of my friend, have a big trip coming up. Obviously the more you spend, the more you save in fees so you could potentially recoup the annual fee this way too. But if you don’t travel abroad and are staying local to the US, well this eliminates another benefit.
Unless you have plans in the near future where you could make use of the two free nights at a hotel you would never pay for, I would suggest holding off on the card until Hyatt and Chase implement some better benefits. Right now, the value of the card is unique to each traveler’s situation. Even though you don’t have to spend a terrible amount of money to recoup the annual fee, it’s pretty high for a card with so few benefits.
Some cardholders have received letters for their upcoming one year anniversary. The letter states that they will receive 1 free night that is good at any Category 1-4 hotel. This is not quite as good as the initial sign up offer of 2 free nights at any hotel but I don’t think it’s terrible.
There are some very nice Category 4 properties. Some of which cost more than $150/night. From a purely monetary standpoint, that alone makes the $75 annual fee worth it. While the free night helps increase the value of the card, there are still other cards out there that can bring you a better return on everyday spending. For now, I’d say this card is a keeper just for the free night. How often you want to use the card is another story…