Category

Hyatt

2 Brand New Hyatt Visa Benefits

As if Chase was reading FFU last night, right on command this morning a Reader forwarded me an email from Chase announcing that starting October 1st, the Hyatt Visa will have even more benefits.

As I have talked about before (and coincidently yesterday) the Hyatt Visa is the best Hotel Card out there right now period.

Just by signing up for the Hyatt Visa and spending $1 on the Card, you get 2 Free Night Certificates that can be used at any Hyatt in the World, including the super expensive ones that start at $1,000 a night.

If you and your Travel Partner both sign up for the Card, you have 4 nights free at any Hyatt in the World, for free!

Link To Sign Up For Hyatt Card

Anyways, before today’s announcement the Hyatt Card was already pretty awesome and came with the following benefits.

Original Benefits

  • 2 Free Night Certificates After Signing Up
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • Smart Chip Card
  • 3 Hyatt Points Per $1 Spent At Hyatt
  • 1 Hyatt Point Per $1 Spent Everywhere Else
  • Hyatt Platinum Status As Long As You Are A Cardmember
  • Annual Free Night Certificate For Category 1-4 Property After You Pay The $75 Annual Fee

While all those benefits are pretty spectacular, starting October 1st in addition to everything above, you will also receive 2 new benefits.

New Benefits

  • 2 Hyatt Points Per $1 Spent At Restaurants, Airline Tickets, and Car Rental Agencies.
  • Elite Stay Credit Based On Annual Spend On Card

What This Means

Basically, Hyatt and Chase are really trying to turn the Hyatt Visa into an Everyday Spend Card.

An “Everyday Spend Card” is a Card that you put all your purchases on.

Honestly, I am surprised Chase also didn’t include Gas & Groceries in the new 2x Points category, because then it really would have been a game changer. 

In the past, it was difficult to turn any Chase Hotel Cards into an Everyday Spend Card because the Chase Sapphire Preferred allows you earn 2x Ultimate Rewards Points on Travel and Restaurants.

Those Ultimate Rewards Points can be transferred to Hyatt, United, British Airways, Marriott, Southwest, etc at a 1:1 Ratio.

So in the past, when deciding which Card to put your Everyday Spend on, if the decision was between a Hyatt Visa and a Chase Sapphire Preferred, the Chase Sapphire Preferred always won because you got 2x Points and you could always transfer those points to Hyatt.

Now however the tables have turned and both Cards offer 2x Points on Dining & Travel.

On paper, the Chase Sapphire Preferred would still hold a small advantage because of the transfer flexibility of Ultimate Rewards Points.

This small lead however goes out the window if you consider one small thing.

No one keeps their Chase Sapphire Preferred after the first year because of the Annual Fee!

While I would be happy to pay the Annual Fee on the Hyatt Visa since you get an annual Free Night Certificate worth way more than $75, there is little incentive to keep the Chase Sapphire Preferred after the 1st year.

I haven’t gotten the Hyatt Visa yet, but come December when I do finally sign up for it, I know that it will become my go-to Credit Card when I travel abroad because of the Smart Chip Technology, No Foreign Transaction Fees, and now 2 Hyatt Points per $1 spent on Travel & Restaurants.

Overall, I give Chase & Hyatt 2 thumbs up for this decision to increase the benefits on the Hyatt Card.

Hopefully Chase’s competitors (cough SPG AMEX) jump on board and increase the benefits on their Cards!

I am gleefully counting down the days until I sign up for my Hyatt Visa! 

-Parag

The Secret Upside To Hotel Credit Cards

2 weeks ago, I started a guide on How To Have A Honyemoon For Free which focused on the hotel aspect and turned out to be extremely popular. 

In researching Hotel Credit Cards for the post and looking at all their benefits, I came to an interesting conclusion.

It literally pays to have a Hotel Credit Card.

The Annual Fee Dilemma

When it comes to Airline Credit Cards, I think the general consensus is Earn, Burn, Cancel.

This means that most of us only get Airline Credit Cards to get miles, and once the annual fee comes due or we have used up all the miles, the Card gets canceled and we simply move on to the next Card.

As long as Banks allow this and keep approving people for new Credit Cards, I don’t see anything wrong with this strategy. 

For example, it is hard for me to justify the Annual Fee on my United MileagePlus Explorer Card when there are no real incentives for keeping the Card after the 1st year.

While earning United miles with the Card is nice, it would take $25,000 in spend on the Card for me to earn a free Domestic Economy Saver.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter if I can earn United miles with the Card because it is far easier just to sign up for a new Credit Card rather than spend $25,000.

What is interesting with many of the new Hotel Credit Cards that Chase offers, is that there is actually a real incentive to pay the Annual Fee and keep the Card open.

Almost all Chase Hotel Credit Cards now offer an Annual Free Night Award when you pay your Annual Fee every year.

In all of the cases, the value of the Free Night Award is worth far more than the Credit Card’s Annual Fee.

Why this is important is because it is essentially like you are a getting a new Sign Up Bonus every year, without having to re-sign up for a new Credit Card!

Just think about that!

It is like if you had an Airline Credit Card like the MileagePlus Explorer Card and every year you paid the $95 Annual Fee, you got a Free Domestic Flight!

Who would be dumb enough to cancel their Card then?

What is absolutely amazing about Chase’s Hotel Credit Cards is that almost all of them have NO MINIMUM SPENDING REQUIREMENT.

As soon as you make your 1st purchase, you get the Sign On Bonus!

Even better is that if you “Double Down” (aka you and your Travel Partner both get a Card), every year after you pay the Annual Fee you will get a total of 2 Free Nights.

This is great because 2 Free Nights is perfect if you ever want to do a short weekend getaway!

A Few Examples

Instead of me writing what a great deal this is, here are a few real life examples of how keeping a Hotel Credit Card can actually be beneficial over the long run!

Hyatt Visa

The Hyatt Visa is one of the best Hotel Credit Cards out there because you get 2 Free Nights at any Hyatt worldwide just for signing up. The Free Nights have no limitations so depending on where you use them, they can be worth thousands of dollars!

Link To Hyatt Visa

The main benefits of the Hyatt Visa are:

  • 2 Free Nights At Any Hyatt Worldwide After 1st Purchase
  • Free Platinum Status
  • $75 Annual Fee
  • Yearly Category 1-4 Free Night Award After Paying Annual Fee

While the $75 Annual Fee is not waived on the Hyatt Card for the first year, the insane Sign Up Bonus of 2 Free Nights more than makes up for the small Annual Fee.

Additionally, every year you keep the Card and pay the $75 Annual Fee, you receive a Free Night Award at a Category 1-4 Hyatt Property.

What is nice is that Hyatt’s Hotel Categorization only goes up to Category 6, so Category 4 properties are actually pretty awesome.

A full list of Category 4 Properties can be found here.

Randomly I selected the Andaz West Hollywood (Category 4) and it is a whopping $325 a night.

So by paying an $75 Annual Fee, you would get 1 night free at the Andaz West Hollywood effectively saving you save $250 ($325 – $75)!

Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card

The Marriott Rewards Card is interesting because it offers a mix of 50,000 Marriott Points & 1 Free Night for signing up and spending $1,000 in 3 months after opening your account.

Unlike the Hyatt Card, the Annual Fee is waived for the 1st year on the Marriott Card so it literally cost nothing to get. 

Link To Marriott Premier Credit Card

  • 50,000 Marriott Points For Signing Up & Spending $1,000 In 3 Months
  • 1 Free Night Certificate At Category 1-4 Property After Signing Up
  • $85 Annual Fee Waived For 1st Year
  • Yearly Category 1-5 Free Night Certificate After You Pay The Annual Fee

What is most interesting about this Card is that the Free Night Certificate (Category 1 -5) you get every year after paying your Annual Fee is actually better than the Free Night Certificate (Category 1-4) you get when signing up.

Marriott’s Hotel Categorization goes up to Category 8, so Category 5 properties are decent.

A full list of Marriott Properties by categorization can be found here.

I was surprised that a few JW Marriott’s were categorized as Category 5, so I randomly picked the JW Marriott Miami (Category 5) and it is $284 a night.

So by simply keeping the Marriott Premier Card for 1 year and paying the $85 annual fee, you would get 1 night free at the JW Marriott Miami and save $199 ($284 – $85)!

Priority Club Select Visa

While Priority Club properties (with the exception of Intercontinental) aren’t as nice compared to Marriott and Hyatt, you can always find a Holiday Inn almost anywhere you are going which is nice.

Also unlike the Hyatt and Marriott Card, the Annual Fee is only $49!

Link To Sign Up For Priority Club Select Visa

  • 60,000 Bonus Points After Signing Up
  • $49 Annual Fee Waived For 1st Year
  • Platinum Elite Status
  • Annual Free Night e-Certificate Worldwide

With the Priority Club Select Visa, you get 60,000 Points for signing up and then after you pay your $49 Annual Fee, you get a Free Night Certificate which can be used Worldwide.

I don’t have this Card, so I can’t access the restrictions on the Certificate, but conservatively if you wanted to use the certificate at Holiday Inn Express in New York City, it would save you almost $249 ($298-$49).

Recap

If I had to guess, I suspect that all Chase Travel Credit Cards including Airline Cards will soon have some kind of annual incentive for keeping the Card and paying the Annual Fee.

Of all the Credit Cards I have ever had, I can’t remember paying an Annual Fee to keep a Card open for more than 1 year, and I suspect I am not alone.

I would actually encourage Chase to implement an on-going annual incentive for their other Travel Credit Cards like the Sapphire Preferred or MileagePlus Explorer because I think Customers would be happy to pay the Annual Fee if they got something beneficial out of it. 

In terms of Hotel Credit Cards, it still amazes me that there are no Minimum Spend Requirements to get any of these Sign On Bonuses.

Hypothetically, over the span on 1 year, it would be pretty easy to sign up for all 3 of the above Hotel Credit Cards.

By signing up for the above 3 Hotel Credit Cards you would get:

  • 2 Free Nights At Hyatt
  • 50,000 Marriott Points
  • 1 Free Category 1-4 Night At Marriott
  • 60,000 Priority Club Points

You would receive all that for only $75, since all the Cards except Hyatt have the Annual Fee waived for the 1st year.

Then going forward, every year on your Card Membership anniversary, you would get: 

  • 1 Free Night At Hyatt
  • 1 Free Night At Marriott (Category 1-5)
  • 1 Free Night At Priority Club Hotels

All that for only $75 + $85 + $49 = $209 in Annual Fees!

When was the last time you got 3 nights at Hyatt, Marriott, or Priority Club for under $209?

Typically a single night at any of the above Hotels costs over $209 a night!

I just stayed 3 nights at Motel 6 in Moses Lake, WA and needless to say it was a dump, however even at Motel 6 the total for 3 nights was $225!

As always if you “Double Down” by having your Travel Partner also get and keep all the above Cards, you could get 6 nights annually for only $418 in Annual Fees!

And if it isn’t clear, this isn’t just a one time thing. Every year going forward, as long as you pay the Annual Fee, you will get a Free Night!

Although I have shunned away from Hotel Credit Cards in the past, after reading all the benefits and calculating the value of the Free Night Certificates, I certainly will be signing up for a few Hotels Cards in my next App-O-Rama in December!

-Parag

Milepoint Premium Membership + Hyatt Platinum Status

I got an interesting email from United last week that I thought FFU Readers might be interested in!

Basically by becoming a Premium Member of Milepoint you get the following perks:

  • 2,000 United miles 
  • Hyatt Platinum Status through 2014 
  • 24 hour one time pass for Gogo in-flight Wi-Fi
  • Free 3-month trial of CLEAR
  • Free Upgrade to AwardWallet Plus account and free AwardWallet OneCard
  • Free Upgrade to UsingMiles Premier Membership
  • Free Upgrade to National Car Rental | Emerald Club Executive Status
  • Free 1-yr subscription to InsideFlyer.com
  • 40% discount on “Decoding Air Travel” books
  • 25% discount on “Frequent Flyer Master” e-book
  • 20% discount on “Decoding Air Travel” seminars/webinars
  • 20% discount on ExpertFlyer.com
  • 20% discount on BookYourAward.com
  • 20% discount at SCOTTEVEST
  • 10% discount on KVS Tool

Is It Worth It?

While $59 is not cheap, I’d personally recommend signing up for Milepoint Premium Membership.

For one, Milepoint Premium Membership is typically only offered for a limited time, so I am guessing they have a cap on how many people can buy into it.

Secondly, when you break down the value of all the individual products outlined above, it is clear that they are worth way more than $59.

Just the United Miles alone are worth $75.25 if you were to buy them at United.com!

Hyatt Platinum Status

What I really find interesting about the Milepoint Premium Membership is the free Hyatt Platinum Status.

What really jumps out at me is the fact that if you have Hyatt Platinum Status when you sign up for the Hyatt Visa, you get 2 additional Suite Upgrades on top of the 2 Free Night Certificates that you normally get by signing up for the Hyatt Visa! 

Although the 2 Suite Upgrades do have to be used on Paid Stays (thus they can’t be used to upgrade your 2 Free Night Certificates to a suite), they are still tremendously valuable if you staying at a high end Hyatt Property. 

Also what is nice about the 2 Suite Upgrades is that they are valid on your entire stay (up to 7 nights), not just for 1 night.

So technically, you could use each Suite Upgrade to get bumped up to a Suite for a total of 14 nights (7 nights for each Suite Upgrade certificate)

For example if you are staying at the Hyatt Maui for 7 days.

For the first 2 nights, you could use your 2 Free Night Certificates that you received by signing up for the Hyatt Card.

For the next 5 nights, you would get stuck paying $289 a night for a room.

However with your 2 Suite Upgrades, you could use 1 of those certificates for 5 nights and get bumped up to the Ocean Suite which normally costs $689 a night.

Not bad for a $59 investment in a Milepoint Premium Membership!

Basically, I suggest everyone sign up for Milepoint Premium Membership because the value of the perks are pretty outstanding for the cost and who knows when this Premium Membership will be offered again!

Link To Sign Up For Milepoint Premium Membership

Link To Hyatt Visa With 2 Free Night Certificates

However if you were planning on signing up for the Hyatt Card in the next year or two (since the Hyatt Platinum Status is valid until Feb 2014), then I’d HIGHLY suggest getting a Milepoint Premium Membership solely to get those 2 Free Suite Upgrades from the Hyatt Card!

I want to go skiing in either Whistler or Beaver Creek this Winter, so I am definitely going to sign up for Milepoint Premium Membership as well as the Hyatt Card, because the daily room rate during peak season at those Hyatt properties are over $700 a night. 

-Parag