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Reviews

World of Hyatt Credit Card review: A low annual fee hotel card with elite status and free nights

CNBC Select reviews all the benefits of the World of Hyatt Credit Card, so you can decide if this hotel rewards card with a low annual fee and automatic elite status is right for you.

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For travelers looking to get more bang for their buck on their next hotel stay, there's a credit card for you.

If you frequent Hyatt hotels, such as the Grand Hyatt, Hyatt House or Andaz, and want to benefit from your loyalty, you might want to consider the World of Hyatt Credit Card by Chase. For a $95 annual fee, you can receive World of Hyatt Discoverist status and other premium travel perks.

This card makes the list of our top picks for best hotel credit cards because of its low annual fee, automatic elite status and free nights.

To make sure you're choosing the best hotel card for your needs, CNBC Select analyzed 11 popular hotel credit cards that offer high rewards rates on purchases made with the brand. We compared each card on a range of features, including travel rewards, annual fee, welcome bonus, introductory and standard APR, one-time perks, annual perks, redemption rates, as well as factors such as required credit and customer reviews when available. (See our methodology for more information on how we choose the best cards.)

Below, we break down the World of Hyatt Credit Card's rewards, benefits and fees to help you decide if it's the right card for you.

Latest: Chase and Hyatt release limited-time offers to help you earn loyalty status faster

World of Hyatt Credit Card review

World of Hyatt Credit Card

On Chase's secure site
  • Rewards

    Earn up to 9 points total per $1 spent at Hyatt - 4 Bonus Points per $1 when you use your card at Hyatt hotels & 5 Base Points per $1 you can earn as a World of Hyatt member

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn up to 60,000 total Bonus Points: 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

  • Annual fee

    $95

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    15.99% to 22.99% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • Two free night awards; one every account anniversary and one after you spend $15,000 during an anniversary year
  • World of Hyatt Discoverist status
  • Receive 5 World of Hyatt qualifying night credits automatically each year (no spending required)
  • Earn 2 World of Hyatt qualifying night credits every time you spend $5,000
  • Travel protections: baggage delay insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance, 24/7 Visa concierge

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • No annual travel credits
  • No introductory 0% APR
  • Estimated points earned after 1 year: 81,312
  • Estimated points earned after 5 years: 206,560

Rewards totals incorporate the points earned from the welcome bonus

World of Hyatt Credit Card rewards

Hyatt offers a good rewards program, with bonuses on Hyatt purchases and select other categories: Earn up to 9X points total for Hyatt stays (4X bonus points per $1 spent with Hyatt and 5X base points per $1 you can earn as a World of Hyatt member); 2X bonus points per $1 spent at restaurants, on airline tickets purchased directly from the airline, local transit and commuting (taxis, mass transit, tolls and rideshare services) and gym memberships; and 1X bonus point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

The card also has a limited-time welcome bonus offer: 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.

CNBC Select calculated how many rewards the average American can earn if they optimize the way they use World of Hyatt Credit Card. We worked with the location intelligence firm Esri, who provided us with a sample annual spending budget of $22,126.

The budget includes six main categories: groceries ($5,174), gas ($2,218), dining out ($3,675), travel ($2,244), utilities ($4,862) and general purchases ($3,953).

Here's how many points you can earn with the World of Hyatt Credit Card in each category:

  • Groceries: 5,174
  • Gas: 2,218
  • Dining out: 7,349
  • Travel: 8,833
  • Utilities: 4,862
  • General purchases: 3,953
  • Total: 32,390

Based on the annual spending budget from Esri, the average American can earn an estimated 81,312 in points the first year of card membership (including the points earned from the welcome bonus) and an estimated 206,560 in points after five years with the World of Hyatt Credit Card. Extreme optimizers might be able to achieve more value, and you may earn a higher or lower return depending on your spending habits.

Your points don't expire as long as your account remains open.

Additional benefits

The World of Hyatt Credit Card has a wide variety of premium perks that allow you to travel in luxury and benefit from insurance and purchase protections. Here are some of our favorites.

Up to two free nights: One night given annually on your account anniversary and the other night after you spend $15,000 during a year. This spend requirement is lower than some other hotels cards that require $60,000 to $75,000 in annual spending to qualify for a free night.

World of Hyatt Discoverist status: With automatic Discoverist status, you can take advantage of free breakfast at participating Hyatt Place hotels, waived resort fees on free night awards, a preferred room based on availability and more.

World of Hyatt qualifying night credits to achieve higher status: Receive 5 World of Hyatt qualifying night credits automatically each year (no spending required); and earn 2 World of Hyatt qualifying night credits every time you spend $5,000. A qualifying night is considered any night when you stay at a Hyatt property, pay an eligible rate or redeem a free night award, and use your World of Hyatt membership number with the reservation. You can be promoted to Explorist status once you've racked up 30 qualifying nights in a qualifying year. (Here's more information on the Hyatt Membership Program.)

Travel protections: Baggage delay insurance, lost luggage reimbursement and trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance.

Purchase protection: Covers your new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft.

Visa concierge: 24/7 complimentary Visa Signature® Concierge Service helps you find tickets to the top sports and entertainment events, make dinner reservations and even shop for gifts.

Combine points to redeem an award: You can combine points with any other World of Hyatt member at no additional cost. Members can only transfer or receive points once every 30 days.

Terms apply for all benefits.

Fees

Though Hyatt's card comes with a $95 annual fee, that is on the lower end of hotel credit card annual fees and can be offset if you take full advantage of all the perks.

There is no introductory 0% APR period, and the regular variable APR is 15.99% to 22.99% on new purchases and balance transfers. A 5% fee (or $5 minimum) is charged for balance transfers, whichever is greater.

Travelers staying overseas can take advantage of no foreign transaction fees, which is a huge plus when venturing abroad.

Bottom line

The World of Hyatt Credit Card has both a competitive rewards program and premium perks for hotel guests. With free night stays at Hyatt properties starting at approximately 5,000 points, you can really score big using this hotel card. Cardholders also receive automatic higher membership status at Hyatt properties, which allows you to elevate your experience for a lower annual fee than most hotel loyalty credit cards.

For booking hotel stays at non-Hyatt hotels, consider a general travel credit card that rewards hotel purchases, like the Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card, with 5X miles on hotel and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel℠ and no annual fee.

Our methodology

To determine which cards will put the most money back in your pocket, CNBC Select evaluated popular rewards credit cards offered by major banks, financial companies and credit unions that allow anyone to join and offer bonus rewards on hotel-related purchases. We compared each card on a range of features, including travel rewards (points and miles), annual fee, welcome bonus, introductory and standard APR, one-time perks, annual perks, redemption rates, as well as factors such as required credit and customer reviews when available.

CNBC Select teamed up with location intelligence firm Esri. The company's data development team provided the most up-to-date and comprehensive consumer spending data based on the 2019 Consumer Expenditure Surveys from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. You can read more about their methodology here.

Esri's data team created a sample annual budget of approximately $22,126 in retail spending. The budget includes six main categories: groceries ($5,174), gas ($2,218), dining out ($3,675), travel ($2,244), utilities ($4,862) and general purchases ($3,953). General purchases include items such as housekeeping supplies, clothing, personal care products, prescription drugs and vitamins, and other vehicle expenses. CNBC Select used this budget to compare cards that reward specific purchases and estimate how many rewards the average consumer might earn.

We then estimated how many points the average consumer could earn over the course of a year, two years and five years, assuming they would attempt to maximize their rewards potential by earning all welcome bonuses offered and using the card for all applicable purchases.

For co-branded hotel cards, we only calculated the estimated number of points you can earn after one and five years. The dollar value of points depends on whether you redeem them for hotel stays, merchandise, gift cards and more.

It's important to note the value of a point or mile varies from card to card and based on how you redeem them, and this is especially true for co-branded hotel rewards cards.

Our final picks are weighted heavily toward the highest five-year returns, since it's generally wise to hold onto a credit card for years. This method also avoids giving an unfair advantage to cards with large welcome bonuses.

While the five-year estimates we've included are derived from a budget similar to the average American's spending, you may earn a higher or lower return depending on your travel habits.

Information about the Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the CNBC Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.