For years the Chase Hyatt card has been offered with a 2 free night signup bonus. Mainly because of that valuable signup bonus the card has been a mainstay atop my best travel card rankings. Recently though, Chase modified the signup bonus offer for the card, replacing the 2 free night offering with a 40,000 World of Hyatt points offer.
Is that good? Bad? As in most situations in life, the answer is, “It depends.” There are definitely some downsides to the new offer but there are some upsides as well. In this post, I’ll share the pros and cons of this new offer, in reverse order.
The 3 Cons to the New Chase Hyatt Offer
1. You Aren’t Getting 2 Free Nights at a Category 6 or 7 Property With 40,000 Points
Let’s cut to the….chase. Get it? Anyhow…The main drawback to this offer is obvious: 40,000 points aren’t enough to get you two free nights at Hyatt’s top of the line properties.
The old Chase Hyatt signup bonus was extremely valuable for its lack of exclusions – you could literally use the free night awards at any Hyatt, including swanky properties in spectacular locations. I highlighted some great options in a previous post: The Best Use of 4 Free Bonus Hyatt Nights for Honeymooners (or Couples in General).
A quick review of the World of Hyatt award chart shows that 40,000 points will cover two free nights in a Category 5 property but not a Category 6 property, let alone a Category 7 property. If you want to ball out and stay at a Category 7 property you can do so for one night, burning three quarters of your 40,000 point signup bonus for that single night.
2. Points Can Be Devalued Over Time
Two free nights are two free nights. That’s pretty clear-cut and it is relatively hard for a hotel brand’s management to devalue them. On the other hand, points and miles are often devalued via program changes. So 40,000 points may get you 2 free nights at a Category 5 property today but months down the road an award chart “update” could change that for the worse.
3. There’s No “Offsetting” Improvement to the New Offer
Sometimes a credit card issuer weakens a signup bonus offer in one way but then sweetens it in another regard. IN this case, there doesn’t seem to be any sweetening of the offer in any way. The spending requirement is unchanged. The annual fee is not waived for the initial year of card ownership.
The 3 Pros to the New Chase Hyatt Offer
1. The Points You Get From the Signup Bonus Don’t Have a Set Expiration
There’s no question that the old 2 free night offer was strong. There was a weak spot though: The 2 free night award “certificates” expired a year after issuance. Years ago it was possible to get the validity of the certs extended by a few months but that unadvertised leniency faded. For the past couple years the one year validity has been firm.
Conversely, World of Hyatt points, including those you get for this new signup bonus, don’t have a set expiration date. As long as you have account activity at least once every 24 months, your points remain valid. Here’s the exact wording from the Hyatt site, as of writing:
How can I keep my account active?
You can remain active in World of Hyatt in the following ways:
i. Receive points (earned on eligible stay/spend at a Hyatt or participating M life Resort, etc.)
ii. Redeem points (free night stays, room upgrades, Dining, Spa & More, Avis car rentals, etc.)
iii. Receive credit with a travel partner or M life Tier Credits for a stay at a Hyatt hotel or resort
iv. Transfer eligible awards to another member (as permitted under the World of Hyatt terms)
v. Convert points into miles/credit with a travel partner
vi. Purchase Points
vii. Combine points with another World of Hyatt member’s account
viii. Have an active Hyatt Credit Card in the member’s name
Please note that, if a member redeems points for an Award Reservation and either cancels that Award Reservation or does not actually check-in on the appointed date (i.e., no-shows), that will not count as a redemption of points and will not affect the measurement of that member’s World of Hyatt activity.
2. You Can Turn This Signup Bonus Into More Than 2 Free Nights
If you’re the type of traveler who enjoys quantity over quality, this new offer may work out great for you. Whereas there was really no good way for the average person to turn the 2 free night award certificates into more than 2 free nights, 40,000 points could net you 8 free nights in a low-end Hyatt.
Hyatt’s low-end properties are of course not excellent but they’re not horrendous either….we’re not talking crusty motels. In fact, we recently stayed in a Category 1 Hyatt – the Hyatt Place Albuquerque Airport. It was new, clean and fresh. We had no complaints. It served as a great home base for the Albuqerque Balloon Fiesta.
3. The New Offer Opens Up Points + Cash Redemptions
Not only do you get more flexibility with points in general versus free night awards, with a points-based signup bonus the world of Points + Cash redemptions is opened up. With Hyatt’s current Points + Cash offerings you can effectively buy World of Hyatt points at as little as 1.2 cents each. I value World of Hyatt points at around 1.8 cents each so that’s a 33% discount.
As with so many situations in life, the appeal of the new Chase Hyatt offer is in the eye of the beholder. To me, it represents a step down in value. For many people that aren’t focused on staying at luxurious high-end properties but rather interested in the most free nights possible, the new offer is great.
With this change I will potentially drop the Chase Hyatt a bit in my Best Travel Cards rankings. Of course this offer could change at any time. In fact, as of writing there is an offer that adds a $50 statement credit in addition to the 40,000 points. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see the signup offer pop up to 50,000 points at some point in the near future. If it does improve to that level, it would again make a strong claim to the top of the travel card rankings.
Keep in mind the Chase Hyatt card does not seem to be subjected to the 5/24 rule so this card holds extra appeal for those folks that have opened many accounts recently.
Featured image: Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall. Photo ©The Honeymoon Guy
Are you going for the Chase Hyatt card with this new offer? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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