What is the Best Way to Manufacture Elite Status with Hyatt?

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Comparing Methods for Manufacturing Hyatt Status

Comparing Methods for Manufacturing Hyatt Status

With World of Hyatt announcing award nights now count towards status I started to wonder what would be the best way to manufacture elite status with them now.  I am going to focus on Explorist status since 60 nights is still pretty crazy for most.  30 stays is much more manageable and the status comes with a few decent perks.

Explorist Status Perks

The Explorist status comes with the following perks of note:

  • A free night certificate good for any category 1-4 hotel when you reach 30 nights.
  • 4 Lounge access certificates good for up to 7 nights per stay.  Works with award stays.
  • 20% more points on paid stays
  • Upgrade to the best room, excluding suites

The gem of the bunch is the lounge access.  If you use that for a family of four on a couple of week long stays the savings can really add up.  Especially if it is in a place with expensive food like Hawaii or Nassau.

Options to get Status

I am going to assume, for the sake of this exercise, that there are no paid/planned stays for the next year and this will all be done via increased spending.  This is an exercise to see what the best route is going forward.  Everyone would need to adjust these findings to match their personal situation.

The way I see it there are two ways to manufacture Explorist status with Hyatt.  You could spend $50,000 on the Hyatt credit card or book 30 nights in a category 1 hotel at 5,000 points per night.  I am assuming you would transfer the points needed, for the award stays, from Ultimate Rewards.  These points would be earned with a Ink Plus/Cash card while earning 5 points per dollar.

Comparing Methods for Manufacturing Hyatt Status

Status via the Hyatt Credit Card

One way to increase your spending and generate a lot of points is to purchase Visa gift cards. You can use these to pay bills or to liquidate in other ways. Where you decide to source your Visa gift cards will greatly affect the numbers.  I am going to assume you get some from the grocery store at $5.95 a piece, some from Simon Mall for $3.95 a piece, and some online at no out of pocket cost.  I will call it an average of $4 per card.  Then I would add a cost of 35 cents per card for liquidation fees (money order fees).  That would be a total out of pocket cost of $4.35 per card.  You would need 99 Visa gift cards ( at $504 a piece) to hit the mark plus another $100 in regular spend.

This would equate to an out of pocket cost of $430.65 (99 cards x $4.35 per card).  With this spend you would also have 50,000 Hyatt points in your account worth around $900.


Status via 30 Award Stays

To get 30 category 1 award stays done you would need 150,000 Hyatt or Ultimate Reward points. This is $30,000 in spend on your Ink Plus/Cash card at an office store.  I am going to assume you source 75% of that spend from Staples’ website buying $300 VGC for $308.95 ($22,500).  The other 25% ($7500) will be achieved with one the office stores’ frequent VGC sales when you can get them at zero or negative cost.

It would take 73 VGCs at $308.95 to hit the $22,500 mark.  Each card would have a liquidation cost of 23 cents if you split tender 3 times for each money order.  So each card comes with a cost of $9.18. The money order fees on the $7500 in free spend would cost $6.65 (38 $200 cards with a liquidation cost of 17.5 cents a piece)  That would put the total cost at $676.79.  These figures can be adjusted if you are able to cover more of the spend with the no cost gift card offers.


These options came in pretty close to each other.  The Hyatt credit card method would cost $246.14 less out of pocket.  It would also come with $900 in Hyatt points.  That is a difference of $1146.14 in value.

But for that $1146.14 you would get 30 nights in a category one hotel.  The question is if that is useful or not for you.

If you travel often and have category one hotels available to you then that may work.  Or let’s say you were in between houses or doing a remodel on your house and needed to spend an extended time in a hotel.  Those may be two scenarios where this would make sense.


I purposefully did not debate whether or not this was worth it.  That is a personal decision and entirely based on how much you value status and those lounge certificates.

If you maxed out the lounge certificates (4 trips of 7 days) then I could see it being valuable enough to strive for.  But that all comes down to what your travel plans are over the next year or two.

I did this more as a fun exercise to see which way would come out on top.  It comes down to whether or not you be able to use the 30 nights in a category 1 hotel. That is assuming you could find enough category 1 hotels for 30 nights.  Or, would you rather have a little stockpile of points and the status for less out of pocket cost.


Let me know which route you find more enticing in the comments!


Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann is a father, husband and miles/points fanatic. He left the corporate world after starting a family in order to be a stay at home dad. Mark is constantly looking at ways to save money and stay within budget while also taking awesome vacations with his family. When he isn't caring for his family or taking a weekend trip, Mark is working towards his goal of visiting every Major League Baseball ballpark.

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  1. The points earned via the credit card are Bonus points and not base points so the first method will get many points but no status.
    From the rules: Points earned or received by any other means under the Hyatt Gold Passport program (including any points awarded through point bonuses given to members with elite status, points provided to a member by Hyatt customer service, points earned through the Hyatt Credit Card or by holding qualifying meetings or events, points that were purchased or received by transfer or gift, and points earned through a promotional offer) will not be considered Base Points

    • Larry you are correct the points earned from the credit card don’t count towards status but it is a perk of the card that if you spend $50,000 on it you get Explorist status. That was the case last year but we are confirming with Hyatt that it is still the case this year.

      • From Hyatt Twitter team:

        If you spend 50,000 on the card you will be bumped to Explorist status. ^MA

    • That is a tough call and more based on personal use/experience. I would put a value of the free night cert (category 1-4) at probably around $150. I think you would really have to search to get less value than that. You could also get up to $3-400 in value from it but I think $150 is a safe bet.

      The other money saver is the lounge access. I would say it saves you the cost of breakfast and maybe a snack. In a place like Baha Mar this could be $20-30 per person. In the states where you can grab a quick cheap breakfast maybe only $10 per person. Theoretically you could save $100 per day for a family of 4 for 28 days….most people wouldn’t get there but it is possible. I would say lay out your travel plans for the next 1-2 years and figure out where you would use them and how much you would plan on saving and go from there.

  2. Can I spend 100000 and get globalist? Does a new sign up bonus of 40000 points count towards these requirements?

    Thank you for your help and insight.

  3. Could you just transfer UR points to Hyatt to get Explorist status? or do they have to be earned through Hyatt?

    • That was not laid out in the email Hyatt sent out but I would assume they would if they account for the yearly status. You could always tweet them and ask…they usually respond pretty quickly.

  4. Any data points on the risk of a Chase shutdown if you buy that many VGCs with an ink card in a short period of time? (<2 months)

    • Something you need to consider for sure. I know people who have done it without issues (large spend) but those were on seasoned cards and they have been making similar purchases for a year. I would think if you spread it out a little longer than 2 months you should be fine but there is some risk involved for sure.

    • Do you guys ever feel guilty for doing multiple tenders when there is a 5 person line behind you? People seem to get super annoyed even with just a 3 min wait on me while I do 2x of $900 cards at wm. Should I tell them to go ahead until there is no line and wait on them instead?


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