Why I’m Earning Hyatt Credit Card Elite Nights in 2020
Ever since World of Hyatt launched their refreshed co-branded credit card, I’ve been a huge fan of the product. The ability to earn Hyatt credit card elite nights revolutionized the hotel status game for me, as coveted Hyatt top-tier elite status was finally within my grasp. I managed to earn Hyatt Globalist status thanks to my World of Hyatt card in 2019, for all of 2020.
I didn’t realize that my work would pay off even longer. Early in 2020 I started up spending on my World of Hyatt Visa once again. But then COVID-19 hit, and Hyatt extended elite status for everyone through 2021. Great for 2019 status efforts. Bad for my 2020 efforts so far.
At first I thought my spend was misplaced, as I could have gotten more bang for my buck with other cards. An easy alternative is the Chase Freedom Unlimited, which would have given me 50% more Hyatt points.
But now I’m actually planning to put $20,000 (or more) spend on my Visa to earn at least 8 more Hyatt credit card elite nights. Here’s why:
Current Positioning For Milestone Rewards
After a number of stays early this year, a recent stay in Tucson, and elite nights from the World of Hyatt card, I’m sitting at 25 nights on the year. Currently, I have another 7 planned from upcoming stays. Who knows if those will actually happen, though. If the next trip gets axed, I’m looking at only 2, maybe 3, for the rest of the current plans.
So, worst case scenario, I end up just short of 30 nights on the year. Unlikely, but possible. It hit me yesterday that hitting 30 nights earns me an additional Category 1-4 free night! I got so caught up with my Globalist status being extended, that I forgot about the World of Hyatt Milestone Rewards along the way. Maybe Hyatt credit card elite nights are still worth it for these?
At 25 nights, spending even $15,000 for six nights, even if I don’t have another stay this year, is worth it. This level of spend will earn me 15,000 Hyatt points plus a free night worth $200, conservatively. Using a Chase Freedom Unlimited or Citi Double Cash would earn me either 22,500 Ultimate Rewards or 30,000 ThankYou points (or $300), respectively. In either case, I think I’d rather have the night and points, which are worth ~$450.
Admittedly, I could get more than $450 from the ThankYou points by booking United flights with Turkish Miles. But I’m simultaneously going to be putting a lot of spend on my Double Cash cards each month as well.
What About the 40-Night Reward?
Truth is, I’m pretty likely to have 5 more “organic” Hyatt nights based on the trips I have planned. If the next one falls through, I’ll lose several. But I’m also not 100% done planning travel for the year. I may be able to rack up a few more.
So spending for 40 nights is a hard call. However, it would be nice to hit 30 nights sooner rather than later, as I will very likely have a great use in September for the Category 1-4 free night.
So…assuming I spend $10,000 for 4 Hyatt credit card elite nights, then stay at least one night to hit 30 nights, I’d be sitting at just over 30 nights. Would it then be worth up to another $10,000 to ensure I hit 40 nights?
This one pencils fine, but it’s not as clear cut as the benefit of hitting 30 nights. At 40 nights, you receive either 5,000 Hyatt points, a $100 certificate good for booking a cash rate, or 10,000 points off a FIND experience. The last option is objectively the best, but only if you’re already planning to book a FIND experience. I’d likely take the certificate this time (last time I took the points).
This means spending $10,000 or so gives me 10,000 points and $100. The same spend on a Chase Freedom Unlimited would give me 15,000 points. The $100 is worth a bit more to me than 5,000 points, so I’d still be ahead.
Am I Looking At This Wrong?
There is talk of both “sunk cost” at times in this hobby. You might say that the elite nights I earned early on (I’ve earned 10 to date from card spend) are a sort of sunk cost. Continuing to put spend on the Hyatt card to earn more is me just playing into the sunk cost fallacy.
But really, the spend is water under the bridge at this point. I can’t go back and put the spend on a different card. I had no idea that travel and loyalty programs would be completely upended this year.
Really, I see this as my plan to make the best of where I am. It certainly isn’t worth it to shoot for 50 or 60 nights with Hyatt elite status extended through 2021. But it does seem worth earning Hyatt credit card elite status nights for the incremental milestone rewards.
Earning Hyatt Credit Card Elite Nights: Final Thoughts
The fact that I’m likely to keep spending on my World of Hyatt card should show you just how valuable a program Hyatt offers. Their points are worth more than other chains, and their milestone rewards along the way incentivize incremental effort. It also illustrates that Chase and Hyatt really hit it out of the park with their co-branded World of Hyatt Visa.
What do you think? Am I crazy for ensuing I hit the 30-night, and potentially 40-night, milestone rewards through spend?