Every so often, the site will feature questions from readers about points and miles. I encourage you to ask your questions by submitting this form or by sending me an email at email@example.com.
Today we’re fielding a question from one of my really good friends from work. He reads the website and recently approached me about what hotel credit card I would recommend he get. I thought readers would appreciate hearing about our conversation, because of how it illustrates a good strategy for earning points and miles, and he agreed to let me write about it.
He’s been putting the majority of his spend on his Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card. Because he’s based in Seattle, he gets a lot of value out of the Alaska Airlines program.
Not only are Alaska Airlines miles one of the more valuable mile currencies to have, but the credit card also comes with a great annual companion fare.
So, the good news is that he’s clearly read our beginners guide and knows to put all of his spend on a credit card. But, before he jumps on a hotel credit card, he should consider if taking advantage of transferrable points is better for his situation.
Let’s take a deeper look.
Which hotel credit card is the best?
I love Hyatt. While Hilton and Marriott have more hotels around the World, Hyatt’s redemptions make them a more points-friendly hotel.
Hyatt’s highest category 8 hotels top out at 40,000 points per night. Compared with Hilton and Marriott, its top redemption is MUCH less: Hilton’s top redemption is 120,000 points and Marriott’s top redemption is 100,000.
So why do people prefer Marriott and Hilton to Hyatt? Hyatt doesn’t have nearly as many properties. But, for those who don’t travel for business, Hyatt is still a great option. They have properties in almost every place you would ever visit!
If my friend were to get a hotel credit card, I would tell him to get the World of Hyatt credit card.
World of Hyatt Credit Card Details
- $95 annual fee
- 1 free annual night (category 1-4 property)
- 4 Bonus Points per $1 spent with Hyatt, including participating restaurants and Exhale locations
- 2 Bonus Points per $1 spent on travel (local transit and commuting, including taxis, mass transit, tolls and ride-share services) and airline tickets purchased directly from the airline
- 2 Bonus Points per $1 spent on restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, fitness club and gym memberships.
- 1 Bonus Point per $1 spent on all other card purchases
But should he get a hotel credit card?
We tell everyone that they should have a hotel credit card in their wallet for the annual free night. However, I want to make sure my friend considers getting a transferrable points card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
There’s no doubt that he will get value out of the Hyatt credit card. He travels at least once per year, so he will be able to take advantage of the annual free night.
Here’s the question: Is the reason for this card to diversify points or to get value out of a credit card?
When he approached me, he said he wanted to get a new card because he’s putting all of his purchases on his Alaska Airlines credit card.
If the goal is to diversify spending, then he needs to get a transferable points card. I would suggest either the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Chase Sapphire Reserve, depending on how much he travels. While the annual fees differ – $95 and $450, respectively – the Reserve annual fee is really only $150 after the $300 annual travel credit.
If he doesn’t travel a ton and gets the Preferred, he would still earn 2 points per dollar on travel and restaurants and 1 point on all other purchases (same as the Hyatt card). He would just be missing out on a bonus for gym memberships with the Hyatt card.
The best part of this scenario is that Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer 1:1 into Hyatt. So, essentially everything he earns with his new card would be both a Chase Ultimate Reward AND a Hyatt point.
Whereas, if he were to get the Hyatt credit card, all of his points would be tied up as Alaska Air Mileage Plan miles or Hyatt points, which would not give him many options if there was a devaluation.
I would recommend that my friend get the Chase Sapphire Preferred card so he can start earning Chase Ultimate Rewards.
He will be able to use these transferrable points for redemption on ten different airlines and three different hotel chains (including Hyatt). Additionally, he can redeem them for 1.25 cents for travel on Chase.com.
With this new card in his wallet, his strategy for earning the most points and miles should be to put all of his travel and restaurant spend on his new Chase card (2x points) and put everything else on his Alaska Air Visa Signature card.