Hyatt Hotels & Resorts and Chase Card Services have launched their new co-branded credit card. Cardholders will receive two free nights upon first use of the card and the nights can be redeemed at any Hyatt worldwide within one year. The Hyatt Card offers complimentary Hyatt Gold Passport Platinum membership for as long as you carry the card, which includes a 15 percent point bonus, best room available within the category booked and expedited check-in at a dedicated Platinum-only area. Cardholders will earn three points per $1 spent at Hyatt and one point per $1 spent on all other purchases. There is no limit to the number of points members can earn with the card. If you use the card in other countries, there are no foreign transaction fees for international purchases. The card has a $75 annual fee and the fee is not waived the first year. Visit http://www.hyattcard.com for more information and to apply.
Bottom line: New Hyatt Visa cardholders automatically earn two free nights that can be redeemed for a standard room anywhere, including Hyatt’s highest category 6 hotels that normally require 22,000 points per night, such as the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa and Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome. The two free nights are worth much more than the $75 annual fee, so we expect Hyatt to acquire many new cardholders with this offer. The ongoing benefits, however, aren’t as rich as some of the other offers from hotel program credit cards and the $75 annual fee is higher than most. Marriott Rewards and Priority Club Rewards both offer a co-branded credit card that comes with a free night every year but Hyatt Gold Passport members will need to spend a minimum of $5,000 on all purchases or $1,667 at Hyatt to earn enough points to reach the lowest category award night at 5,000 points per night. No foreign transaction fees and complimentary Platinum elite membership are attractive benefits to international travelers who sometimes stay at Hyatt, but not frequently enough to earn elite status on their own. For members who already have Diamond status, the only benefit is that the two free nights received after first use will be in a suite instead of a standard room. There are no additional ongoing benefits for Diamond members. For more, see our 60 Seconds interview with Hyatt in this issue.