I always knew flying and sleeping in hotels don’t earn many points, but a recent example brought home how relatively terrible they are. A friend just stayed in a Hyatt for ~9 days, spending over $700 before taxes (“eligible amount”). He excitedly logged in to his account to see how many points he earned, to find a whopping ~4,200 points – after the 10% bonus for his Discoverist status. Hyatt has no promotion right now.
Meanwhile, I got the Hyatt card (again) recently. I got 5,000 points just for adding an authorized user. Of course I got the 40,000 bonus points + $50 credit too. All for spending $2,000 in 3 months and paying $75 annual fee (which is really $25 after the credit). My friend would have to spend $8,000+ in unbonused Hyatt stays as a Discoverist to get this many points. Even assuming he reaches Explorist at some point, it wouldn’t offset much since it only earns 10% more than Discoverist.
The points earning through unbonused stays is actually pretty good on its own. If we value Hyatt points at 1.5 cents per point, then the 5 base points per dollar is effectively a 7.5% return. It only pales greatly compared to the lucrative signup bonus scheme. Seeing merely 4.2k post for what feels like a long stay, was kind of a shock after being used to large amounts post from signup boni.
Of course, Hyatt does have promotions from time to time, and if the employer is paying then you’re kind of getting something for “free”. You also earn a bit more if you pay with a Hyatt credit card, but many employers require using company card. Still, earning points through credit card signup bonus is so much more rewarding than regular “loyalty”. And this is before even talking about buying office products with Ink cards.
I do love earning bonus points from stays during hotel promotions – when those coincide with business trips. I will earn a decent amount of IHG points from the Accelerate promotion. Last year I earned a small fortune from Hilton’s triple base points for Diamond promotion. Hyatt has no promotion at all right now, hence my friend’s measly 4,200 points for his 9 nights. Two years ago that was almost enough for one night at the super expensive and under-categorized Asheville property. Right now, I’m not sure.
In a Nutshell
This story probably underscores the amazing value of US credit card rewards (especially the signup bonus) more than how “bad” earning through regular stay is (which is actually good on its own, just paling in comparison). Keep churning and MS’ing while it lasts!