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Is the World of Hyatt Credit Card worth the annual fee?

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Hotel credit cards are interesting. They tend to offer many benefits at the hotel brand associated with the card but aren’t typically strong cards for your everyday spending.

And just because a card is popular among others doesn’t mean it’s a good fit for your wallet. The World of Hyatt Credit Card has many fans and comes with just a $95 annual fee, but that alone doesn’t mean the annual fee is worth it.

Here’s a look at what you get from the World of Hyatt card each year so you can make up your own mind.

Welcome bonus

New applicants for the World of Hyatt card can earn up to 60,000 bonus World of Hyatt points. You’ll earn 30,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening. You can earn up to 30,000 more points by earning 2 points per dollar on purchases that normally earn 1 point per dollar — on up to $15,000 of these purchases in the first six months from account opening. If you maximize this spending, you’ll receive 60,000 bonus points, which TPG values at $1,020.

deck with plunge pool looking out to ocean
The Andaz Mayakoba near Playa del Carmen, Mexico. SUMMER HULL/THE POINTS GUY

The most obvious way to redeem Hyatt points is for hotel stays with World of Hyatt. This includes not just hotels with “Hyatt” in the name but also Small Luxury Hotels of the World. Hotel redemptions can include free night awards and Points + Cash payments.

You also can redeem points for dining, spa or meeting credits, Find Experiences, Lindblad Expeditions and rental cars, as well as room upgrades.

Related: Hyatt’s best-kept secrets: 16 incredible hotels you’d never know belonged to World of Hyatt

World of Hyatt uses a peak and off-peak award chart, meaning you’ll pay more points for hotel stays around holidays and during busy travel seasons. Conversely, if you can travel at less-popular times, you can shell out fewer points. Off-peak pricing at Category 1 properties starts at just 3,500 points per night. Hyatt properties are listed in eight different categories, with peak pricing at Category 8 properties topping out at 45,000 points per night.

Related: Why Hyatt’s award pricing update was my favorite loyalty program change in 2022

You also can top up your World of Hyatt account with 1:1 transfers from Chase Ultimate Rewards. These points should transfer instantly.

Annual free night award

Each year on your cardholder anniversary (based on when you opened the card), you’ll receive a free night award. It can be used at Category 1-4 hotels worldwide for one free night. It’s also worth pointing out that you won’t pay resort fees on award stays with Hyatt.

Related: The 12 hotels where you’ll get the most out of your Hyatt reward night certificate

This benefit alone can justify the Hyatt card’s $95 annual fee since you can redeem your free night for $200 or more in value with minimal effort.

Earn another free night award

In addition to the complimentary free night award received each year, you can earn a second free night award (valid at Category 1-4 properties) by spending $15,000 on purchases within a calendar year on the World of Hyatt card.

Related: Sweet Spot Sunday: Spend $15K on the World of Hyatt card, get a heap of perks

Elite status and related benefits

As a cardholder, you’ll receive complimentary Discoverist status each year. As the second-lowest status tier in World of Hyatt, TPG values Discoverist status at just $165 per year.

It offers discounted hotel rates for members, complimentary bottled water during your stay, late checkout (when available) and preferred room upgrades within the same room category. Discoverists also can enjoy a status match to MGM Rewards (to the Pearl status tier) and benefits from the Hyatt-American Airlines partnership. Furthermore, you’ll also earn 10% bonus points on cash stays (5.5 points per dollar, instead of 5 points), and resort fees (where applicable) are waived when you stay at a hotel using points or free night awards.

Related: Credit card showdown: World of Hyatt card vs. World of Hyatt Business card

Typically, earning Discoverist status requires staying at Hyatt properties for a minimum of 10 nights per year. However, you receive this status automatically from the World of Hyatt Credit Card and the World of Hyatt Business Credit Card.

With the personal World of Hyatt card, you also can earn two tier-qualifying night credits toward status for each $5,000 spent on the card. Thus, spending the $15,000 on purchases to unlock the free night award (detailed above) would also yield an additional six tier-qualifying nights each year. There is no limit to the number of tier-qualifying nights earned through credit card spending.

For more details, see our full review of the World of Hyatt card.

Other cardmember perks

In addition to the above, you’ll enjoy multiple travel protections. These include trip delay reimbursement, baggage delay insurance, auto rental collision damage waiver, lost luggage reimbursement and trip interruption and trip cancellation insurance.

a hand holds a credit card

You’ll also earn World of Hyatt points on each purchase with your card, which TPG values at 1.7 cents each. You’ll earn 4 points per dollar at Hyatt hotels, participating Small Luxury Hotels of the World locations and on eligible Lindblad Expeditions. You’ll earn 2 points per dollar at restaurants, transit, commuting, fitness club and gym memberships and on flights purchased directly from airlines, plus 1 point per dollar on other purchases. These rates represent a 6.8%, 3.5% and 1.7% return on spending, respectively.

Related: Points of View: Which credit card should you use for Hyatt stays?

You can do much better than a 1.7% return on everyday spending with other credit cards, but it’s worth considering how these purchases can be more valuable when helping you earn the Category 1-4 free night award and tier-qualifying nights toward status each year.

Related: Do all-inclusives make spending on Hyatt credit cards more valuable?

Bottom line

The complimentary free night you receive each year as a World of Hyatt cardholder should easily offset the $95 annual fee. Other benefits — such as the points-earning structure and complimentary elite status — vary in value depending on how you use them.

If you can use these benefits, the annual fee is easily worth it each year. If not, another card — perhaps one that offers simple cash back — may be better suited to your wallet.

Official application link: World of Hyatt Credit Card