chairs on a deck overlooking a vineyard
The Alila Napa Valley. Flights into Santa Rosa make reaching wine country easier.

Not all hotel programs are created equally.  Depending on what sort of traveler you are, there’s probably a Goldilocks hotel chain for you, maybe even two. If luxury and boutique hotels are your ideal getaway, Hyatt might be a great fit for you, and there are a few reasons driving that decision every day. And yes, it’s great for road warriors looking for dependable metropolitan city stays too.

So why do people like Hyatt? Well, points help.

The World of Hyatt program is better than average when it comes to earning points on hotel stays, and, holding their US credit card is pretty much a requirement if you really want to build up your point balance.  The only visible downside with Hyatt is the size of their hotel footprint, but after recently reaching the big milestone of having over 1,000 hotels as part of the program, it’s on its way up to challenge the likes of Marriott, IHG and Hilton.

a room with a bed and a chair and a large window

World Of Hyatt Brands 

While Hyatt has fewer true “brands” under their management as some other chains, the full picture gets a bit complicated.  Hyatt has grown with partnerships that don’t fit cleanly into traditional labels for hotel chains.  We’ve done our very best to give a bit of extra context into these options, and where they make the most sense.

Full Service

Hyatt has a number of traditional full service brands ranging from “good for a business stay” to “incredible decadence”.

Hyatt Regency/Hyatt

The Hyatt Regency is one of the most long-standing brands in the Hyatt portfolio.  These properties are typically high-rise hotels in major metropolitan cities, as well as some suburbs and secondary markets. 

Some of these hotels have a bit of age on them, while others, like Hyatt Regency Denver or Hyatt Regency Tysons Corner, are beautiful modern hotels.

You’ll find room service, fitness centers and pools at Hyatt Regency properties.  They’re also generally available for award redemptions and typically a good deal for redeeming points.  The key with these properties is consistency. 

Most Hyatt Regency hotels will look similar.  For elite Hyatt members, you’ll also find a Regency Club in most properties.  This is where you’ll get free breakfast if you qualify.  These vary from a decent continental breakfast to really solid hot breakfast options.

The Hyatt brand is similar to Hyatt Regency in that they’re full-service hotels for the most part.  The properties usually have a smaller footprint and sometimes might lack a pool or larger full-service restaurant.  But, they’re generally newer or remodeled hotels with a consistent experience.

Grand Hyatt

Grand Hyatts are a step above Hyatt Regency. These are all full-service hotels with all the same basic amenities.  But, the rooms, restaurants and fitness centers are going to be a notch above what you should expect at a Regency. 

The same goes for Grand Clubs.  These club lounges will have a more expansive breakfast offering and some properties will feature an evening selection that can serve as a great warmup for an excellent dinner.  We’ve seen excellent seafood and even really fresh sushi at some Grand Clubs, though those are obviously a bit rare.

Grand Hyatt hotels are generally found in some of those same major metropolitan areas as Hyatt Regency.  There’s also some desirable properties in places you’ll want to visit, like Grand Hyatt Baha Mar, the massive property in Nassau.

Park Hyatt

These are the true gems of the Hyatt chain.  Park Hyatt hotels are simply wonderful, across the board.  Top-notch service and amenities are table stakes.  Luxurious thread count sheets, lush towels and upscale finishes are everywhere. 

As you can imagine, there aren’t a ton of Park Hyatts.  Some are in major cities like New York and Toronto.  Park Hyatt Vienna is another gem in Austria as is Park Hyatt Sydney, just across from the Opera House under the Harbour Bridge.  

Park Hyatt is where you can enjoy the best Hyatt has to offer, and for only 30,000 points per night. When we think about why we save up our points, it’s for that island paradise Park Hyatt Maldives or the opulence of Park Hyatt Dubai.

As you can imagine, these hotels are some of the most expensive in the chain, which can make them a fabulous value for your Hyatt points.  Unbelievable hotels like these are literally the reason thousands of us join loyalty programs and save points like crazy.  

a pool with palm trees and chairs on a beach

Limited Service/Select Service

Hyatt Place

Hyatt Place is Hyatt’s limited service brand.  What sets Hyatt Place apart from many other brands in the limited service is the average age of their properties.  Hyatt was late to the game with limited service hotels, especially when you consider the history of brands like Hampton Inn and Fairfield Inn.

Newer hotels means newer rooms and amenities.  This means you’ll generally find things like electrical outlets and USB charging in all the places you need it.  Fitness centers will usually have newer equipment, though they’re still pretty, well, limited.

Every Hyatt Place room has a comfy couch as well as a respectable work desk and flat screen TV to go with the standard bedroom amenities you’d expect.  Breakfast is a step above your traditional limited service options, with things like breakfast sandwiches you can actually eat.  Hyatt has made a go at charging for breakfast at Hyatt Place as of late, but that currently doesn’t apply to members of their loyalty program.

And, in a bit of a twist for limited service, you’ll usually find a small cafe in the lobby which also doubles as room service with a limited, but actually enjoyable menu.  It’s not the Ritz-Carlton.  Then again, no limited service property is.  Much more often than not, a Hyatt Place will be among the best limited service in any market you find them.

Hyatt House

What the heck is a “select service” hotel, anyways?  This is another one of those terms that had to have been hatched by a PR firm.  Let’s see, it’s not limited service, even though it’s really similar.  But, it’s not full service.  We don’t want to call it extended stay, because people think those hotels are cheap, and these hotels are definitely not that.  That’s how we ended up with the name select service.

Now, before you get the impression that we don’t like select service hotels, let’s set the record straight.  Hyatt House, Hyatt’s select service brand, are pretty much all new build hotels that afford up-to-date amenities.  These hotels have full living rooms and pretty serviceable kitchens along with 1 or 2 bedrooms.  Even though that might make you think this was an extended stay hotel with no frills, Hyatt House has a full breakfast buffet that usually features things like eggs made-to-order.  And, there’s a small bar to grab a drink in the evening.  Along with Hyatt Place, these two brands are a solid option when you’re looking to redeem your points on a road trip or when the whole family needs to go visit family (but you don’t want to all cram into their guest room).

All-Inclusive/Timeshare Hyatt’s

Hyatt has a few small entrants in the all-inclusive and timeshare space that are worth paying attention to. For a family cashing in points, or for a great trip where expenses are planned out ahead, there are some gems.

Hyatt Zilara

Zilara is one of two all-inclusive brands under the Hyatt umbrella.  They didn’t build most of these properties, though some are newer construction.  Zilara is a brand dedicated to adults, no families allowed.  The food quality will likely surprise you for an all-inclusive, as will the quality of the guest rooms. There are currently three Zilara properties, in Cancun, Jamaica and the newest property in Dominican Republic.

Hyatt Ziva

The sister of Hyatt Zilara (and in most of the same markets), these are resorts dedicated to families.  A few of them do have dedicated pools for adults only, so a little bit of research may be worthwhile if you like a Zilara hotel but don’t plan to bring kids.  Along with the same locations as Zilara, you’ll also find Ziva hotels in Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta.

Hyatt Residence Club

Hyatt dabbles in timeshares, too.  And, you can cash in your Hyatt points for a reasonably affordable stay at most of the properties.  You won’t get hassled nearly as much for a timeshare presentation at a Hyatt Residence Club, but you’ll surely get asked.  On top of awesome destinations such as Maui and Aspen, you’ll find Residence Club properties in Florida, Lake Tahoe and Arizona.  

Some of the properties are located near ski resorts while others are situated on or near the beach.  And, since they’re essentially timeshare properties, you can find oversized rooms or condos for 20,000 to 30,000 Hyatt points.

MGM Resorts/Small Luxury Hotels of the World

Hyatt charted their unique expansion path when they formed a partnership with MGM Resorts.  In a market where Hyatt only had one limited service property, they were able to add 14 Las Vegas resorts ranging from bargain basement properties like Excalibur to the luxurious Aria and Bellagio.

Hyatt did a great job integrating these into the award chart and making sure there was availability for a reasonable amount of points.  And, they always had decent, if not the absolute cheapest, cash rates.

Further, Hyatt really put some weight behind the partnership by making sure the reciprocal elite benefits were awesome.  Most of Hyatt’s elite members qualified for cut-the-line access and other goodies that Vegas regulars love.

The Small Luxury Hotels of the World partnership employed all the lessons learned from the MGM Resorts tie-up.  Prior to joining forces with SLH, there were so many countries (like Greece) where you couldn’t find a Hyatt anywhere.  Now, with hundreds of Small Luxury Hotels of the World as full partners in the World of Hyatt program, there’s virtually no countries where you won’t be able to find a chance to earn and burn Hyatt points.  The hotel chain went from virtually no hotels in Italy to three alone just on the Amalfi coast.

All members of the World of Hyatt loyalty program get benefits at SLH hotels like late checkout and free breakfast. And, the majority of these hotels are boutique, quite small.  You’re more likely to feel like you’re staying in a private rental home than a hotel.

Boundless Portfolio

There are some really interesting brands in the Boundless Portfolio.  Hyatt has both built and acquired some hotels that are worth paying attention to.  

Andaz hotels are a collection of boutique hotels in metropolitan areas and some exquisite properties in faraway places.  Andaz West Hollywood is a hip place to stay when you’re in Southern California.  While it may not be great for kids, a drink from the rooftop bar and a dip in the pool is a great option.  Get outside of the US to Andaz Papagayo, a jungle paradise in Costa Rica.

Hyatt Centric is another small collection of hotels, mostly in metropolitan areas. Somewhere in between boutique and mega hotel, these are full-service hotels with maybe just a smidge more charm.

Thompson Hotels is a small brand of luxury hotels that Hyatt acquired in recent years.  Inviting properties in New York and Chicago are joined by hip spots in Playa del Carmen and Zihuatanejo.  

Alila Hotels are unbelievable properties dotting some of Asia’s most popular destinations.  There’s even a pirate ship of sorts, though you can’t redeem points for it….yet.  These hotels all look spectacular, and we can’t wait to find ourselves at an Alila Hotel in the lap of luxury.

a room with a view of the ocean
The Cape, A Thompson Hotel. Image Courtesy of Hyatt

Independent Collections

The chains that Hyatt refers to as part of it’s “Independent Collections” continues their recent work to string together interesting, upscale hotels around the world.  

The first properties in this collection are referred to as Unbound.  These are unique hotels and resorts around the world.  Some are as simple and accessible as The Confidante in Miami Beach.  Hyatt bought this hotel from Thompson Hotels a handful of years ago.  Or, you could choose The Lost Stone Villas & Spa on Yunfeng Mountain in China.  Spectacular!

Hyatt recently added Destination Hotels and Jioe de Vivre to the Independent Collections.  Both are great additions, though very different.  Destination Hotels manages properties like The Resort at Squaw Creek and almost a dozen different properties in Hawaii.  Joie de Vivre is all boutique hotels in cities like Chicago and New York.  Hotel 50 Bowery in Manhattan is an excellent points redemption option.  

Earning Points

While hotel chains may not have quite as many ways to earn points as airline loyalty programs, there are still a decent number of ways to build up a big pile of Hyatt points. We’ve got a detailed guide on all the ways to earn points, and we’ve highlighted some of our favorite options here.

The easiest way to build a big balance is by paying for Hyatt hotel stays.  Road warriors can earn up to nine points per dollar if they have top-tier Globalist status and carry the World of Hyatt credit card.  Hyatt doesn’t charge as many points for their priciest hotels as other chains, but we’ll get into that in a bit.

The World of Hyatt Credit Card is likely the second best way to bank Hyatt points.  As we mentioned, you’ll earn nine points per dollar on all your spending at Hyatt hotels as long as you’re a member of the loyalty program and charge your stays on their credit card.  There are also a bunch of categories that earn two points per dollar on every day spending.

A partnership with American Airlines is really low-hanging fruit to bump up your points balance, though you won’t earn a ton this way.  And, there are partnerships with Avis and some excursion providers if you’re looking under every rock for ways to earn Hyatt points.  

Redeeming Points

Just like with earning points, the best values to be found when redeeming your Hyatt points is on free hotel nights.  That’s pretty common amongst all the major hotel loyalty programs. Where Hyatt departs from the norm is the ease with which you can use your points for suites.

World of Hyatt has eight award categories ranging from 5,000 points to 40,000 points per night.  However, only a literal handful of Small Luxury Hotels of the World properties fall in that 40,000 point category.  That means the best of the best properties in the Hyatt program will cost you 30,000 points per night. 

Hyatt is due to implement peak and off-peak pricing in the coming months, so that top rate will bump up just a bit. And, some very popular hotels may also get more expensive.

Some chains will charge you 100,000 points per night to stay in their best properties. The best of Hyatt will cost you less than half that. And Hyatt makes it easier to live it up in that baller suite when you do redeem.

Not only can you book standard rooms and suites with your points, you can also combine points and cash for both categories of award bookings.  Referred to as…..Points & Cash bookings, these will require 50% of the normal amount of points required per night plus 50% of the “standard rate” which will vary by property.

Hyatt also allows you to use your points for free nights at their all-inclusive resorts, Ziva and Zilara, including food and beverage.  And, you can redeem points (a LOT of them) for standard rooms and suites at the ultra high-end Miraval Resorts and Spas.

Lastly, one of the absolute best values for room nights is to turn those points into suite upgrades.  Find an affordable cash rate, and for as little as 6,000 points per night you can live it up in an awesome suite.  Definitely one of our favorite ways to watch our point total shrink.

If you’ve already got your rooms covered, the next best way to redeem your points is for spa services and dining.  These generally won’t get you as much bang for your buck as free rooms. But, they can make you feel a lot less guilty about splurging for that couples massage or expensive dinner on your romantic getaway.

If you have boatloads of points, Hyatt has a partnership with Lindblad Expeditions for crazy unbelievable trips to Galapagos and Antarctica.  A bit less exciting are transfers to major airlines and AVIS rental cars, though we generally refer to these as the “in case of emergency, break glass” way to use your points.

Elite Status

If you want the really, really good stuff in the Hyatt world, you’ll need elite status.  Top-tier elite status preferred, where you’ll find one of the most valuable benefits of any hotel loyalty program. But, we’re getting ahead of ourselves.  Other than being a basic member, Hyatt’s loyalty program has three levels.

Discoverist members get a pretty light list of benefits. You can earn Discoverist status by staying 10 nights or earning 25,000 base points in a calendar year, or booking three meetings in a year.  You can also earn Discoverist status each year by holding the World of Hyatt credit card.

Beyond free premium internet and bottled water, there’s not much else to celebrate about Discoverist status.  You’ll get a 2pm late checkout, 10% more bonus points, a status match to Pearl status in the MGM Resorts M Life program and some benefits in the American Airlines partnership.

Explorist status adds a few more benefits.  You’ll need 30 nights, 50,000 base points or 10 meetings in a calendar year.  On top of the Discoverist benefits, you’ll get a 20% bonus on spending, Gold status in the M Life program, room upgrades (excluding suites) when available, and guaranteed room availability with 72 hours notice.

If you put in the time, Hyatt will truly make it worth your while. Top-tier Globalist elite members get incredible benefits including free upgrades to some of the best suites money can buy.

To the victor go the spoils.  Top-tier status with Hyatt is called Globalist, and we think you’ll really like it.  You’ll have to really commit to Hyatt. Globalist status will require 60 nights at a Hyatt hotel (or one of their partner hotels).  You can also get there with 100,000 base points or booking 20 meetings over the course of a calendar year.

You get all the benefits of Explorist status and some pretty awesome extras.  For starters, you’ll earn a 30% bonus on eligible spending, and you’ll virtually never pay a resort fee, on both paid nights and free nights.  Globalist members are also eligible to receive upgrades at time of check-in to suites and a guaranteed 4pm late check-out.  Free club lounge access or breakfast as well as free parking are available to you.  

Two of the very best benefits are unique to Hyatt.  Hyatt’s Guest of Honor benefit means you can gift your Globalist status to a friend or family member when you redeem your points for their stay. 

And, probably one of the best benefits of any hotel chain are Suite Upgrade Awards. What makes these so special is that you can plunk down one of these certificates to confirm a suite at the time of booking. No waiting around to see if your suite upgrade clears at the last-minute for you. You can earn four of these awards per year if you hit the 60 nights required to achieve Globalist status. And, you can choose more if you stay more nights throughout the year.


World Of Hyatt Credit Card

The World of Hyatt Credit Card is pretty much a must if you plan to stay at Hyatt hotels on a regular basis. For starters, it earns four points per dollar on virtually ever dollar spent during a Hyatt stay. When balanced against a $95 annual fee it’s a pretty sure bet to pay off in your wallet.

On top of that, you’ll receive a free night certificate (valid for Category 1-4 properties) each year on your anniversary date. If you use the card heavily, you can earn a second category 1-4 certificate by spending $15,000 each year on the card.

You’ll also earn two points per dollar when you purchase airline tickets (directly from an airline) as well as on things like Uber, the subway and train tickets. 

Restaurants are also included in the two points per dollar bunch, along with fitness centers. Fun fact: the World of Hyatt credit card is the only rewards card we know with a consistent bonus on fitness centers.  You can definitely find better earning rates for some of these categories, such as restaurants though. 

Just be sure you know your priorities before you use the World of Hyatt Credit Card for expenses like dining and airline tickets.

The Wrap: World Of Hyatt

The World of Hyatt program won’t win for sheer size. In fact, they’re much smaller than most of their competitors. But, we’d argue that they have just as many properties you actually want to stay at.

Half a dozen mediocre properties in a place like Williamsburg, Virginia isn’t six times as good as having one (at least in our books). When you consider all the truly exceptional properties you’ll find around the world, you’ll understand our unabashed love of the chain. The fact that the best Hyatt properties can be found for 30,000 points a night versus 100,000 at some other chains is just icing on the cake.

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