World of Hyatt program changes have been coming at us from all sides. I wrote about the major ones last week. Because of how Hyatt is now charging on their Cash+Points rate, going forward the math makes more sense to book rooms using an all points rate. Then it struck me. I better start accruing way more Hyatt points if I won’t be able to stretch points and their value like I used to. So I began looking at my options for increasing my Hyatt points stash.
I’ve observed that most people still use affinity credit cards so that if they want hotel points, say Hyatt points, they get a Hyatt credit card. Many of us know and prefer credit cards that have transferable points and miles so we can transfer our points to hotels when we need to.
As a Hyatt loyalist I’m going to have to make sure I’m maximizing transferable to Hyatt points, which in effect means Chase Ultimate Reward points. Cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points are great because the points transfer to Hyatt at a 1:1 ratio.
I can get lazy about making sure I’m putting my spend on the “right” Chase card to maximize my Ultimate Reward points. Using a combination of cards works well because many of the cards include bonus categories for spending that can earn anywhere from 2x to 5x points. I reviewed my own Chase cards, as well as the ones going forward I might want to get, and made sure I knew the bonus categories and which card to pull out for which purchase. Those little orange sticky notes help!
Here are my picks for BEST card in each bonus category. As I break out these categories according to the categories I use most, I’ll start maximizing the bonus points on spend. The categories might not all apply to you. Some bonus categories don’t apply to my spend either. But it’s good to know them because I find that spending habits change over time.
Best credit card for travel category bonuses
This is my largest category of spend. In this category you may prefer to use your Hyatt credit card at Hyatt hotels, and a Chase Ultimate Rewards earning card at other hotels. Booking cash rates at Hyatt properties earns 4x Hyatt points on a Hyatt card. That’s more than both the Sapphire Reserve card (at 3x points) or the Sapphire Preferred card (at 2x points).
For other travel spend, the Sapphire Reserve and Ink Business Preferred Credit Card will earn 3X Ultimate Reward points.
Though the annual fee on the Sapphire Reserve card is $450, it comes with a $300 travel credit to spend each year. Each year I usually put my first few hotel stays on this card and that takes care of the $300 travel credit. Because of the $300 offset, I think of my annual fee on this card as $150.
Best credit card for restaurant category bonuses
When I eat out, I put the charges on my Chase Sapphire Reserve and earn 3x Ultimate Reward points per dollar of spend. If the annual fee of $450 is too steep for you, the next best choice is the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card which earns 2X Ultimate Rewards points. The annual fee on this card is $95 and it’s waived the first year you have your Sapphire Preferred card.
My next large category of spend is actually groceries. I don’t know why Chase has not YET added this as a category bonus to any of their cards. I put my grocery spend on an American Express card, so at least that keeps my points diversified.
Best credit card for gas station category bonuses
I’ve switched back and forth in which card I use at gas stations. You would think since gas is a pretty big expense for most of us that more cards would have gas stations as a bonus category, but that’s not the case. Right now in my efforts to maximize Chase Ultimate Reward points, my Ink Business Cash Credit Card gets all my gas spend. The card earns 2x Ultimate Rewards points. The amount of points you can accrue at the 2x per dollar rate does have a cap at $25,000, but I’ve never even come close to the cap. You might though if you drive more than I do, so keep this cap in mind.
Best credit card for office supply store category bonuses
This may be one of the most popular ways to accumulate Chase Ultimate Reward points. Seems like I’m regularly in an office supply store purchasing gift cards or office supplies. I use the Chase Ink Cash card which earns the maximum bonus of 5x per dollar of spend. Remember to keep track of the spending cap of $25,000 per year.
Best credit card for everyday purchases
Here’s another category that I’ve recently shifted over to my Chase cards. In the good old days I used to put my non-bonused spend on my AmEx SPG credit card. But now I’ve shifted that spend over to my Chase Freedom Unlimited card. It accrues 1.5x points per dollar of spend. You could also use the Chase Ink Business Unlimited card to earn 1.5X on spend, as well. Neither of these cards have bonus categories. They earn 1.5x on all spend. Keeping it simple can be the way to go.
Best credit card for internet, cable and phone service category bonuses
I don’t spend very heavily in this category compared to most people, so this might rank higher and be a larger part of your monthly spend than it is for me. Whether you spend a lot or a little on internet, phone, or cable, using the Chase Ink Cash for 5x points per dollar of spend gets you the highest Ultimate Reward point per dollar that Chase offers. Don’t forget, there’s a cap of $25,000 on this category as well.
Best credit card for gym memberships and fitness expense category bonuses
As a health and fitness professional, I wondered how many people would actually use this new World of Hyatt Card bonus category benefit. Whether it’s a heavily used category of spend or not, it’s a nice addition. The Hyatt card earns 2x points per dollar of spend on gym memberships and certain fitness expenses like classes and personal trainers. But make sure to read the fine print on this benefit and check to see if your gym is included. Many gym-like facilities aren’t.
Best credit card for digital ad category bonuses
Many of us are business owners and have both Chase personal and business credit cards. This Ultimate Reward earning category can easily slip through the cracks, so here’s a reminder. If your business uses Google or Facebook ads, the Ink Preferred card earns you 3x points per dollar of spend in this category. Again, take note that there’s a $150,000 cap on spend which is applied to all 3x categories combined of spend on this card. If you’re putting travel expenses on this card, that cap can be easily reached.
There’s always a caveat with credit cards, isn’t there? If you don’t already have these cards and are considering applying, take into account Chase’s 5/24 rule. Right now the Chase Hyatt card does not fall under the 5/24 rule.
Perhaps because lately World of Hyatt has been in the spotlight so much with their promotions as well as their, for me anyway, most unfortunate changes to their rewards program, pulling out the right card for my spending is the best way to earn Hyatt points. As a Hyatt girl, I’m going to have to make sure I’m maximizing transferable to Hyatt points, which in effect means Chase Ultimate Reward points.