Hyatts are great for redeeming points. The Hyatt award chart often makes it easy to get 2 cents per point when redeeming and that’s pretty much the holy grail for maximizing credit card points.
But here’s the rub: Hyatt has about 800 hotels worldwide. You can find at least one in pretty much any major city, but there will be times where it just won’t be feasible to stay at a Hyatt and if you only have Hyatt hotel points, you will have to pay cash to stay at another hotel. We do not pay cash to travel. Repeat that. I have not spent a dime on hotels or airfare for a dozen years (Disney is the only exception since you can’t redeem points at Disney properties). The only way to pull this off is to have points spread out across a wide array of reward programs.
This has already been a long-winded way to say the Amex Starwood Preferred Guest credit card is one everyone should have. The signup bonus is 75,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first three months. Marriott bought Starwood in 2016 and their reward programs merged last year. Those 75,000 points can be used at nearly 8,000 hotels around the world so unless you are traveling to a remote desert, you will always be able to find a Marriott or SPG hotel nearby. You can easily get $500 worth of value out of those points and as I’ve mentioned in the past, that’s really the minimum amount of value you should be looking for with every credit card you apply for. Do not apply for the Target credit card to get 10% off your $20 purchase!
In the example below, you can redeem 70,000 points for two nights at the Courtyard Boston Downtown on a summer weekend. It would cost you over $700 in cash.
Amex cards also unlock Amex offers, which can be very lucrative and can easily make up for the $95 annual fee on the card. That fee is waived for the first year. You also get a free night each year (awarded on each card anniversary) in a hotel up to 35,000 points. So clearly, as long as you use that free night each year, this card is one that is worth getting and keeping long term.
Apply for the SPG card here.