Hyatt is clearly playing games with me.
A little more than a year ago Hyatt announced a summertime 20% points rebate promotion for award and Points + Cash stays made by Hyatt Visa cardholders. Most folks thought it was a pretty good deal and perhaps even a reason to sign up for a Hyatt Visa card.
Of course, in my usual Devil’s Advocate way, I wrote a column suggesting precisely the opposite (see “Why You Shouldn’t Get a Hyatt Visa for the 20% Rebate“). I emphatically stated that even though I was personally getting a Hyatt Visa card for the two free nights that come with it as the standard signup bonus, I didn’t think the extra rebate was worth an unplanned credit inquiry.
Cut to 8 months later and you saw a Devil’s Advocate with egg on his face.
In retrospect, I was forced to admit that “Yeah, I Was Completely Wrong About That Hyatt Visa Deal.” As it turned out, my math had been rather pessimistic about exactly how many points one could reasonably spend at Hyatts without trying particularly hard.
My personal end result was a points savings equivalent to nearly $400. That rebate, added to the standard two free night signup bonus for the Hyatt Visa meant it had been well worth the credit inquiry. It also meant that I should probably learn to keep my mouth shut, which I’m sure many Travel Codex readers would have happily told me from the beginning.
Well, here we go again…
This past week saw the return of this Hyatt rebate promotion and while the dates are slightly different, the terms seem mostly the same as last year. Except this time around, the rebate is only 10% of the points spent instead of 20%.
So now I’m faced with a conundrum.
Do I avoid making the same mistake as last year and admit that the rebate is a good reason to sign up for the Hyatt Visa? Or do I use the decrease from 20% to 10% as an excuse to reverse myself again and double down on my original position?
If I were smart, what I would do is avoid the entire problem altogether and instead write this week about how America’s sudden obsession with “Pokemon Go” just makes me feel old and out of touch. Or at least as old and out of touch as one can feel when others are spending their lives trying to catch giant pretend animated squirrel-like creatures.
But obviously I’m not very smart. So let’s grapple with the Hyatt rebate, shall we?
How much value can we get from the 10% rebate?
Here at Travel Codex our experts have determined that Hyatt points are worth roughly 1.5 cents apiece. We arrived at that official valuation via a highly extensive scientific process consisting of “that’s what Scott says they’re worth and he’s a scientist and owns this blog so shut up and don’t argue with him.” Believe me, it was a peer reviewed study.
I personally feel one should net at least $400 in value from a credit card signup bonus in exchange for burning a valuable credit inquiry. In this case, we want to determine whether it’s worth applying for the Hyatt Visa now with the rebate in effect as opposed to any other time of year. So we’re not going to worry about the additional 2 free nights that we get with the Hyatt Visa since we can get that anytime.
So with all that in mind, in order to get $400 in value from the rebate, we’d need to get almost 27,000 points in rebates. At 10% that means redeeming around 270,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points between now and October 31st.
Hmmmm. That seems kinda high.
But “that seems kinda high” is exactly where I stumbled the last time around. Because in my follow up column about the 20% rebate, I noted that the nearly 67,000 Hyatt points you’d have to redeem in order to get $200 in rebate value also sounded like a lot, but in practice really wasn’t that much. Two nights at a Category 6 property comes to 50,000 points. Five nights at a Category 3 hotel is 60,000. So if it might have only taken 2 stays to make the 20% rebate worth getting the card, even at the new 10% rebate level it might only take 4 stays to be worth it.
OK, but we’re trying to get at least $400 in value from the rebate, not $200, which means doubling all those numbers yet again. And even if we were content with just $300, how many folks are going to have 4 stays of 4 to 5 nights each at a Category 3 property in the next 3 months?
But what about Points + Cash nights?
Another way I got caught during the last go round was by not considering the value of booking Points + Cash nights and getting both the rebate and additional points for the cash portion. With the old 20% rebate, a two night 15,000 Points + Cash stay at a Category 3 property with the $200 cash co-pay, the 20% rebate, and the 35% Diamond bonus put nearly 1/3rd of the points back in your account once your stay was over. After just 4 or 5 stays, you were already well over $300 in earned and rebated points.
But at 10%, the math isn’t nearly as good. It would take at least 9-10 stays of 2 nights each to get the same result. Plus I’m also no longer a Diamond member but just Platinum, so my bonus is only 15% instead of 35%. Everyone with a Hyatt Visa gets Platinum status automatically, and while a lot of points and miles people also have Hyatt Diamond, it’s probably not fair to assume everyone does.
Finally, there’s still the matter of whether the rebate actually dilutes the value of Points + Cash redemptions. Since paying a portion of your reservation in cash instead of points means you’re effectively buying points, it’s possible to argue that the 10% rebate results in buying fewer points for the same cash co-pay amount. Personally, I believe this overthinks things and only really applies if you’re terribly points rich and cash poor, but it is a consideration for some people.
The Devil’s Advocate is going back out on the limb again.
I think the change from 20% to 10% puts me back on my original stance that the rebate isn’t valuable enough to make getting the Hyatt Visa worthwhile unless you were already going to apply anyway.
But I’m going to add a caveat this time and note that you shouldn’t assume you won’t have enough Hyatt redemptions to even consider it. Obviously, if you’re not a regular Hyatt customer, then this rebate isn’t worth your time. But if you are, start counting your upcoming nights. If you’ve got enough Hyatt stays scheduled for the next 3 months, it might very well be worth considering whether a Chase Hyatt Visa is worth picking up.
And yes, go ahead and mark November on your calendar. We’ll meet back here then for my inevitable re-retraction of this post. In the meantime, someone tell me where the heck I can catch a Mewtwo…Devil’s Advocate is a bi-weekly series that deliberately argues a contrarian view on travel and loyalty programs. Sometimes the Devil’s Advocate truly believes in the counterargument. Other times he takes the opposing position just to see if the original argument holds water. But his main objective is to engage in friendly debate with the miles and points community to determine if today’s conventional wisdom is valid. You can suggest future topics by following him on Twitter @dvlsadvcate or sending an e-mail to email@example.com.
Recent Posts by the Devil’s Advocate:
- Devil’s Advocate Trip Review: Ryanair Business Plus (Yes, Really)
- A New and Better Way To App-O-Rama
- Three Reasons NOT to Privatize the TSA (#garyleffiswrong)
Find the entire collection of Devil’s Advocate posts here.