Chase Hyatt vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred - Which One Is Right For You?

Alex Cohen

The Hyatt and Sapphire Preferred cards are two of the top premium credit cards issued by Chase. Both offer great travel benefits, have competitive reward programs, and the ability to earn thousands of dollars a year in free travel if used correctly. However, deciding which of the two to open is a difficult decision.

In this post, I break down the pros and cons of owning each card and why it might make sense to choose one over the other.

A QUICK SUMMARY
Chase Hyatt Card

Chase Hyatt Card

Chase Hyatt Card

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The Hyatt card is one of the top hotel credit cards on the market, offering lucrative rewards when redeemed for Hyatt hotels and bonus rewards on categories such as flights, car rentals, and restaurants. You get a free night each year as a bonus for just owning the card and the $75 annual fee is lower than similar hotel cards.

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Chase Sapphire Preferred

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The Chase Sapphire Preferred (better known as CSP) is the poster-child of travel cards. It’s likely that at least 1 person you know has this card and boasts about its travel benefits, and that it’s a metal card. Similar to the Hyatt card, the card earns rewards on most travel expenses and restaurants. Its annual fee is a bit higher at $95, but it’s waived for the first year of owning the card.

EARNING REWARDS

Because both cards have similar categories that earn rewards it makes the decision even that much more difficult. It also doesn't help that Ultimate Rewards (what the CSP earns) are transferable to Hyatt. More on this below.

Unless you frequently stay at Hyatt hotels, neither card offers anything super compelling that makes the decision a no-brainer - such as spend bonuses on groceries or gas.

Here’s how each card earns rewards:

 Chase Hyatt Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred

  • 3x points at Hyatt Properties
  • 2x points on flights
  • 2x points on car rentals
  • 2x points at restaurants
  • 1x everything else
  • 2x points on travel (including public transit, taxis, flights, hotels, etc)
  • 2x at restaurants
  • 1x everything else
REDEEMING REWARDS

Although both cards offer fantastic ways to redeem rewards, the Hyatt card is less flexible, as you’re limited to just Hyatt properties (not a bad thing) or transferring to an airline partner for half the value (2 Hyatt points is transferrable for 1 point on partners).

With the Chase Sapphire card, you have the option to redeem for travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal or transfer to any number of Chase’s transfer partners - which makes the Ultimate Reward program so valuable.

A side-by-side comparison:

 Chase Hyatt Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred

  • 1.8 cents per point (average) at Hyatt properties
  • Transfer to a travel partner at a 2:1 ratio
  • 1.25 cents per point through the Ultimate Reward program on all travel
  • Transfer to a travel partner at a 1:1 ratio (including Hyatt)
  • 1 cent per point on gift cards or cash back
 

Hyatt is one of Chase’s transfer partners, so you always have the flexibility to redeem rewards for Hyatt properties at the same value per point. However, if you plan to redeem for Hyatt rewards, it makes more sense to own the Hyatt card because of the included benefits.

If your mantra is to find the cheapest hotel, Airbnb or couch, or stay at a hotel other than a Hyatt property, the Chase Sapphire card is the better option. With a variety of hotel and airline transfer partners, you’re not limited to any particular brand and can redeem with flexibility.  

A few airlines included in Chase's transfer partners

With both the CSP and Hyatt cards, it’s important to note that you’re likely able to get between 3 and 4 cents per point depending on savvy you are with redeeming. Chase’s transfer partners and certain Hyatt hotels make this possible if you redeem your rewards in both programs correctly.

There’s a ton of fantastic resources available online to help understand how to redeem for the highest values, and I recommend Richard Kerr and his Facebook group, Award Travel 101, as a good starting point.

THE ANNUAL FEE

Chase Hyatt card: $75

Because you earn a free award night at Hyatt every year that you own the card, the rewards will always make up for the annual fee. We value that free night at $200. Additionally, you’ll earn 40,000 points after spending $2,000 on the card in the first 3 months, worth an additional $720.

Chase Sapphire Preferred card: $95

The CSP card has a higher annual fee art $95 but is waived for the first 12 months. The current sign up bonus is 50,000 points, valued anywhere from $625 to $4,000. There are no yearly bonuses, so you’ll have to earn enough rewards to offset the annual fee in the following years.

At 1.25 cents per point, you need to earn 7,600 ultimate rewards points to break even on the annual fee. That’s $3,800 of bonus spending or $316 a month or $7,600 of non-bonus spending.  Assuming you transfer to a partner and you’re able to redeem your points at 2 cents each, you’d only need to earn 4,750 points.

Comparing the CSP and Hyatt card annual fees:

In order for the CSP to beat the Hyatt card for reward value, you need to earn at least 11,000 points on unique CSP bonus spending. Here's how it works:

  • Both the CSP and Hyatt card earn on dining and some overlapping travel. CSP earns uniquely on all hotels, Airbnb, trains, subways, and other travel.
  • The CSP card has an annual fee of $95, $20 higher than the Hyatt card
  • The Hyatt card has an anniversary bonus worth $200, whereas the CSP does not have any bonus.

That means that you have to earn an additional $200 a year in rewards on unique bonus categories (ones that also don’t earn on the Hyatt card) in order to earn an equivalent value of rewards. That’s $5,500 in spending on the travel categories that only the CSP offers bonuses on. If you spend this amount on subways, trains, non-Hyatt hotels, Airbnb, and flights not booked directly through the airlines, you should favor the CSP as you'd earn more rewards each year.

If you’re able to transfer your Ultimate Rewards points and snag a deal at 4 cents per point, that’s only $2,750 on unique bonus spending to make the CSP the better option.

Friendly reminder: If you have no plans to redeem your rewards for hotels, the Hyatt card is not for you.

EXTRA BONUSES AND PERKS

Both cards are Visa Signature cards, so the travel and shopping benefits are identical. However, the Hyatt card stands out because of the included World of Hyatt perks and the free anniversary night. 

Although Hyatt Discoverist status includes an array of perks, the two most important are waived resort fees on award bookings and preferred room upgrades. For a full list of perks, click here. 

Resort fees can sometimes be outrageous, soaring upwards of $40 to $50 a night. For a $100 hotel room, that's an additional 50% in cost for "using the perks of the hotel." But as a Discoverist member, your resort fees are waived on award travel, which is a nice bonus that can save you hundreds on your next resort vacation. 

Here's a list of the top perks compared:

Chase Hyatt Card

Chase Hyatt Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Chase Sapphire Preferred

No Foreign Transaction Fees

Purchase Protection

Return Protection

Extended Warranty

Travel Accident Insurance

Car Rental Insurance

Baggage Insurance

Free Hotel Stay

World of Hyatt Discoverist Status

WRAPPING UP

At the end of the day, the decision to apply for either the Chase Hyatt card or Chase Sapphire card ultimately comes down to whether you want to use your points for hotels, specifically Hyatt properties.

If you plan to stay at Hyatt even a few times throughout the year or even just on vacation, the perks are some of the best for the hotel industry. If you need more flexibility and you're aiming to find that perfect business class, international ticket, the Chase Sapphire card is likely a better fit. 

Or, you can always apply for both. Just don't forget about the 5/24 rule!

About the Author

Alex Cohen

Alex is the founder of Birch and lives in San Francisco with his two dogs, Duncan and Miller, and his fiance, Sarah. Follow him on Twitter @anothercohen