hotel loyalty programs hotel reward category Hyatt Gold Passport Hyatt Hotels Loyalty Traveler Starwood Hotels Starwood Preferred Guest

Hyatt vs. SPG Hotel Award Spend Analysis

Tables in this post reveal a significant impact of being a cardmember of the hotel brand credit card for increasing the earn rate of points on hotel stays with Hyatt and Starwood Hotels.

This post follows up the Hyatt-SPG Hotel Award Category Distribution tables with different tables showing hotel spend needed for an award in each of 7 hotel award categories for Starwood Hotels current award categories and Hyatt Hotels award categories as of January 7, 2014.

Study these tables and it is apparent that anyone spending more than $2,000 dollars per year with one hotel chain should use the hotel branded credit card to pay for hotel stays.

Hyatt-SPG award spend 11-12-13

[click on image to enlarge]

This hotel spend table based on the earning rate for loyalty program members of Starwood Preferred Guest and Hyatt Gold Passport at Starwood Hotels and Hyatt Hotels reveals paying with an SPG American Express or Hyatt Visa greatly reduces the cost of earning free nights.

My last post, Hyatt-SPG Hotel Award Category Distribution tables, shows Hyatt Gold Passport has far more hotels in the lowest two categories, 54% Hyatt Hotels in category 1 and 2 compared to 19% of Starwood Hotels in category 1 and 2.

These tables show that less Hyatt spend is required to earn free nights.

Since Starwood and Hyatt are the two leaders in upper-upscale hotel travel, these two hotel loyalty programs are natural competitors in a similar traveler market segment.

Starwood Preferred Guest still has the primary advantage of more hotels with twice as many properties globally at nearly 1,200 Starwood Hotels compared to 538 Hyatt Hotels.

Hyatt Gold Passport has more to offer on the points side of the equation for free hotel room nights at the Standard Award level. Hyatt Gold Passport members will likely spend less to earn free nights compared to Starwood Preferred Guest members.

Hyatt Gold Passport also has better elite benefits at the Diamond vs. SPG Platinum level.


  • Seth November 12, 2013

    I’m thrilled that we are all searching for maximum reward value from our travel dollars, but is it really necessary to post these detailed analyses for SPG, IHG, HGP et. al. to use as justification for further devaluing their programs? Anyone with 15 minutes and a novice understanding of Excel can build these, so if someone is interested in performing such analysis, why not let them figure it out on their own? it seems like posting the excellent comp tables provides a roadmap to the next massive devaluation, no?

    I applaud your efforts to make loyalty programs less daunting, but perhaps this is something we should think about given the new reality of a cat and mouse game between these companies and their customers.

  • rom November 12, 2013

    Hotel loyalty is becoming overrated. I just keep mid-tier through credit cards and stay at third party hotels now..

  • Ric Garrido November 12, 2013

    @Seth – I can break the news to you that this is not a new reality of cat and mouse.

    These loyalty companies hire PhD statisticians to figure out every small detail. The customer is totally on the losing end of the information.

  • Ben November 12, 2013

    One small correction – the Hyatt Credit Card comes with platinum status for as long as you have the card (or until they change the terms), so unless there is another Hyatt card I do not know about, The Hyatt equivalent to “SPG Amex and base status” would be “Hyatt credit card and platinum status”, as the Hyatt CC & base status does not exist.

  • Glenn November 12, 2013

    @Seth – Do you have to call the attention to this post like that? Don’t you realize that the programs watch what blogs you comment on so they can figure out how to screw you personally?

    Seriously, calm down. This sort of analyses is useful. If you think the hotel programs can’t do this analysis on their own, you’re deeply disturbed.

  • Ric Garrido November 13, 2013

    @Ben – you are correct of course that Hyatt Platinum elite is a benefit of being a Hyatt Card member. There should be no Hyatt base member + credit card, unless for some reason I pay for my wife’s Hyatt reservation using my Hyatt credit card :).

    The more I think about this, I see there is an application for the base member + credit card.

    My wife has her own Hyatt credit card linked to my credit card account. She is a base member, not Platinum, since she is not the primary cardmember.
    She will earn 5 points per $1 for her hotel stays and I will earn 3 points per $1 for her spend at Hyatt Hotels.

    We will earn 8 points/$1 and we can combine our points for an award if we choose.

  • StuckInTraffic November 13, 2013


    That is a great idea, when you get a chance you should create a separate page for credit cards that can be used by partners in programs that allow combined points for redemption. It would make credit card choices and hotel chain choices easier.

  • Ric Garrido November 13, 2013

    All this credit card talk is making me dizzy. I should sign up for affiliate marketing and then I would have financial incentive to dive deep into the recesses of credit cards and hotel points.

  • […] One small correction – the Hyatt Credit Card comes with … by Ben […]

  • Steve K November 13, 2013

    This is precisely the kind of post that Ric is known for. He informs himself well, crunches the numbers, and lays it all out nice and clear for his readers.

    It usually only takes a blog reader a few seconds to see if any given post will be of interest. If it’s not, then there is no need to occupy any further time. Most blogs have content of questionable value, while this one is offered to all, for free, by a dedicated and capable person.

    So if a given Loyalty Traveler post is not of interest to some readers, these they can simply move on (keeping whining to minimum if possible) to another post or blog and find a more interesting piece. Many others, however, will benefit. Some will be grateful, some won’t.

  • Paul November 13, 2013

    Sigh. You can’t compare without at least acknowledging UR 5x transfers from Ink cards. 5x dramatically skews in favor of Hyatt, particularly for top tier. SPG has no such ability.

Comments are closed.