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Ari Levin: With this new benefit, the bonus points are based on how you spend in that particular quarter.
... Or free stays, or free spot experiences, or free dining experiences, and it's just another way to reward you for the hard work that you've done on your business.

Richard Kerr: So yeah, if you're a Marriott business card person, you must really like Marriott to give up the opportunity to put all the spend on this Hyatt card.

Audio: You're listening to the Miles To Go podcast, the go-to source for travel tips, news, and reviews you can't afford to miss. Now, here's your host, travel expert, Ed Pizza.

Ed Pizza: And we're back on the Miles To Go podcast talking about some excellent news from my favorite hotel chain. Hyatt was a bit late to the game when it comes to credit cards, but they really made up for lost time. They launched their first card just about a decade ago, and now they're launching their third card, though only two of them are still available right now for you to grab. The new card is catered towards small business owners. And I think Hyatt did a really solid job putting this together. I'm joined by our Ari Levin, VP of Partner Marketing at Hyatt. This is your first time on the podcast. Welcome.

Ari Levin: Thank you, Ed. And excited to be here.

Ed Pizza: Yeah, I'm excited as well. I think when you guys sort of teased that there was news coming, I think we all sort of hoped it was an exciting opportunity for credit card holders. I think it's definitely something that really covers a lot of different pieces of what people are looking for. And I'm probably getting a little bit ahead of myself, but when we think about this, I remember at the time when Hyatt launched their first card, Jeff Zidell, who ran then, Hyatt Gold Passport, talked about how the primary purpose of the card was to find ways to reward Hyatt's most loyal customers and to strengthen that relationship, as opposed to say, just a way to sell points, if you will. And I think the benefits of the credit cards over the past decade really reflect that sentiment. And we're going to talk about some of those benefits today, but I'm curious, why did Hyatt decide to launch a small business card, now?

Ari Levin: So it really came down to listening to our World of Hyatt members who are also small business owners. And what they told us is that they want flexibility. They want to be rewarded for how they do spend on their business, as well as being taken care of when they're in our hotels. And so some of the benefits on the card that I think we can talk to later really make sure that when small business owners are traveling, they are able to have a seamless experience within our hotels and gain benefits when they're traveling for business, as well as when they're with their family on a leisure trip.

Ed Pizza: Yeah. I definitely agree with what you guys have put together. I think it encompasses a lot of different pieces. And I think it's the sort of card that for me, as a small business owner, I'm definitely going to keep in my wallet, even when I'm not traveling. I'm always looking for things that make it easier for me. I can't tell you how many times I've missed out on a bonus, because there was a offer I was supposed to sign up for or something I was supposed to do. And one of the new benefits that you guys have on the small business card, called adaptive rewards accelerator, really makes it easy for small business owners to get rewarded. They don't really have to do a whole lot other than spend, like they normally do. Talk to our listeners about how it works.

Ari Levin: Yeah. And that's something that we're most excited about as well. We believe it's innovative in the industry. I know it's only Chase cards that has this new benefit. But essentially, it's to your exact point of you've got a million things to do as a small business owner, you're a CEO, CFO, COO. And we wanted to make this card as easy as possible. And so with this new benefit, the bonus points are based on how you spend in that particular quarter.
So I think it's best to give an example. Let's say you are an e-commerce company. And in one quarter, you're spending a lot on air travel, because you're flying out to meet with vendors, maybe meet with suppliers. And so in that quarter, you have a lot of air spend. Maybe the next quarter, you're spending a lot on social media, because you're marketing your product and you're really leaning into ad spend on the internet. And then let's say in the third quarter, you're actually spending the most in shipping, because you've just sold a lot of product and you need to now ship it to your customers. The way that the adaptive reward accelerator works is each quarter, it will calculate, on the backend, where you've spent the most points and automatically award you 2X points on those top three categories.
There's no reminders. You don't have to be in the backend with spreadsheets. You don't have to opt in to anything. It's kind of set it and forget it. And we believe that based on the needs and flexibility of small business owners in the changing environment to their business, we're able to reward small business owners based on the specific spend that they have in that particular time.

Ed Pizza: It sure is a shift from how other credit cards and programs think about this in that it almost works backwards for some of these cards where they want you to spend on a specific thing in each category, as opposed to looking at what I'm doing and rewarding it. So I really like that, as a small business owner. And that certainly floated to the top for me when I looked at the benefits on the card. But I'm curious what some of your other favorite benefits are when you look at the suite of things that the card offers.

Ari Levin: Yeah. I think the benefit that I like most is being able to award five Discover status memberships to your employees. So as a small business card member, you get automatic Discover status, which gets you early check-in, late checkout, 10% bonus points when you're staying at Hyatt. But the ability to give a benefit to those colleagues that are working with you, working long hours, traveling with you is something that we think helps the overall business environment and gives you something as a CEO that you can give to your employees that will help their travel more rewarding as well.
Another benefit that I really like is that the spend on your card will help you get status as well as Milestone Rewards. So every $10,000 you spend on the small business card gets you night credits, and that can help you not only earn tier status with Explorer status or Globalist status, but also our Milestone Rewards that come at 10 nights, 40 nights, 50 nights, et cetera. And so it really helps you get important benefits such as suite upgrades, free nights at Hyatt as you are not only staying with us, but also spending on the card.

Ed Pizza: Yeah. And for folks that are power users, if I remember correctly, we can maximize both the personal version of the World of Hyatt credit card and this business credit card to earn Elite night progress, right?

Ari Levin: Yeah. You can have both cards. And we know that small business owners want to kind of bifurcate their spend on the consumer side as well as the small business side. So having both would allow you to maximize the rewards you're getting at Hyatt on your personal card and then when you're spending on business.

Ed Pizza: And we're going to talk a little bit about this after your interview, or if we break down the card ourselves. But when I think about Milestone Rewards, for folks who maybe aren't traveling quite as much after the pandemic, maybe some businesses moved to Zoom calls, maybe they're not going to get all the way to a hundred nights, which is the max that somebody can earn of Milestone Rewards in the Hyatt program. And so I think when you think about putting spend on these cards, those 60, 70, 80, 90, 100 milestones are still pretty rewarding. You can get 10,000 points or you can get another suite upgrade. And gosh, I mean, I love those suite upgrade certificates. So having those thresholds in there and knowing that if you're committing to the card over the course of a year, that you can get those I think is a huge benefit.
Interestingly, and I honestly didn't see this benefit coming. I think you guys, you came up with something really interesting in terms of encouraging customers to spend early and often, if you will. One of the best promos that I've enjoyed as a World of Hyatt credit card holder over the years is this promotion where I can get a rebate on points that I spend. And typically, it's always come in the summertime, which as a family traveler, is normally when I'm redeeming a lot of my points. It was always really beneficial. And now Hyatt has made that even a little bit better if you're a small business card holder. Can you talk a little bit about how that's going to work?

Ari Levin: Yeah. So that came out of kind of the insight from our small business owners who are World of Hyatt members that while they want to be rewarded and taken care of on their business trip, what's really important for them is that trip when they're with their family or with their spouse or friends and kind of taking a break from their hard work running a business. And so we wanted to incent people to redeem points, which means that they can have free nights at our properties or maybe upgrade rooms, get spa or dining.
And so how it works, is that after you spend $50,000 on your small business card in the calendar year, for the rest of the year, you will get 10% back on the points that you redeem at our hotels. And so it's making your points go further. It's allowing you to redeem and have even more free stays, or free spa experiences, or free dining experiences. And it's just another way to reward you for the hard work that you've done on your business.

Ed Pizza: Yeah. And it's something that, like I said, I've looked forward to that promo each year, sort of wondering if you guys are going to bring it back and always excited when it rolls out again. So knowing that I can hold the card and make sure that I have that benefit available to me on a yearly basis is definitely key.
And I think, again, when we talk about things that you can do to help streamline for small business, again, nothing against free nights certificates. I think the pandemic has taught me a lot about how when you hold a number of credit cards that offer free nights certificates, they can sort of stack up when you're not traveling. You guys chose instead here with the partnership to say, "Hey, we're going to give statement credits as you hold the card over the years." In other words, just a straight discount, if you will, once you've paid your bill on a Hyatt stay and folks get to do that twice a year, right?

Ari Levin: Yep. You can maximize that at getting a hundred dollars off your two stays at Hyatt. But it could also be if you're dining at one of our hotels, maybe you're reserving a meeting space, so it's really flexible based on what you want as a small business owner, because we know each business owner is in a different place at a different time.

Ed Pizza: Yeah, for sure. And you bring up dining. Hyatt's always done a really good job of focusing on that. And the Park Hyatt DC isn't far from where I live. And my wife and I have definitely driven down to DC a time or two and eaten at the Blue Duck, which is their feature restaurant there. I certainly know that I'll have plenty of opportunities to burn my fifty-dollar credit on paid stays. But knowing that you can burn it at a place like the Blue Duck isn't all that horrible either.
So in wrapping up, we talk quite a bit about Hyatt on this show. It's definitely our favorite chain and I have a lot of favorite properties. But I'm curious, because this is your first time on the show, I know that you're probably going to say they're all your favorites, but can you give us one of your favorite Hyatt properties?

Ari Levin: Yeah and I'll be honest, I'm going to cheat a little bit, because I'm going to say one when I'm traveling with my family and one when I'm traveling without kids, because we know that experience is a bit different for those folks who have smaller kids. But when I'm with my family, I love going to the Andaz Papagayo in Costa Rica. It is such a beautiful setting there on the northwest side of Costa Rica. It's on a cliff, with a private beach, with infinity pools and the food is just incredible there. So I recommend anyone with kids, we took our youngest, Steven, who was just two years old at the time there and everyone had a great time.
The second, when I'm traveling just with my spouse, my wife, and we were actually there two weeks ago, is the Alila Ventana in Big Sur. It's a very small property, about 55 rooms, and it's overlooking the Redwood forests. It's on top of a hill, so you're eating dinner while the sun is setting over the ocean. And it's just incredible scenery in an adults-only resort, that's all inclusive. And so for those that want to kind of get away from the big city, or maybe get away from some of the stresses of running a small business, I highly recommend that property.
And I think that you mentioned going to some of our restaurants, we've actually opened up a lot of Thompson hotels recently, and they're also known for their restaurants. And so whether it's the Thompson Dallas, which has a Michelin star chef at the Monarch or other Thompson hotels that have really solid food and beverage, that's where I'm looking forward to actually staying in the future, because I haven't stayed in a lot of the new Thompson hotels here in the U.S.

Ed Pizza: Yeah. I heard great things about Thompson Nashville. And it's actually kind of funny. I was just finishing up a story that published a few days ago for The Points Guy and we were talking about properties that you should be booking for Hyatt now. And in that, I mentioned Ventana Big Sur. And I mentioned Andaz Papagayo. And I'm jealous, because I've had a reservation booked for Papagayo for our family and I had to cancel it due to a conflict. So we still haven't gotten to Papagayo, but I've heard incredible things about the property.

Ari Levin: Yeah. I would definitely try to figure out a way to get there. It is remarkable.

Ed Pizza: And I know this is probably out of our reach, but if I had one wish, like I said, that I know is unlikely to happen, but have you seen The Pirate Ship, Alila Purnama? I know it's not technically a pirate ship, but this unbelievable four-mast vessel that's part of the Alila program. We need to figure out how to redeem Hyatt points for the Alila Purnama.

Ari Levin: Yeah. I will take that back. I know we're always looking for ways to use your points and I can imagine it would be quite popular.

Ed Pizza: It would be pretty exquisite. That would make Ventana Big Sur look like an easy redemption to get as one of the most popular in the program right now.

Ari Levin: Well, as you know, you would be the first to know when we can do that.

Ed Pizza: I'm still looking forward to that day. Ari, thanks a ton for being on with us. I haven't applied yet for the small business card, but I imagine I will be doing it very soon and it will likely be part of my wallet for some time to come.

Ari Levin: Great. Well, thank you for having me.

Ed Pizza: All right. We'll be right back on the Miles To Go podcast.
All right. Back on the Miles To Go podcast. And we have moved over a thousand miles from where I recorded with Hyatt, just a brief period ago. And Mr. Mr. Kerr is with me to break down the Hyatt card as we sit poolside at Moskito Island.

Richard Kerr: 1,473 miles from home as the crow flies.

Ed Pizza: Well, your home.

Richard Kerr: Looked at it this morning. Yeah. Crosstalk. I made that up. I have no idea.

Ed Pizza: So Hyatt launches their business credit card. And it's, I mean, I guess it depends on what sort of a business person you are, but you and I were talking right before we hit the record button about the sign-up bonus, so let's start there. What do you think of 75,000 points for 7,500 in spend as a sign-up bonus for a card that's going to cost you a buck 99 a year?

Richard Kerr: Yeah, I think it's the highest sign-on bonus for any Hyatt co-brand. The personal card's never gone that high. That's a lot of Hyatt points. It's more than any of the Sapphire cards are offering right now, with the hundred thousand point that's ended. So if you're after Hyatt points and you can meet that spend, that's a sizable offer. I mean, it's pretty solid there and pretty much in line with what we would expect for spend required on a business card to trigger that bonus.

Ed Pizza: Yeah. And I think for somebody who's a true small business owner, spending 7,500 on a business credit card in three months should be a no brainer for them. Easy. When you think about this card and we think about things that, whether this card should stay in my wallet, long-term, I talk a lot about that, with what this card offers, do you think that the typical small business owner should think about keeping this card in their wallet on a year-in-year-out basis?

Richard Kerr: So to kind of state the obvious, first, you have to really like Hyatt a lot. And you have to be willing to give up putting what you spend on an e-card for a business that gives you a more flexibility. So I think the small business owner that should want this card is the one that's after status, I think.
So five nights for every $10,000 in spend towards Elite status, if you have hefty small business spend you can achieve Globalist with a few organic stays rather quickly and probably an easy way to maintain it every year, even if you're not going to hit the 60 nights, assuming they go back to 60 nights next year. So if you're a person that loves Hyatt, if you're a small business owner that regularly travels and Hyatt is your go-to spot, and then you want achieve that status, then I think this is the card that would make sense most.
I think if you would rather just have points, then I would argue that the Ink is still a better play, because you still have the flexibility and if you obviously, want Hyatt points, you can transfer there as well. But if you're after status, then I think this card, the hundred bucks credits, what is it, two fifty-dollar credits?

Ed Pizza: Two fifty-dollar credits every anniversary year. So essentially, how that breaks down, is if you have a paid Hyatt stay, or if you dine at a Hyatt restaurant or anything like that, you'll just get a fifty-dollar statement credit off of whatever you charge at the property. And you'll be able to do that twice per year. So if you max that benefit out, that reduces your annual fee to a hundred bucks.

Richard Kerr: Yeah. Arguably, although you know how I stand on...

Ed Pizza: If you're already playing this, you brought up the comment of if you're a Hyatt fan, so.

Richard Kerr: That's what I think the card is for. But, I mean, what do you think? Why would you go for this card over, say, an Ink card?

Ed Pizza: I started writing this in the story that I'm writing, that should come out roughly the same time as the episode. I think that this card makes a lot of sense for the small business owner that wants easy, no friction. So it's automatically going to assign you bonus points for your two highest bank categories. Those are the first three in the beginning.

Richard Kerr: Is it, tell me, 3X points?

Ed Pizza: 2X points. But we also know, there are a number of other cards that offer you more points for some of these categories, if you're willing to do the extra work. So I think from a small business owner, if your thing is, "Hey, I want to earn a bunch of points, but I don't ever want a spreadsheet. I don't want to think about what I spend. I just want to get rewarded for whatever I spend most on," this is a good, lazy way to do that.
I think if you're willing to put in the extra effort, there are ways to earn more points and there are ways to earn more flexible points, which you brought up about Chase Ultimate Rewards. That being said, where I think the card is attractive is twofold. You brought up Elite status, which I think is absolutely a key, but I think the other thing with Hyatt that's different than the other chains is that they've sort of decoupled some of the Elite benefits and they call them Milestone Rewards.
And so even if you're a Globalist who makes 60 nights, you can earn 10,000 Hyatt points or a Globalist suite upgrade for every 10 nights after that. And so if you're going to have organic business spend, and suite upgrades, or extra Hyatt points are important for you and your close, like, "Hey, I'm going to have 65 nights this year. If I just make it the 10,000 spend on the card, I can get another five nights and get the 70," I think that could be worth it. The other thing, to your point about people who are really big Hyatt fans, I think the spend 50,000 on the card and get a 10% rebate on all your points redemptions is interesting.

Richard Kerr: Capped at 20,000 point rebate, right?

Ed Pizza: Sure. But that means you're redeeming 200,000 Hyatt points.

Richard Kerr: That would be a lot of points.

Ed Pizza: Yeah. I mean, at 30,000 points max per night, that's a couple of really good vacations. When I think about those things, that's one of my favorite promotions that Hyatt runs on a yearly basis, anyway. So I think, again, if you want easy, you put a bunch of spend on the card earlier in the year and then all of your vacations are now 10% cheaper, and they award you bonus points without you having to do much, if you're a really busy business person and you want to earn more points, and you just don't want to put in the effort, this card certainly reduces a bunch of that friction.

Richard Kerr: Yeah. I thought, not the best product offering. But again, if you're after the status and the points, and you don't want to keep track of anything, and you got the spend, then great. Then you don't put it on there. I think the one thing I would have liked to seen is the ability to earn another free nights, even category one to seven for huge spend, that would be 30,000 points versus a 20,000-point rebate would have been cool. The other little things you can do, you can give five people Discover status, I think, like your employees or something like that. That's arguably something.

Ed Pizza: Well, I think what it helps for, as a small business owner, I think I like that benefit in terms of being able to put employees at a hotel with me and have them have some level of status for things like late checkout. But I would say, to your point about free nights certificates, while I don't want the ability to earn more free nights certificates, because I'm not using all the ones that I have now, if I were to pick something that I would like to change in the future, I think I would either reduce the amount of spend that you need to get the 10% rebate. So maybe it's 10,000 or $20,000, still a meaningful number to show that you want the card. But $50,000, if you think about it, if you spent 10 grand a month on this card for the first five months of the year, then you have to wait for the statement to close, and then you can take a vacation with a 10% discount, for most families, they're going to miss spring break.
And so I think that some level of like, "Hey, give me that 10% discount if I do something on a consistent basis, so I can still get my spring break vacation at 10% off every year." So I think there's some things there that I'd like to see them change that would make that 10% discount more valuable.

Richard Kerr: Yeah. If you got the organic spend and you really like Hyatt, I mean, you're going to wrack the points up in the Elite status. And I think your point about the Milestone Rewards to keep going is a good one I hadn't considered and thought about. So even if you do have lots of organic stays with your business, the opportunity to get up to those 70, 80, 90 night milestones for additional rewards is nice.

Ed Pizza: Well, I think the ability to round up. I think as you get later in the year to say, "I'm at 65. I know I'm not getting to 70. Okay, I'll put this large purchase on my Hyatt card and I'll earn another 10,000 points." I think situationally, in October, November, December, it can be a good way to get an extra suite upgrade or an extra... I don't necessarily think I would put $50,000 in spend to get the 70, 80, 90 and a hundred hurdles, but I might put an extra few thousand dollars in spend to get to 10,000 to get to my next milestone.

Richard Kerr: Looking at the competition, I think it blows the Marriott business cards out of the water, because you're earning almost as many Hyatt points, which are worth three times as much as a Marriott point. So yeah, if you're a Marriott business card person, you must really like Marriott to give up the opportunity to put all the spend on this Hyatt card. I mean...

Ed Pizza: Yeah. I think we've said on the podcast before, we would absolutely hold Chase Ultimate Rewards cards before we'd hold Marriott business cards. I think that you and I would definitely still hold Chase business credit cards before we'd hold the Hyatt business credit card, if we could only pick one. I have enough spend that I'll likely get the small business card and use it for some level of my spending. Not sure what exactly yet. But to your point, I think if you want the easy approach, this is a great card to earn a bunch of benefits. If you want earn the most points, it's probably not the best path for you.

Richard Kerr: Yeah. I mean, you and I both love Hyatt as much as anybody. I'm just not willing to give up the flexibility of both in rewards. So this is where I'm at on it. And I just don't have near the spend that you have from your business. So it doesn't make sense for me, but I could absolutely see why it makes sense for you.

Ed Pizza: Yeah. For small business owners who have a decent amount of spend, I think as we all know, Hyatt is one of the most valuable points currencies out there. So you're trading flexibility at least to earn high-value points versus Marriott points. It's a trade and it's going to be right for some and not right for others.

Richard Kerr: Yeah. Interesting new product in the market. Interestingly, what they do after your first year and customer feedback. So keep an eye on it.

Ed Pizza: Guys, this is the Moskito Island edition where you guys can hear the background noise at the pool. We are super fortunate to be hanging out here and you'll be hearing more about that on the podcast soon. But for now, Mr. Kerr, tell folks where they can find you.

Richard Kerr: Check out and maybe you can come to Moskito Island next time. We need to look at redeeming points. We'll talk about that on the next episode.

Ed Pizza: Yeah, we do. We will talk about ways, talk about that on a future episode. And for everybody else listening, you guys can tweet Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, all at PizzaInMotion to shoot us a note, ask us a question that we can answer on a future episode. It will definitely not be as glamorous a setting the next time I record with Mr. Kerr, but till we upload again, we've got miles to go.

Richard Kerr

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