Hilton vs. Hyatt: Which Loyalty Program Is Better for You?

This Hilton vs. Hyatt matchup can help you choose the better fit for you. Let’s see how both hotel loyalty programs compare.
Last updated Sep 1, 2021 | By Ben Walker | Edited By Becca Borawski Jenkins
Hilton vs. Hyatt

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If you’re a traveler, you might find yourself in a hotel from time to time. And if you travel frequently, the question inevitably arises: “Which hotel chain is the best?”

The answer is largely a matter of preference, as it depends on where you travel and how you like to travel. But figuring out which hotel chain is best for you could help you focus on earning rewards and benefits through a company’s hotel loyalty program.

And focusing on one program instead of multiple is often the most effective way to earn loyalty status with a hotel.

But which hotel program should you choose?

In this Hilton vs. Hyatt review, we compare the pros and cons between both hotel groups so you can make an informed decision on which loyalty program — Hilton Honors or World of Hyatt — might be a better fit for you. Let’s jump into it.

In this article

Number and type of properties: Hilton

A hotel company’s total number of properties doesn’t automatically mean it’s a good or bad company. But looking at this number along with the types of available properties could help you decide whether a hotel aligns with your preferences.

For example, if you only travel to specific destinations, you might not need a large selection of hotels to choose from. But if you frequently travel to different countries and cities, it could help to have multiple hotel brands to choose from. In addition, you could prefer certain types of hotels over others, such as luxury versus budget properties.

Hilton’s global footprint includes over 6,500 properties and 18 different hotel brands in 119 countries. Hilton brands include:

  • Conrad Hotels & Resorts
  • Canopy by Hilton
  • Curio Collection by Hilton
  • DoubleTree by Hilton
  • Embassy Suites by Hilton
  • Hampton by Hilton
  • Hilton Hotels
  • Hilton Garden Inn
  • Hilton Grand Vacations
  • Home2 Suites by Hilton
  • Homewood Suites by Hilton
  • LXR Hotels & Resorts
  • Motto by Hilton
  • Signia
  • Tapestry Collection by Hilton
  • Tru by Hilton
  • Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts

Hyatt’s portfolio consists of more than 1,000 properties and 20 brands in 68 countries. Hyatt brands include:

  • Alila Hotels & Resorts
  • Andaz
  • Caption by Hyatt
  • Destination by Hyatt
  • Grand Hyatt
  • Hyatt
  • Hyatt Centric
  • Hyatt House
  • Hyatt Place
  • Hyatt Regency
  • Hyatt Residence Club
  • Hyatt Zilara
  • Hyatt Ziva
  • JdV by Hyatt
  • Park Hyatt
  • Miraval
  • The Unbound Collection by Hyatt
  • Thompson Hotels
  • Tommie
  • UrCove by Hyatt

Although Hyatt has more hotel brands than Hilton, it has far fewer properties available worldwide. This might not be an issue for some travelers if they enjoy Hyatt properties, but Hilton has over six times the number of properties of Hyatt. If you want more choices, Hilton clearly has the upper hand.

Here are a few examples of popular properties from both companies:

  • Park Hyatt Tokyo
  • Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort
  • Conrad Bali
  • Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal
  • Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi

Hilton is the overall winner in this category because of its huge global presence, but it’s safe to say that both hotel groups have worthy offerings for either budget or luxury travelers. The issue with Hyatt is that it might not have options where you’re traveling.

Winner: Hilton

Earning points: Hyatt

One of the top reasons to join a loyalty program is to earn rewards. For the Hilton Honors and World of Hyatt programs, your rewards could end up getting you free hotel stays. Having multiple earning options can be helpful for building up your points total and being able to redeem your rewards more quickly.

Hilton Honors offers these ways to earn points:

  • Hotel stays
  • Credit card bonuses and spending
  • Car rentals with Alamo, Enterprise, and National
  • Cruises
  • Dining
  • Events
  • Transfer partners, including Amex Membership Rewards, Hawaiian Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, and Amtrak
  • Purchasing points
  • Partnerships and promotions

World of Hyatt offers these ways to earn points:

  • Hotel stays
  • Credit card bonuses and spending
  • Car rentals with Avis
  • Experiences, including cruises
  • Dining and spa services
  • Events
  • Transfers from Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • American Airlines flights
  • Purchasing points
  • Partnerships and promotions

Staying at Hilton or Hyatt properties is likely the most common option for earning points. But you also have other options available with both programs, including earning points on eligible car rentals and taking advantage of co-branded credit card offers.

If you compare credit cards, you’ll see Hilton and Hyatt partner with companies like American Express and Chase to provide cards that make it easy to boost your rewards earning potential. Pairing a hotel credit card with hotel stays is often the best way to rack up points with your preferred loyalty program.

Overall, both Hilton Honors and World of Hyatt provide similar ways to earn rewards. Depending on your preferences, you might gravitate toward one program over the other. For example, Hilton has multiple transfer partners to help pad your points, but Hyatt only has one. But we still think Hyatt edges Hilton here because of its unique partnership with American Airlines.

If you’re already an American Airlines AAdvantage member, you can link your AAdvantage and World of Hyatt accounts together to earn Hyatt points on American Airlines flights. The best part? This is in addition to the AAdvantage miles you already earn.

Winner: Hyatt

Redeeming points: Hyatt

There’s no point in having loads of points if you don’t have ways to redeem them. Fortunately, both Hilton and Hyatt provide plenty of options.

Hilton Honors offers these ways to redeem points:

  • Book a hotel stay
  • Book a car rental with Alamo, National, or Enterprise
  • Book an experience
  • Pay for Lyft rides
  • Shop with points on Amazon or the Hilton online shopping portal
  • Donate points
  • Gift points
  • Transfer points to partners

World of Hyatt offers these ways to redeem points:

  • Book a hotel stay
  • Upgrade a hotel room
  • Book a car rental with Avis
  • Book an experience
  • Schedule a meeting or event
  • Gift points
  • Transfer points to partners

Hilton and Hyatt offer similar redemption options, though you get a bigger selection with Hilton. This includes more car rental options, as well as being able to pay for Lyft rides or use your points for shopping. But the way to get the most value out of hotel points is typically to redeem them for award nights at hotels.

Both Hilton and Hyatt offer award nights starting from 5,000 points per night. If you’re a budget traveler, taking advantage of redemptions at this price point could stretch your wallet and travels further. However, you might have more success finding these award prices with Hyatt compared to Hilton because Hilton doesn’t post an award chart, whereas Hyatt does.

Also, it’s important to be aware that Hilton Honors points and World of Hyatt points have different values. Hilton Honors points are typically valued at .6 cents per point, whereas World of Hyatt points are often valued at 1.7 cents per point. Using these valuations, 5,000 Hilton points would be worth about $30, and 5,000 Hyatt points would be worth about $85.

Because award nights are the most popular option for hotel points and Hyatt points are typically more valuable than Hilton points, Hyatt wins this round.

Winner: Hyatt

Credit cards: Hilton

If you want to level up your earning potential and gain more benefits with a hotel loyalty program, consider getting the best hotel credit card for your preferred chain. This could help you earn more rewards, including on everyday purchases, and you might automatically receive valuable benefits upon approval.

Hilton partners with American Express to offer four co-branded credit cards, including one for small business owners.

Card name Welcome bonus Rewards rate Perks Annual fee
Hilton Honors American Express Card Earn 80,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months (plus, earn an additional 50,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $5,000 in the first 6 months) 7X points at participating hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio; 5X points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations; and 3X points on all other eligible purchases
  • Silver status
$0 (See rates and fees) (Terms apply)
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months 12X points when spending directly with an eligible Hilton hotel or resort; 6X points on purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations; and 3X points on all other eligible purchases
  • Gold status
  • Free annual weekend night after $15,000 in spend
  • 10 annual visits with Priority Pass Select
  • Select benefits require enrollment
$95 (waived first year) (See rates and fees) (Terms apply)
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months 14X points on eligible purchases within the Hilton portfolio, 7X points on qualifying travel purchases made directly with airlines/select car rental companies or Amextravel.com, 7X points at U.S. restaurants, and 3X points on all other purchases
  • Diamond status
  • Free annual weekend night
  • Second free annual weekend night after $60,000 in spend
  • $250 Hilton Resort credit
  • $250 airline fee credit
  • Priority Pass Select
  • Select benefits require enrollment
$450 (See rates and fees) (Terms apply)
Hilton Honors American Express Business Card Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months (plus, earn an additional 50,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $10,000 in the first 6 months) 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points on eligible purchases made directly with Hilton, 6X on select business and travel purchases, and 3X on all other eligible purchases
  • Gold status
  • Spend $40,000 to earn Diamond status
  • Free annual weekend night after $15,000 in spend
  • Second free annual weekend night after $60,000 in spend
  • 10 annual visits with Priority Pass Select
  • Select benefits require enrollment
$95 (See rates and fees) (Terms apply)

Hyatt partners with Chase to offer one co-branded credit card, called the World of Hyatt Credit Card.

Card name Welcome bonus Rewards rate Perks Annual fee
World of Hyatt Credit Card Earn up to 60,000 points: 30,000 points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months, plus an additional 30,000 points by earning 2 bonus points per $1 spent on purchases that earn 1 bonus point, up to $15,000 spent in the first 6 months 9X points per $1 spent at Hyatt hotels; 2X points per $1 spent on eligible travel, dining, and health purchases; and 1 point per $1 spent on everything else
  • Discoverist status
  • Free annual night
  • Second free annual night after $15,000 in spend
  • Five qualifying night credits each year
  • Two additional qualifying night credits for each $5,000 spend
$95

The World of Hyatt Credit Card is a must-have card if you typically stay at Hyatt properties. But if you’re still deciding between Hilton and Hyatt, you get a lot more credit card options with Hilton. In this aspect, Hyatt simply doesn’t compare because you only have one card to choose from.

In addition, Hyatt’s card is more of a mid-tier travel card. You do get a free annual night, but your automatic elite status isn’t the top tier status or even second from the top. Compare this with a card like the Hilton Honors Amex Aspire and it’s no contest which has more premium perks.

The Amex Aspire not only provides a free annual night, but you also get annual credits, top-tier elite status (and all the benefits that come with it), and Priority Pass membership, which all help to offset the $450 annual fee. Select benefits require enrollment.

Overall, more card options, including a card with premium travel benefits, puts Hilton on top in this category.

Winner: Hilton

Fabulous Rewards for Hilton Fans

Intro Offer

150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points

Annual Fee

$450

Rewards Rate

up to 14X points

Benefits and Drawbacks

Benefits

  • Earn 150,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
  • 14X points on eligible Hilton purchases
  • $250 in annual Hilton Resort credits
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $450 annual fee. Terms apply.

Drawbacks

  • High annual fee
  • Best for frequent Hilton travelers
Card Details
  • Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
  • 14X points on eligible purchases within the Hilton portfolio, 7X points on qualifying travel purchases made directly with airlines/select car rental companies or Amextravel.com, 7X points at U.S. restaurants, and 3X points on all other purchases
  • Terms apply

Transfer partners: Tie

Transfer partners make it easy to add some points if you need to top off your account or if you want to make a big points redemption. Hilton and Hyatt don’t have many options for adding other loyalty program rewards to your Hilton Honors or World of Hyatt accounts, but the available options are helpful.

These partners allow transfers to Hilton Honors:

These partners allow transfer to World of Hyatt:

Amex Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards are two of the biggest and most popular credit card loyalty programs available. If you already have Amex or Chase cards that earn rewards, it can make for good synergy with a Hilton Honors or World of Hyatt account. Many of the best travel credit cards are issued by American Express or Chase, so you have plenty of options for earning points that can be transferred to one of these hotel programs.

But it’s important to note that Membership Rewards and Ultimate Rewards are often valued around 2 cents per point, whereas Hilton points are 0.6 and Hyatt points are 1.7. So you take the risk of losing some value if you make this type of transfer, but it also depends on how you end up using the points.

Overall, the winner for transfer partners is entirely decided by your preferences. If you typically use Chase cards, Hyatt is the winner. But if you use Amex cards, Hilton comes out on top.

Winner: Tie

Elite status: Hilton

In addition to being able to earn rewards, many loyalty programs offer ways to achieve elite status through qualifying activities. You typically get more benefits the higher elite status you have, but getting the top-tier statuses can take some effort. Racking up hotel nights, either through actual hotel stays or credit card promotions, is often one of the requirements for achieving elite status.

Hilton Honors offers four different tiers of status if you include the bottom tier, though anyone can earn member level just by joining and without having to stay any nights. Here are the night requirements for each tier:

Nights required
Member 0-4 nights
Silver 5+ nights
Gold 20+ nights
Diamond 30+ nights

Here are some benefits you can receive with the different Hilton Honors elite status tiers:

Benefits Member Silver Gold Diamond
Member rates X X X X
No resort fees on award stays X X X X
Choose your room X X X X
Free internet X X X X
Access to Hilton Honors Experiences X X X X
Points bonus 20% 80% 100%
Free bottled water X X X
Fifth night free X X X
Elite rollover nights X X X
Room upgrades Up to Executive Floor room types Up to a one-bedroom suite
Free breakfast or food credit X X
Milestone bonuses X X
Lounge access X
Premium internet X
Diamond status extension X
48-hour room guarantee X
Elite status gifting X

Including the basic member status, World of Hyatt offers four elite status tiers. Hyatt also offers multiple ways to achieve the next level of status, including accruing hotel nights, earning base points, or holding qualifying meetings or events.

Requirements
Member None
Discoverist 10 nights or 25,000 base points or 3 meetings/events
Explorist 30 nights or 50,000 base points or 10 meetings/events
Globalist 60 nights or 100,000 base points or 20 meetings/events

Here are some benefits you can receive with different World of Hyatt elite status tiers:

Benefits Member Discoverist Explorist Globalist
Free internet X X X X
Member rates X X X X
Base points 5 base points per $1 5 base points per $1 5 base points per $1 5 base points per $1
Points bonus on eligible purchases 10% 20% 30%
Resort fees waived On free night awards On free night awards On free night awards On free night awards and eligible rates
Exhale benefits 10 base points per $1 10 base points per $1 10 base points per $1 and week of well-being 10 base points per $1, week of well-being, and free classes if eligible
M life Rewards status match Sapphire Pearl Gold Gold
Small Luxury Hotels benefits X X X X
Premium internet X X X
Bottled water X X X
Room upgrade Preferred room within booked room type Enhanced room, not including suites or club rooms Enhanced room, including standard suites
Elite check-in X X X
Late checkout 2 p.m. 2 p.m. 4 p.m.
AAdvantage bonus X X X
Guaranteed room Within 72 hours Within 48 hours
Lounge access or breakfast X
Free parking on award nights X
Priority room access X
Guest of Honor X

Both programs offer plenty of benefits for their members with elite status. As with most loyalty programs, you have to put in time and effort to achieve the higher tiers. But, if you remember, both Hilton and Hyatt offer credit cards that come with an automatic level of elite status.

Overall, the most valuable benefits are mostly similar between the programs, such as room upgrades and lounge access. However, you do find a few differences with Hyatt Globalist members receiving free parking and Gold status with M life Rewards. Hilton Diamond members don’t necessarily get anything better than Globalist members, but it might be easier to achieve top-tier Hilton Honors status compared with the highest World of Hyatt status.

The requirements for Hilton Diamond are much lower than Hyatt Globalist, which means you don’t have to be a frequent traveler. In addition, the Amex Aspire comes with automatic Diamond status, whereas the Hyatt Credit Card offers only Discoverist. Because of these requirements and the similarities between each program’s top benefits, Hilton leads the way in this category.

Winner: Hilton

Customer experience: Hyatt

Hotel loyalty programs are extremely popular. According to a report on hotel loyalty trends by Skift, a research company, Hilton Honors and World of Hyatt have more than 120 million members combined. But how do members feel about being part of these programs?

If you look at a popular review site like TrustPilot, both companies have plenty of complaints. Hilton Hotels & Resorts has a 1.7 out of 5.0 rating from 338 reviews while Hyatt Hotels has a 2.8 out of 5.0 rating with 78 reviews. Neither rating is particularly stellar, but many online complaints should be taken with a grain of salt. Individual experiences at hotels can be vastly different, even from guests at the same hotel.

If you check reviews from Google or Yelp users on individual properties, you’re likely to get a better feel for a specific hotel. But it’s not uncommon to have worse experiences at budget-friendly hotels, such as a Hyatt House or Hilton Garden Inn, compared with luxury hotels like Conrad or Park Hyatt.

Still, if recent events are anything to go by, Hyatt may take the edge in this category. The World of Hyatt program was quick to respond with the onset of COVID-19, offering ways for members to more easily achieve big rewards and benefits for years to come. This isn’t to say Hilton didn’t do anything, but Hyatt stood out from the crowd.

Winner: Hyatt

FAQs

Is Hyatt the same as Hilton?

Hyatt is a different hotel group than Hilton. Hyatt includes brands such as Park Hyatt, Hyatt Place, and Grand Hyatt. Hilton brands include Conrad, Waldorf Astoria, and Hampton Inn. Hyatt’s loyalty program is World of Hyatt and Hilton’s program is Hilton Honors.

Is Hyatt or Hilton better?

The better hotel group between Hyatt or Hilton depends on your preferences. Both Hyatt and Hilton have properties around the world, including budget-friendly hotels and luxurious resorts. But Hilton has a larger portfolio consisting of more than six times the number of properties as Hyatt.

Still, each hotel brand within both companies is unique, which could influence your choice of one chain over the other. If you’re a big fan of Andaz hotels, you might choose Hyatt over Hilton. But if you prefer Conrad properties, Hilton is likely the better fit.

How much are Hyatt points worth?

Hyatt points are typically valued at 1.7 cents per point, which is often more than points from other loyalty programs, such as Marriott Bonvoy or Hilton Honors. Hyatt award nights start at 5,000 points, which would be worth about $85 at this valuation.

How much are Hilton Honors points worth?

Hilton Honors points are often valued at 0.6 cents per point and you typically need at least 5,000 Hilton points for an award stay. At this valuation, 5,000 points would be worth about $30.


Bottom line

The best hotel loyalty program doesn’t exist. There are too many variables to say that one program is far better than another. But if you know your travel preferences and can align them more effectively with one program versus another, then the best hotel loyalty program for you likely does exist.

Remember to see what kinds of rewards and benefits are offered from different hotel chains and then compare them against each other. Also take a look at what types of properties are available and see whether they match your traveling style.

If everything lines up, including co-branded credit card options, you may have found your top choice of hotel loyalty programs. If everything doesn’t line up, you always have the option to join multiple programs.

Robust Welcome Offer

Intro Offer

130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points

Annual Fee

$95

Rewards Rate

up to 12X points

Benefits and Drawbacks

Benefits

  • Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • 12X points at participating Hilton hotels and resorts
  • Free weekend night reward stay after spending $15,000 in a calendar year
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • $95 annual fee. Terms apply.

Drawbacks

  • Has annual fee
  • No intro APR
  • No free anniversary night
Card Details
  • Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • 12X points when spending directly with an eligible Hilton hotel or resort; 6X points on purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations; and 3X points on all other eligible purchases
  • Terms apply

Author Details

Ben Walker Ben Walker is a credit cards and travel writer at FinanceBuzz who loves helping others achieve their travel goals through financially-sound decisions. For nearly a decade, he has been using credit card points and miles for the sole purpose of traveling the world. Ben has been featured in The Washington Post, MSN, Debt.com, and Finder.com.