Marriott vs. Hyatt: Which one is best?

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Being loyal to one hotel brand comes with some pretty awesome benefits, but deciding where your loyalty lies is no easy task. If you’re considering getting one of the best hotel credit cards of 2020 or joining one of the best hotel rewards programs, it’s important to assess all your options and find the best fit for you. Marriott and Hyatt are two great brands, but which one is best? Here’s everything you need to know before you book your next stay.  

Hotel locations and brands

Location, location, location! If you’re going to join either the Hyatt or Marriott rewards programs, or sign up for a hotel credit card, you’ll earn the most points by consistently booking with a brand that has locations in all the places you need, or want, to go. 

But, when searching for where these hotels are located, it’s important to not forget about the multiple brands associated with both hotels. This means that there are some hotels that although they might not say “Hyatt” or “Marriott” in the name, they’re still associated and you can still get points for stays. Let’s break down Marriott vs. Hyatt brands and locations. 

Marriott

With over 7,000 hotels and 32 different brands in 110 countries, Marriott is almost guaranteed to have a property that fits your needs. If you’re craving an adventure to a new faraway place, Marriott has a huge international presence, with 100 locations in Europe, 98 in Asia, 16 in the Middle East and 11 in Africa. If a trip closer to home is more your style, Marriott has no shortage of properties to choose from, with almost 400 locations in North America. 

As for brands, Marriott has everything from 5-star experiences to modest overnight stays to homes and villas. Depending on the brand and location, Marriott hotels are ranked into eight categories where you can earn and redeem hotel points at various rates. Brands like the Courtyard Marriott, equipped with a pool and relatively-low rates per night are perfect for families, while design hotels like the Westin are perfect for business travelers. If you’re really feeling fancy, splurge on one of Marriott’s seven 5-star brands like the Ritz-Carlton or Edition.  

Hyatt

While Hyatt is a bit smaller, with around 900 locations and 15 brands in 65 countries, it definitely shouldn’t be discounted. With properties everywhere from the beautiful beaches of Hawaii to the snowy banks of Anchorage, Alaska, Hyatt is great for travel anywhere in the United States. Options are a little more limited for international locations, but Hyatt does have a large presence in some sought-after travel destinations like Italy, Morocco, Greece and India. 

Hyatt brands run the gamut from luxury stays to boutique properties and wellness resorts. Park Hyatts are Hyatt’s pride and joy top-tier properties, with just 47 locations worldwide, mostly located in Asia. Hyatt House locations are ideal for business travelers, as they come equipped with a full kitchen and on-site laundry facilities, and Allia properties are branded as exotic hotels. Regardless of the travel experience you’re looking for, a Hyatt property is sure to fit your needs. 

Pricing

When it comes to booking hotels, there’s really no one-size-fits-all model for pricing. Prices can vary greatly based on location, time of booking, seasonal factors, days of the week, hotel brand and tier, and a hundred other things.

Marriott and Hyatt both have hotel brands that start around $100 per night in the budget-friendly or extended stay categories. Both also have brands that average around $700 per night in the luxury category. But when we compiled searching for a week-long stay in New York City, we found prices for most brands were in the $125-$250 range. Our biggest takeaway was that Marriott offers a slightly wider selection of prices thanks to its higher number of brands.

Hotel benefits

One of the best parts about staying in a hotel is all of the added perks and benefits that come with a stay away from home. When it comes to Marriott vs. Hyatt, they both have some pretty great amenities, however most are only available when you’re a loyalty member. 

Marriott

Marriott has the best late checkout policy for its elite status members, and they guarantee a 4PM late check-out for anyone that’s Platinum status or higher. Highest level members can also access a 24-hour check-in/out option, meaning that if they check-in at 8PM, they don’t have to check out until 8PM. Platinum status or higher also allows members to choose between the following benefits: five Suite Night Awards, give the gift of Silver Elite status, 40% off your favorite mattress, five Elite Night Credits or a $100 charity donation, which is an awesome and versatile benefit. All Marriott properties also have a private “club” on property, but access must be bought. It’s also important to note that 20 of Marriott’s 32 brands don’t offer any kind of lounge, like Hyatt does. Marriott also never waives resort fees, regardless of status.  

Hyatt

Although you technically don’t even have to check out of a hotel, Hyatt offers all guests a late check-out option for a fee of $10, when available. For Hyatt Globalists, lake checkout is always an included option, and they’ll also get four free upgraded-room passes per year. Globalists also get lounge access in all Hyatt properties, which comes with complimentary breakfast every morning and complimentary hors d’oeuvres every night. Hyatt will waive resort fees for any stay booked on points, and for Globalists all the time. 

Hotel fees

A hotel fee is essentially a charge on your bill to cover anything the hotel considers “extra” like parking fees or enhanced internet. These are disclosed before you book a room, but these pesky small charges can really add-up! 

Marriott 

Marriott hotel fees are shown when booking the room in an easy-to-see highlighted box and can be anything from a $20 flat fee per night, to 10 percent of the cost of your room per night. At luxury brands and 5-star locations, hotel fees will likely be higher. 

Hyatt

Hyatt hotel fees are also shown when booking, but they aren’t highlighted like Marriotts and can be easy to miss. Like Marriott, there isn’t one consistent number for Hyatt hotel fees, but you can expect to pay extra fees for every night of your stay.  

Loyalty programs

When you join the Hyatt or Marriott loyalty program, for every stay you’ll earn hotel points you can use to get future stays for a free or discounted rate. Points can be valued at a cent amount, which is determined based on how many points you have to spend to get something, compared to the dollar amount it would normally cost. These values can come out anywhere from less than a penny up to two cents — if you’re getting anything close to a cent or higher for each point, that normally means it’s a good deal. And you’ll get some extra perks just for being a part of a loyalty program at one of these brands. 

Marriott

Marriott’s loyalty program, Marriott Bonvoy, is one of the most versatile programs on the market. You can sign up for free on the Marriott website and start earning points as soon as you do. You can earn Marriott points through Marriott credit cards, staying at Marriott properties and spending money at Marriott and other select locations. Bonvoy members have a lot of flexibility with how they redeem their points. As if the choice to redeem at one of Marriott’s 7,000 properties wasn’t enough, points can also be transferred to one of Marriott’s 40+ airline partners and used for free flights. Bonvoy is divided into six different status levels, the more you stay at Marriott, the higher you move up in the ranks. With each level comes different perks, but all members at the very base level get access to member-only room rates, free Wi-Fi and mobile check-in. 

Hyatt

Hyatt’s loyalty program, World of Hyatt, is divided into four tiers. Like Marriott, you move up to a higher tier the more you stay at Hyatt properties, and higher tiers mean more perks. To become a Member, you can sign up for free on the Hyatt website. At the basic member level, you’ll earn 5 Hyatt points for every dollar spent on Hyatt locations and select other purchases, receive member rates and be eligible for free nights. Once you start racking up points as a World of Hyatt member, you’ll be able to redeem them for award nights, which vary in cost based on brand and location. You can also use your Hyatt points to get reduced or free airfare and car rentals, but you’ll typically get the best value redeeming directly with Hyatt.

Hotel cards

The easiest way to earn points for either Marriott or Hyatt’s loyalty rewards program is by signing up for a hotel credit card and automatically earning enough points for free night(s) just by signing up and spending a certain amount of money! 

Marriott 

There are a lot of options when it comes to Marriott Bonvoy credit cards and each comes with its own perks and benefits. Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card has no annual fee and you’ll earn 30,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in the first three months. The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card is the best card for Marriott benefits and perks, and you’ll earn up to 125,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Plus, earn an additional 25,000 bonus points after your first anniversary of Card Membership. Offer Expires 1/13/2021. These major rewards will get you free nights at elite properties, plus three of the four credit cards offer holders an annual free night.

Hyatt

Hyatt just has one credit card, World of Hyatt Credit Card, but holders will receive Up to 50,000 bonus points – earn 25,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, an additional 25,000 bonus points after you spend a total of $6,000 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening, so this is a worthwhile deal. Hyatt also gives card holders an annual free night, as long as you spend $15,000 on the card each year.

Elite status

As mentioned in the loyalty programs section, there are ways to become an elite member of both Marriott and Hyatt — fancy! Both programs come with perks and rewards, and there’s guaranteed to be a tier in both that suits your level of travel. 

Marriott

Because the Marriott elite status program is broken into six tiers, it’s quick and easy to climb up the ranks and enjoy more benefits. To become a member, you just need to stay between 0-9 nights per year at a Marriott location. You’ll need 10 nights per year for Silver Elite, 25 for Gold Elite, 50 for Platinum Elite, 75 for Titanium Elite and 100 nights plus $20,000 in annual spending for Ambassador Elite. If you commit to staying at one of Marriott’s 7,000 locations every time you travel, you’ll be able to gain major perks. Each tier comes with their own set of benefits, but some highlights include late checkout (like 4PM late!), lounge access, guaranteed room type, room upgrades and member rates. 

Hyatt

Hyatt has four different levels of elite status: Member, Discoverist, Explorist and Globalist. The first three levels don’t offer exceptional value, but you will get club upgrades, free nights, complementary internet, late check out and room upgrades. The qualifications for Hyatt elite status are less rigorous than Marriott; you’ll need to stay 10 nights per year for Discoverist, 30 for Explorist and 60 for Globalist. The Globalist tier is definitely the best value, because members of this tier will get all the benefits of the ones below it, plus free parking, breakfast, guaranteed rooms and more.

Bottom line 

When it comes to Marriott vs. Hyatt, there isn’t one clear winner. Both are versatile, flexible and accommodating hotel brands, but they definitely have their respective strengths and weaknesses. The truth is, when it comes to deciding between the two, it’s about your own personal preferences, wants and needs as a traveller. Marriott makes a case for having better international options and more flexible loyalty rewards. Hyatt, on the other hand, has more beginner-friendly features. Always make sure you assess all your options before booking and find the best bang for your buck, but with Marriott and Hyatt, you really can’t go wrong with either!

Alexandra Maloney is a contributor to Million Mile Secrets, she covers topics on points and miles, credit cards, airlines, hotels, and general travel.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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