Which Hotel “Keeper Card” Should You Get in 2018?

A "keeper card" is one that has a small annual fee, but the benefits outweigh the annual fee. For example, if you have a credit card that has a $49 annual fee, but it gives you $150+ in value each year, then the card is considered a keeper card.

AskSebby's definition of keeper cards

  • Spend required = $0
  • Annual fee = $x
  • Tangible benefits = $x + $y

TLDR: Real value > annual fee just by keeping it.

We made a video last year about ranking hotel keeper cards, here's an updated analysis. 

In this post, we're going to focus on the Chase Hyatt, Chase IHG, and the Chase Marriott cards. We'll evaluate the signup bonus and the long-term value of the card.

1) Short-term

  • Signup (aspirational)
  • Signup (quantity)

2) Long-term

  • Status
  • Free night
  • Spend multipliers

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Short-term Value: Aspirational vs. Quantity Redemptions

Ranking Signup Bonuses: Aspirational

If you're looking to redeem the signup bonus for the best properties that give you outsized value, we'll label this as an "aspirational" redemption. 

The signup bonus for each card is ranked below, based on how you can redeem them at more expensive properties, and how many nights you'll receive. 

  1. Chase Marriott
    • ~1.8 nights at a Category 9 property 
    • ( Category 9 is the highest)
  2. Chase Hyatt
    • ~1.3 nights at a Category 7 property
    • (Category 7 is the highest)
  3. Chase IHG
    • ~0.9 nights at a Category 9 property
    • (Category 9 is the highest)

Ranking Signup Bonuses: Quantity

On the other hand, if you're looking to get the most number of nights from the signup bonus, then you're going after quantity. 

The signup bonus for each card is ranked below, based on how you how many nights you can stretch the bonus. Your mileage may vary based on where you're staying. 

  1. Chase Hyatt
    • Good value for points
    • There is a good selection of hotel nights that you can redeem for 5,000 points/night
  2. Chase IHG
    • Good with promotions
    • IHG PointBreaks promotion is when the hotel has sales via points
      • 5,000 / 10,000 points per night for low occupancy properties. The good ones sell out VERY quickly when released.

  3. Chase Marriott
    • Value in non-major cities

Long-term Value: Status, Free Night, Spend Multipliers

Status

Here's how I rank the cards regarding status. 

1. Chase IHG

The Chase IHG card automatically gives you Platinum status at their properties without any spend requirements. 

IHG Public Elite Status:

  •  Gold
  • Platinum
  • Spire

2. Chase Hyatt

The Chase Hyatt card automatically gives you Discoverist status at their properties without any spend requirements.

Hyatt Public Elite Status:

  • Discoverist
  • Explorist
  • Globalist

There is no way to get Explorist or Globalist status other than stays, unlike Marriott Gold via the Amex Platinum.

3. Chase Marriott

The Chase Marriott card automatically gives you Silver status at their properties without any spend requirements. 

Yes, Silver is "status" but, Silver only gives you a 20% bonus, as opposed to Gold status that gives you a 25% bonus and a handful of other benefits like late checkout, room upgrades, and lounge access.

Marriott Public Elite Status:

  • Silver
  • Gold
  • Platinum

On a side note, if you do want Gold status at Marriott, the easiest way to achieve this is to get the American Express Platinum card. The Amex Platinum automatically gives you Gold status at SPG, which you can match at Marriott. 

Free Night

The order which I would rank the free night value is:

  1. Chase IHG
  2. Chase Hyatt
  3. Chase Marriott

The free night value is based on redemption value at higher-end properties and the number of properties available. The free night rankings may be different for you, based on where you visit. 

You can redeem the free IHG night can be redeemed at any of their properties, including Bora Bora.

The Hyatt and Marriott free nights have category restrictions.

Spend Multipliers

Assuming there are not any promotions, here's how I would rank the spend multipliers for each card. 

  1. Chase IHG
  2. Chase Hyatt
  3. Chase Marriott

The Chase IHG card earns 5 points per $1 spent when you stay at IHG hotels, and the Chase Hyatt card earns 3 points per $1 spent when you stay at Hyatt hotels. 

The reason why the Chase Marriott is last on the list is that if you're staying at a Marriott, you're better off using the Amex SPG or Chase Sapphire Reserve card, and not the Chase Marriott.