Should you pay in cash, points, or points plus cash? Try the Hyatt MakeUpYourMinder (Version 2.0)

Hyatt’s Point + Cash awards can be a good deal, but only under certain circumstances.  Deciding whether Points + Cash is good value is complicated (see: “Hyatt’s Points plus Cash: Opposite conclusions from two viewpoints”).  The good news is that I’ve created a spreadsheet that can make the decision easy:

The Hyatt MakeUpYourMinder Spreadsheet!

Hyatt Points + Cash

With Hyatt, you can pay for hotels entirely with points, entirely with cash, or (when available) with Points + Cash. Here are their award charts:

As you can see, above, the Points + Cash option lets you pay a fixed dollar amount in order to book a standard room for half of the usual point requirements.

Pros and Cons

Other than differences in cost (both in dollars and in points), there are pros and cons to booking stays in cash, points + cash, or points alone. Here’s a summary:

Cash Points + Cash Points
Earn points for your stay Yes Yes No
Earn elite night/stay credits Yes Yes Yes
(new for 2018)
Able to use points to upgrade Yes No No
Able to apply Explorist club lounge access certificate Yes Yes Yes (new for 2017)
Able to apply Globalist suite upgrade Yes Yes Yes (new for 2017)
Able to share your Globalist benefits with friend (details here) No* No* Yes
Rate availability Always available Available only at hotel’s discretion Always available when standard rooms available for sale

* Note: You may be able to share Globalist benefits with cash or points + cash stays by booking in your own name even if the reservation is for a friend. However, you would need to add a note to the reservation saying that your friend should be allowed to check in. There is no guarantee that this will work.

Make your Hyatt Points + Cash decision with the MakeUpYourMinder spreadsheet

Click here to view the Hyatt MakeUpYourMinder Spreadsheet

The tool is pretty easy to understand on its own, but here’s an overview…

First, copy the sheet

I’ve set the sheet to read-only so that only I can edit the main sheet. However, you’ll want to enter in your own values, so the first step is to make the sheet your own by copying it. Click File, then click Make a copy…

Now that you have your own copy of the sheet, you can start…

The cells in yellow are for you to enter your own assumptions:

A bit further down are a couple of more advanced options:

Hyatt MakeUpYourMinder Enter Info Advanced

If you’re planning on paying for the entire stay with gift cards bought at a discount, the spreadsheet can factor that in. Also, if you book your stay through a cash back portal, you can enter the percentage of cash back you expect to get. Note that both of these discounts/rebates are applied to the entire cash portion of the stay, including taxes and resort fees. In reality, portal rebates are often based on hotel base rates only. I’m not sure how this is handled with Hyatt stays.

If you’re interested, you can click into the individual cells in the “Calculations Happen” section to see calculation details and/or to check my work (PLEASE report errors!). If you have feedback or corrections, you can go back to the original spreadsheet to add comments to particular cells. Or, comment below within this post.

Hyatt MakeUpYourMinder Calculations

The “Calculations Happen” section is also useful for figuring out the category of hotel you are looking at. For example, if you view a hotel’s point rates online, you may see something like this:

Hyatt Carmel Highlands Point Prices

Since the above hotel lists a 25,000 points per night price, we can compare to the Points column, above, and see that this must be a category 6 hotel.

Finally, we get to the results:

Hyatt MakeUpYourMinder Results

The spreadsheet doesn’t know which category hotel you are looking at, so it shows results for every category. The estimated cost in each case is the out of pocket cash cost, plus the value of points spent for the stay, minus the value of points earned for the stay.

Based on the data I entered, paying with points is the best deal for categories 1 to 5, and paying with cash (credit card really) is best for categories 6 and 7. Those results will change when you enter a different hotel rate, different point value, etc.

More to the story

Earlier in this post, I showed pros and cons for each Hyatt booking option: cash, points+cash, and points only. Many of those pros and cons have little to do with the cost (in cash and/or points) of the stay. However, those factors are important, so we’ll take take them into account. Scroll further down into the spreadsheet to find this:

Here, you can decide how much each of these factors matter to you. Two of the items are no longer really relevant since you now earn elite night credit for points stays, and you can now apply suite upgrades to point stays too.  But if you want to use points to upgrade your room, you’ll want to give weight to Cash over the other options, and if you want to use the Globalist Guest of Honor feature to book a room for a friend, you should add value to the “Ability to give Globalist benefit to a friend” row.

Once you enter in the amount you value these things, you can then look to the right to see your updated results:

Hyatt MakeUpYourMinder Non financial factors Results

Booking through an Online Travel Agency

This post and the Hyatt MakeUpYourMinder spreadsheet assume that you’ll book directly with Hyatt or with a full service travel agency. Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) are different. When you book with an OTA such as Expedia,, Orbitz, etc., you won’t earn points or elite night/stay credits for your stay. Plus, you can’t use points or certificates to upgrade. However, you may earn rewards from the OTA itself.

If you plan to use an OTA, you can still use the Hyatt MakeUpYourMinder spreadsheet to compare options, but keep in mind the following:

  • The spreadsheet assumes that you’ll earn 5 Hyatt points per dollar, plus an extra bonus if you have Hyatt elite status. If the OTA rewards are similar, then you can ignore this difference.
  • Ignore the cash column in the second set of results, labeled “5) Results including non financial factors”, since the non-financial benefits of paying cash don’t apply when booking with an OTA.

Additional Resources

In addition to the Hyatt MakeUpYourMinder Spreadsheet, you may be interested in these posts:

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