Skip to Content

Base Points vs Bonus Points – What’s the Difference and Why It Matters

Share with a friend

New to earning hotel points? If you want to earn hotel elite status you should know the difference between base points and bonus points. Only a few hotel loyalty programs let you earn status with points.

It may seem like all points are equal. But base points aren’t the same as bonus points. There’s a big distinction between bonus points and base points. Here’s why you need to know which points count towards earning elite hotel status.

Reader Emily (she asked that I not use her real name) emailed asking,

I’m new to travel hacking. I read your posts about getting free upgrades and free breakfast at hotels and want to earn elite status. I applied for the World of Hyatt credit card and got Discoverist. How does Hyatt caluculate points? What’s the difference between base points and bonus points?

I stayed at the Hyatt Centric Santa Clara Silicon Valley recently and earned 1,419 points. The breakdown description lists it as 835 base points, 84 Discoverist bonus, and 500 new hotel bonus points.

Are base points different from bonus points? Does the 1,419 points count towards Globalist status?

Base Points vs Bonus Points

Base points vs bonus points. Bonus and base points count towards the total number of points earned in the World of Hyatt loyalty program. You can use both types of points for free stays at Hyatt hotels.

But you don’t earn these points the same way.

The most important difference between Hyatt base points and bonus points is what counts towards earning elite status and lifetime elite status.

Only base points count towards earning tier status. Whereas bonus points do not.

What Are Base Points

Base points are points earned from eligible paid hotel stays and qualifying incidental purchases such as dining, spa, and other charges at World of Hyatt hotels and resorts worldwide.

Paid stays at participating SLH hotels and MGM Resorts in Las Vegas also earn Hyatt base points.

You can also earn base points on Lindblad Expeditions cruises and FIND Experiences. Because of world events over the past couple of years, FIND has been temporarily discontinued. It is unknown when or if the program will return.

How Are Base Points Calculated

When you stay at a World of Hyatt hotel you earn 5 base points per $1 spent on eligible charges. These include the hotel room, onsite restaurants, the spa, and other experiences.

Pro-tip: To earn points on paid stays, you have to book an eligible rate through the Hyatt website, app, or a travel agent. Rooms booked through Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) such as Expedia do not earn points nor elite qualifying nights.

You can earn points on up to 3 rooms per night at the same hotel.

It’s a good idea to charge everything to your room unless you know that certain charges won’t be accepted. Be sure to pay with your World of Hyatt Credit Card or your The World of Hyatt Business Credit Card to earn an additional 4 base points per $1.

Pro-tip: Only purchases at Hyatt-owned and operated restaurants, shops, and other venues count as qualifying purchases. Some hotels like Grand Hyatt Baha Mar have multiple restaurants, many of which are not operated by Hyatt. At these hotels, use a card with a travel bonus category such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card.

What Are Bonus Points

Bonus points are points earned from elite tier bonuses on qualifying cash stays at World of Hyatt hotels & resorts, partnerships like SLH and MGM Las Vegas resorts, and promotions.

Promotions vary from year-round, quarterly, or one-offs. Current promotions include earning 500 Hyatt points for stays at new hotels and earning Hyatt points on paid American Airlines flights.

Pro-tip: You can also earn bonus points from the bonuses on the Hyatt Card and The World of Hyatt Business Credit Card .

Earn Elite Status With Points

You can earn World of Hyatt elite status with points or nights.

Hyatt elite tiers:

  • Discoverist: 10 nights or 25,000 base points
  • Explorist: 30 nights or 50,000 base points
  • Globalist: 60 nights or 100,000 base points

Earning Hyatt status is based on earned qualifying nights or based points earned in a calendar year. It’s either-or and not a combination of nights and points.

This means that you can’t stay 30 nights and earn 50,000 base points to become a Globalist. You have to either have 60 nights or 100,000 base points.

As a Globalist, you can Guest of Honor your perks to someone so they get free breakfast, an upgrade (including up to a suite, early and late checkout, and more!

Paid stays earn base points and tier qualifying nights. Free stays using points and free night awards also count towards elite tier nights. You can use the World of Hyatt points calendar to find point costs for hotels.

You can also earn elite tier nights through spending on your World of Hyatt Credit Card and your The World of Hyatt Business Credit Card .

For every $5,000 you spend on the Hyatt card, you earn 2 elite qualifying nights. You earn 5 elite qualifying nights for every $10,000 you spend in a calendar year on the Hyatt Business card.

Pro-tip: You can get both the personal Hyatt card and business Hyatt card.

Here’s what you need to know about the Hyatt business card.


You can earn base points and bonus points on your Hyatt stays. Your available Hyatt points show both types of points.

You can redeem these points for free nights at Hyatt hotels and partnership hotels like MGM Resorts in Las Vegas and SLH hotels.

But only base points count towards earning elite status.

Emily’s stay earned a total of 1,419 points but only 835 points were base points. She can use all 1,419 points towards a free stay. But only 835 of those points count towards earning Globalist status.

If she wants to earn Globalist via points, she would need to earn 99,147 more based points by December 31.

Comment, tweet, or share this post.

Get the best credit card bonuses.

Follow us on Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | YouTube

Support us on Patreon | Buy Me a Coffee

Got a question? Or want help, suggestions, travel tips, learn how to travel for free, find out about travel deals, and maximize your miles and points? Use the subscription box below to sign-up and get post updates by email.

Photo courtesy Alila Kothairfaru Malidives


Traveling Well For Less has partnered with Your Best Credit Cards for our coverage of credit card products. Traveling Well For Less and YBCC may receive a commission from card issuers.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is the best card to get started in the world of miles and points. It is the first card you should get to start traveling for free because the welcome offer is 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months.
My favorite perks about this card are earning 5X points on travel when booked through the Chase portal (2X if direct purchase), 3X points on dining, $50 yearly credit on hotels booked through the Chase portal, no foreign transaction fees, and transferring points to 13 airline and hotel partners like Hyatt, United, and Southwest.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is one of my favorite cards for earning cash back card and travel rewards. It offers a welcome offer of an additional 1.5% cash back on all your purchases up to $20,000 your first year.
My favorite perks about this card are earning 5% cash back on travel booked through the Chase Travel Portal, 3% cash back at drugstores and restaurants (including delivery and takeout), 1.5% cash back on all other purchases and no annual fee. When paired with cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card or Ink Business Cash® Credit Card, you can use your points to travel for free.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Wednesday 5th of April 2023

I got more than 100,000 BONUS points by using the chase credit cards, expecting the status change. But, as explained, the bonus points don't do the magic. This is very deceiving terms (Bonus point vs. Base point) by Hyatt. I would never sign up and use the card if I knew the difference. I rather do it for Marriott.

Ryan Biddulph

Saturday 6th of August 2022

Good to know Debra. Nice points breakdown here.


Monday 25th of July 2022

Thanks for sharing the difference, I would love to start earning points with Hyatt stays.


Saturday 23rd of July 2022

I knew they offer rewards points but I didn't know there are two kinds of points. Thanks for the detailed explanation.

Melissa Cushing

Monday 18th of July 2022

This post has reminded me of how bad I need a real vacation. My brother just went to Costa Rica and he is tan as can be and looks amazing. I have bookmarked this post so that I can use these fabulous money saving tips.Thank you for sharing!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.