In the interest of full disclosure, I earn a referral bonus for anyone that’s approved through some of the below links. These are the best publicly available offers that I have found for each card. Please check out my advertiser policy for further details about my partners, including American Express and Citi, and thanks for your support!
For a limited time, you can earn 70,000 Marriott Rewards points after spending $2,000 in the first three months on the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card.
As far as signup bonuses go, this is a decent one:
- Receive 1 Free Night Stay after account approval in Category 1-4 locations
- 70,000 Marriott Rewards points are enough for two free nights at a top-tier property
- The annual fee of $85 is waived for the first year
I tend to ignore the Marriott program as I find their elite status requirements and
lack of benefits to be uncompetitive compared to other hotel chains, but the properties themselves are generally nice, and many people are a fan of the program.
They have nine categories of hotels, with a top-tier property requiring 45,000 points per night:
Even better, you can use Marriott Rewards points for stays at Ritz-Carlton hotels, and they have five “tiers” of reward stays:
So the sign-up bonus alone would give you enough points for a top-tier property like the Ritz Carlton Hong Kong, which is probably the best hotel in the city.
View from my room at the Ritz Carlton Hong Kong
Furthermore, just for having the Marriott Rewards card you also get a free night upon your account anniversary each year valid at category 1-5 properties. Marriott has nine categories, so that’s basically valid for up to a mid-tier hotel.
The Marriott Sao Paulo Airport is surprisingly nice, and only a Category 3 property
You also get 15 nights elite nights towards status each year just for having the card, and an additional one night towards status for every $3,000 you spend. That means you basically get Marriott Silver status for as long as you have the card, which takes just 10 qualifying nights. The catch is that Marriott Silver is probably the least valuable hotel status, and primarily only gets you bonus points on stays.
The card typically earns 5x points per $1 at Marriott hotels, 2x points with airlines, rental car agencies and restaurants, then one point everywhere else.
I value Marriott Rewards points at 0.8 cents each, so you’re looking at a return of 1.6% on bonus categories and 0.8% on everyday spend. Unless you’re putting money on the card to requalify for status (since the card offers one elite qualifying night for every $3,000 spent) this probably isn’t worth putting spend on.
The way I look at it, there are three components to the value of a credit card:
- The sign-up bonus
- The value the card gives you for everyday spend
- Any bonuses you may get for having the card long term
The increased sign-up bonus certainly makes the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card more compelling, and I would keep the card for the free anniversary night, but I still wouldn’t use this card for everyday spend.
If you really want to accrue Marriott points you’re almost always going to be better off earning Ultimate Rewards points through the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Freedom®, Ink Bold® Business Charge Card, Ink Plus® Business Credit Card, or Ink Cash® Business Card, as those cards have better bonus categories and accumulate a more flexible points currency.