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For a limited time Chase is offering 70,000 Marriott Rewards points after spending $2,000 in the first three months, plus one free night stay at a Category 1-4 property after account approval. The $85 annual fee is even waived the first year.
I’m generally not a huge Marriott guy. Marriott Rewards seems to win every award for best hotel loyalty program, which I don’t really get. But I guess the big selling point for them is that they have properties everywhere, and a wide range at that, to suit all tastes and budgets. For my personal travel goals, their elite qualification tiers are too high and benefits too limited.
That being said, I’m still planning on picking up the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card with my next round of credit card applications.
Increased sign-up bonus
When I decide which credit cards to sign-up for, there are two aspects of the sign-up bonus that I consider:
- The absolute value of the sign-up bonus — what’s the best offer out there?
- Whether the sign-up bonus will last or not — would you rather sign up for a card with a slightly better bonus that’s likely to stick around, or a card with a slightly worse bonus that’s likely to disappear soon?
In this case I’d argue the Marriott Rewards card is potentially actually one of the “absolute” best hotel sign-up bonuses out there, and also not likely to last very long.
So for example, I want to pick up both the Fairmont and Marriott Chase Cards eventually, but in my next round of applications will go for the Marriott Card since they have a promotional offer which isn’t likely to last.
Annual Category 1-5 free night certificate
The great thing about most hotel credit cards is that they’re not just great for the sign-up bonus, but also totally worth keeping long term. The Marriott Card comes with a free annual night certificate valid at a Category 1-5 property. No matter what I do to try and avoid Marriotts, I can’t avoid them altogether.
For example, earlier in the year I had an overnight at Sao Paulo Airport, and the Marriott was by far the best option. I ended up spending ~$200 for the night, when I could have used a free night certificate… if I had one.
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, so this is really only valuable if you’re already staying at Marriott’s and just need a boost to get to the next level.
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 increased sign-up bonus certainly makes the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card more compelling, and I plan on getting the card while the increased bonus is in effect. I will also 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 Credit Card, as those cards have better bonus categories and accumulate a more flexible points currency. That being said, I wouldn’t consider transferring Ultimate Rewards points to Marriott Rewards to be “efficient,” given the other great transfer opportunities with Ultimate Rewards points, like Hyatt Gold Passport, Korean Air SkyPass, and Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, just to name a few.
Non-Affiliate Product Disclaimer: The information for the Chase Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card has been collected independently by One Mile At A Time. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.