Why I’m Finally Getting The Marriott Credit Card

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Link: Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Marriott’s co-branded credit card is offering an increased sign-up bonus, which is one of the best I’ve ever seen on the card.

Earn up to 87,500 points

Under this new offer on the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card, you can earn:

  • 80,000 Marriott Rewards bonus points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • 7,500 bonus points when you add your first authorized user and they make a purchase within three months

In other words, that’s potentially a sign-up bonus of 87,500 Marriott Rewards points after spending $3,000 and adding an authorized user.

In terms of actual return on everyday spend, the card offers 5x points per dollar spent at Marriott properties, 2x points per dollar spent on airline tickets purchased directly with airlines, at car rental agencies, and at restaurants, and 1x point per dollar spent on everything else.

Frankly I don’t consider this card to be especially lucrative for everyday spend, since you’ll get better return on a card like the Citi ThankYou® Premier CardAmex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card, or Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

Two valuable perks of the Marriott Credit Card

The Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card has two perks which make it quite valuable:

  • Upon your account anniversary every year you get a free night certificate valid at up to a category 5 property
  • You earn 15 elite night credits towards status annually just for having the card, and an additional elite night credit for every $3,000 spent on purchases, with no caps


The free night certificate should more than justify the annual fee every year, while the elite night credits can be extremely valuable if you’re going for status with Marriott. With enough spend, you can even earn top tier status exclusively on credit card spend. Not that I’d recommend earning status that way, but it is worth noting that the option is out there.

Why I plan on applying for the Marriott Visa now

So why am I finally considering applying for the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card? The reason I haven’t applied in the past isn’t because I didn’t see value in the card, but rather that I wasn’t a Marriott loyalist. I was so focused on requalifying for status with Hyatt and Starwood that I just didn’t want to put my stays with any other program.

Well, Marriott and Starwood are in the process of merging, and that’s supposed to be completed the middle of this year. I wouldn’t expect the actual programs to merge at that time (instead I suspect it will be next year at the earliest when the programs merge), but I do now have an interest in Marriott.


At some point Marriott Rewards points and Starpoints balances will presumably be merged. What we don’t know yet is when that will happen or at what rate. I’d like to see Starpoints convert into Marriott Rewards points at a 1:3 ratio, though if I had to guess, I’d say 1:2 is probably more likely, unfortunately. I’d like to be wrong, but if history with these types of mergers is any indication, I think 1:2 is most likely.

Depending of whether we’re talking about a 1:2 or 1:3 ratio, 87,500 Marriott Rewards points would be the equivalent of ~29,000-44,000 Starpoints. And both of those are good offers, if you ask me.

Bottom line

This is one of the best sign-up bonuses we’ve seen on the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card. While I’ve always thought there has been a lot of value to be had from the card in general, I never bothered since I wasn’t a Marriott loyalist. With the merger of Marriott and Starwood imminent, I’m more interested in the card than ever before, so finally plan on applying.

Any other Starwood loyalists plan on picking up this card due to the inevitable merger?

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  1. Also thinking of getting this card — especially since the rumors (which seem well-founded) that Chase is putting the nix on churning in April. Contemplating getting a bunch of Chase cards now while we still can… once they go to the 5/24 plan for co-branded cards, I may never be able to get one!

  2. Two things. After having the card for a year, you will end up getting 20 nights instead of 15 (5 carry over from the previous year), assuming you don’t hit Gold. If you hit Gold, extra nights will carry over, whatever that number is.

    Second, the free night cert is almost worthless. The hotels that you can redeem for are generally pretty far off the beaten path and the rates at the hotel are almost a wash. Or, you could find a cheaper hotel night in the same area with a different brand, e.g., IHG.

    This was one of my first rewards credit cards, as at the time I was staying at a lot of Marriott’s for work, but really don’t anymore.

  3. @Jay

    The Marriott Cert is almost useless in the US Metropolitan cities almost no hotels are available for category 5 or lower. That is the reason I don’t keep the card anymore while I do keep the IHG and Hyatt CC. However, the Marriott cert is still quite useful in many cities in Asia as those hotel category tend to be much lower compared to the ones in US.

  4. Based on history, anyone have an idea of how long this 80K sign-up offer may last to?? Considering the same – longtime SPG loyalist potentially hedging my bets here. Don’t care about the free night cert, I’ll cancel before the 2nd annual fee hits anyway. But the 80K seems solid.

  5. @ Aaron — We don’t have an end date, though keep in mind Chase is about to get much stricter with new credit card approvals, so it definitely makes sense to get it sooner rather than later.

  6. @ Asar — Well first of all, let’s keep in mind that the Ritz-Carlton and Marriott Rewards programs are run separately, but are almost identical. So it would seem a lot easier if they made it just one. Though I think the reason they haven’t is for marketing reasons, since they’re trying to attract different crowds with the two programs.

    But Marriott management has said that they plan on combining the programs eventually and are very conscious of what members want, so I think it’s near certain it will happen.

  7. @Lucky

    Isn’t the million dollar question here is will when they merge will these points be able to transfer to airlines? While the 29-44,000 SPG equivalent points I agree is very strong they are meaningless without airline transfer partner possibilities and that is assuming they still do the 5K add points for every 20 added.

  8. Not sure the cert is so useless in the US. For those of us that live in the DC area and have family come and visit a lot, there are many 1-5 hotels in the nearby burbs that are very usable. Not useful for a fun vacation destination, but nice to be able to put up a family member once and awhile.

  9. I think your logic needs to be flushed out a bit more. You claim that 87,500 Marriott points is the equivalent of roughly 29,000 – 44,000 SPG points (depending on whether the program uses a 1:3 or 1:2 ratio). However, that only holds true if you can actually convert those Marriott points to Starpoints and redeem them at current levels in the SPG program. If the program simply combines the balances from the two programs into a newly merged Marriott Rewards program (at some TBD ratio), the 87,500 points you earn from this card is equivalent to 87,500 Marriott Rewards points.

  10. I have a curious question – since this card offers 15 nights towards elite status qualification, and the SPG cards offer 5 nights as well. When the two programs merge, will these elite-qualifying nights cumulate? At that time if one have all three cards (Marriott, SPG personal and SPG business), is it possible to have 25 elite qualifying nights already?

  11. 1:2 would be a mighty rip off. In that case Arne saying points are safe would be a huge lie. Marriott Points are earned at 10 points per dollar, SPG at 2 points per dollar. Points should transfer 1:5. Now Marriott does have a better redemption ratio to points earned for most properties so I can see 1:4 or 1:3.. 1:2 would pretty much piss everyone off.

  12. @ Yang — That remains to be seen, though I doubt it. We’ll see whether Amex or Chase take over the contract, though I assume at one point it’ll be one or the other for the nights towards status.

  13. @ Nick E — Right. I’m not suggesting the points could convert to Starwood, but just rather pointing out that my balance of Starpoints will eventually be converted into Marriott Rewards points, and this is the “equivalent” of that many Starpoints being transferred. But I agree with what you say.

  14. If Marriott transfers 3:1 and maintains the vacation packages and perhaps opens up 5 day travel packages to everyone I would be satisfied.

    It would have been smart to pick up the Ritz cards when they offered 70-140k points as i did.

    Also anybody can transfer marriott points to anyone elses marriotts accounts which is nice. Not just household member like spg.

  15. Why are you hoping for 1:3 point conversion? The value is a lot closer to 1:5 especially if you account for things like 5th-night-free.

  16. My SPG points will not be converted to Marriott if I can help it. Assuming they give us any notice at all, they will be transferred to my FF programs. Most likely SQ, but since those expire after 3 years, and I don’t need to use them yet, I’m holding off until I see a need. But if I get even a hint that conversion is about to occur, I’ll transfer them immediately.

  17. I love the free nights! I got a +$300 ROI on a redemption for a night to see a football game at Autzen Stadium. The free night can be valuable, but in the very least it is worth more than the annual fee if you ever venture out. There is a new off the grid destination that I’m trying to earn free nights to stay at. Nope, I won’t share.

  18. I find the night worth more than $85. With kids in college, I visit them on football weekends and stay in SS, Courtyard’s, etc. I have always been able to use the certificate and save the jacked-up weekend rates at these properties. On football weekends, they easily run $200.

  19. I have to disagree with Lucky on this one. I’ve been lifetime Platinum for more than 20 years, maybe even 25, I just can’t remember. There was a time with a free night at a Cat 5 hotel meant a free night at almost any hotel in the US but category inflation has made it all but impossible to use the certificate at a hotel you really want to stay at in most cities at a hotel you really want to stay at. You can’t even book the SFO Airport Marriott for example and we aren’t talking a luxury downtown property.

    I guess if one values 85,000 Marriott points being worth more than 50,000 Chase UR or Citi TY and you don’t mind applying for another card with the intention of cancelling when the annual fee comes due its not the worst card out there but rarely does one find a compelling use for the annual free night certificate. Maybe if you are on the road constantly the way Lucky is you can find a place where it saves you a bit of money but so often you just can’t use it that it’s more bother than it is worth.

    At least with IHG you can burn it someplace. Plus you have a full year from when its issued to make a booking. Marriott only gives you 6 months and that is your stay by date. So unless you have two cards offset by 6 months half the year, often the half when you need it, you don’t even have the free night certificate to use when you could make use of it.

  20. Annual fee!!! I for one would take the 70,000 points and add’l pts for adding an AU offer over this offer for 80k plus AU pts. 10k aren’t worth $85 to me!!!

  21. I received this offer via email and states that i must apply by April 30th. So not saying that is when it ends, but it is good until that point for me. Going to wait just a hair as I just got the new Hilton card for 75k points and hard to spend on each card.. get confused.. so only try to do one/month to get the spend out of the way before the next card comes.

  22. One big item with the Marriott Chase CC is 5x points on $ spent at Marriott properties. I only use the CC for Marriott stays, otherwise the 1:1 for other spend isn’t worth it. Yes the Cat 5 isn’t as good as it once was, but still a few I might use (but the rate can be $100 or less at those properties.) As LT Plat on Marriott I longer need the nights – but with 15 nights/year credit that goes a long way for achieve LT status over several years.

    Marriott is so big now, you can almost always find a Marriott. And I find that I can get the best price booking a Marriott than many other chain 4 star hotels. Marriott is still weak in Asia, but it is improving. AC and Protea acquisitions helps out in Southern Europe and Africa.

    I am not into the W type hotels, and I am disappointed that Marriott has been taking desks out of rooms when they remodel. But hopefully that will stop.

  23. I’ve had the card for several years and have only one time been able to use the free night cert. There are usually not many category 1-5 hotels near where I’m looking to stay (like someone said, they tend to be off the beaten path; I’ve found that these are some of the low cost/poorly reviewed properties). And the darn thing is only good for 6 months after your anniversary date, then it expires! Marriott should really make it good for a full year, not 6 months.

  24. Don’t forget that you cannot take advantage of this offer if you have received a card in the last 24 months.

  25. Late to the party here but do you earn 5x points when using your Marriott CC at a Ritz Carlton property restaurant?

  26. So I got this card because of this post and they sent it to me and all seemed fine and then 2.5 months later after I have already nearly met the 3000 dollar spend they sent me a card in the mail saying that I am ineligible for the bonus. Not a real great explanation of why but I certainly wouldn’t have paid 85 dollars for the card without the bonus so I am planning to call and try to get the fee reversed. Anyone else experience this?

  27. If you book a Marriott room at hotels.com will it get you the 5x points on your card as well as getting you towards a free night at hotels.com? Or do you only get the points booking through Marriott.com?

  28. I know all of you guys are hard-core mile-getters and travel-mad. I love travel, but I don’t want a part-time job dealing with crap service. To me, this card is more hassle to deal with than it’s worth. I love Marriott (and I will happily take the “worthless” certificates you guys don’t want for your $85 a night annual room). I mostly travel for pleasure now, and believe I have gotten value out of this card in the short term, but am not persuaded that I need to re-up. Chase is not my favorite bank anyway. They are too much the fulfillment of Orwellian, Google-evil.

  29. @econline any update? I was looking at this card but based on things I’m hearing about Chase service and declining value of certificates/marriott points I was questioning it. Wondering if you got everything straightened out or if it was a bait and switch situation for you..

  30. @Mr Ed, yeah actually I saw on another site that Chase was sending out denials by mistake, I contacted them and they said that I would actually be eligible. I just looked and my points have posted.

  31. @Lucky,

    Do you think post-merger with Starwood, there will be a new credit card coming from Marriott? I’m thinking about getting this Marriott card now, but would hold off if there’s a chance of a new “better” credit on the horizon (much like the Chase Reserve being an improvement over the Chase Preferred, etc.)

    Don’t want to go thru hassle of getting this card now and then canceling/downgrading later.

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