Why It Makes Sense To Apply For Marriott’s Credit Card

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Since earlier this year, the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card has been offering an sign-up bonus, which is one of the best I’ve ever seen on the card. With the merger between Marriott and Starwood well underway, and the possibility of a “new” credit card product eventually being introduced, I think it’s worth posting about this offer again.

Earn up to 87,500 points

Under this offer on the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card (which has an $85 annual fee) you can earn:

  • 80,000 Marriott Rewards bonus points after you spend $3,000 on purchases within three months
  • 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. I value Marriott Rewards points at ~0.8 cents each, so to me those points are worth ~$700.

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 Amex 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 $85 annual fee every year. Keep in mind that when the merger is complete, Marriott will by far be the largest hotel chain in the world, so there will be tons of hotels where you can redeem those free nights.

Marriott-Madrid-Auditorium-Hotel - 16
Redeem your anniversary free night at any Category 1-5 property

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.

Marriott-Madrid-Auditorium-Hotel - 31
Earn elite status so you can access Marriott’s executive lounges

Why you should consider the Marriott Visa soon

I know many people don’t have the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card because they’re not Marriott loyalists, and therefore historically haven’t found the card to be worthwhile.

However, with Marriott and Starwood now in the process of merging, eventually we’ll see the SPG and Marriott Rewards programs merge as well, likely at some point next year, or otherwise in early 2018.


At some point Marriott Rewards points and Starpoints balances will 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. 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. Even if you haven’t historically been a Marriott loyalist, this card might be worth picking up for the great sign-up bonus, annual free night certificate, and elite qualifying nights towards status annually. The value of Marriott Rewards points should only increase with the merger, in my opinion, given all the new properties Marriott Rewards members will have access to (meanwhile I’d guess the value of Starpoints will decrease somewhat).

Lastly keep in mind that you can’t receive the sign-up bonus on this card if you have this card and/or have received the sign-up bonus on the card in the past 24 months. Furthermore, Chase generally won’t approve people for the card if they’ve applied for more than five credit cards in 24 months.

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  1. Thanks for the good argument “for” Marriott…I have to say that ever since getting the Ritz Visa when it had the huge sign up bonus, I have totally enjoyed my Marriott stays as a Gold member…My question is, can you have the Ritz Card [which I have kept] and the Marriott Visa @ the same time…???

  2. Lucky,

    Your reasoning only holds if Marriott keeps how the SPG rewards are held today, an iffy at best scenario.

  3. Emirates will start flying an A380 to Moscow on one of the two daily frequencies (EK131 and EK132) as of October 1st 2016.
    This will be the first ever A380 service to Moscow!!!

  4. +1 Gene. Marriott has devalued this card and the cost of their awards is extremely high for the amount of points. The free night vs the annual fee is not worth it considering what even category 5 hotels for these days. The merger is not a good reason to get the card-it doesn’t make MR points more valuable, just SPG points less so (likely significantlly)

    I think Lucky’s real answer to “why it makes sense to apply for Marriott’s credit card” is because Chase pays him for every application he gets through these links.

  5. It is amazing how many readers like to rip on Lucky on his blog. Is there a reason? He seems like a nice guy.

  6. I have the Chase Marriott Premier credit card which has many useful travel benefits and is an attractive black metallic card but this credit card is really only worth using at Marriott hotels due to devalued points worth less than a cent for which the bonus category multipliers do not compensate. The point value stated in the article is overstated for many redemptions. I originally got the card for 70000 points with $1000 spend in three months. The current signup offer is not a good value for a subpar loyalty program. My AMEX Starwood card stays in my wallet for general spend while the Chase Marriott Premier card stays in a drawer unless I am visiting a Marriott hotel. I would have kept my AMEX Starwood card likely forever because of the point value and flexibility the Starwood program offered but if Marriott morphs the Starwood program into the current Marriott loyalty program, I am leaving. Having a Chase Marriott Premier credit card with a $25,000 credit limit which is used occasionally is losing its appeal for me. I get more value from the free room than the annual fee but the free night rationale is losing its appeal since I only want to manage credit card accounts I actively use. All of my cash back cards beat the Marriott credit card return on all spending other than Marriott. It seems to me that Chase travel rewards credit card returns only exceed the best cash back cards for established road warriors.

  7. @matt. Not beating up lucky so much as marriott. I have this card and have been very disappointed by it and think it’s much worse than other hotel cards (IHG-free night at any hotel, lower annual fee. the annual fee Hilton comes with valuable gold status. SPG-you get transfers to tons of airlines with a bonus).

    There are other cards that don’t get pimped so much that are good but apparently the bloggers don’t get incentives from chase. The citi 2% cash back card. Fidelity’s 2% cash back card. Chase’s freedom unlimited-a no annual fee card- rarely gets mentioned even though it pairs very nicely with a very promoted card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred. (The freedom unlimited earns 1.5 UR points on everything.)

    And now chase has the no-bonus (no approval?) rule if you’ve had more than 5 new cards in the last 24 months, so quite a few people in the miles and points world need to be more careful than in the past with what cards they get.

    Beyond that, lucky, to his credit, doesn’t censor the negative comments in general, so it probably looks like he gets beat up more than most bloggers.

  8. Yes, Lucky’s site is the only one I comment on because he doesn’t edit what people say. I gave him a hard time for all the carbon he was pumping into the atmosphere associated with his 10million flying miles he is putting in this week. Totally cool with Lucky. My kind of blogger! So I say, “be nice to Lucky!”

  9. Best use of Marriott points is still the Hotel-Plus-Air Miles conversion to Southwest which gets a companion pass on Southwest. Of course they start around 250K points.

    I assume the Starwood AmEx card will be killed and the Chase card will stay. Pity.

  10. If the Marriott-SPG conversion is 1:2, then I am converting Marriott points to SPG. If the conversion rate is 1:3, I am converting SPG to Marriott points. Anything in between, still SPG wins. Seems simple..
    Marriott does devalue but not like HDishonors..
    Chase CSP card is a worthless card to me beyond the first year (there are too many other better cards)..

  11. I sure as heck wouldn’t let my SPG transfer at a pathetic 2:1 rate to crap Marriott point. Or even 3:1. Hilton is better value and is significantly easier to earn points plus has vastly better status perks. It’s hilarious see people say how great Marriott is when it’s the worst value for points of just about any chain and has been for years. Those people are simply clueless rubes.

  12. I am a SPG loyalist that just signed up for the Marriott Rewards Card as I have an upcoming stay at a Marriott resort. Any word if the 5X bonus on spend will be honored at SPG properties?

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