Up To 50k Points For Upgrading Your Marriott Card (And Why You Might Want To Wait)

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As Marriott Rewards, Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest continue their integration plans, new co-branded credit cards are being issued with both Chase and American Express. The Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card has just been introduced, and has a big 100,000 point sign-up bonus.

Those with the previous Marriott Rewards Premier Card are also receiving customized offers to upgrade to the new card.

Check your upgrade offer

If you currently have the Marriott Rewards Premier Card, you can see your upgrade offer by following this link, and entering some basic information.

I don’t have the Marriott card, but my cousin Heather does, so I entered her info. Her offer is for 30,000 Marriott Reward points after making a single purchase through the end of the year.

It’s likely that these offers are based on how much a customer spends or uses the card. To give a few data points:

  • Heather’s daughter plays Club and Varsity soccer, and living in Spokane, many games are out of town, requiring overnight stays at Marriott hotels
  • She only uses this card at Marriott properties, but with two or three weekends a month at hotels during the season(s), she’s probably at least considered a moderate user
  • She’s had the card for three years (there are rumors that you’ll be offered 10k points per year you’ve had the card, but I can’t confirm that yet)

I’d expect that if you use the card more frequently or for higher spend amounts, your offer will likely be higher, whereas if you’ve sock-drawered the card and just used the anniversary night certificate you may not be offered anything to upgrade. But please share your data points in the comments!

What are the differences between the old and new Marriott cards?

These are both cards that have a decent return at Marriott/SPG properties, but aren’t great for everyday spend. The free anniversary nights more than justify the annual fees on both cards (more on those anniversary nights in a bit), and both effectively offer Silver Elite status.

The Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card has a slightly higher annual fee, at $95 rather than $85, which corresponds to a higher earnings rate and a more valuable anniversary night award.

One of the biggest differences here is in how the cards can be used as leverage towards elite status. Both cards give you 15 credits towards Elite membership every year, but while the Marriott Rewards Premier Card awards these on your account anniversary, the Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card will allocate Elite credits by calendar year, starting in 2019.

Starting next year that difference won’t matter as much, but could certainly be a factor for folks counting on those 15 night credits this year. We’ll go over that choice more below.

The Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card also offers a “path to Gold Status” by spending $35,000 on the card in a year. I hope very few of you choose to do so, however, given that can earn Marriott Gold status through RewardsPlus if you’re a United MileagePlus Gold member or above, or by having an Amex Platinum Card.

The existing Marriott Rewards Premier Card takes a different approach, offering one Elite status credit for every $3,000 in spend. While this isn’t something that makes sense on a large scale, it can be helpful for those who are maybe two or three nights short of a higher status tier.

Can I have both Marriott cards?

In a word, no. Chase is implementing similar “acquisition eligibility rules” to the Marriott consumer products as they have on the Sapphire and Southwest products — namely, you can only have one card at a time.

So Marriott Rewards Premier cardholders have two vehicles to get the new Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card:

  • Upgrade your account (either now or at a future date)
  • Cancel your Marriott Rewards Premier, and reapply for the Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card

You don’t have to do anything right away, as no one will be automatically converted at this time, so you have a bit to decide.

It’s worth noting that the “product family” restrictions don’t include the Marriott Rewards Premier Business Credit Card or The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card — if you have either of those cards you are still potentially eligible for the new Marriott personal card.

Should I take the upgrade or apply for the new offer?

Keep in mind that the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card is subject to 5/24, so if you’re over that limit you likely wouldn’t be approved for the new card.

As this is a personal card, an approval for this product will still count towards 5/24, so that’s something else to consider if you’re trying to stay below that count. If you upgrade, you’ll maintain your account history and card number (though you’ll be sent a new card with an updated expiration date and security code). So the product change won’t report to the credit bureaus as a new account, and shouldn’t impact your 5/24 status.

Who should upgrade, and who should wait?

Given the better earnings rates and the improved Anniversary night, most people will probably be better off with the new Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card. There are a few exceptions, however, and some timing elements to consider. In general, if you haven’t reached your account anniversary year yet, you may be better off waiting until some questions are answered by Marriott.

Do you care about receiving elite credits in 2018?

Remember that the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card awards elite credits based on the calendar year, so no one will receive any until January, regardless of how or when you acquire the card.

Meanwhile, the Marriott Rewards Premier awards those elite credits on your account anniversary, which could be at any point in 2018, depending on when you originally applied for the card. If, like Heather, your account anniversary has already occurred (hers was in March), then your 15 elite credits will have already posted.

Doing a product change or upgrading shouldn’t impact the status of those elite credits, so if they’re already in your Marriott account you should be set. Otherwise, you may want to wait until after your account anniversary to switch.

Of course, you may or may not care about those elite credits, so it will depend on your situation.

Are you close to your account anniversary?

If so, and given the rumors that the number of points offered when you upgrade is determined by how long you’ve had the card, it might make sense to wait until you hit your account anniversary.

You could potentially get 10,000 more points that way (but this is just a suspicion!), and if your anniversary is in the next month or two there’s no rush to upgrade.

What about those Anniversary Free Night Awards?

This is another big question, and no one at Marriott seems to have a consistent answer. The current Marriott Rewards Premier awards an Anniversary night award that is good at a Category 1-5 property, with no specification as to the number of points that should correspond to that award.

Going “forward,” the Marriott Rewards Premier anniversary night will be capped to properties at 25,000 points or less, while the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card will offer a free anniversary night at properties up to 35,000 points.

However, we don’t know exactly when “forward” is going to happen here. Nor do we know how existing Category 1-5 certificates will be handled when the new award chart takes effect in August.

If (and it’s a big if that I suspect is a “no” but hasn’t been officially confirmed) these can be used at up to a Category 5 property (making them effectively worth 35,000 points), then that will be a nice perk for those with anniversaries in the first half of the year. I predict — though have nothing official to base this on — that free anniversary night awards issued in August or later will have the 25,000 point limitation language on them.

Either way, upgrading will likely change your account anniversary date. So if you haven’t received your free night award for 2018, accepting a product change might mean you don’t get one at all this year. We’re seeking clarification on this, but in the meantime, if you have the Marriott Rewards Premier and your account anniversary is later this year, I’d hold off on upgrading for now. A certificate that can be used for an up to 25,000 point night is better than none at all!

Bottom line

With a handful of exceptions, the new Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card is likely going to be the better card for most folks in the long run.

Whether or not you should accept the upgrade offer, however, depends on a variety of factors, so be sure to consider the benefits and timing carefully.

What was your upgrade offer? Are you going to take it?

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Comments

  1. Tiffany — some reports on FT based on language in the upgrade terms that upgrades reset your anniversary date for the fee cert, so if true this is a big mark against upgrading if your free night is expected soon on the old card.

  2. My offer was for 10k points, card opened Feb 2016 so I’ve had it over two full years. I do use the card a bit, about $15k spent on the card, 90% on Marriotts.

  3. I’d be very interested to hear what you find out from Chase/Marriott regarding the free night on the Premier card. I had thought the 25,000 points restriction was a typo given that there are no Category 5 hotels that cost that cost 25,000 points or less.

    I questioned @ChaseSupport about this via DM on April 16th. I was told the following after a painful back and forth where they kept saying, “We will share this to help us improve our Online Service and products.” If it is a typo as the below would indicate, it is odd that they have still not corrected it.

    Me: “After the program changes announced today, will the free night certificate for the existing Marriott Rewards Premier Visa be valid at Cat 1-4 hotels (up to 25,000 points) or Cat 1-5 hotels (up to 35,000 points)??”

    @ChaseSupport: “To confirm the benefit for the free night is for Cat 1-5 hotels(up to 35,000 points). ^JM”

  4. I’ve had the card for four years, minimal use (under $3K/year) and usually dormant.
    I had NO offer for an upgrade at all.
    Interestingly, this card still has only a 5K limit.
    My Reserve has 25K and the Freedom Unlimited has 20K.

  5. I’ve held the card for 1 year and put about $8k on it in that time. NO UPGRADE OFFER.

  6. @Tiffany. I clicked on the link and it said: “Just enter your information to submit your request today.”. If I enter all the details, would the website consider it as a REQUEST to change the card to the new one? I do not want to change just yet, just want to see what’s the offer I would get. Thanks.

  7. I’ve had the Premier for 4 years & 8 months. I just checked my offer and got:

    “Upgrade Today, DCS!

    Then earn 20,000 after your first purchase by 12/31/18.
    We’re excited to offer you the opportunity to upgrade to the new Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card so you can enjoy even more…”

    I just went for because Marriott Rewards having taken over for SPG as my “no man’s land”, I have nothing at all to consider .

    I pulled the trigger and got:

    “Thank you, DCS!

    Your request for an upgrade to the new Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Card has been submitted.

    As long as you continue to meet our credit criteria, your upgrade request will be approved and your new product benefits take effect in up to 4 business days. You will also receive a letter in the mail explaining the new fee, when it will apply, and your right to reject the change for this new product.”

    It’s done. I will reduce all my MR points, including this 20K bonus, to starpoints, combined them with the few starpoints I have and then transfer the total to SQ miles and that’ll do it.

  8. BTW, my use of the Premier was minimal. Usually at the end of year to pay for incidentals during 1-3 night award stays at Marriott hotels in Bangkok (JW Marriott or Renaissance)…

  9. @ Daniel B — Nope, just entering your name and last four should give you an upgrade offer, you still have to accept terms and whatnot to actually submit the upgrade request.

  10. @Tiffany. Thank you. I entered the details and got: “earn 10,000 after your first purchase by 12/31/18.” Had the card for 6 years and spend 3k on it per month.

  11. Yo Tiffany, would those point count towards lifetime status, if get before August?

  12. You can check your anniversary night date on AwardWallet to figure if you need to upgrade now as oppose to waiting till you get your free night.

  13. I’ve had the Martiott Premier Visa card for 7 years, spent $20-25K on it each of the past two years, and was offered 10K points to upgrade. Was hoping to be offered more.

  14. Applied last year; moderate use on card: between $5K-10K, got 20K points offer.

    Have had annual fee ($85) posted, and annual free night appears to show up in my Marriott account.

    So does anyone know how this works? If I product switch now, will I able to hold onto the annual free night that I have? And will the next one credit next year? Also if $85 fee already on statement, then how does it get adjusted to $95?

    TIA

  15. 10k offered.
    I’ve had the card 14 years and spend 3-5k every month.
    I have Platinum Elite status.

  16. 10k. I product-changed from the RC card back in November, so it’s been < 1 year. I'm waiting until the 15 nights post.

  17. Any advice for Canadians? Marriott card was recently cancelled, leaving us with only the SPG Amex…

  18. I just passed my 1st year 2 mths ago. Got 20k offer. Not used card since receiving sign up bonus. Maybe based on combo of credit score and spend?

  19. I had the card for almost exactly one year. I got my free night certificate and paid the yearly fee and was offered 20k. I spent about 5.5k on the card when I got it to get the 100k bonus point when I signed up last year and haven’t spent anything on it since.

  20. I, too, got the 10k offer. I’ve had the card 12 years, spend 3K on it monthly.
    I have Platinum Elite status and need 40K to make Lifetime Plat, which would translate into LPP under the new scheme. (Struggling to figure out how to get the 40K, had hoped to get 30-40K through this offer, sigh….).

  21. Rather than up to 50K as per the title, it seems so that this offer goes up to 20K…no?

  22. @ DCS — No. The screenshot I shared is for a 30k offer, and others have reported up to 50k. The offers are cardholder specific.

  23. My offer said for “10,000”. It didn’t say if that was points or dollars. I’ll assume dollars and click away! 😉

  24. 4 years, minimal spend, got 30k. Get this, my wife, 2 years, less spend than me, 50k.

  25. I have had my card since 2009 – use to only use it for Marriott stays and have maintained either Gold or Platinum Elite since 2009. I have used it as my main credit card with several thousands of dollars that past couple of years and all they offered me was 10K. Whoever said it above, I view that as a slap in the face! I am 100K short from Lifetime Gold (which will be automatically Lifetime Platinum according to the conversion table in Aug.). I called the Rewards line and spoke a couple of times to the credit card company. They said if to get the 100K (IF I’m eligible – which is I ) you have to cancel your current card and it has to clear you credit record (could take up to 2 months) and then apply for the credit card. REALLY?! Come on I’m a loyal member, had this card forever and you can’t give me more than 10K to upgrade and what a hassle to try and get the new credit card. So since I do consulting, I applied for a business credit card and was automatically approved and after I spend $3,000 I will have 75K points. Crazy don’t you think?!

  26. Sounds like the longer you have had the card, and the more you use it, the lower the offer. I guess they feel that if you are a “loyal” card user you don’t need to be convinced to upgrade. Way to reward loyalty Chase and Marriott.

  27. For me, the fact that the new Platinum Plus card does not offer one elite night credit for every $3,000 spent is a big disincentive to switch. Those credits have been the difference between my being Marriott Gold and in some years Marriott Platinum versus not. Those status benefits have been worth quite a lot to me (breakfast, room upgrades, increased points earnings on Marriott stays and the benefits of being United Premier Silver).

  28. I’ve used the Premier card on all possible expenses for at least 10 years…. $6K+ a month in average spend over the last couple. Never carried a balance over. I was offered a whopping 10K bonus to switch.

    Can anybody answer this: I’m currently Lifetime Gold Elite status and will be anointed Lifetime Platinum (level 1) when the transition occurs so I’m thinking I have no reason to fear the loss of the elite credits for every $3k in spending. Am I missing some fine print?

  29. Had the card 3 years, no real spend each month to speak of, was offered 10k. Then my anniversary night posted and I checked again and it was still 10k. I am over 5/24 so I may upgrade just so I can get a referral link for this one as I have some friends excited about the offer. If I take the 10,000 point upgrade offer does that mean that I will not be eligible for this cards bonus for 24 months? Or since I did not get the grand sign up bonus does it not count?

  30. I can tell you from what my husband and we’re offered it’s nit based on spending or history. I’ve had it for less than a year as a “sock drawer” card and I was offered 20,000. My husband has had the card for 3 years, x4 higher limit, his main go to card and he was offered ZERO.

  31. I received an offer for 50k upgrade 2 weeks ago. I waited until my card anniversary to get my 15 nights and certificate to post, so I upgraded today. I believe I’ve had my card about 5 years…and I really only use it for my Marriott stays. Maybe spend 15k per year on it.

    Sorry @DCS…some of us got better offers…

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