This is a review of the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card from Chase.
I consider this one of the better hotel rewards credit cards, primarily because of the bonuses you get as a new cardmember.
Upon approval for the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card, you get a certificate for a free night’s stay in a Category 1-4 hotel in the Marriott family of hotels. (By the way, the Marriott family of hotels includes Marriott, JW Marriott, Renaissance, Courtyard, Residence Inn, Fairfield Inn, SpringHill Suites, TownePlace Suites, and Gaylord Resorts.)
In addition to the free stay in a Category 1-4 hotel, you also get a generous bonus point offer when you meet minimum spending requirements as a new card member. A typical bonus offer might be 50,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on the card in the first 3 months from account opening.)
A 50,000 point bonus is a nice bonus in the Marriott Rewards program. The number of points required for a free night ranges from 7,500 for a Category 1 hotel to 45,000 for a top-of-the-line Category 9 hotel. So depending on where you choose to use your bonus points, you can get several free nights with this deal.
As I stated earlier, the new member bonuses are the primary attraction of this card. When it comes to the points you earn by using this card on a month-in, month-out basis, it’s not all that impressive. You earn 1 point per dollar spent on most purchases with the card (but that increases to 2 points per dollar on airline tickets, rental cars, and restaurants… and 5 points per dollar spent at Marriott locations.)
(In comparison to the Hilton HHonors Card from American Express, this card gives you better up front bonuses, but the Hilton Card is a better deal when it comes to points earned from actually using the card.)
The Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card carries an $85 annual fee, but the annual fee is WAIVED for the first year. So you can use it for a year to take advantage of the new member bonuses, and then cancel the card before the annual fee is due.
If you choose to keep the card beyond the first year, Marriott gives you an anniversary bonus each year of a free night in a Category 1 – 5 hotel. In most cases, this is worth more than the $85 annual fee, so the annual fee becomes less of an issue.
In summary, if you enjoy staying at Marriott properties, I recommend that you get this card for at least one year. The decision to keep it beyond the first year is a personal one… it will be a good deal for some people, and not for others. But either way, the upfront bonuses alone earn this card a “recommendation” from me.