About Marriott Rewards Premier Card
Chase’s Marriott Rewards Premier credit card promises 80,000 free points to anyone who signs up for the card and spends $3,000 in three months.
Since you can trade in those points for free hotel stays at Marriott properties, the current offer for this card is pretty attractive for frequent travelers or budget vagabonds who want a free place to stay.
However, every credit card comes with its pros and cons, and the Marriott Rewards card is no different. Knowing if those advantages and disadvantages make this the right card for you can be tough, so we’re going to spend the next few minutes reviewing the:
- Value of the card’s introductory offer
- Long-term benefits
- Extent of the card’s fees and penalties
- Card’s reputation among fellow consumers
Once we lay each of these topics out, we’ll conclude our review with some overall thoughts about this big-bonus hotel rewards credit card.
The Value of the Marriott Rewards Premier Introductory Offer
Earlier we mentioned that Marriott would give you 80,000 points if you spend $3,000 in the first three months. When you encounter an offer like this from a credit card company, you should ask two questions: How quickly can I hit the spending requirement, and, how much are those points worth?
Let’s tackle the $3K spending requirement first. While every person and family in the U.S. are different, we do know that the Bureau of Labor Statistics says, based on the average spending across several categories, the typical American household will have no problem hitting $3,000 in spending.
The second question is a little trickier. Rewards points – whether airlines or hotels – are not created equal. It’s kind of like the currency exchange market. One dollar will get you a lot farther in Mexico or India than it will in London or Moscow.
The best way to know how much your points are worth is to check out the rewards program’s hotel categories. Category One hotels are the cheapest, and they go up in points from there. These groups are split up based on location and level of luxury.
So, a super nice hotel in Des Moines, Iowa, for example, may only be a Category Two hotel, but a hotel of the same level of luxury just one block from New York City’s Times Square could be a Category Five hotel and cost three times as many points.
With all that in mind, let’s talk about how much value you can get out of your 80,000 introductory points.
The Marriott Rewards program has nine tiers of hotels. Category One properties cost 7,500 points, which means your intro 80K points can get you 10 free individual nights. Also, Marriott gives you a free fifth night on a four-night points reservation. So, you could potentially get 12 free nights out of your intro points.
And here’s the good part: Marriott has more than 100 Cateogry One hotels, which is a lot of options if you frequently travel in the U.S. They currently have Category One properties in 26 states and 20 countries.
You can even get some of these hotels for 6,000 points through “PointSavers” sales, but these offers are usually limited to just a few hotels. During the time of our research, only one hotel was available on PointSavers – the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center in Grapevine, Tx.
Pro Tip: Adding an authorized user who makes a purchase in the first three months gets you an additional 7,500 points. You can add the user when you sign up for the card online or over the phone.
The Long-Term Benefits of Marriott Rewards Premier: Loyalty Upgrade, Free Night, Points-Per-Dollar
At HighYa, we like to encourage consumers to take a short- and long-term look at the benefits and drawbacks of a product.
Introductory offers from credit cards are pretty dazzling, but what’s the card like when you strip away all those benefits?
Marriott gives its Chase cardmembers complimentary Silver Elite membership, an upgraded status in their loyalty program that gives you the following perks:
- Late checkout
- Reservation guarantee
- 20% bonus on points accrued during stay
- One year of Hertz #1 Gold Membership
Each year Marriott automatically renews your Silver Elite, so you don’t have to worry about losing it as long as your credit card is active.
Free Anniversary Night
Marriott will credit one free night to your account every year on your cardmember anniversary. That free night can be redeemed at any hotel from Category One to Category Five.
Points Bonuses on Purchases
Every time you swipe your credit card, you’ll earn points for your Marriott Rewards account. How many points you get back on each purchase depends on what you’re buying:
- 5 points for every $1 you spend at a Marriott property
- 2 points for every $1 you spend at a car rental agency, through an airline website or at restaurants
- 1 point for every $1 you spend on everything else.
There is no limit to how many points you can get, and, according to Chase, those points don’t expire as long as you use your card at least once every two years.
Marriott Rewards Premier Card’s Fees and Penalties
Smart consumers know the good and bad sides of owning a credit card. The good, of course, is the perks and intro offers, but the bad side is the collection of fees and penalties you can expect. Here’s a quick breakdown of those:
- APR: 16.24–23.24% (purchases and balance transfers)
- Fee for paying late: Up to $37, depending on your balance
- Penalty APR: None
- Foreign transaction fee: None
- Annual fee: $85
There’s nothing too out-of-the-ordinary here, as comparable hotel cards like the Hyatt Visa have a similar annual fee ($75) and the same lowest APR (16.24%).
Our suggestion is to pay off your entire balance every month. For every $1,000 you leave on your balance, you’ll pay about $13 a month at best and around $22 at worst. Over the course of a year, that’s $162-$232 a year. In our opinion, this card (or any card, for that matter) isn’t worth it if you carry a balance of $1,000.
What Other People Are Saying About the Marriott Rewards Card
One way to know if a card lives up to the hype is to read what credit experts and other cardmembers are saying about it.cardmembers are saying about it.
We took a quick look at opinions from two experts as well as consumer reviews from a pair of sites. Here’s what we found:
- NerdWallet Consumers: 2.5 stars from 15 reviews
- Credit Karma Consumers: 4.1 stars from 58 reviews
- NerdWallet Expert Erin El Issa: 3.2 out of 5 stars
- Value Penguin’s Expert Review: 83 out of 100
Common complaints about the card were centered on customer service and redeeming rewards.
A few reviewers said they had bad experiences with Marriott’s customer service, while several mentioned that the free anniversary night is hard to redeem in places like California, where even basic Marriott hotels are Category 7s.
Our Conclusion on Marriott Rewards Premier Card: Great Intro Offer and a Good Option for Marriott Loyalists
The Chase Marriott Rewards Premier card is an excellent choice if you’re looking for quick access to free nights in the United States and certain countries abroad.
However, you’ll need to check out Marriott’s category pages to make sure the cities you want to or most frequently visit have hotels at fair points prices.
If you head to the same vacation spot every year, for example, double check to make sure Marriott has a hotel there and how many points that hotel will cost.
Related: The Best Travel Card of 2017
Aside from the significant up-front offer, we think the Marriott is an average credit card. The interest rate ranges from an average 16.24% up past 23%. Those APR’s are pretty high, and there’s no guarantee you’ll get the lowest rate.
As for the points-per-dollar rates on this card, someone who often travels and stays at Marriott properties will gain the most benefit.
If you take a lot of trips for business and get reimbursed for your food purchases, this card is great because every time you pay for a meal or room service on a Marriott property, you’ll receive five points for every dollar you spend.
You’ll also get Silver Elite status – late checkouts and guaranteed availability are always nice perks.
However, there are changes ahead for the Marriott Rewards program. The hotel chain is merging with Starwood, which means both companies’ loyalty programs are joining. Some changes have already taken place.
We researched the merger and wrote an article about the pros and cons for Marriott and SPG members. Take a moment to read it so you can be prepared for the upcoming changes!
Read Next: The Best Hotel Rewards Credit Card of 2017