About Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card
The Marriott Rewards Premier Plus is a hotel rewards card to be released by Chase in May 2018.
Chase and Marriott announced the new card via press release on April 16, 2018. In the release, Marriott exec David Flueck said the card is full of value.
“The new Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card is a catalyst to the full potential of our loyalty programs,” Flueck said. “The strong value proposition of the card, along with the enhancement to Marriott’s loyalty programs, makes the Premier Plus card a must-have travel rewards card.”
In this review, we’ll provide you with information about the card that will put to the test the claim that this is a “must-have travel rewards card.”
The information we provide will cover the card’s rewards, its rates and fees and how it compares to other hotel rewards credit cards.
At the end of our review, we’ll give you our fact-based opinions about the card’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as who we think this card is good for.
A Quick Word About Marriott’s Merger With Starwood
In August 2018, Marriott and Starwood will complete a merger of the two chains’ hotels. At the time of publishing, Starwood hotels could be booked for as little as 3,000 points while Marriott hotels could be booked for as little as 5,000 points plus cash or 10,000 points without cash.
Those points prices are subject to change once the merger is complete. Also, Chase has indicated that Marriott Rewards Premier cardholders can upgrade to the new card or keep their old one.
The Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Card’s Rewards
Like other hotel rewards credit cards, the Premier Plus will give you points in a variety of different situations.
According to the information available at the time of publishing, the card will give new customers a 100,000-points bonus if they can hit a certain spending goal in the first three months.
Expect it to be somewhere between $2,000 and $5,000, a range that is pretty much standard for hotel and travel rewards credit cards.
It will most likely take up to 12 weeks for those rewards points to show up in your Marriott Rewards account, which will be set up for you when you apply if you don’t already have one.
Keep in mind that interest payments, credit card fees and balance transfers don’t count toward your spending requirement and that the three-month deadline starts the day you’re approved for the card, not the day you receive it in the mail.
Points on Purchases: 6x and 2x
The welcome bonus is something you only get once. Points on purchases, however, is a perk that you’ll get nearly every time you use your credit card.
Whenever you use your Premier Plus to make purchases at Marriott or Starwood properties and websites, you’ll get six points for every dollar you spend.
So, whether you buy dinner at a restaurant on a Marriott property or use the card to book a room through the Starwood website, you’ll get six points per dollar. A $100 purchase, for example, would earn 600 points.
Assuming you use your rewards points to book a room (more on that in a minute) and use your credit card to make purchases while you’re at the property, we’re guessing you could spend around $500 a year at Marriott and Starwood properties, which is 3,000 points.
Any other purchases not related to credit card fees, interest payments or cash-type transactions like buying traveler’s checks will earn you two points per dollar.
If you spend $24,500 a year on those purchases, you’ll earn 49,000 points. When you tack on the 6x bonus purchases, you’re looking at 52,000 points a year.
Booking Rooms With Points
Assuming the points it takes to book a Marriott room stay the same after the merger, those 52.000 yearly points can book six nights at a Category 1, 7,500-point property. What that means is that Marriott’s cheapest hotels will cost 7,500. As you move up in categories, the points increase.
Marriott’s hotel category matrix indicates that Category 9 is the most expensive property category, demanding 45,000 points a night. These top-tier hotels tend to be either in very popular locations and/or feature an impressive set of luxury amenities.
You can also use the points to book rooms at Ritz-Carlton properties, which range in rewards price from 30,000 to 70,000.
Free Anniversary Night
Every year on your cardmember anniversary, you’ll get a free night good for a stay at any Marriott hotel that costs 35,000 points or less to book. Category 1-7 hotels are eligible for this free anniversary night.
Complimentary Silver Elite Status
The final main rewards you get with this card is Silver Elite status in the Marriott loyalty program. This status entitles you to the following perks before and during your stay:
- 20% bonus on points you earn at a property
- Free internet
- Special room rates
Normally, you’d have to stay at a Marriott property 10 nights in a year to earn Silver status but you get it free with the card.
The Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Card’s Rates and Fees
This card’s interest rates and fees are standard for what you’ll see with Chase’s travel-focused cards and, for the most part, they’re similar to the rates and fees of competing hotel rewards cards:
- Purchase and balance transfer APR: 17.49%-24.49%
- Cash advance APR: 26.49%
- Foreign transaction fee: None
- Cash advance/balance transfer fee: 5%
- Annual fee: $95
- Late/returned payment fee: Not listed
As we mentioned a few seconds ago, the interest rate on this card is standard for Chase travel cards. The balance transfer and cash advance fees are also normal for Chase.
It’s worth pointing out, however, that the 5% balance transfer fee is high compared to other cards like the Choice Privileges Visa that offer a 3% fee.
However, since this card is a travel-focused card, we’d recommend using a cash-back credit card for balance transfers because they often provide no-interest offers on balance transfers.
The card’s annual fee is what you’d expect for a travel-focused card that offers the level of perks that this card does.
How the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Compares to Other Hotel Rewards Cards
If you aren’t partial to one hotel chain and you want to get the best value you can out of a hotel rewards credit card, then you’ll need to do some comparisons with other hotel rewards cards.
The following chart helps you see how this card fares when set against competing cards:
|Marriott Rewards Premier Plus||Hyatt Visa||Hilton Honors Ascend||IHG Rewards Select|
|APR||17.49 - 24.49||17.49 - 24.49||17.24 - 26.24||17.49 - 24.49|
|Cheapest rewards room||7,500||5,000||10,000||10,000|
|Status upgrade||Silver Elite||Discoverist||Gold||Platinum Elite|
The Premier Plus ranks #1 for sign-up bonus along with the Hilton Honors Ascend from Amex.
The card’s Silver Elite status is average among free rewards programs the other card’s offer and is the only one of the four that doesn’t offer members a complimentary upgrade when available.
In terms of yearly points, the card is the second-best option in the group. The 52,000 points you earn in a year is good enough for nearly seven free nights whereas the Hyatt card gives you nearly six nights and the IHG card nearly four.
As far as the quality of hotel you get among the various categories offered in a chain’s rewards program, Marriott tends to charge high point prices for average hotels. For example, Category 7 hotels cost 35,000 points.
Many of those properties are Residence or Fairfield Inns, which are hardly luxury hotels. Even properties in a smaller city like Flagstaff, AZ, cost 35,000 points.
Hyatt’s categories, however, are more generous. For example, Category 4 hotels (15,000 points) include dozens of Grand Hyatt and Hyatt Regency properties, which are some of Hyatt’s more luxurious properties.
In general, we think that the Premier Plus is an average hotel rewards credit card that has a great sign-up bonus. However, its lack of a strong status upgrade and expensive redemption rates hurt its chances of being a top-tier card.
The Final Word: Pros, Cons and Who Is a Good Fit for the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus
Based on our research, we believe this card’s strengths are the 100,000 welcome bonus and the fact that you can earn more than 50,000 rewards points a year from normal spending on the card’s bonus categories.
The main drawback is that the Silver Elite status you get with the card is weak in that you don’t get a complimentary upgrade with it like you do with the status upgrades you get with competing cards. Also, average properties tend to demand higher points prices compared to other rewards programs.
In general, we believe this card is a good fit for someone who likes the Marriott chain and is deciding between this card and the Premier. The Premier Plus’ yearly points potential make it the superior choice, particularly considering the cards have identical annual fees.
» For Further Reading: Best Travel Credit Cards of 2018