I thought I’d write up a Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card review now that they have increased the signup bonus on their Visa card (affiliated with Chase) to 50,000 points and waived the first year fee. Here’s what you’ll get if you sign up:
– 50,000 bonus points after first use, which is 6 nights (at 7500 points/night) at a Level 1 hotel, and 1 night (40k points/night) at a top tier hotel.
– First year fee waived ($85 thereafter)
– $75 statement credit
– 5x points when you spend at a Marriott and 2x points on dining, airline and car rental purchases (1x on everything else)
– 1 free night at any Category 1-4 hotel
– 1 free night each year at any Category 1-5 hotel
– No foreign transaction fees
– 15 nights credited toward elite status each year on your anniversary of having the card
– 1 night elite credit for every $3,000 you spend
Though it doesn’t have the transfer flexibility of the Starwood Preferred Amex, that’s a pretty generous set of benefits — especially the free night and elite credits each year for just $85. You’re not going to earn Gold status until you spend a bit over $100,000 on the card, which is weak compared to Starwood offering Gold after $30k spent on the card, but again, that free night is pretty nice. Considering you’re getting about $150-$200 worth of room for $85 each year, it may be worth getting just for that room alone. And if you frequent Marriotts, the 15 nights credited to Elite may just be enough to get you the status you were reaching for.
If you’re looking for a quick hit of 2 free nights (though with only a 30,000 point bonus), the Marriott Rewards Silver card offers 2 nights in a Category 1-4 hotel plus 30,000 points on signup. The $45 annual fee is waived in year 1. You only get 10 nights elite credit after the first year (instead of 15 with the Premier) and you get 3x points (instead of 5x) when you spend at a Marriott property (there is no 2x bonus for airfare and dining). You also don’t get the free night annually. I’d recommend this card if you wanted to grab a couple of free nights at a Marriott (plus the 30k points, which’ll get you a free night at a upper-mid level property). So, 3 nights or so just for signing up. Not too bad, but if you’re thinking about a longer-term card, the benefits of the Premier, I think, outweigh the $40 extra annual fee.