If you travel at least once a year, the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card is a fantastic way to save a bundle of money. This credit card is one the best hotel reward cards on the market. In addition to a great signup bonus, it offers multiplied points on all travel-related spending – not just Marriott-brand hotels. Enjoy my detailed review of the Marriot Rewards Premier Credit Card and make sure to read my secret tip for maximizing your Marriott Rewards points!
Marriott Rewards Premier Review
When I first began my career as a consultant, my colleagues’ advised me to get a hotel rewards card immediately. After shopping around for hotel reward cards, I decided on the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card. During my research, I determined the following key factors need to be assessed for any hotel reward card:
- Hotel Locations – More locations equals more opportunity to use points and save money.
- Bonuses – Take advantage of special offers while they last.
- Points Structure – All points are not made equal… find out what your points are worth.
Marriott Brand Locations
Marriott owns and operates much more than the Marriott Hotels & Resorts brand. The parent company owns and operates 17 other brands with locations around the world. These brands all honor Marriott Rewards points and accept the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card. Marriott owns the following brands (shown with location information, if available):
- Marriott Hotels & Resorts – 343 U.S., 178 international
- JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts – 16 U.S., 23 international
- Renaissance Hotels – 145+ world-wide
- EDITION Hotels
- Autograph Collection
- Courtyard by Marriott – 800+ locations in 28 countries
- AC Hotels by Marriott
- Residence Inn by Marriott – 580+ locations world-wide
- Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott – 650 locations in U.S. Canada and Mexico
- Marriott Conference Centers – 13 locations in the U.S.
- TownePlace Suites by Marriott – 190+ locations in the U.S.
- SpringHill Suites by Marriott – 230+ locations world-wide
- Marriott Vacation Club
- The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. – 70+ locations world-wide
- The Ritz-Carlton Destination Club
- ExecuStay – 300+ locations in the U.S.
- Marriott Executive Apartments – 18 locations world-wide
- Grand Residences by Marriott
No matter where your travel destination may be, there will most likely be a Marriott brand nearby. Consequently, if you are a Marriott Rewards member, this has two distinct advantages: (1) high likelihood of earning points while staying at a Marriott brand hotel or (2) high likelihood of saving money by staying at a Marriott brand hotel by spending points. In other words, this is a WIN-WIN situation for Marriott Rewards members. There are no strings attached when it comes to earning points during a stay at Marriott brand hotels. When it comes to earning points, it makes no difference if you are staying at a Courtyard hotel in downtown Milwaukee or the Ritz-Carlton in Hong Kong.
Marriott Rewards Premier Signup Bonus
Chase is currently offering a tremendous promotion for new applicants of the Marriott Rewards Premier Card. Once you’re approved, you will be able to achieve the following bonuses:
- 30,000 bonus points – Awarded immediately after your first purchase with the credit card.
- A free night stay – Awarded immediately upon approval for the credit card. Redeemable at category 1-4 hotels.
- A free night stay EVERY YEAR – Awarded each year upon account anniversary. Redeemable at category 1-5 hotels.
- No annual fee the first year – Annual fee is essentially negated by the free night stay which is also offered on an annual basis.
- 15 nights credit toward Elite status – This automatically gives you Silver Elite status. 35 more nights and you’ll earn Gold Elite status.
The 30,000 point bonus is amazing. That is the equivalent to 3 nights at a “category 2” hotel or 2 nights at a “category 3” or “category 4” hotel. Nights at hotels in higher categories will cost 20,000 points or more. Hotel categories vary by brand and property location. For example, many Courtyards are “category 3,” but a Courtyard with a fantastic view or downtown location may be a “category 4.” Use the search form on the Marriott.com website to find hotels. The result page will show hotel categories and the points required for each stay if you click the “User Marriott Rewards Points” check box before searching.
Marriott Rewards Premier Points Structure
It’s easy to earn Marriott Rewards points with the Marriott Rewards Premier Card. With each dollar you spend, you earn one point. If the dollar is spent on airfare, dining or rental cars, you earn two points. Best of all, for each dollar spent at Marriott hotels, you earn five points. If you are in a bind, and cannot stay at a Marriott hotel, you will still earn two points for each dollar. In one business trip, you could easily bring in over 6,000 points while staying at a Marriott brand hotel. For those of you traveling on a weekly basis, you will have 54,000 points in a month if you factor in the 30,000 signup bonus.
It’s important to remember the “double-dipping” factor as well. This is the greatest secret of using the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card at Marriott locations. Once you have Elite status, you will earn points for each stay. The Elite status is separate from your credit card which is owned by Chase. This means regardless of whichever credit card you used to pay for your Marriott stay, you will earn Marriott Rewards points for your stay if you have Elite status. The Elite status levels have their own multipliers for earning points for stays, but they are increasingly higher as your status increases from Silver, Gold and finally to Platinum. If you use the Marriott Rewards Premier Card as an Elite rewards member, you are essentially “double-dipping” and earning points incredibly fast. Not only will you earn points on a nightly basis due to your Elite status, you will earn points on a spending basis with the credit card.
Here is a summary of the points structure of the Marriott Rewards Premier Card:
- 5 points per $1 spent at Marriott
- 2 points per $1 spent on airline, dining and rental car purchases
- 1 point per $1 spent elsewhere
- New! Elite Night for every $3,000 spent on your card
- New! 15,000 Bonus Points for 7-night redemption stay at Category 7 or 8 hotels
The Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card is one of the best hotel rewards cards on the market. The traditional personal finance “experts” may be quick to disregard this card due to it’s annual fee. Many say a credit card with an annual fee should be avoided… and I agree! The reason the annual fee doesn’t matter on this credit card is because it is essentially negated if you take advantage of the annual gift of one free night. The annual free night gift can be redeemed at a category 5 hotel, which makes the gift worth much more than the annual fee. It should be easy to see how this card is fantastic, especially if you are a frequent traveler. Use my strategies mentioned above to maximize the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card and save yourself a bundle of money!
Category: Credit Card
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