Chase Marriott Rewards Premier card review

Published: November 15, 2017
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Ratings Policy
Hotel Rating:
3.5 rating
3.5 rating
3.5 / 5
Rewards Value: 2.8
Annual Percentage Rate: 2.2
Rewards Flexibility: 4.1
Hotel Options: 4.5
Features: 4.0

In a nutshell:

With its large sign-up bonus, Marriott fans will find this card worth having, despite a high annual fee and a mediocre earning scheme.

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Rewards Rate

  • 5:1 Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotel stays
  • 2:1 car rental, directly purchased airfare
  • 1:1 general

Sign-up Bonus

  • 80,000 points if you spend $5,000 in first 3 months
  • 7,500 points for adding an authorized user

Annual Bonus
Annual free night stay in a Category 1-5 hotel

Annual Fee
$85

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$439

APR
16.99-23.99% (variable)

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • Points don’t expire as long as card is active every 24 months
  • 19 distinct brands, from budget to ultra-luxury
  • Book reward stay without required points
  • Redeem points for hotel stays, upgrades, airfare, vacation packages, cruises, merchandise, gift cards, charity, hotel and airfare
  • Use points plus cash to book rewards at some properties
  • Use points to upgrade a reservation
  • Transfer up to 50,000 points a year to family and friends for $10
  • Transfer points to 41 airline partners at reasonable rates (up to 2.14 to 1 for United)
  • RewardsPlus Hotel and Air Packages
  • Transfer points to The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

Cons

  • Rewards rooms may be limited at some properties
  • Expensive rewards redemption scheme
  • Can only use free night certificate if standard room is available

Hotel Options

  • Properties: 5,700+
  • Countries served: 110+

Other Notable Features: Automatic silver status, 1 point toward elite status for every $3,000 in purchases, fifth night free on any hotel stay, no foreign-transaction fees, purchase protection, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, lost luggage insurance, trip delay insurance, baggage delay insurance

Rewards Rating:
4.1 rating
4.1 rating
4.1 / 5
Rewards Value: 4.2
Annual Percentage Rate: 1.4
Rewards Flexibility: 4.2
Features: 4.0

In a nutshell:

The Marriott Rewards Premier card makes it easy to rack up points with every trip by offering extra points on airfare, restaurant and car rental purchases as well as a generous bonus on Marriott hotel stays.

Learn more about this card

Rewards Rate

  • 5:1 Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotel stays
  • 2:1 car rental, directly purchased airfare
  • 1:1 general

Sign-up Bonus

  • 80,000 points if you spend $5,000 in first 3 months
  • 7,500 points for adding an authorized user

Annual Fee
$85

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$439

APR
16.99-23.99% (variable)

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • Points don’t expire as long as card is active every 24 months
  • 19 distinct brands, from budget to ultra-luxury
  • Book reward stay without required points
  • Redeem points for hotel stays, upgrades, airfare, vacation packages, cruises, merchandise, gift cards, charity, hotel and airfare
  • Use points plus cash to book rewards at some properties
  • Use points to upgrade a reservation
  • Transfer up to 50,000 points a year to family and friends for $10
  • Transfer points to 41 airline partners at reasonable rates (up to 2.14 to 1 for United)
  • RewardsPlus Hotel and Air Packages
  • Transfer points to The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

Cons

  • Rewards rooms may be limited at some properties
  • Expensive rewards redemption scheme
  • Can only use free night certificate if standard room is available

Other Notable Features: Automatic silver status, 1 point toward elite status for every $3,000 in purchases, fifth night free on any hotel stay, no foreign-transaction fees, purchase protection, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, lost luggage insurance, trip delay insurance, baggage delay insurance

Travel Rating:
3.8 rating
3.8 rating
3.8 / 5
Rewards Value: 4.0
Annual Percentage Rate: 1.5
Rewards Flexibility: 3.7
Features: 4.0

In a nutshell:

A good card for frequent travelers who prefer to lodge in comfort and style, the Marriott Rewards Premier credit card combines a substantial point bonus on restaurant, airline and car rental purchases with rich rewards for Marriott and Ritz Carlton hotel guests, including one free night’s hotel stay every year.

Learn more about this card

Rewards Rate

  • 5:1 Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotel stays
  • 2:1 car rental, directly purchased airfare
  • 1:1 general

Sign-up Bonus

  • 80,000 points if you spend $5,000 in first 3 months
  • 7,500 points for adding an authorized user

Annual Fee
$85

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$439

APR
16.99-23.99% (variable)

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • Points don’t expire as long as card is active every 24 months
  • 19 distinct brands, from budget to ultra-luxury
  • Book reward stay without required points
  • Redeem points for hotel stays, upgrades, airfare, vacation packages, cruises, merchandise, gift cards, charity, hotel and airfare
  • Use points plus cash to book rewards at some properties
  • Use points to upgrade a reservation
  • Transfer up to 50,000 points a year to family and friends for $10
  • Transfer points to 41 airline partners at reasonable rates (up to 2.14 to 1 for United)
  • RewardsPlus Hotel and Air Packages
  • Transfer points to The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

Cons

  • Rewards rooms may be limited at some properties
  • Expensive rewards redemption scheme
  • Can only use free night certificate if standard room is available

Other Notable Features: Automatic silver status, 1 point toward elite status for every $3,000 in purchases, fifth night free on any hotel stay, no foreign-transaction fees, purchase protection, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, lost luggage insurance, trip delay insurance, baggage delay insurance

From mid-range Courtyards and Fairfields to luxurious JW Marriotts and Ritz Carltons, it’s easy to find a Marriott hotel or resort you will be glad to call home for a night or a week. With 5,700 hotels spanning 19 distinct brands in nearly 90 countries, including the recently acquired Starwood Hotels and Resorts, it is one of the biggest hotel companies in the world.

The Marriott Rewards loyalty program was drastically devalued last year, but there are still deals to be had. Redemptions start at 7,500 points at a Category 1 hotel, so it is possible to get up to 12 free nights on the sign-up bonus alone.

Generous sign-up bonus

Marriott offers 80,000 bonus points just for signing up and spending $3,000 in the first three months. You get another 7,500 points after you add an authorized user to your account, bringing the total to 87,500 in sign-up bonuses alone. Depending on the hotel and availability, this can get you one night to two nights at a luxury hotel (the highest Tier 7 Ritz Carlton or the highest Category 9 Marriott) or up to 12 nights at a Category 1 hotel.

The card offers an additional bonus for loyal cardholders. You get one free night at a Marriott in categories 1 through 5 upon the account anniversary each year for as long as you keep the card, with no spending requirement. This bonus is worth up to 25,000 points, depending on the hotel.

Average earning scheme

Unfortunately, the Marriott Rewards Premier credit card comes with a mediocre earning scheme. You get five points per dollar spent at Marriott stays, two points on airfare and car rentals, and only one point on general purchases. Several of the top hotel cards on the market offer double or triple bonus points on general spending. If you are not loyal to a particular hotel brand and seek to build up a lot of rewards points on your everyday spending, you may want to check out one of those cards instead.

High annual fee

As with most hotel cards, the Marriott Rewards Premier credit card comes with a high annual fee. However, for frequent travelers, the perks and rewards that come with the card easily justify the cost.  The free annual night – worth up to $200 by our estimates – alone more than cancels out the fee.

Flexible redemption policy

Marriott is fairly flexible about rewards redemption. As an especially nice feature, Marriott allows you to book rewards rooms before you have accumulated the necessary points. Also, the terms and conditions guarantee no blackout dates, although they also clarify that some hotels may limit the number of standard rooms available for rewards. The program does offer a “cash plus points” option at participating properties, which can be convenient if you want to use your rewards but don’t have enough points to cover the full cost of a night’s stay.

A large array of hotel options

One major benefit of the rewards program is the breadth of its hotel portfolio. Marriott offers one of the largest networks of hotels in the world. With more than 4,000 properties in more than 90 countries, you can book a rewards room in most destinations. Also, the Marriott portfolio covers many different hotel brands of varying tier levels. You can splurge on a night or two at a luxury resort or stretch out points for a longer stay at lower-tier hotel.

Qualify for elite status

The card automatically qualifies you for silver elite status with the Marriott rewards program. Silver status comes with some notable benefits, including exclusive elite offers, special weekend discounts, late checkout, 20 percent point bonus on paid hotel stays and a fifth night free on any hotel stay.

The card also awards you 15 elite credits toward gold status every year. While the benefits of silver status are modest, the mid-tier gold level is very good, offering a free room upgrade, complimentary breakfasts, and discounted airport lounge access to card members and guests.

Your card gives you one credit toward elite status for every $3,000 spent on purchases. You can theoretically earn 35 credits to earn gold status purely based on credit card spending. That would require a very large amount of spending. However, if you also earn credits by staying with Marriott, the additional credits you earn through the card can be a big boost.

Transfer points to other members

Marriott allows you to transfer points to other Marriott members for a small transaction fee. You can transfer up to 50,000 points a year for a reasonable fee of $10. This is a rare and valuable benefit.

Why get the Chase Marriott Rewards Premier card?

  • You frequently stay at Marriott hotels.
  • You’re looking for a card with a large sign-up bonus.
  • You’re looking for a hotel card with a large array of hotel options.
  • You’re trying to obtain elite status and want to earn extra credits.
  • You want Visa Signature benefits.

How to use the Chase Marriott Rewards Premier card:

  • Make sure to make a purchase and add an authorized user in the first three months and to meet the $3,000 spending requirement in the first three months in order to earn both the 7,500 and 80,000 point bonuses.
  • Consider redeeming your points for a five-night stay to take advantage of the fifth free night. If you need 10 nights, book two five-night stays and get 10 nights for the price of eight.
  • Use your annual free night at the highest-tier hotel to maximize the value.

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