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Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card review

Published: November 2, 2018

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Published: November 2, 2018

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Ratings Policy
Rewards Rating:
3.9 rating
3.9 rating
3.9 / 5
Rewards Value: 3.9
Annual Percentage Rate: 1.6
Rewards Flexibility: 4.2
Features: 3.0

In a Nutshell:

Though Marriott rewards points are a bit inflated, the new Marriott Rewards Premier Plus card is a good value, offering up to three free night awards in the first year along with many other benefits.

Learn more about this card

Rewards Rate

  • 6 points per dollar at Marriott hotels
  • 2 points per dollar on other purchases

Sign-up Bonus
2 free night awards if you spend $3,000 in first 3 months

Annual Bonus
Annual free night stay in a hotel up to 35,000 points

Annual Fee
$95

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$453

APR
17.99-24.99% (variable)

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • Points don’t expire as long as card is active every 24 months
  • Book rewards 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 points more than 40 airline partners at 3:1 ratio

Cons

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

Other Notable Features: Automatic silver status, 20% bonus on Marriott base points, free in-room Wi-Fi, late checkout, 5th night free on any rewards stay, no foreign transaction fees, car rental insurance, trip cancellation/interruption insurance, lost luggage insurance, purchase protection, extended warranty

With its high earning rate and free night awards, the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus card is a great introduction to Marriott’s newly revamped loyalty program. 

The updated Marriott Rewards program – which officially brought together Marriott, Starwood and Ritz-Carlton hotels under a single program in August – is an improvement on all fronts for current Marriott members, incorporating the best features of Marriott’s and Starwood’s loyalty programs. (Read our guide on the new Marriott Rewards program to learn more about the program updates.)

If you want to give the Marriott Rewards program a try, now’s a good time to do so.

Earn 2 free night awards in the first 3 months

If you are looking to quickly score a weekend getaway at a higher-end Marriott hotel, the latest sign-up offer on the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus card could be a great way to go: The card is currently offering two free night awards if you spend $3,000 on the card in the first three months.

While potentially very valuable (worth up to 70,000 Marriott points), the offer is also a little disappointing if you are hoping to rack up Marriott points, since the bonus  comes in the form of certificates rather than points. The certificates have several limitations that make them less valuable than points — you can only redeem them for a category 5 hotel or lower, so Marriott’s luxury-brand hotels are off the table. Unlike points, you can’t stretch the certificates into a longer stay at a lower-level hotel. Also, the certificates come with a 12-month expiration date.

In fact, given the versatility and flexibility of Marriott points (which, among their other benefits, are transferable to a large number of airline partners at 1:1 ratio) you may be better off waiting for the card to introduce a points-based bonus, or checking out another co-branded card that offers Marriott points in its sign-up bonus, such as the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit from American Express.

 

Good earning rate

The Marriott Rewards Premier Plus card offers a pretty good earning scheme. Cardholders earn six points per dollar on Marriott purchases and two points per dollar on other purchases. Like most hotel cards, the numbers look large, but the earning rate is not as grand as it appears to be, given the lower value of the points. However, even when we adjust for the value of the points, the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus card is more rewarding that the average rewards card.

Annual free night

The Marriott also offers a free night certificate at a hotel with a maximum redemption level of 35,000 points to card members every year after their card account anniversary. This adds significantly value to the card in the long run. If you are assured of using the certificate before it expires in 12 months, you will more than cancel out the $95 membership fee.

The world’s largest hotel foot print

The newly unified portfolio of Marriott, Starwood and Ritz-Carlton hotels offers the best coverage that you will find with any hotel network. With more than 6,500 hotels in more than 127 countries, you are ensured of finding a rewards room practically anywhere you want to travel, and at most price points – from more affordable brands, such as Fairfield Inn and Suites, to luxury properties, such as Ritz-Carlton and Westin.

Unfortunately, Marriott isn’t nearly as flexible as some of its competitors in allowing you to redeem your points for rewards stays. While the website promises no blackout dates, Marriott does allow properties to restrict their inventory for rewards rooms. In other words, you may have some difficulty getting free nights at popular destinations, or during peak travel times.

Travel and hotel perks

Your card membership entitles you to automatic silver elite status in the Marriott Rewards program, which includes some useful – if not outstanding – hotel perks, including a 20 percent bonus on Marriott base points, free Wi-Fi and late checkout.

The Marriott card also comes with travel benefits, including car rental insurance, trip cancellation insurance, lost baggage insurance and no foreign transaction fees.

Why get the Marriott card?

  • You want to earn several free nights at a Marriott hotel in a year.
  • You are looking for a flexible hotel program with a variety of hotel options across the world.
  • You want the fast-track to elite status in Marriott, Starwood and Ritz-Carlton hotels.
  • You want the ability to transfer points to an outside loyalty program for a good value.

How to use the Marriott card:

  • Spend at least $3,000 in the first three months to earn your free night awards.
  • Book your rewards nights in five-night increments to earn a free fifth night.
  • Use your annual free night certificate at the highest-tier hotel to get the most value.

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