Marriott Rewards Premier credit card review

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3.5 stars 3.5 stars

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See breakdown of this card’s rating

If you like staying in premium hotels for free, you might consider applying for the Marriott Rewards ® Premier Credit Card ($85 annual fee) from Chase. But first read this review of the card’s rewards program and perks so you don’t miss out on any benefits.

Right now, the card is offering 80,000 points to new applicants who spend $3,000 in the first three months from opening the account.

Here’s the lowdown on what else the Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Visa Signature card offers:

Rewards

Earn 5 points per dollar spent at 4,000 Marriott locations; 2 points on airline ticket purchases directly with airlines, at car rental agencies and at restaurants; and 1 point everywhere else

Most hotel cards will give you bonus rewards for charging stays at their properties. What makes the Marriott card stand out is that it offers other bonus reward categories geared at travelers, so you can earn points on your trips, even if you don’t stay at a Marriott property.

Free annual night

The card’s annual fee ($85) is reasonable, especially considering that you also get a free night (at a Category 1-5 property) each year on your account anniversary. Both the AC Hotel Torino in Italy and the Costa Rica Marriott San Jose are Category 5 – so you can get a lot of value out of the free-night benefit.

No foreign transaction fees

The Marriott credit card has no foreign transaction fees, making it a good fit for international travelers.

Shortcut to elite status

You get 15 nights toward Elite status after your credit card account is approved and then every year after your account anniversary date. That will ensure you have at least Silver Elite Status (which requires 10 Elite credits). Plus, for every $3,000 you spend with the card, you will earn 1 additional Elite night credit.

The perks you get with the Silver tier of Elite Membership (which come through Marriott, not the credit card) include:

  • 20 percent bonus on base points earned during stays
  • Priority late checkout when available
  • Weekend discount at participating Courtyard & SpringHill Suites
  • Private reservation line only for Elite members
  • Plus other benefits

These benefits can be valuable to both frequent and occasional travelers.

participating-hotelsFrequent traveler? The automatic Silver status helps you fast track your way to Gold/Platinum Elite. At these higher tiers, you’ll get additional perks like free room upgrades, gifts, meals and more.

Occasional traveler? You have the privilege of attaining Silver Elite, a tier you may not reach on your own if you stay fewer than 10 nights per year.

Visa Signature benefits

This is a Signature-level Visa card, which means you get a number of benefits for no additional cost. Consult Visa for the Terms and Restrictions.

  • 24/7 concierge service – The concierge, available 24/7, can help you with a number of tasks and chores, including finding an event location, choosing a restaurant, making reservations and planning a vacation.
  • Extended warranty protection – With this benefit you can get an additional year of coverage on eligible U.S. warranties of 3 years or less, for all eligible purchases on your Chase Marriott credit card.
  • Purchase protection – This benefit applies to all eligible items for the first 120 days from date of purchase. You’re covered up to $500 per claim (up to a maximum of $50,000) if your purchase is damaged by covered mishaps and disasters.

Other benefits from Visa Signature include lost luggage reimbursement, travel accident insurance, auto rental collision damage waiver (secondary coverage), emergency card replacement, emergency cash disbursement and a few others. Consult Chase and Visa for benefit details, rules and restrictions.

How can you spend your points?

You have quite a few options with Marriott’s program. Just keep in mind that they won’t all yield the same value per point.

  • Marriott Hotel Stays – Redeem your points for stays at Marriott locations. Each free night at a category 1 hotel is 7,500 points. The most you will ever pay is 45,000 points per night for a category 9 hotel (Marriott’s most luxurious properties). If you book at a PointSavers property, you can get a free night for a discounted number of points. Check Marriott’s website for a current list. Plus, Marriott just added a “Cash + Points” option that will let you pay for your stay with a combination of points and cash (at certain properties) – which is convenient if you don’t have enough points for a rewards stay.
  • Travel Packages and Services – Spend your points on an all-inclusive getaway to the Caribbean with airfare, or cash them out for a Priority Pass airport lounge membership, professional golf training or just rounds on your own, plus many other options.
  • Airline Miles – You have the option of converting your credit card points to miles, and there are a couple dozen frequent flier programs participating. However this strategy won’t yield the best value, so it’s not recommended unless you’re looking for something to do with extra points you can’t use for hotel stays.
  • Car Rentals, Cruises and Trains – You can convert your points to cruise certificates, rental cars and European train tickets.
  • Other options – Use your Marriott Rewards for merchandise, digital downloads, charitable donations and more. Your redemption value for these options will vary.

2016 Verdict?

The Marriott credit card gives you a lot of benefits that can help justify the $85 annual fee. In addition to saving money on hotel stays, you get to enjoy the perks that come with Silver status.

photo of Marriott Premier metal card

Finally, while this has nothing to do with rewards and tangible benefits, this card is made out of metal! Nobody has to know you got this bad boy for almost $5,000 less than what the AmEx “black card” (also made of metal) costs!

As of June 2016, here is the most lucrative bonus offer available for the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card: 80,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

Don’t forget you also get one free night stay every year after your account anniversary (good for a Category 1-5 hotel).

Why we gave it 3.5 out of 5 stars

This card was rated based on our standards for hotel rewards cards.

The Marriott Rewards Premier Credit card snagged full stars for its non-hotel bonus categories (which give you the opportunity to earn points on general travel and everyday purchases), its annual free night and automatic elite status benefits. It’s low point value and lack of unique perks took its rating down a notch.

Full starBonus-earning opportunities: Card has bonus categories BESIDES purchases with its affiliated airline/hotel chain – 2X points on restaurants, car rental agencies and airline tickets purchased directly with the airline. This allows cardholders to earn bonus points even when not staying at a Marriott property.
Full starFree night: Card rewards free anniversary night (Category 1-5)
half starUnique perks: This card offers the ability to earn 1 elite credit for every $3,000 spent. Because it lacks some of the other automatic perks other similarly priced hotel cards offer, we rewarded only half a star.
Full starProgress toward elite status: Just having the card gets you 15 credits toward elite status each year (automatic Silver status)
Empty starPoint worth: To gain this star, card must have a point worth of at least 1 cent per point (according to the most current Points Guy valuation). Marriott points are worth just 0.7 cents each.

Updated Aug. 18, 2016

About Marriott Hotels: Founded in 1927, the Marriott chain now consists of over three-thousand hotels across the world. They operate under different names, including Marriott, Courtyard, Fairfield Inn, Springhill Suites, and Ritz-Carlton. In addition to their normal motels, they also run extended-stay facilities like Residence Inn, as well as some timeshare resort properties. They issue their own card, the Marriott Rewards credit card, through Chase.

Disclaimer: Although this site advertises Chase cards, this review reflects my own opinions and has not been endorsed/reviewed by them. You should consult Chase directly for any rules, limitations, and exclusions related to the Marriott card program.