Should you apply for the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card? If you like to stay in premium hotels for free, you might consider doing so -- but wait until you've read this review of the Chase Marriott rewards program before completing an application. It's important to understand all the new benefits that come with it so you don't miss out on any.

Marriott Visa card
Marriott hotels give you elegant, modern rooms with all the amenities you want at a very fair price. But even if you frequently stay at their properties and have always loved the quality, you may not have been a fan of the Marriott Rewards Premier card in the past. Why? Because the program wasn't generous enough relative to other hotel reward cards. However, Chase apparently got the message and re-vamped the card and it's now one of the best deals in the hotel category as of April 2014. If you've ignored this opportunity in the past, it's definitely time to take another look.

Here's the lowdown on the Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Visa Signature card:
  • 5 points per dollar at 3,700 Marriott locations
  • 2 points per dollar on airline tickets purchased directly with the airline, and at car rental agencies and restaurants
  • 1 point per dollar elsewhere
  • 15 Elite Credits towards your Elite status after account approval and every year after your account anniversary (that ensures you will always have at least Silver status.)
  • Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $85.
  • Receive 1 Free Night after account approval (good for a category 1-4 location).
  • Best promo (April 2014): Use this link to earn 50,000 bonus pts + no annual fee for 1st year
    (just spend $1,000 or more in your first three months from account opening to get the bonus points)
As you can see, the rewards are very generous and the annual fee is reasonable, especially considering the fact that every year after your account anniversary date, you get 1 free night stay that can be redeemed at a Category 1-5 property. For example, both the Waikiki and Waikoloa beach resorts are Category 5, so that benefit is definitely a tremendous value. It's also worth mentioning that this Marriott credit card has chip and signature technology and no foreign transaction fees.

Fast Track Your Elite Status
You get 15 Elite Credits 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).

The perks you get with the Silver tier of Elite Membership (which come through Marriott, not the credit card) include things such as:
  • 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
This is a huge advantage whether you travel a lot or a little...

brands participating in rewards programs
Frequent traveler? You are fast-tracking your way to Gold/Platinum Elite, by receiving 15 Elite credits thanks to your Marriott Premier card. This helps you reach the higher tiers more quickly, which give additional perks like free room upgrades, gifts/meals and more.

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

And for purchases made with the Marriott Rewards credit card, you will earn 1 additional credit towards your Elite status for every $3,000 spent.

Visa Signature Benefits
This is a Signature level Visa card, which means you get a number of additional benefits for no additional cost. Consult Visa for the Terms and Restrictions.
  • 24/7 concierge service – You can call up concierge anytime for help with just about anything, such as planning a trip or event, restaurant advice and reservations, hunting down those hard to find tickets and much more.
  • Warranty Manager Service – With this benefit you have the ability to get up to 1 additional year of coverage on eligible U.S. warranties of 3 years or less, for all eligible purchases paid for using your Chase Marriott credit card.
  • Purchase Security – This benefit applies to all eligible items for the first 90 days from date of purchase. You're covered up to $500 per claim (subject to yearly maximum) against theft, damage from fire/vandalism/accidentally discharged water, and some weather conditions.
Other benefits from Visa Signature include lost luggage reimbursement, travel accident insurance, auto rental collision damage waiver, emergency card replacement and emergency cash disbursement, and a few others. Consult Chase and Visa for benefit details, rules, and restrictions.

How can you spend your points?
With the new Marriott Rewards credit card program you have quite a few options...
  • 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 and that's for a category 9 (which are their cream-of-the-crop, most luxurious properties). So the points really give you bang for your buck when redeemed for free hotel stays.
  • 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... there are a couple dozen airlines participating. However this route won't yield the best value, so I don't recommend it unless you have more points than you know what to do with.
  • 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 to redeem for merchandise, give to charity, and more.
2014 Verdict?
As mentioned at the start of this review, the previous version of this card was not a compelling deal. But as you can see, the current Marriott credit card promotions/rewards give you a lot of benefits for very little money. In fact, you could make the argument this is the best hotel credit card on the market right now.

photo of Marriott Premier metal card
And the biggest surprise for last: This card is actually made out of metal! When you set it down to pay the slick black finish, along with the solid heavy metal as it clings the table, leaves quite the impression! Don't be surprised if you get some "oohs" and "ahhs". And don't worry, your secret is safe with me... I won't tell them that you got this bad boy for almost $5,000 less than what the AmEx "black card" costs!

As of April 2014, here is the most lucrative bonus offer available for the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card.

Here's the link to earn 50,000 bonus points -AND- get no annual fee for your first year
(Remember the spend requirement to earn the bonus points is only $1,000 in first three months from account opening!)

Don't forget you also get one free night stay after account approval (good for a Category 1-4 location). And every year after your account anniversary date, you will receive one free night stay at a Category 1-5 hotel.

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.