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Marriott Rewards Premier Review: A Faster Way to Elite Status

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Marriott Rewards Premier

Marriott is one of the largest hotel brands in the world, with more than 5,700 properties in more than 110 countries. It also has its own rewards credit card that offers cardholders points in its Marriott Rewards program, free night stays and Elite status.

Introduction to the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card From Chase 

Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card Review

The Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card offers six points per $1 spent at Marriott International and Starwood Preferred Guest properties (you can transfer points between programs), which include the Ritz-Carlton, Renaissance, Sheraton, Westin and several other brands. You earn double points for all other purchases.

Cardholders also receive 15 credits toward Elite status (enough for Silver Elite) with the Marriott Rewards program upon account approval and each year on your account anniversary. The Silver Elite benefits include free Wi-Fi and a 20% bonus on Marriott Rewards points earned for your stay, but more rewards await those who reach Gold Elite and Platinum Elite status.

You also receive an additional credit toward Elite status for every $3,000 spent on purchases, with no limit. And each year, cardholders earn a free night in a category 1-5 hotel. There is an $95 annual fee for this card, and the card has no foreign transaction fees.

What’s the Current Sign-Up Bonus?

New cardholders can receive 100,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. These sign-up bonuses are not available to those who have received a bonus for this card within the past 24 months.

The Advantages of the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card

This card offers applicants a generous sign-up bonus and significant benefits, and when used for charges at Marriott properties, the five rewards points earned per dollar can be very valuable. With so many different brands of Marriott properties and such a large number of locations, this card’s benefits extend more widely than the cards affiliated with other hotel chains. In particular, the ability to earn instant Silver Elite status is an important benefit for frequent Marriott guests, and having that status allows you to be even closer to higher levels of the program that offer room upgrades and even more points bonuses. And since this card actually offers additional night stay credits for your spending, cardholders can reach those next levels of Elite status much faster than they could otherwise. This is also a great card for international travel, as it’s equipped with an EMV chip and, unlike many cards, has no foreign transaction fees.

The Disadvantages of the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card

There is an $95 annual fee for this card, which is not out of line for a premium travel rewards card, but is more than some may be willing to spend when there are many cash-back cards with no annual fee. In addition, the standard 17.49% to 24.49% variable APR makes this card a potentially expensive choice for consumers who might carry a balance on it. Also, it should be noted that Marriott Rewards points may not be as valuable as those from other hotels. For example, top-tier Marriott properties can require as many as 45,000 points per night for an award, which doesn’t include Ritz-Carlton hotels that can charge as many as 70,000 points per award night. Furthermore, this program does not guarantee award availability, so you may not be able to redeem points during peak times, even when hotels have rooms available.

Is This Card a Good Match for You?

This card can be a good choice for frequent customers of Marriott and Starwood hotel brands. By receiving this card, customers gain instant Silver Elite status, as well as a large boost to their points balance. Frequent travelers will continue to earn bonus points when they stay, as well as when they use their card for other common travel expenses such as rental cars, airline tickets and dining. But like other reward cards, this card is best used by those who avoid interest by paying off each month’s statement balance in full.

The Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card is for consumers who have good to excellent credit. Before you apply for this credit card, you may want to learn more about your credit standing to see if you meet the card issuer’s credit guidelines. There are many ways to check your credit scores for free, including through Credit.com, which offers you two of your scores for free with updates so you can monitor your progress and look for important changes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do cardholders earn double points for flights and car rentals booked through travel agencies?

No, air travel and rental car expenses are only eligible for bonus points when booked directly with the airline or rental car agencies.

What are the benefits of Silver Elite status?

Silver Elite members of the Marriott Rewards program receive access to special Elite reservations and exclusive guest services line. Silver Elite members also receive exclusive offers, and a 20% bonus on the base points earned for their stay. Other benefits include free Wi-Fi, priority late checkout and a 10% discount on Friday and Saturday night stays at Courtyard and SpringHill Suites, as well as a 10% discount on Marriott gift shop purchases.

What can Marriott Rewards points be used for?

Other than free night hotel awards, Marriott Rewards points can be redeemed for room upgrades, merchandise, and other travel awards. For example, Marriott offers packages that include airline tickets and car rentals. Other travel packages include hotels and frequent-flier points with Southwest, JetBlue, British Airways and other airlines.

This article has been updated. It was originally published October 21, 2015.

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