Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card
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If you stay in a hotel at least a couple of nights a year and you can stay within the Marriott portfolio each time, the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card can be a smart addition to your wallet. The rewards rate for stays within their portfolio of properties can be generous and you’ll earn a free night each year of card ownership. That makes the $85 annual fee well worth it.
That being said, we cannot recommend this card for everyday spending, as the lackluster rewards rate of 2 points per $1 spent on airfare booked directly with the airline and 1 point per dollar on all other spending can easily be bested with another card.
But pairing this card with one that provides rewards in the areas where you spend the most can be a smart strategy.
The Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card pays a tidy 5 points for every dollar you spend at one of the hotels in the Marriott-SPG-Ritz Carlton portfolio. That can help you earn free stays fast.
What those points are worth varies, as Marriott assigns each of its properties a category, or ranking on a scale of 1 to 9 with Category 9 requiring the highest number of points (45,000) to redeem for a night and Category 1 requiring the lowest (7,500).
We found, for example, a $118 room at the Residence Inn Anaheim Hills Yorba Linda, that you could stay at for 20,000 points. Your points are worth about $0.006 each in this case. The New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge costs as little as $298 per night or 40,000 points; each point is worth $0.007.
You can wring some more value out of the card using the annual free-night certificate good for any Category 1-5 hotel you receive on your card anniversary. Some Category 5 hotels can go for up to $200 a night, making it well worth the annual $85 fee.
This card also gives you automatic Marriott Silver Elite status, which means you get perks including a 20% bonus on points earned during stays, priority late checkout, access to exclusive savings and rewards redemption options and dedicated reservation and guest services phone numbers. And, you’ll get this status matched at SPG properties. After Silver, comes Gold and then Platinum Elite Status, each with increasingly plush perks, so if you’re a frequent traveler, this card gives you a boost toward reaching those.
This card falls short, however, for someone who wants flexible rewards that can be transferred from Marriott’s program to an airline partner or anyone who doesn’t want to be locked in to only using their rewards at Marriott and related properties.
Although you can transfer your Marriott Rewards points to Starpoints or Ritz Carlton Rewards, you can only transfer them one-way and not reverse the transfer later. You also can’t use them with airline partners or for cash back. If you’re looking for a hotel credit card with airline or other partners, we ranked the Starwood Preferred Guest card among our best hotel credit cards, giving it a near-perfect score. For a greater range of options, choose a travel rewards card that gives you rewards to use any way you’d like.
Who should get this card
Frequent travelers who prefer Marriott-branded hotels will benefit the most from owning this card.
Fees and APR
- There’s an annual fee of $85.
- This card comes with a variable APR of 16.99% to 23.99%.
- There are no foreign transaction fees on purchases made outside the U.S.
- There’s a penalty fee of up to $37 for missed and late payments.
Extras, perks and using points
The Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card is a Visa Signature card, which provides trip cancellation and interruption insurance, baggage delay insurance, lost luggage reimbursement and purchase protection.
This card comes with automatic Marriott Silver Elite status benefits.
Get a free night stay every year in a Category 1 – 5 hotel on your card anniversary.
Points can be used for free hotel stays or for room upgrades at Marriott properties.
How this card compares
The Starwood Preferred Guest Card from American Express is much-loved by points and miles strategists for its wide range of eligible airline transfer partners. Starpoints can also be transferred to Ritz-Carlton and Marriott properties, making it one of the most flexible credit card rewards currencies available. Bankrate gave this card a near-perfect score.
Although it may seem like you’re earning fewer points with the Hyatt Credit Card than other hotel-branded cards, Hyatt hotels have a lower points requirement to earn free nights, starting at just 5,000 points. If you prefer the Hyatt brand, this card may be better for you.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card’s hefty sign-up bonus, boosted redemption value when using the Chase portal, and a generous rewards program make this card a stand-out among travel rewards cards offering big value for minimal cost. Since Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be used for everything from flights to lodging to cruises, this also makes it one of the most flexible redemption programs among travel cards.
Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.