Marriott Rewards Credit Card Review

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Last updated on September 30, 2013 Views: 547 Comments: 13

The small percentage of people who optimize their credit card rewards require using specific credit cards for specific types of purchases. Maximizing these rewards requires willpower, and possibly at least ten different cards. One travel rewards card would be used to book flights and pay for other travel expenses, one gas rewards card would be used to pay for gasoline, and so on. If you expect to spend a lot of time away from home in hotels, you’ll need a hotel rewards credit card to optimize your cash back and other rewards, like the Marriott Rewards Credit Card.

After you spend $1,000 in your first three months from account opening you can receive 30,000 bonus points on the Marriott Rewards Credit Card. After account approval Chase happily throws in two more free nights at a hotel in category one through four. The amount of points needed to redeem a free night stay varies on the quality of the Marriott hotel; the higher the category number, the more points needed to receive a free night’s stay.

The Marriott Rewards Credit Card awards all cardholders with points for every eligible dollar spent. The amount of points earned for certain purchases is as follows:

  • Three points for every $1 spent at over 3,600 Marriott locations
  • One point for every dollar spent on other purchases

There is no maximum to the number of points that cardholders can earn every year, and the points never expire as long as the credit card account remains open and in good standing. Your account must be in good standing at all times, and any missed payment or charge over your limit will forfeit your ability to earn points. One mistake will not close your account, but multiple mistakes could.

The Marriott Rewards Credit Card includes a variable purchase APR currently at 15.24%, and there is currently no introductory offer. There is a annual fee of $45, but there is a $0 introdcutory annual fee for the first year, after that, the annual fee is $45. Chase offers a couple additional perks worth mentioning with this card:

  1. Earn ten night credits upon account anniversary, toward your next Elite membership level
  2. Earn an additional Elite night credit for every $3,000 spent annually

Depending on where you stay when you’re traveling for business or pleasure, the Marriott Rewards Credit Card offers a great rewards program with an excellent up-front bonus. To apply, visit their secure application page.

Article comments

Karen Chagnon says:

I think I will be cancelling this card, The certificate for a free nights stay in a cat 1-5 hotel given each year on your anniversary is worthless. I tried to book a hotel in downtown Indianapolis and every hotel is a cat 6, courtyards, Residence Inn, Fairfields and Marriotts are all rated as a cat 6. It never used to be this way. I have used my certificate to stay downtown previously but the categories have been changed. The only places I can stay are places I wouldn’t want to stay. This will be the 2nd year my certificate will go unused.

Anonymous says:

Don’t believe what you see. The card is now $89/year and the most of the hotels has increased their category rating to at least 2 levels which is very hard to even earn a day of stay. I used to get a beach resort hotel 2 years ago at category 4 using 20,000 points. Now they have gone up to category 6 which requires a 30,000 points. The annual anniversary free hotel limits to category 4 only in addition to an expiration of 6 months. In short … think first before considering … need to spend close to $30K to earn a free day at marriots. I have decided not to renew at expiration due to these new requirements. NOTE: You won’t be able to find a decent Marriot Hotel at category less than 4.

Anonymous says:

I have also decided not to renew due to the big category changes which have reduced my accumulated points value by over an estimated $1,000.

They are getting away with pulling a fast one on their customers. Not us. After 40 years of staying at Marriott locations, we will now use alternatives that are there. We will also switch over to Cash Rewards programs where a bird in the hand is worth two marriotts in the bush.

Anonymous says:

As I said I travel alot of business so I can rack up points quickly at a 5 to 1 ratio. The 1 night free from Marriott just for signing up for it is worth the annual fee, imo. Most full-service Marriott’s are over $100 in large areas and usually more. The 1 free night can only be used on Category 1-5 hotels (Marriott goes up to 7) however I used my 1 free night in Aruba saving $300+ on the room.

That being said in general it takes 35,000 points for 1 free night however most people don’t cash in for 1 free night for those points. The point redemption is better with the more nights you stay. I’ve always used them to “cash-in” on Marriott’s outside of the continental US, especially since they have alot of great locations.

Another example, I stayed in Aruba last December for 5 nights for 120,000 points (Marriott runs specials so check your destination to see how many points it takes). That averages out to 24,000 points per night. At a 5-to-1 ratio of points that would mean I actually charged $4,800 on the card for one night. So the $4,800 would mean I would have to get a rate of 1.35% cash-back on a cash-back rewards card to break-even on the $65 annual fee. So I guess that means I stayed in Aruba for 5 nights at approximately $65 per night. Not too bad… 🙂

Again, for me it is worth it for the amount of travel I do. Your mileage (no pun intended) will vary.

P.S. I think Marriott should give me a little reward for this post! lol!

Anonymous says:

For those that have the BLACK card, how much $$$ wise do you have to “charge” to Marriott properties in order to recover the $65 annual fee? Steve mentioned you get a “free” night on your anniversary date, I guess this already offsets the annual fee.

lynn says:

I don’t travel any more either, so this particular card would not work for me. But, I am going to look into finding a gas reward card at a reputable institution. Good advice.

Ceecee says:

After seeing all these different types of credit cards, so many issued by Chase, I think we should forget the rewards cards and buy stock in Chase.???

Anonymous says:


Anonymous says:

I’ve always preferred cash rewards, but for those who travel a lot, I can see rewards cards for hotels making a lot of sense.

skylog says:

i agree pat. i do not travel enough, but there seems to be some very good travel rewards cards out there. i wish some of great deals that these cards have could be ported over to standard cash rewards cards.

Anonymous says:

I second the black card. Basically everything outlined here plus more. I travel exclusively with marriott, and its a much better card. In addition to all that other stuff, you get 15 nights credit towards status, and most importantly you get a free night in a cat 1-4 hotel every year on your “anniversary”, which offsets the $65 annual fee. Frankly $65 for a night in a Marriott, I used mine for the JW Marriott in Miami, is a steal. On top of that the 15 night credit gets my gold status that much closer, and the points add up pretty quick. Much quicker than airline miles. Geez, I sound like a walking ad.

Anonymous says:

I would take a look at the Black Card from Marriott if you plan on using it. You get 5 to 1 points for it (instead of 3 to 1) and other perks. The yearly fee is $65 (I believe) however if you travel alot for business then those points accelerate pretty quickly to free hotel rooms for vacation! 🙂

Anonymous says:

You are right, it is helpful to have all your bases covered. Managing all these cards may require a separate program too.