Another credit card has upped their usual sign-up bonus given all the competition recently – this time it is the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card from Chase. The offer for new Marriott cardholder includes
- 50,000 Marriott points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months (see below for value)
- Up to 7 Free Nights To Start!
- 1 free night stay after account approval and each year upon account anniversary
- No foreign transaction fees.
- Free Silver elite hotel status with 15 nights credit toward Elite status
- No annual fee the first year. Future years are $85, which also includes another free hotel night, up to Category 5.
I’m trying to work out if this card is worth it. Marriott points don’t appear to be convertible to gift certificates, so if you can’t use free hotel nights then this card isn’t for you. However, I’m trying to plan a Europe trip next year using mostly points and miles. I’m already counting on two free “expensive” nights from the Hyatt credit card, but given how expensive hotels are I want to see if I could stretch this card out for multiple free nights. Marriott properties include Renaissance Hotels, Courtyard, Residence Inn, and Fairfield Inn & Suites.
You can also get 5 points for every $1 spent at Marriott® locations, 2 points for every $1 spent on airline tickets purchased directly with the airline, and at car rental agencies & restaurants, and 1 point for every $1 spent on other purchases.
How far can 50,000 points take me? The redemption chart is below (click to enlarge). Pointsavers offer better redemption rates, but it doesn’t look like the high demand locations are often on that list. With 4 nights, you get the 5th night free. On a Category 2 hotel, it looks like I could theoretically get 7 nights out of this credit card deal (5 nights + 1 free + the 1 night free certificate).
Marriott Point Value Experiment – San Francisco
I’m not very familiar with Marriott points, so let’s test them out in San Francisco, California on a random weekday night in November.
San Francisco Marriott Union Square (Cat 6) = $400 a night = 30,000 points
Courtyard Oakland Emeryville (Cat 3) = $200 = 15,000 points
Residence Inn San Francisco Airport (Cat 4) = $240 a night = 20,000 points
Union Square is prime location, while the other two hotels would still place me near San Francisco and accessible via public transportation (BART). With this card, 50k points would be worth around $600, and I still have the 1 free night certificate. I could get 4 nights at the Courtyard Emeryville for 45k points + the certificate.
Marriott Point Value Experiment – Paris
Renaissance Paris Vendome Hotel (Cat 8.) = 40,000 points = 309 Euros = $420
Courtyard Paris Saint Denis (Cat 5) = 25,000 points = 199 Euros = $270
Again, the Vendome would be fancy and great location, while the St. Denis would be in an outer neighborhood but on the Metro line. The value of $50k points here is about $525, again excluding the separate Cat 4 free night certificate.
I would mentally reduce the calculated values a bit, since otherwise I’d probably use Priceline or Hotwire or similar to book a hotel. This may not be $700 value card, but should be safely a $400+ value for those with travel plans coming up. For my needs, if I can get at least 3 nights in Europe taken care of with this card, especially given the EUR/USD exchange rate, that should be a good value for us.
As before, compare with the other $500+ Bonus credit card promotions currently available.
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