Carlos was none too pleased that I got the credit card without discussing it with him first. He wasn’t upset because I got it, per se. It was just because we talk about EVERYTHING when it comes to our finances – down to spending $5 at Starbucks. Again, I’m not sure why I felt so impulsive, but now I really had to justify why I made the decision to get the card in the first place.
Because I had to show Carlos that I made a great investment in getting the Marriott card, I spent so much time researching all the nuances about it. I’m so glad I did because, as it turned out, the Marriott card is perhaps THE best hotel credit card in the market today!
As a sign-up bonus for getting the Marriott Rewards credit card, you will get 50,000 points after spending $1,000 within the first 90 days of activating the card. (I was able to find a link for 70,000 bonus points when I signed up, so make sure you find the best rewards bonus BEFORE signing up!) In addition to the bonus points, you also get a certificate good for 1 night stay at any Category 1-4 Hotel, good enough to stay at some Courtyard Marriotts nationwide AND internationally). This alone has a value of anywhere between $79-$100 (depending on what hotel you choose to use your certificate at).
The card does have an $85 annual fee, but this is waived for the first year. If you choose to keep the card after the first year, you do have to start paying the yearly annual fee. However, the annual fee is easily off-set by getting a yearly certificate for a free 1-night hotel stay at any Category 1-5 Marriott hotels globally. This is a great perk considering the bulk of Marriott properties fall within Categories 1-5, including the Renaissance Hotel in Las Vegas, the Marriott Hotel in New Orleans, the Marriott Hotel in Miami, and even the JW Marriott in Mexico City. Average value for this free hotel certificate is anywhere between $150-$250 per night!
Apart from the initial bonus miles, the card allows you to easily accumulate Marriott Rewards points.
For starters, you get:
- 5 points for every $1 spent at any Marriott Hotels
- 2 points for every $1 spent for Travel, including Airlines, Car Rentals, and Restaurants
- 1 point for every $1 spent for everything else
So what’s the best use of your Marriott Rewards points?
At this point, I have racked up just about 75,000 Marriott Rewards points. I could choose to redeem the points and enjoy a 3 night stay at a Category 5 property (25,000 points per night) or I can choose to let it sit in my account as I continue to accumulate more points. Don’t get me wrong, 3 free nights at the Courtyard Marriott in Maui would still be a great use of my points since it costs about $230 per night that that particular hotel. However, I am choosing to keep accumulating points for a little-known program called RewardsPlus Hotel+Air Packages.
As far as value is concerned, this program trumps all the redemption values for Marriott Rewards. For as little as 200,000 Marriott Rewards points, you not only get 7 nights accommodation at one of the Marriott hotels worldwide, but they also give you at least 50,000 airline miles to book your free flights! You certainly can’t
Here’s our plan: if we keep my Marriott Rewards credit card open AND Carlos also opens one for himself, we could considerably get another 50,000-70,000 points on top of what I have already accumulated. If we also use our cards the next couple of years for our random hotel stays and restaurant spends, we could in theory accumulate a ton more points. Once we have at least 280,000 Marriott Rewards points between the two of us, we will redeem them for a 7-night vacation at the Marriott Hotel at the heart of Paris and enough miles to travel there from Los Angeles. The Marriott in Paris alone costs about $250 per night so a week-long stay would be at least $1,750 without taxes and fees. Add to that about $2,500 for 2 round trip tickets to Paris and the grand total of your miles redemption is at a whopping $4,250! Amazing!
Needless to say, Carlos is now a very big fan of the Marriott Rewards credit card. One day soon, we will be
posting our Paris adventures all because of this amazing card!
What hotel credit cards do you have in your wallet and what rewards does it offer? We’d love to hear about other hotel cards with great rewards!