How can you afford a couple more weekend getaways this year? Unlocking the secret might be easier than you think. If you take advantage of the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card bonus offer, you could be cutting a major travel expense by earning free hotel stays.
If you travel often and like to stay in Marriott hotels, the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card is definitely one you should add to your wallet. This card offers major bonus points for Marriott and SPG hotel spending, as well as good value on other spending. It also includes bonuses and gives you a way to earn even more rewards through Marriott’s rewards program. Here’s what you need to know about this travel credit card.
First: The Bonus
You shouldn’t really choose a travel rewards credit card just for the up-front bonus. But it’s definitely a nice addition if you’re already in the market for a hotel rewards card. This one is no different.
For a limited time, the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card is offering a 75,000 point bonus when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of opening your account.
The up-front bonus is great, but what are the ongoing benefits with this credit card? You’ll get six points per $1 spent at participating Marriott Rewards and SPG hotels. And since there are about 6,500 participating locations, chances are you can find a hotel that will give you these points regardless of where you’re traveling. You’ll also get two points per $1 spent on all other purchases.
Besides this, though, cardmembers also receive:
- A Free Night Award each year after your account anniversary, which is worth a one night hotel stay at a property with a redemption level of up to 35,000 points
- Automatic Silver Elite status with Marriott’s rewards program, and a quick path to Gold Elite Benefits if you spend $35,000 on purchases in a year
- In 2019, the card will also give you 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year that you own the card
How the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card Awards Work
Marriott’s rewards program can be a little confusing until you get used to it. Each participating hotel or property is grouped into either a category or a tier. Categories include Marriott hotels and range from 1 to 9. The SPG properties are in tiers from 1 to 5.
Lower category or tier properties cost fewer points to stay, while higher categories and tiers cost more.
The latest valuation chart has the lowest category hotels worth 7,500 Hotel Rewards Points per night, while the highest-category hotels cost 45,000 points per night. The lowest-tier properties cost 30,000 points per night, while the highest-tier properties cost 70,000 points per night.
The Marriott-SPG merger is relatively new, but it does mean you can use these points–and earn them–more flexibly. You can use the rewards from this program at any Marriott, SPG, or Ritz-Carlton property. And keep in mind that you can stack points earned from your credit card with points earned through the loyalty program, so you can make even more of your points.
Path to Marriott Gold Status
Frequent travelers can really get a lot of benefit from Gold Elite status with Marriott hotels. Typically, you have to complete stays on 25 eligible nights in a calendar year to reach elite status. But with the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card, you can fast-track to Gold Status by spending $35,000 on your card in a calendar year.
That sounds like a lot, but if you run most of your basic expenses through this card (and, of course, pay them off immediately), you may be able to hit that fairly quickly.
What’s the deal with Gold Status? Benefits include:
- 25% bonus points on stays
- Enhanced room upgrades
- 2 PM late checkout
- Extra points when you start your stay
- Complimentary enhanced in-room internet access
- Dedicated 24/7 reservation phone line
- Exclusive rates for members
- An app for check-in and check-out, which you can also use as a room key
- No blackout dates when you use your Free Night Award at 6,500 hotels and resorts worldwide
Plus, if you stay for 400 eligible nights and maintain Gold Elite status or higher for seven years, you’ll get Lifetime Gold Elite Status.
Interest Rates and Fees
This card is definitely not one you want to carry a balance on. Here are the interest and fees you could expect with it:
- Variable 18.24% to 25.24% APR, depending on creditworthiness, including on balance transfers
- 27.24% APR on cash advances
- No minimum interest charge
- $95 annual fee
- $5 or 5% balance transfer fee–whichever is greater
- $10 or 5% cash advance fee–whichever is greater
- Late and return payment fees of up to $38
Pros and Cons
What’s great about this card, and what are the drawbacks? Here are some things to think about before you sign up:
- Great for frequent travelers who enjoy the Marriott portfolio.
- Excellent rewards program, especially if you want to save up for resort stays at worldwide locations.
- Earns significant points on Marriott stays.
- Excellent introductory bonus.
- Works well with the Marriott and SPG rewards programs.
- Significant annual fee. Make sure you’ll out-earn the $95 annual fee before you apply!
- High rewards are only available for Marriott spending, unlike some other hotel-specific cards.
- Other fees and APR are very high.
- Great to excellent credit is needed.
Who is the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card For?
The Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card is best for frequent travelers who already prefer to stay in Marriott properties. If you’re just starting to travel often for work or pleasure, check out the Marriott portfolio to see if you might be interested in their hotels. Then if you get this card, book your stays at Marriott as often as possible to make the most of your rewards.
If you prefer to stay elsewhere, you may want to opt for a card from another hotel brand. However, if you stay with Marriott often enough to outweigh the annual fee, this might be a good card to have in your wallet for those times you do stay with Marriott or SPG.
The one night’s hotel stay helps counterbalance the $95 annual fee. But if for some reason you don’t travel much in one year, you’ll have a hard time making this card truly worth your while. With that said, if you travel often for business or pleasure and want flexible rewards that you can use at standard roadside hotels up to some of the swankiest resorts in the world, this could be just the credit card you’re looking for.