Marriott International is a hotel chain everyone knows. They have hotels all around Disney World and Disneyland and a solid rewards program. But, is the Marriott Rewards Premier Card, which has an $85 annual fee (waived the first year), a good one for the average person wanting to discount their Disney vacation?
Sign Up Bonus (Grade: A-)
After you spend $3,000 in the first three months of having this card you get 75,000 points. We value these points at 0.8 cents each, so the sign up bonus is worth around $600 in free hotel stays.
|Sign Up Bonus||75,000 points|
|Value Per Point||0.8 cents|
|Value of Sign Up Bonus||$600|
Daily Spending (Grade: C-)
The sad truth is that the only money you should spend on this card is when you pay for stays at Marriott hotels. In this case you earn five points per dollar spent. Otherwise, you earn two points per dollar on purchases made directly through airlines and car rental companies as well as at restaurants. You earn one point per dollar on everything else.
|Category||Points per Dollar Spent|
|Airlines, Rental Car Companies, Restaurants||2x|
|All Other Spending||1x|
Card Perks (Grade: A-)
Annual Free Night – Every year on your cardmember anniversary, you get one free night at any Marriott hotel in categories 1-5. Category five hotels are 25,000, which based on our point valuation is worth about $200 on average. This alone means you’re getting more from this card by having it than you’re paying in the $85 annual fee.
Silver Elite Status – The card comes with 15 nights credited to you each year. This is good enough for automatic silver elite. The only benefit of silver status is a 20% bump in points on paid stays.
5th Night Free – This is technically a perk of the rewards program itself, not the card. When you use the points, you get the fifth night free. So four nights worth of points will get you five nights.
No Foreign Transaction Fees – It doesn’t save most people a lot, but it’s nice to have at least one card in your wallet with this perk.
Transfer to Starwood – Since Marriott purchased Starwood, you can now transfer your points at a rate of 3:1, three Marriott points for one Starpoint. This opens up more properties where you can use your points.
Redeeming Points (Grade: B)
You can use your points at Marriott hotels of course, but you can also transfer them to Starwood. This is important because Starwood gives you the option to transfer points to about two dozen airlines. So, Marriott points give you access to tons of hotels, but also to many airlines as well.
Overall Grade: B
There are probably three reasons to get this card: 1) You travel for work and stay at Marriott’s regularly, 2) The sign up bonus is really good, 3) The annual free night is worth almost twice as much as the annual fee. You really shouldn’t use this card on daily purchases other than at Marriott hotels. So, if none of those three reasons are appealing to you, you should move on and find a better card that fits you.