The Best Starwood Bonus Comes from Marriott, and 6 Places to Spend the Points

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Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card 80,000 Point Signup Offer

There’s never been a bigger offer for the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card than there is right now. The standard offer I’ve seen for this card over the years was only 50,000 points. I first got the card when the bonus was 25,000 points.

Now it’s 80,000 points after spending $3000 within the first 3 months of cardmembership and an additional 7500 bonus points when you add your first authorized user to the account and make a purchase in that same timeframe.

Now that Marriott points transfer to Starwood, it’s the biggest current public signup offer for Starwood points as well.

In fact, you can only get an American Express signup bonus once for a given card product. If you’ve already had the bonus for a Starwood American Express card, this is an opportunity to get another Starwood bonus as well.

But the signup bonus can go farther than with many other hotel cards:

  • It’s worth two nights in a category 8 hotel or 4 nights in a category 4 or 8 nights in a category 2 hotel.
  • And you can also, of course, top off a Marriott account with points from for instance a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. That’s not generally the best use of Chase points but if you’re close to an award it can make sense. (In fact, Chase points now transfer to Starwood as well, at the same rate as American Express Membership Rewards do, through the transitive property of Starwood-Marriott transfers.)

It can make sense to get the card for the bonus. And to keep the card for the annual free night.

There’s a ton of hype around transfers between Starwood and Marriott. There are great arbitrage opportunities, but here are 8 great Marriott hotels where you can spend your points:

Protea Hotel Stellenbosch, South Africa

The Protea Hotel Stellenbosch is set in vineyards of the Cape Winelands district, bordering nature reserves. It overlooks wineries, and is a great jumping off point for exploring the region’s wine and arts scene. This is the second oldest town in the country with Dutch-heritage architecture. It’s 15 minutes from the beach and beside two golf courses.

And it’s a category 1 hotel, 7500 points per night and 5th night is free — so 30,000 points for 5 days.


Credit: Marriott

Courtyard Aguadilla, Puerto Rico

Explore the beaches on Puerto Rico’s West Coast. The property is minutes from the airport and it’s just a category 2 hotel at 10,000 points per night or 40,000 points for 5 nights. That’s a great value since prices are often $150++ per night.


Credit: Marriott

JW Marriott Bucharest, Romania

This is just a category 3 hotel so only 15,000 points per night with fifth night free. This one first stood out to me a year and a half ago when it was featured as one of Travel is Free‘s unbelievably cheap hotel award redemptions.


Credit: Marriott

Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Hawaii

This Autograph Collection property is on the western side of the island of Hawaii. All rooms have private lanais and soaking tubs.

This is a category 8 hotel, at 40,000 points per night you can book a couple of nights at one of Hawaii’s most classic properties


Credit: Marriott

JW Marriott Grosvenor House, London

The JW Marriott Grosvenor House in the Mayfair area overlooks Hyde Park. Nearby is Buckingham Palace and Madame Tussauds. It’s a top property in Central London.

Meet the spending requirement on this card and earn the full signup bonus, you have enough points for two nights at this category 9 property that’s 45,000 points per night.


Credit: Marriott

The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park

There are few archetypal luxury prestige properties quite like the Ritz-Carlton Central Park. Sure, the Ritz in Battery Park is cheaper. But this is the one that’s on bucket lists, right on Central Park with an Art Deco exterior.

It’s 70,000 points per night as a tier 5 Ritz-Carlton redemption, but you’ve got the points to stay here so why not? And transferring Starwood points to Marriott you’ve got a better deal than using Starpoints at Starwood’s own top luxury New York hotels.


Credit: Marriott

Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card 80,000 Point Signup Offer

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community Milepoint.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.

Comments

  1. Would be nice if you proactively noted if 5/24 is in effect for this card without people having to ask you …

  2. Do you know if this card is part of the 5 in 24mo limit or is considered one of the non applicable cards like BA?

  3. Wow — two South African Protea hotel blog posts in one weekend (the other by The Frequent Miler’s new hire)! There are definitely good reasons to get a Marriott credit card sign-up bonus, but using the points in South Africa is generally not a good idea. Outside of (perhaps) Cape Town, the cost of high-quality, atmospheric lodging is astonishingly cheap in South Africa. Many of these independent properties participate in the online booking channels where you can often get another 20% off your tab. You can live large for about $65; $100 if you want to go 5-star. You usually don’t need to use points at 3-star Proteas. Save your Marriott points for Europe, Asia or America.

  4. ditto on the 5/24. Gary, you really need to be upfront about it

    For NYC, I like New York Edition which is only 40K on pointsavers until the rate increase in early March

  5. The JW Marriott Grosvenor House in London feels more like a Comfort Inn. I stayed there for Christmas and NYE less than 2 months ago and the hotel is run down. They plan to renovate at some time this year. Until then, I recommend avoiding the hotel, or at least know you will be staying in a worn out room with uncomfortable beds.

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