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Since Marriott successfully acquired Starwood, the biggest news and action in hotel loyalty has been Marriott Rewards and figuring out the direction the program will go. They’ve added benefits like 4pm checkout and experiential redemptions that Starwood offered. And they’ve rolled out the ability to status match and move points back and forth between the two programs.
There’s no question it’s been interesting to cover, will continue to be, and that the most interesting developments in the space will come from the integration of Starwood and Marriott.
And it means paying a lot more attention to the opportunities provided by Marriott points, and through arbitraging the Starwood program now that they’re linked.
Starwood’s Al Maha Desert Resort
There are 7 things I love about the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card:
- 80,000 Point Signup Bonus
The current bonus offer is great — 80,000 points after $3000 in spend within the first 3 months of cardmembership.
W Hotel New York Union Square
- 7500 Points for Adding a No Annual Fee Authorized User
A second piece of the signup bonus comes from adding an authorized user and making a purchase within the first 3 months of cardmembership.
W Hotel Times Square
- 15 Elite Night Credits Every Year
The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express only gives you 5 elite night credits for having the card. You can double down with another 5 nights from the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card.
I love that this one card gives you 15. And I’m hopeful that both the Visa and American Express products survive Marriott’s acquisition of Starwood because I’d love to be able to have 25 elite night credits every year just for having credit cards (without any spend required).
- An Additional Elite Night Credit for Every $3000 in Spend
The the $450 annual fee Ritz co-brand gives you Gold status the first year (and makes you spend to keep it) that spending doesn’t combine with the nights you’re already staying to help you earn status. In other words, Gold status is normally 50 nights. Spending $10,000 on that card and staying 25 nights (or earning 15 nights by having the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card and staying 10 nights) wouldn’t get you to Platinum.
What I like then about the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card is that it’s great for people who do stay at Marriotts, they can top off the nights they stay with some spending to earn elite night credit for status.
- Annual Free Night
Every year cardholders receive a free night at a Marriott property up to category 5. That has it’s limits, you won’t stay at the bulk of top properties — although several great ones do qualify — but it will certainly be worth more than the card’s $85 annual fee.
Category 3 JW Marriott Bucharest, Credit: Marriott
- Transfer Points to Starwood Makes This the Biggest Starwood Bonus
The biggest Starwood bonus comes from Marriott. The Starwood co-brand bonus right now is 25,000 points. That equates to 75,000 Marriott points. But getting this card you can earn up to 87,500 Marriott points, which gives you 29,000 Starwood points with some Marriott points left over.
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.
Breakfast at the St. Regis Bali
- Use Points for Travel Packages This is probably the single best use of Marriott points.
It can make sense to get the card for the bonus. And to keep the card for the annual free night. Here are the tricks you should know about Marriott Rewards.
And in fact since Marriott points transfer to Starpoints at 3:1 and vice versa this is the biggest public signup bonus in the market for Starpoints also.
The Marriott family of cards will all help you earn elite status.