Improved Marriott Visa

There’s a new co-branded Marriott Visa with some pretty good benefits for folks who regularly stay at Marriott Properties.

The 15,000 bonus points with first purchase is pretty standard.

So is a free night certificate that comes with the card — though in the past I believe the certificate was good on properties up through category 4 and this says good through category 5. This card comes with the free night certificate once a year rather than just when first getting the card.

The biggest changes with this card are in the points-earning structure and the way that elite status comes with the card.

  • Earn 5 points for every $1 spent at over 2,600 Marriott locations.

  • Earn 2 points for every $1 spent on airline, dining and rental car purchases as well as 1 point for every $1 on all other purchases.

  • Receive 15 nights toward your next Elite membership level in Marriott Rewards every year, enjoy Silver Elite status or better.

Previously holders of a Marriott Visa got Silver status for their first year of cardmembership. Now you get that status — at least — as long as you have the card. And more importantly for those seeking higher levels of status, the card doesn’t get you just silver. It gets you nights towards whatever status you’re working towards. When you get the card it only takes 60 nights for Platinum status and 35 for Gold status.

This is a pretty innovative benefit, and extends the trend towards counting activity with a co-branded credit card in factoring elite status — recognizing the important role that financial services companies play in travel provider bottom lines.

The card has a $65 annual fee, though, which is pricey for a hotel card.

Update: Don points out that the stay certificate you get when signing up for the card is good at category 1-4 properties, and that the certificate you get at renewal is good at category 1-5 properties.

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, 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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