[Update: Some offers mentioned below have expired. For current terms and conditions, please see card agreements.]
I recently reviewed the Marriott Rewards Credit Card. So I thought it would be helpful to review the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card from Chase, the elite version of that card, so you can compare them.
Both cards from Marriott are for travelers who prefer to stay at Marriott properties. But if you’re a road warrior, the premier version allows you to accumulate points at light speed. Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the idea.
To qualify for the Marriott Rewards Premier card, you’ll need excellent credit. As soon as you get approved, you get one free night e-certificate that you can use at a category 1-4 hotel.
[Free Resource: Check your credit for free before applying for a credit card]
Rewards and benefits
After your first use, you get 50,000 Bonus Points. To give you an idea of what the points are worth, a Category 1 hotel requires 7,500 points for a free night and a Category 8 hotel requires 40,000 points for a free night.
However you use the points, it’s so nice when you can get the bonus with just a small purchase. You can get more information about rewards here, but I’ll give you a quick rundown:
- Earn five points for every $1 spent at over 3,400 Marriott locations.
- Earn two points for every $1 spent on airline, dining and car rental purchases.
- Earn one point for every $1 spent on everything else.
- Get one Elite Night Credit for each $3,000 spent. There’s no limit to the number of elite nights you can earn.
- Get 15 “Nights Credit” toward Elite membership level every year on your account anniversary.
- Get a free night e-certificate to stay at a category 1-5 hotel as an anniversary bonus.
You start out with Silver elite status, which gives you a chance to attain Gold and Platinum elite membership quickly. With Silver status, you get a 20 percent bonus on top of your Marriott Rewards base points when you stay at one of the properties. But with Gold membership, you get a 25 percent bonus. And with Platinum elite membership, you get a whopping 50 percent bonus. You can get more details about the great perks as you move up in status right here.
This card is also a Visa Signature card, which means you get an abundance of benefits, such as 24/7 concierge service, access to tickets to major sporting events, and special discount travel packages.
[Related Articles: Read more credit card reviews by Beverly Harzog]
Rates and fees
The current national variable APR for a rewards credit card is around 14.70 percent. So this card is on the high side. If you don’t carry a balance, the rewards make up for it.
Here are a few of the basic costs:
Purchase APR: You get a variable 15.24 percent. There’s only a 21-day grace period so pay the bill on time to avoid interest. If you carry a balance, take a look at low-interest cards instead of rewards cards.
Balance Transfers: There’s a 3 percent transfer fee. There’s no intro rate, so you get the purchase APR, which is a variable 15.24 percent. There are other cards that offer lower fees than this for a balance transfer.
Foreign transaction fee: None
Annual fee: Waived for the first year; after that, it’s $85 a year.
The premier version has a higher APR than the basic version (the Marriott Rewards Credit Card) as well as a higher annual fee ($85 vs. $45 for the basic version). But the number of points you can earn on purchases with the Marriott Rewards Premier card is much higher. The premier version also doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, so if you travel overseas a lot, this card might be a good fit for you.
I like the flexibility that both Marriott cards have with redeeming your points. You can redeem your points at Marriott hotels when you travel, but you can also redeem them for airline miles, travel expenses and more.
Overall, I think the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card from Chase is a better option for those who travel a lot. Yes, there’s that pesky $85 annual fee, but it’s waived for the first year. But even when you have to start paying it, you’ll more than make up for it in travel savings.
[Credit Cards: Research and compare rewards credit cards at Credit.com]
Image: Tyler Corder, via Flickr
At publishing time, the Marriott Rewards Credit Card and Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card from Chase are offered on Credit.com product pages and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.