Marriott is getting a lot more attention now that they’ve acquired Starwood and made top-tier awards more attainable. With Marriott’s award chart requiring 6,000 – 45,000 points per night for their Category 1 – 9 hotels, many wonder whether this card is as good as other hotel cards. To give you some perspective, most hotel credit cards offer enough rewards for at least two free nights.
For more information on hotel cards that offer you bonus points, head here.
- Two nights at a top-tier Category 9 hotel (saver). Marriott’s top-tier Category 9 hotels go for 40,000 – 45,000 points per night. That seems like a lot, but with the Marriott Premier card’s sign-up bonus you can get two nights covered at the saver level. As you can imagine, Marriott has some great Category 9 hotels you can redeem points at. The St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London is a really unique property with a great location or the French Leave Resort in the Bahamas, where you can get a massive villa as a standard award redemption. Prefer a stateside hotel? There are tons of options, like the JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort or Enjoy Hotel in Boston. Overall you’ve got 69 hotels to choose from at this level, which is plenty!
- 5 nights at a Category 5 Hotel (saver). Thanks to Marriott’s 5th night free benefit, you can get up to five award nights for the price of four at a Category 5 Marriott hotel. That’s assuming you book at the Saver level, which would cost just 20,000 points per night. Which other hotel credit card gets you five free nights at a mid-tier hotel? None. With the Marriott Premier card’s current sign-up bonus, you can book up to five nights at incredible hotels like the Moscow Marriott Grand Hotel or the African Pride 15 On Orange Hotel in Cape Town.
- Save for an Air + Hotel award. Marriott’s Air + Hotel awards provide tremendous value. The cheapest option starts at 200,000 points and gets you 7 nights at a Category 1 -5 hotel, plus 55 United miles. With the 83,000 points from the Marriott Premier card, you get a little over a third of the way there. Transfer points from the Starwood Preferred Guest Card from American Express along with the sign-up bonus from the Starwood Business Card and you’re all set.
- 13 nights at a Category 1 Hotel (saver). Marriott hotels are generally in great shape and their Category 1 properties are no exception. You can get up to 13 nights at Category 1 Marriott hotels for 80,000 points per night. That’s at the Saver level – non-saver awards would still get you 11 nights at hotels like the AC Hotel Badajoz in Spain, Courtyard Shanghai Jading and Protea Hotel Clarens.
- Convert to 26,666 Starwood Points. I don’t like reverse transfers that result in fewer points, but in this case, it might work out favorably. Marriott points can be transferred to Starwood at a 3:1 ratio. I know, that sounds like unfavorable math. However, considering that Starwood free nights start at 2,000 points, it could work out favorably. More importantly, you can transfer Starwood points to most partner airlines at a 1:1 ratio. Every 20,000 point transfer qualifies for a 5,000 point bonus. Thus, 80,000 Marriott points could ultimately convert to 31,000 airline miles. Would I do this? Probably not, considering all the great ways you can put Marriott points to use for free nights (see above). However, it is an option that some people do utilize.
If you’re not traveling to any exotic locations, there are still plenty of great Marriott hotels around the country where you can put your Marriott Premier card sign-up bonus to good use. Whether it’s an airport hotel, a suburban Courtyard Marriott or a beachside resort, there is no shortage of places to redeem the Marriott Premier card sign-up bonus.
Have you picked up the Marriott Premier card? How are you going to redeem the sign-up bonus?
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