Executive Summary -
One of best hotel affinity and travel cards in the market today. What makes this card even more special is that Marriott allows you to accumulate nights and points through credit card spending. So this card helps you to achieve a higher status than you normally would with just pure hotel stays and it shortens the time considerably for you to achieve lifetime elite status.
In our opinion, the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card is one of the best hotel affinity and travel card around. There are several great features going for it.
Firstly, you get to earn more points on Marriott stays with this card than any other card
Secondly, the card comes with no foreign transaction fees. This is so valuable to those who actually travel abroad and it amounts to an average of 3% savings (since this is the normal rate charged by other cards)
Thirdly, this is one of the rare cards that actually has a trip cancellation insurance and trip delay insurance benefits. Bear in mind that this is a Visa Signature card and this is not a benefit of Visa. Hence, it appears that Chase has gone out of their way to have this feature on the card
There is also great value in the anniversary bonus of one free night for category 1-5 hotels. What is this worth? For a regular category 5 hotel, you would need 25,000 points. So essentially, you are getting a 25,000 anniversary bonus every year. (you could obviously redeem it for a category 1 hotel. But since you require only 7,500 points, you would not do that!). This anniversary bonus more than covers your annual fee because the room value is likely to be in the $250 area.
However, perhaps the most important feature of this card is the automatic silver status, the 15 elite nights you get every year and your ability to earn elite nights based on your spending ($3,000 in spending gets you 1 elite night). The reason this is so valuable is because Marriott allows you to use credit card spending to earn elite nights that actually count towards lifetime elite status. Hence, this card is an invaluable tool for the frequent guest at Marriott in his/her quest for the coveted lifetime elite status.
Verdict - I think this is a great card if you a Marriott Rewards member and worth the $85 annual fee. The anniversary bonus alone will more than cover that. But I think the most important way this card will help you is to move you towards the lifetime elite status faster. It is never easy achieving that if you are not a road warrior. But when you can earn 5X points, get automatic Silver status, 15 elite nights (and more if you spend more!), that journey becomes considerably easier.
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