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Marriott Card Dangles 100,000-Point Sign-Up Bonus

March 29, 2017
Credit Cards, Promos
Marriott rewards
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The Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card has upped its sign-up bonus by 25% for new applicants, offering more points redeemable for free nights at hotels operated by Marriott and merger partner Starwood.

Marriott describes the new bonus this way: Earn 100,000 Bonus Points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Issuers of hotel and airline credit cards often raise and lower sign-up bonuses to manage the flow of applications. But the move by Marriott is part of a wider trend among issuers of travel credit cards offering more lucrative incentives to consumers to apply for their cards — and get in the habit of using them. It follows last year’s introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, the souped-up rewards on The Platinum Card® from American Express, and elevated sign-up bonuses on American Express’s Starwood cards.

The Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card is a good deal for fans of Marriott and Starwood properties. For example, one of the card’s perks, a free anniversary night each year, can more than compensate for the $0 for the first year, then $85 annual fee. Still, if you can’t bear to pay annual fees — or don’t travel much — travel credit cards aren’t a good fit for you.

Marriott points can be worth up to 1.7 cents per point, but on average are worth 1 cent apiece, according to NerdWallet valuations. (Values depend on the price of hotel room booked with points and other redemption options.) That gives the new bonus an average value of $1,000. The previous bonus was 80,000 points. Marriott didn’t say how long the new bonus offer will last. New cardholders can goose their bonus by an additional 7,500 points if they add an authorized user who charges to the card in the first three months.

Marriott International closed a deal in September 2016 to buy Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, boosting the reach of each chain’s loyalty program. The deal widens redemption options to a combined 5,700 hotels in 110 countries. Marriott has said it doesn’t expect to introduce a new, combined loyalty program until 2018. Until then, Marriott points convert to Starpoints at a rate of 3 Marriott points to 1 Starpoint. For redemptions, Starpoints are worth 2.3 cents per point, according to NerdWallet valuations.

Information related to the Chase Sapphire Reserve® has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

Gregory Karp is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: gkarp@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @spendingsmart.