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The Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card: Why It’s Worth The Higher Fee

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Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card Editor's Rating: 3.2 / 5

If your hotel of choice is a Marriott, the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card is a travel card worth considering. While its annual fee is a bit steep for a hotel card, it comes in below the annual fees of many travel rewards credit cards. It offers high rewards on Marriott spending, travel benefits and a signup bonus worth writing home about. Here’s what you need to know about this credit card to determine whether or not it’s right for you.

Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Apply Now on Chase's secure website

Pros

  • No foreign transaction fee

Cons

  • Has annual fee
  • Needs excellent credit
  • Rewards only valuable if you frequently stay at Marriott properties

Bonus Offer

Earn 80,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

Annual Fee

$85

Intro APR Promotions

N/A

APR

  • APR: 16.24%-23.24% Variable
  • Cash Advance APR: 25.24%, Variable

Card Details

  • Earn 80,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Plus, Earn 7,500 bonus points when you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Enjoy 1 Free Night Stay at a Category 1-5 location every year after your account anniversary date!
  • Earn unlimited Marriott Rewards points and get free stays faster
  • Earn 5 points per $1 spent at participating Marriott locations & 2 points per $1 spent on airline tickets purchased directly with the airlines, at car rental agencies & restaurants
  • Earn 1 point per $1 spent everywhere else
  • The fastest way to earn Marriott Rewards Elite Status. Receive 15 Elite Credits guaranteeing Silver Elite Status or better. Plus, Earn 1 Elite Credit for every $3,000 spent on purchases
  • All for an $85 Annual Fee

At a glance
Annual fees $85
Foreign transaction fee None
Rewards program 5 points per dollar spent at Marriott locations, 2 points on airline ticket purchases directly from airlines, car rental agencies, and restaurants, and 1 point per dollar spent on everything else
Signup bonus Earn 80,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
Verdict: If you frequent stay at Marriott hotels, this card is a good option.
Good for:
  • Someone who stays at Marriott locations
  • Someone who frequently spends on airline purchases, car rentals and dining out
  • Someone who travels internationally
Bad for:
  • Someone who prefers Starwood locations to Marriott locations
  • Someone who wants more travel redemption options

In this article:

Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card: The basics
It’s not called “Premier” for nothing
Where the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card shines
Where the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card falls short
The bottom line: Should I get the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card?

Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card: The basics

The Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card boasts 5 points on every dollar spent at almost 4,000 Marriott locations, 2 points on airfare bought directly from airlines, rental car agencies and restaurants, and 1 point elsewhere. There’s also a killer signup bonus: Earn 80,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening Points are redeemable for hotel stays, with the number of points required for redemption increasing as the hotel category number increases. Redemption begins at 7,500 points per night for a Category 1 hotel and goes all the way up to 45,000 points per night at a Category 9 hotel.

The Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card is a good card option for overseas travel. It doesn’t have foreign transaction fees and comes with EMV technology for secure transactions around the world. The card has a $85 annual fee, which is high for a hotel credit card, but it will be worth it for the right person.

It’s not called “Premier” for nothing

Want perks? The Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card has perks! Aside from the impressive signup bonus and Marriott spending rewards, it also boasts:

  • One free night’s stay on your account anniversary
  • 15-night credit toward Elite status

The signup bonus and one free night’s stay mean you’ll enjoy up to seven free nights — at a Category 1 location — after hitting the required spend for the signup bonus.

Where the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card shines

The Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card is a solid hotel credit card. Here’s what you can look forward to if you get it:

Great signup bonus. Any signup bonus that gives you potentially six free nights at a hotel for a relatively low required spend is good in the Nerds’ book. The Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card’s signup bonus is truly impressive: Earn 80,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening Boom, your vacation just became that much more affordable.

Extra points on travel expenses. Between the five points on Marriott spending, and two points on airfare, rental cars and dining out, you’re essentially getting extra rewards for all your major travel purchases. While there are better travel card options for you if you don’t stay at Marriott properties, Marriott devotees will be hard pressed to find better rewards.

No foreign transaction fees and EMV technology. The Nerds’ standard for a good travel rewards card includes no foreign transaction fees, widespread acceptance of the payment network and EMV chip technology. Check, check and check — the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card meets our criteria for a great travel card for domestic and foreign adventures. Spend easy knowing you won’t be subject to 3% fees or a high risk of fraud, and that with Visa, most places that accept credit cards will be able to process your transaction.

Annual free hotel stay. After you’re approved for your Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card and every year on your anniversary, you’ll receive a free one-night stay at a Category 1-4 hotel. If you redeem this for a Category 4 hotel, it’s like getting a yearly bonus of 20,000 points.

Elite status. The card’s annual 15-night credit toward Elite status automatically bumps you up to Silver Elite status — which gives you priority late checkout, discounts and more. After that, you’ll receive 1 Elite credit for every $3,000 you spend. If you earn enough Elite credits, you’re looking at Gold or Platinum Elite status, which both come with a slew of luxury benefits.

Where the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card falls short

Nobody’s perfect, and no card is perfect, either. Here are a couple of people who would benefit from a different credit card:

Someone who prefers Starwood locations to Marriott locations

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Apply Now on American Express's secure website

Pros

  • High rewards rate
  • No foreign transaction fee

Cons

  • Has annual fee
  • Needs excellent credit
  • Rewards only valuable if you stay at Starwood properties frequently

Bonus Offer

Get 25,000 bonus Starpoints® after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Terms Apply

Annual Fee

$0 for the first year, then $95

Intro APR Promotions

N/A

APR

  • APR: 15.49%-19.49% Variable
  • Penalty APR: Up to 29.49%, Variable
  • Cash Advance APR: 25.49%, Variable

Card Details

  • Get 25,000 bonus Starpoints® after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on international purchases.
  • Receive free in-room, premium internet access. Booking requirements apply.
  • Enjoy complimentary, unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi on up to four devices at more than 1,000,000 Boingo hotspots worldwide. Enrollment required.
  • Get free nights at over 1,200 hotels and resorts in nearly 100 countries with no blackout dates. Some hotels may have mandatory service and resort charges.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Terms and Conditions apply.
  • View Rates and Fees

If you spend a lot on hotels, but Marriott isn’t your hospitality company of choice, you may want to consider the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express. It offers up to 5 Starpoints per dollar spent on Starwood Preferred Guest hotels and 1 point on every dollar spent elsewhere. There’s also a signup bonus: Get 25,000 bonus Starpoints® after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Terms Apply Starpoints are best used for hotel stays, which are 3,000 to 35,000 per night, depending on the hotel category.

The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express’s annual fee is $0 for the first year, then $95. Plus, it charges no foreign transaction fees. We value Starpoints at 2.3 cents apiece, which is significantly higher than Marriott points, though its harder to earn a large quantity of Starpoints, since SPG purchases can be rewarded at as low as 2 Starpoints per dollar spent.

Someone who wants more travel redemption options

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Apply Now on Chase's secure website

Pros

  • A large bonus
  • $0 foreign transaction fee
  • Cool factor - metal card
  • Rewards redemption bonus through Ultimate Rewards

Cons

  • Introductory annual fee of $0 the first year, then $95
  • Best for savvy travelers

Bonus Offer

Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

Annual Fee

$0 for the first year, then $95

Intro APR Promotions

N/A

APR

  • APR: 16.24% - 23.24% Variable APR
  • Cash Advance APR: 25.24%, Variable

Card Details

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named a 'Best Credit Card' for Travel Rewards by MONEY Magazine
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

If you travel a lot, but don’t necessarily want to redeem for Marriott stays, you may want to go for a general travel card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. It offers 2X points on every dollar spent on dining and travel and 1 point on everything else. There’s also a rad signup bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Points are best redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards or transferred to one of Chase’s travel partner programs.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has an $0 for the first year, then $95, which is a little steeper than the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card. That said, cardholders aren’t stuck booking Marriott hotels or redeeming for Marriott hotels to earn and redeem rewards. Like the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has no foreign transaction fees and an EMV chip for more secure transactions.

The bottom line: Should I get the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card?

The Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card is a great travel credit card if you frequent Marriott locations. You’ll earn high rewards on your Marriott purchases, and the signup bonus plus free night will get you up to a week’s stay in your favorite Marriott hotel. You’ll also enjoy extra points on some of your other travel expenses — like rental cars and airfare — to use on your next hotel stay.

If you prefer other travel redemption options or Marriott isn’t your favorite hospitality company, check out the cards mentioned above. Whichever one you go for, the Nerds wish you a great trip!