Chase is trying a different type of sign-up bonus for a Marriott hotel card it offers, giving out free nights instead of rewards points.
The Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card has a new sign-up promotion, which the issuer describes this way: “Earn 2 Free Night Awards (each valued up to 35,000 points) after spending $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening with the new Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card!”
The previous sign-up bonus: Earn 75,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
The total value of the new offer, with a maximum value of 70,000 points, is slightly less than the previous one. NerdWallet values Marriott points at 1 cent each, meaning the decrease of 5,000 points roughly translates to $50 in value.
However, free nights may be easier to understand for new customers not yet familiar with the Marriott Rewards program and its points. Hotel rewards programs can be confusing because room nights can cost a different number of points based on the type of room, hotel location and season.
Free hotel stays, often called award nights, are common perks among hotel credit cards. But they’re usually not part of the sign-up bonus. Bonuses are often doled out in points that can, in turn, be redeemed for free hotel nights.
Additionally, the old and new offers for the Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card include a free night award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after the cardholder’s account anniversary. That alone could make up for the annual fee of $95.
NerdWallet ranks the Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card among the best hotel credit cards, in part because Marriott’s acquisition of Starwood means a huge number of possibilities for earning and redeeming points: 6,700 hotels across dozens of hotel brands in 130 countries and territories.
Besides the sign-up bonus and anniversary award night, the card offers:
- 6 points per $1 spent at participating Marriott Rewards & SPG hotels.
- 2 points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
- Automatic Silver Elite status every year.
- Points transferable to several airline partners.
- No foreign transaction fee.