The bottom line: The free night's stay each account anniversary more than makes up for the card's annual fee. The bonus, rewards and redemption options are grand, too.
Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card
18.24% - 25.24% Variable APR
Recommended Credit Score
Pros & Cons
High rewards rate
No foreign transaction fee
Has annual fee
Alternate Pick: Greater flexibility
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Transfer points to Marriott, or use elsewhere
Get 2 points per $1 spent on travel and dining and 1 point per dollar everywhere else. Points can be transferred to several airline and hotel loyalty programs, including Marriott. You can also use them to book travel through Chase at 1.25 cents per point. There's a big sign-up bonus, too. Annual fee: $95.
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THIS CARD IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE
Following Marriott's merger with Starwood Hotels & Resorts, the Marriott and Starwood loyalty programs were combined and rechristened as "Marriott Bonvoy." In February 2019, this card was rebranded as the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card. Read our review of the new card.
For travelers who stay at hotels often, the Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card is worth every penny — even at $95 a year.
The card debuted in May 2018 as Marriott was integrating Starwood Hotels & Resorts (and its SPG rewards program) into its operations. The card comes stacked with top-shelf benefits: a free hotel night once a year, automatic elite status and plentiful redemption options.
While the card isn't a good choice for people who rarely travel, it's a fine pick if you're looking for a hotel loyalty program with a huge portfolio of properties to choose from.
Key benefits of the Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card
Annual fee: $95
Sign-up bonus: Earn 75,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
6 points per $1 spent at participating Marriott Rewards and SPG hotels.
2 points per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases.
Foreign transaction fees: None.
Free Night Award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary.
Automatic Silver Elite status and accelerated path to Gold status.
Points are worth 1 cent on average, according to NerdWallet valuations.
Why you might want the Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card
YOU WANT a valuable SIGN-UP BONUS AND ONGOING REWARDS
The card offers a sign-up bonus that can set you up nicely for your next trip: Earn 75,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
In addition to the card's robust ongoing rewards, you can earn points for Marriott purchases just by being a Marriott Rewards member. You'll get 5 to 10 points per dollar spent on qualifying charges, depending on the location. With the Silver Elite status the card provides, you’ll also qualify for a 10% bonus on points earned through your Marriott membership. More on that later.
All told, that could ratchet up the effective rewards rate on this card to an impressive 17% on certain Marriott purchases.
YOU LOVE MARRIOTT BUT ALSO VALUE FLEXIBILITY
Marriott acquired Starwood properties in 2016, making it the largest hotel chain in the world, according to The Associated Press.
The massive scale of this hotel network makes this card especially valuable for folks looking for plenty of redemption opportunities. Locations aren't just limited to big cities, as is the case with some hotel brands.
Alternatively, you could transfer points to airline miles at a rate of 3:1 (3 points for 1 airline mile) with more than 40 different airlines, or take advantage of other redemption options.
YOU WANT TO EARN A FREE NIGHT EVERY ANNIVERSARY
This is perhaps the most valuable benefit on this card. Every year, the card gets you a free night award worth up to 35,000 points. That more than makes up for the annual fee of $95.
This free night expires after 12 months. If you travel less frequently but always stay at Marriott, this benefit alone might give you reason enough to get this card.
STATUS IS IMPORTANT TO YOU
The Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card automatically comes with Silver Elite status. That status, which is one step up from basic membership, gets you a laundry list of goodies, including:
Priority late checkout.
10% bonus on Marriott points.
Access to exclusive phone lines for booking reservations.
Compensation if Marriott can’t honor your reservation.
The 10% bonus on Marriott points applies to points earned through the hotel, not through your credit card. Say you spent $200 on a hotel stay and earned 2,000 base points through Marriott and 1,200 points through the Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card. The 10% boost would add 200 points to the points earned through Marriott, so you’d earn 3,400 points in total.
With this card, you can also earn Gold Elite status if you spend $35,000 or more each account anniversary year. After this threshold is reached, your Gold Elite status will be in effect through Dec. 31 of the following year.
Why you might want to go with another card
YOU’RE NOT READY TO PLEDGE LOYALTY TO MARRIOTT
If you frequent several hotel brands, not just Marriott brands, a travel card that lets you transfer points to multiple loyalty programs might be a better fit.
Try the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. It offers 2 points per dollar spent on travel and dining and 1 point per dollar spent on everything else. Those points can be transferred at a 1:1 ratio to several airlines and hotel loyalty programs, including Marriott. Like the Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card, it doesn't charge foreign transaction fees. It also features a valuable sign-up bonus: Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. The annual fee is $95.
YOU DON'T WANT TO KEEP TRACK OF BONUS CATEGORIES
The Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card makes an excellent sidekick to the cards in your wallet that offer flat-rate 1.5% or 2% rewards. But if you're a one-credit-card type of person, you might want plastic that offers a top-notch rewards rate on all purchases — not just on purchases in bonus categories.
Consider the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. You’ll get 2 miles per dollar spent everywhere, which you can use to redeem for credit toward several types of travel purchases, including hotel stays. Its annual fee is $95, and it doesn't charge foreign transaction fees. You'll also get a generous sign-up bonus: Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months..
You can see how these cards stack up to others in their category by checking out our roundup of the best credit cards.
Is the Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card right for you?
The Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card isn't a good pick for people who are on a tight budget or don't travel much. But it's a perfect fit for travelers who prefer Marriott or want to join a hotel loyalty program that offers abundant choice.
NerdWallet reviews are the result of independent research by our editorial team while cardholder reviews are contributions from independent users not affiliated with NerdWallet. Banks, issuers and credit card companies are not responsible for any content posted on the NerdWallet site, nor do they endorse or guarantee any posted comments or reviews.