See also our review of the premier version: Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card Review
Rewards credit cards typically either offer cash back or are affiliated with an airline. Sometimes travelers may prefer to earn rewards on hotel stays instead of or in addition to earning frequent flyer miles. Vacationers may wish to compliment a free flight with a free hotel stay, while others simply hope to enjoy a hotel award stay that they can use during their next road trip.
Chase offers their Marriott Rewards Visa Signature Card for these types of travelers.
- Earn Marriott Rewards Points. Cardholders will receive one point per dollar spent on most purchases, and three points for any purchase made at a Marriott hotel. These points are on top of any normally earned from the hotel stay itself. Award nights can be redeemed for between 7,000 and 40,000 points, depending on the hotel category.
- Earn Elite Status. For every $3,000 spent, card members will receive a single night’s credit toward elite status in the Marriott Rewards program. On top of that, members will receive another 10 night stay credit towards elite status every year when they renew their card.
- Get a Sign-up Bonus. New cardholders will receive 30,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in the first three months as well as a coupon for two free nights after account approval. The coupon is only valid at properties designated in categories 1-4, which include budget and mid-range hotels.
- Interest Rates. Applicants will receive a variable APR equal to the Prime Rate plus 10.99%. This rate applies to both purchases and balance transfers.
- Annual Fee. There is no annual fee the first year, followed by a $45 annual fee after that.
- Foreign Transaction Fees. Every charge processed outside the United States will be subject to a foreign transaction fee of 3%.
- Generous Sign-up Bonus. 30,000 points is enough for four award nights at one of their category 1 hotels, their lowest category of property. On the other hand, the free night certificates can be redeemed at any hotel in categories 1-4. The total sign-up bonus can be used for as many as six free nights, but only at their least expensive properties. More realistically, travelers can still enjoy four nights at a mid-range hotel.
- Big Bonuses When Used at Marriott Hotels. While many airline cards offer just double miles when used for affiliate purchases, this card bests them by offering triple miles for all hotel purchases including dining and other resort charges.
- Wide Range of Properties. The Marriott brand includes high-end hotels like the JW Marriott and other brands such as Renaissance Hotels, Courtyard, Residence Inn, Fairfield Inn & Suites, TownePlace Suites, SpringHill Suites, Marriott Vacation Club, and ExecuStay.
- Earn Elite Status Quicker. There is nothing like perks such as free upgrades, breakfast, and Internet access. By granting cardholders 10 stay credits at their renewal and another stay credit with every $3,000 spent, cardholders can ascend to the upper tiers of the program even if they are not traveling every week.
- Capacity Controls. The Marriott Reward program advertises no blackout dates. While that is true, they do employ capacity controls that restrict availability, just like airline award systems. In contrast, Starwood, Hilton, and Intercontinental Hotels have no blackout dates or capacity controls; guests can receive an award stay for any room that is not occupied.
- High Reward Redemption Rates. Awards start at 7,000 points, but the properties with awards at that level are often very low-end brands such as Residence Inn and Fairfield. Therefore, the award may only be worth as little as $50. Nicer hotels in the chain can cost tens of thousands of points per night. In comparison, many Westin properties in the Starwood program have award stays for 7,000-10,000 points. Frequent travelers will tell you that a Westin is much nicer than a Fairfield.
- Foreign Transaction Fees. Chase has many cards aimed at travelers that are now exempt from this pointless fee, including the Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Card. Surprisingly, this fee still exists on a card like this that is aimed at frequent travelers.
- Non-competitive Interest Rates. As a rewards card, customers should not expect the Chase Marriott Visa to have the lowest interest rates. People who are carrying a balance should consider one of the best low APR cards.
While frequent air travelers must pick their airline based on which carrier has the best connections from their home airport, they have more flexibility in which hotel chain they choose to take their business to. In deciding on a brand with which to place your loyalty, consider the advantages of using a credit card co-branded with that hotel.
By offering decent rewards and strong opportunities to earn elite status, the Chase Marriott Rewards Visa Signature Card is a competitive offering in a crowded market.
Do you have the Chase Marriot Rewards Visa Signature Card? How have you utilized the travel rewards and hotel benefits?