How to maximize the benefits of the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card

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In a Nutshell

Want to maximize the benefits of the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card? Use your card to earn Marriott Rewards® points, secure Silver Elite status and purchase items abroad with no foreign transaction fees.

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Do you frequently stay in Marriott® and SPG® hotels? If so, the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card can help you earn points and enjoy some serious perks.

From our partner

Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card

From cardholders in the last year

See Details, Rates & Fees

This rewards credit card offers tremendous value for travelers, starting with benefits you can use at the largest hotel chain in the world.

That’s right — with the recent acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. and its Starwood Preferred Guest® rewards program, Marriott now has the most extensive network of hotels where your card perks can come in handy.

While some may see the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card’s $85 annual fee and get a little nervous, have no fear. If you use all (or even most) of this card’s benefits, the value will likely outweigh that annual fee and then some.

Let’s jump right into five simple ways you can maximize the benefits of the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card.


5 ways to maximize the benefits of the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card

  1. Make sure you qualify for the sign-up bonus
  2. Don’t skip your free anniversary night
  3. Transfer points around for the most flexibility
  4. Take advantage of automatic Silver Elite status
  5. Pack it in your wallet when you travel

1. Make sure you qualify for the sign-up bonus

First and foremost, one of the most valuable things about this card is its sign-up bonus. Currently, you’ll get 80,000 Marriott Rewards® points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

On top of that, when you add the first authorized user to your account and make just one purchase in the first three months from account opening, you’ll get an additional 7,500 points.

If you meet the threshold for both bonuses, that’s a total of 87,500 points to redeem toward nightly stays, room upgrades and other perks at 4,600-plus hotels in more than 92 countries.

Nightly stays at a Category 1 hotel start at just 7,500 points, so you can find a lot of value in your sign-up bonus. You can save even more when you tap into PointSavers reward rates during off-peak times, which start at only 6,000 points for a Category 1 hotel.

2. Don’t skip your free anniversary night

Another major benefit of the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card is the free night stay you’ll earn each year after your account anniversary. You can redeem this reward at any Category 1–5 hotel, and it holds some serious potential to offset the cost of the annual fee.

Category 5 hotels are typically pricier compared with the lower categories, so redeeming at this level will give you the most value. Depending on how and when you redeem, Torsten Jacobi of MightyTravels.com notes that this perk alone can “translate into a $150 to $200 value at any renewal.”

We know what you may be thinking: Why not wait a few years and accumulate a bunch of free night stays to use on a single vacation? A fine idea, but it won’t work. Each free night stay expires 12 months after it’s credited to your account, so plan ahead and make sure you use it within a year.

3. Transfer points around for the most flexibility

You already know that the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card can help you earn more points on purchases at over 5,700 participating Marriott Rewards® and SPG® hotels. But what you might not know is that you can move your Marriott Rewards® points to the Starwood Preferred Guest® or the Ritz-Carlton Rewards programs. It’s fast, it’s free and it unlocks a potentially huge amount of flexibility for your rewards.

“The option to transfer to Starwood [Starpoints®] adds many more options,” notes Jacobi. Not only can you redeem Starpoints® for hotel stays, but you can also transfer them to more than 30 airline frequent flyer programs, mostly on a 1-to-1 basis.

Let’s see how that looks in practice.

Say you qualify for the sign-up bonus of 80,000 Marriott Rewards® points. If you wanted, you could convert those Marriott Rewards® points into 26,666 Starpoints® (the conversion rate is 3-to-1 when transferring Rewards points to Starpoints).

At a 1-to-1 transfer rate, you could then convert those 26,666 Starpoints® into 31,666 Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles or 31,666 Delta Air Lines SkyMiles. Those extra 5,000 miles come courtesy of SPG, which matches 5,000 Starpoints® per 20,000 transferred in a single transaction.

Of course, you also run the risk of devaluing your points when you move them around. So remember to plan ahead and transfer them to where you’ll need them most.

4. Take advantage of automatic Silver Elite status

With the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card, you’ll receive 15 Elite credits after account opening and another 15 Elite credits each year after your account anniversary. That will automatically grant you Silver Elite status, which requires only 10 Elite credits to qualify.

As a Silver Elite member, you’ll earn a 20 percent bonus on base points earned during stays, plus free standard in-room Wi-Fi, priority late checkout and a slew of other perks.

If you’re already a big spender, you can earn one additional credit toward Elite status for every $3,000 you spend to get you closer to enjoying Gold Elite benefits.

5. Pack it in your wallet when you travel

If you’ve ever traveled internationally, you know it’s important to carry a card that won’t tack on pesky foreign transaction fees.

Fortunately, the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card has no foreign transaction fees. It also carries some serious benefits that can protect you and your trips. The card’s suite of travel and purchase coverage benefits includes baggage delay insurance, trip cancellation/interruption insurance and trip delay insurance.

That last perk is especially nice. We all know that weather can come out of nowhere and turn travel plans upside down. But with this card, you’ll be reimbursed up to $500 per ticket for certain unreimbursed expenses like meals and hotels if your travel is delayed by more than 12 hours or requires an overnight stay.

So use this card when you make travel plans and enjoy some extra peace of mind on your next trip.

At a glance: Other hotel rewards cards to consider

The Hyatt Credit Card

**This offer is no longer available on our site

Earn 3x points for each $1 spent on purchases at Hyatt hotels, and 2x points on restaurants and airline tickets purchased directly from the airline

Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card

 

Earn 5x points for each $1 spent on purchases at participating Ritz-Carlton Rewards® and SPG® hotels, plus a $300 annual travel credit

* Rewards mentioned in the above table are not exhaustive.


Bottom line

If you plan on staying loyal to the Marriott® and SPG® brands of hotels, the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card can unlock some serious value for your travels.

Even if you find yourself worried about the $85 annual fee, this one’s worth considering. You may find that the benefits easily offset the cost of that fee.

And if you stay at a Marriott® or SPG® property only once in a blue moon? Don’t necessarily rule this card out, but you may also want to consider a more general travel rewards card that offers more benefits on your everyday purchases.


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