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Last month, Marriott announced a new, integrated loyalty program for guests across its portfolio of hotels. The announcement marked the first time that the brand has had one unified set of benefits across its three brands — the company previously kept a separate program for the luxury Ritz-Carlton brand, and following Marriott’s acquisition of Starwood Hotels in 2016, it kept the Starwood Preferred Guest rewards program in place.
The changes fully take effect in August, but Marriott has just launched its new credit card — the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus— and discontinued its old one. Here’s what you need to know about the new card, and why, if you stay in Marriott hotels, this represents a great deal.
The sign-up bonus
The new Marriott card— which is issued by Chase — is offering a generous and limited-time sign-up bonus of 100,000 Marriott points when you spend $5,000 in the first three months. That matches the highest offer that the old card ever had. Chase confirms that this is a limited time offer, so we may see that bonus drop soon. If you’re interested in this card, it’s worth signing up now instead of waiting and risking missing out on the full bonus.
Travel website The Points Guy values Marriott points subjectively at around 0.9¢ each. That means that 100,000 points are worth $900. That’s enough to offset the card’s $95 annual fee for nine years.
One thing to keep in mind is that the bonus is not available if you earned a sign-up bonus on the old Marriott card within the past 24 months. However, if you have a Marriott card and fall within the 24 months, Marriott is offering bonus points to cardholders who upgrade to the new product. Everyone gets a different bonus, which seems to be anything from 0-50,000 points, according to the blog Doctor of Credit. Check here to see what your offer is.
If you have the old Marriott Premier card, but opened it more than two years ago, you can close it or downgrade it, wait a week or two, and then apply for the new card in order to get the full sign-up bonus.
Earn points on spending
The new Marriott Premier Plus earns 6x points on every dollar spent at Marriott and Starwood properties. Using the 0.9¢ valuation, that’s a nice 5.4% rate of return. The card also earns 2x points on all other purchases.
That’s an increase of one point per category from the previous card — the old Premier only earned 5x points at Marriott properties and 1x point elsewhere.
Free night certificate
Each year on your account anniversary, you’ll get a free night certificate — you can use it at any hotel property that would normally cost up to 35,000 points.
The past version of the card offered a similar free night certificate valid at a category 1-5 hotel — at off-peak rates, a category 5 hotel is 30,000 points, so these are essentially the same.
Elite status and credits
Holding the Premier Plus card earns you automatic Marriott Silver elite status. Silver status gets you guaranteed room availability, a 10% bonus on top of points you earn, late check-out, and a dedicated elite reservation phone line.
If you spend $30,000 on the card in a calendar year, you’ll be upgraded to Gold elite status. That features similar perks, except that the points earning bonus is 25%, plus you’ll get premium Wi-Fi for free, a welcome gift when you check-in (it’s often extra points), and complimentary room upgrades.
Starting in 2019, Premier Plus cardholders will automatically get credits for 15 nights stayed, which go towards earning status. Those can be helpful if you stay at Marriot hotels regularly, since it can make the difference between one level of status or the next.
The new Marriott Rewards Premier Plus offers a slight upgrade to the benefits offered by the previous card. Between the elite credits, the points earning, and the automatic silver status (and Gold if you spend enough), the card represents a great value to anyone who stays in Marriott or Starwood hotels regularly. Because the 100,000 points sign-up bonus is limited time, you should apply or upgrade now, before it’s too late.