Advertiser Disclosure

Advertiser Disclosure: Some of the card offers that appear on this website are from companies which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). The site does not review or include all companies or all available products.

Disclaimer: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone. For a full list of our advertisers, see our disclosure page.

Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card: Is It A Good Value?

Opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed here are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed or endorsed by the issuer. We may be compensated through the issuer’s Affiliate Program. For a full list of our advertisers, including American Express, see our disclosure page.

This Offer is no longer available on ValuePenguin.
Image of Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card
83
"A great card for earning free nights at Marriott properties"

Contents

What the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card lacks in flexibility, it makes up for through a single-driven purpose. While the card doesn’t come with a robust rewards program like Chase Ultimate Rewards, it offers a high yield on Marriott purchases, and an anniversary bonus which can be worth hundreds of dollars. We don’t recommend the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card as an every-day card – it is best supplemented by a no-annual-fee good cash back rewards card like the Citi Double Cash.

Pros

  • 1 free night stay in a category 1-5 hotel each year after your account anniversary
  • 100,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees

Cons

  • Poor rewards rate on non-Marriott spending
  • Not a lot of flexibility in the rewards program

Review: Is the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card Worth It?

The Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card offers decent rewards to people whose travel plans often include a stay at a Marriott hotel. When it comes to rewarding purchases tied to its co-branded hotels, this credit card’s 4% rewards rate shines. On top of this, every cardmember anniversary, users receive a complimentary free night stay at a category 1-5 hotel.

This card lacks the flexibility offered by other travel rewards credit cards – most notably the Chase Sapphire Preferred® and the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express. Both these cards allow users to transfer the rewards points they earn to a number of different partner programs – both airline and hotel. Additionally, the best rewards credit cards tend to offer better rewards on more varied levels of spending; the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card offers poor returns on non-Marriott related purchases.

There are no foreign transaction fees, however, making it an excellent companion when travelling overseas. With over 500 international locations, Marriott is a hotel well-known to those who travel abroad. Those of you who frequent Marriott properties in other countries will have the added comfort of having a credit card that won’t tack on the usual 3% fee for using it outside of the United States.

Bottom Line: The Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card does two things very well – it rewards purchases with the co-branded chain very well, and it gets users 1 free night stay every year. If you’re looking for a rewards card that does more, or gives you more breathing room, we recommend turning to other options.

Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card Benefits & Features

The Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card rewards individuals with points whenever they spend. Users get 5 points per $1 whenever they make purchases at Marriott locations, or the Ritz-Carlton®. If the card is used to pay for airline tickets purchased directly with an airline, at a car rental agency, or at a restaurant, the cardholder will earn 2 points per $1. All other purchases that don’t fall into one of the above mentioned categories net just 1 point per $1. Together, this bundle of benefits and rewards makes this a must-have for any dedicated Marriott customer.

Image of Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card
Annual Fee $85
Purchase APR 16.99% - 23.99% Variable
Card Details
  • Earn 100,000 Points after spending $5,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • 5 points for every $1 spent at Marriott locations
  • 2 points for every $1 spent on airline tickets purchased directly with an airline
  • 2 points for every $1 spent at car rental agencies
  • 2 points for every $1 spent at restaurants
  • 1 point for every $1 spent otherwise
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Card has global acceptance with Chip and Signature Technology

Currently, the welcome bonus on the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card stands at 100,000 points. To earn these, an individual needs to spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months their account is open. If you had a Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card account in the past 2 years and closed it, you will not qualify for this offer. Additionally, note that to in order to qualify, the $5,000 must be reached through purchases alone – this means balance transfers, cash advances, and things like that do not count.

Rewards Rate: How Much Are Marriott Rewards Points Worth?

Depending on how you redeem the points you earn, you can get anywhere between $0.002 and $0.008 per point. Generally, your best value can be gotten out of using points to book hotel stays, which is what we recommend and what our analysis will focus on.

For example, we looked at a sample itinerary in a category 5 hotel, where a 1 night stay costs $200 or 25,000 miles. We extract the value per point through the Marriott Rewards card by dividing the dollar cost of a stay by the same cost in points. In our example above, that would be $200 / 25,000 = $0.008. When you redeem your points for things like flights, car rentals, and cruises the point value plummets by about 75%.

We determined the rewards rate on the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card to be anywhere between 0.8% and 4% when you use it for hotel stays - that is because you get anywhere between 1 and 5 points for every $1 you spend. The rewards rate is calculated by multiplying the point earning rate by the point value (e.g. 5 x $0.008 = 4%). A good cash back credit card can earn users a 2% rewards rate on all their spending – this is usually a barometer used to measure a credit card’s worth. A 4% rewards rate on the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card is fantastic – unfortunately this rewards rate is limited strictly to Marriott and Ritz-Carlton purchases. All other spending will get you a 1.6% rewards rate all lower. Below you can see how this card’s rewards rate compares to some other leading travel rewards credit cards.

This graph contrasts the min and max rewards rates between the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card and a handful of other similar peers.

You can find out more about the different available redemption options by reading our comprehensive guide to the Marriott rewards program.

Annual Free Night Stay

Each year after your account anniversary, you will receive 1 free night stay in any category 1-5 hotel. This is, quite possibly, the best benefit offered by this card. One night is worth approximately $200 – though this number will fluctuate depending on when and where you choose to use it. Still, as long as you are getting a value of $85 or more, and using this benefit every year, you will be coming out ahead – this benefit is enough to make up for the card’s annual fee.

This benefit is awarded in the form of a ‘Free Night Stay E-Certificate’, which is issued once a year. This certificate is valid for 12 months since it is issued. Therefore, it is not possible for you to get the card and stack a few free night stays together, to be redeemed at one time. If you don’t stay in a Marriott property at least once a year, this benefit will be wasted.

Elite Status

When you are first approved for this card, and every membership year after that, you will be automatically awarded 15 Elite night credits. This will automatically grant you “Silver Elite” status with Marriott, which comes with a slew of benefits, all of which can be viewed here on Marriott’s website.

You will earn 1 additional Elite night every time you spend $3,000 on your card. For individuals who are just a couple nights shy of gold/platinum status every year, this can be a nice perk. Otherwise, we don’t see much use for it. You would need to spend over $100,000 annually in order to get “Gold Status” through this benefit alone – even more to get “Platinum”.

How Does the Marriott Rewards® Premier Compare Against Other Credit Cards?

In order to assess the value of the Marriott Rewards® Premier credit card, we have profiled how it preforms against some of its leading competitors. Just as you would not shop for a car without knowing all your options, it’s important to know what other cards are available to you – it is the only way to understand a card’s worth. This graph below shows at a glance how the Marriott Rewards fares against three significant competitors: the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, and the Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card:

This graph shows how a sample consumers rewards would accumulate over two years for the Marriott Rewards Premier card versus three competing cards.

Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card vs Chase Sapphire Preferred®

The Chase Sapphire Preferred®, one of our favorite credit cards, is an excellent choice for individuals looking for flexibility and variety. The Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card is a card tied to the Marriott brand – if you aren’t interested in rewards that will only allow you to earn additional stays at their properties, you should look elsewhere. To that end, the Marriott credit card will earn you higher rewards on Marriott spending (up to 4%). The Ultimate Rewards points you earn through the Chase Sapphire Preferred®, on the other hand, can be used as statement credit, or traveled to a number of different partner programs (including Marriott, Southwest Airlines, and more). This increased flexibility comes with the tradeoff of the rewards rate, which is anywhere between 1.25% and 2.5%.

Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card vs Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

The king of hotel credit cards, the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express offers amazing rewards that can turn into free night stays or free airline flights. The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express rewards rate dances between 2.4% and 4.8% - the higher end being reserved for spending at their properties. If you’re looking for a hotel credit card, and don’t have a particular preference as to the brand, we recommend this one. While it doesn’t offer you a complimentary anniversary night like the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card, the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express offers superior rewards on all your spending – making it a great general purpose credit card. The Starpoints you earn can also be transferred to nearly 30 airline frequent flyer programs, adding to the flexibility of this card’s rewards. Additionally, it should be noted that since Marriott and Starwood merged, the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express now allows you to earn 2 Starpoints per dollar at participating Marriott Rewards® hotels.

Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card vs Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card

The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card is a premium credit card, which comes with a hefty annual fee of $395 a year. Despite this price tag, the Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card can be worthwhile – especially if you take advantage of all the bonuses it offers. The card comes with a 10% annual points premium, $300 annual travel credit, and $100 hotel credit – all features which more than make up for the annual fee. If you can take advantage of all these features, year-after-year, the Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card will certainly net you better rewards than the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card. Otherwise, we recommend going with the far less expensive Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card.

Comparison Tool

In case you don’t want to work through the math yourself, you can use our interactive tool below to calculate the rewards rate of credit cards for you. Choosing a credit card is a highly personalized venture, we recommend taking the time to evaluate your spending, to find a card that will provide you with the highest overall returns.

Edit Monthly Spend: $1,430
General:
Gas:
Groceries:
Airlines:
Hotel:
Dining:
Office:
Utilities:
Computing:
Card Annual Fee 2-yr Net Rewards Rate

The Net Rewards Rate is equal to the Rewards Value over two years divided by the total spending. The total spending is equal to the values entered into the tool and multiplied by 24 months. See the Rewards Value note to see details on how it is calculated.

The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone. They are not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Bonus Value

The bonus field shows our estimate for the value of the card’s sign-up bonus. If the bonus is point or mile based, we multiply the total bonus points/miles by our estimate for their value to arrive at a dollar equivalent. We display $0 if there is no bonus or if the user doesn’t qualify for the bonus based on the current spending entered into the tool.

The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone. They are not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

2-yr Rewards Value

The Rewards Value is calculated by adding together the rewards earned from charging purchases to the card over two years and any sign-up bonuses (if applicable). They are then multiplied by our estimated point/mile value, with any annual fees (if applicable) subtracted. All values are based on our own estimates for the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using a card.

The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone. They are not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95. 3.69%
$600
Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints® after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months
$1,329
Graph Card Read Review More Details

Terms and Limitations Apply

Annual Fee $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
APR 16.24%-20.24% Variable
*Rates and Fees

Card Details

  • Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints® after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 2 Starpoints® for each dollar of eligible purchases spent on the Card at participating SPG® & Marriott Rewards® hotels. Earn 1 Starpoint for all other purchases.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on International purchases.
  • Redeem Starpoints® at over 1,300 participating hotels and resorts in over 100 countries and for flights on more than 150 airlines with SPG flights, all with no blackout dates.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Terms Apply.

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 34,320 x $0.024 = $824
Bonuses
25,000 x $0.024 = $600
Less Annual Fees -$95
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 1,329
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95 2.86%
$625
50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
$1,028
Graph Card Read Review More Details
Annual Fee Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
APR 16.99% - 23.99% Variable

Card Details

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 39,840 x $0.013 = $498
Bonuses
50,000 x $0.013 = $625
Less Annual Fees -$95
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 1,028
Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®
$89 - Waived first year 2.92%
$420
Earn 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days - that's enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit
$1,052
Graph Card Read Review More Details
Annual Fee $89 - Waived first year
APR 16.99%, 20.99% or 23.99% Variable

Card Details

  • Enjoy 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days - that's enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit toward an eligible travel purchase
  • Earn 2X miles on all purchases
  • Get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem
  • Miles don't expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases made while traveling abroad
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on Balance Transfers made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable APR will apply, 16.99%, 20.99% or 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • There is a fee for balance transfers.

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 68,640 x $0.011 = $721
Bonuses
40,000 x $0.011 = $420
Less Annual Fees -$89
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 1,052
Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card
$395 1.40%
$930
Earn two complimentary nights at any participating Tier 1-4 Ritz-Carlton Hotel, after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
$504
Graph Card Read Review More Details
Annual Fee $395
APR 15.99%

Card Details

  • Earn two complimentary nights at any participating Tier 1-4 Ritz-Carlton Hotel, after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • 5 points for every $1 spent on Ritz-Carlton or partner hotels
  • 2 points for every $1 on airline tickets purchased directly with the airline
  • 1 point per $1 otherwise
  • Complimentary upgrades to the Ritz-Carlton Club Level three times annually on paid stays of up to 7 nights
  • $300 annual airline incidentals credit
  • $100 hotel credit on stays of two nights or longer
  • Worldwide Airport Lounge Access
  • Automatic gold elite status your first year
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Personal service assistance to cardmembers
  • Automatic Gold Elite Status your first year
  • Maintain Gold Elite thereafter by spending 10,000 each year

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 34,320 x $0.011 = $364
Bonuses
0 x $0.011 = $930
Less Annual Fees -$790
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 504

Comments and Questions

* See the online credit card application for details about terms and conditions. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. When you click on the "Apply Now" button, you can review the credit card terms and conditions on the issuer's website.

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program. 

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Advertiser Disclosure: Some of the offers that appear on this website are from companies which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). The site does not review or include all companies or all available products. For more information please see our Advertiser Disclosure.