As part of my Disney for Free Strategy, I opened up a Starwood Preferred Guest American Express card because they used to offer a massive points promotion bonus.
I've since banked a lot of points from using the card so I was a little worried when they announced a merger with Marriott – how would the program change? Would it become better? Worse? No change?
So far, not a lot of change and the introduction of a whole slew of hotels.
And now that the program merger details are out, Marriott is offering their Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Card from Chase with a massive 100,000 point bonus (for a limited time).
Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Card – Promotion & Card Details
The Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Card includes the following:
- Get 100,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of opening the account
- Earn 6X points for every $1 you spend at a participating Marriott Rewards and SPG Hotels
- Earn 2X points for every $1 spent on other purchases
- Free Night Award every year after your account anniversary (worth up to 35,000 points)
- Automatically upgrade to Silver Elite Status each account anniversary year
- Upgrade to Gold Status when you spend at least $35,000 each year on purchases
With Marriott only, you can redeem four nights and get the fifth night free. If you transfer points between Marriott and Starwood, you will get 3 Marriott points for every 1 Starwood point.
Coming in August 2018, Marriott Rewards points will also be transferable to airline frequent flyer miles. The ratio will be 3 Marriott points for every 1 mile. Matching the Starwood arrangement, Marriott will add 15,000 points for every 60,000 transferred to airline miles. That means 60,000 transferred points – totaling 75,000 points with the bonus – will equal 25,000 airline miles.
In addition – coming in 2019 – you'll receive 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year.
Other Features or Requirements
Once you qualify for the bonus, you must allow up to eight weeks for the points to post to your Marriott Rewards account. Your account must be open and in good standing at the time of fulfillment. It must be open for a minimum of six months, otherwise Marriott and Chase reserve the right to deduct the bonus points from your account.
The Free Night Award will also require up to eight weeks from your account anniversary date for your anniversary free night award e-certificate to be deposited into your Rewards account.
“Eligible purchases” do not include balance transfers, cash advances, cash-like transactions, gambling transactions, or the use of checks to access funds on your credit line.
Rewards Points expiration. Your rewards points do not expire unless your account is closed out, or there is no card earning activity or other qualifying earning or redemption activity every 24 months. This is similar to other rewards cards, like Southwest Rapid Rewards Card.
Program qualification. To qualify for this offer, you must have good or excellent credit. The offer is available only to US residents that have a valid permanent home address within the 50 United States or the District of Columbia.
Redeeming your Rewards Points. Points can be converted into airline miles as noted above, used for travel and leisure purchases, used for purchases with participating merchants, or used to purchase gift cards ($200 per 60,000 points).
They can also be used at participating hotel properties for Marriott Rewards Cash + Points:
Other features of the card include:
- No foreign transaction fee when used internationally
- Auto rental collision damage waiver
- Lost luggage, up to $3,000 per passenger
- Trip delay reimbursement, up to $500 per airline ticket
- Purchase protection on new purchases for up to 120 days against damage or theft of up to $500 per claim, and $50,000 per account
- Extended warranty protection, extending a manufacturer's warranty by an additional year, on eligible warrantees of three years or less
- Zero liability protection – you won't be responsible for unauthorized charges
There's an annual membership fee of $95, which is about average for a Visa Signature card attached to a rewards program.
Timetable of the Marriott-Starwood Rewards Points Merger
The program merger won't be completed until August 2018, but in the meantime, points can be used at Marriott hotels, including:
- Fairfield Inn & Suites
- Residence Inn
- Renaissance Hotels
- Springhill Suites
And at Starwood Properties hotels, including:
- Four Points by Sheraton
- W Hotels
- St. Regis
- The Luxury Collection
- Le Meridien
- Element Hotels
- Tribute Portfolio
- Design Hotels
The full merger will go through in August 2018 with a brand-new merged redemption chart. At that time, Starwood points will be permanently converted to Marriott points. Each hotel will be assigned a category number and beginning in 2019, there will be separate points awarded to each category, based on peak and off-peak seasons.
|8 (Coming 2019)||85,000||70,000||100,000|
In early 2019, they're adding a Category 8 but until then all those hotels will be placed in Category 7.
Impact on Existing Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Card Holders
There's a bit of a limitation on the new card offer for existing Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Card holders. If you are a current or previous cardmember of either the Marriott Rewards Premier or Marriott Rewards Premier Plus credit cards, and you received a new cardmember bonus within the past 24 months, you are not eligible for this offer.
If you are an existing Marriott Rewards Premier customer and would like to take advantage of this offer, you need to call the number on the back of your card to determine your eligibility.
Should You Sign Up for the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Card?
If you're a frequent traveler, this card is definitely worth looking into.
Not only are there generous rewards points offered up front but they continue year after year. The Marriott – Starwood merger also will give you access to one of the most comprehensive hotel chains in the world, ranging from budget hotels to luxury resort hotels.