Why You Should Get the Marriott Visa

Photo Credit: Chase.com
Having a credit card with amazing rewards is everything.  My husband and I signed up for the Marriott Visa card when we started planning our wedding at the JW Marriott Marco Island.  This was a tip that was suggested to us by the wedding coordinator at the hotel.  He said many people can go on their honeymoon for free after they sign up for this card and if we are spending money at a Marriott property, we may as well get this card.  Unfortunately, we really wanted to go to the Maldives for our honeymoon and there aren’t any Marriott properties there.  However, the benefits we have received from this card are INSANE and need to be shared with you.

JW Marriott Marco Island – Stayed on Points (Photo Credit: Marriott)
Now, I realize that our wedding zoomed us to their highest tiered status, but once you get to Platinum it is ridiculously easy to maintain.  Let me break this down for you.  In 2015, we earned 110 nights from our wedding, hotel stays, and bonus nights from credit card spending.  Platinum is earned by achieving 75 nights.  Anything above and beyond 75 nights, rolls over to the next year.  We were able to roll over 35 nights and now only needed to earn 40 more nights to have platinum status for 2017.

Now in 2016, we stayed 12 nights at Marriott properties, but only actually paid for 3 of them.  We used points for 9 of our stays.  We earned 89 bonus nights from our credit card spending and already had those 35 nights in our account that rolled over from 2015.  Remember, you only need 75 nights total to hit platinum. Add that all together and we earned 136 total nights!  That total is applied to 2017 earning us platinum again and 61 of those nights are going to be applied to 2018’s status.  Now we only need to earn 14 nights in all of 2017 to have platinum status for 2018.  See what I mean… once you hit platinum, the easier and easier it becomes to maintain.

JW Marriott New Orleans French Quarter – Stayed on Points (Photo Credit: Marriott)
When you initially sign up for this card, you will receive 80,000 points if you spend $3,000 within the first three months of having the card. This means you can redeem those 80,000 points for four nights at a Category 4 property (20,000 points/night) and get your fifth night for free!  (Per Marriott’s Redeem 4 nights, Receive a 5th night free policy.)  Pretty sweet deal if you ask me.

Earning points:

  • 5X points per $1 spent at over 4,000 participating Marriott’s worldwide.
  • 2X points per $1 spent on restaurants, car rentals, and airline tickets purchased directly with the airline.
  • 1X points per $1 spent on everything else.

Additional benefits:

  • 1 free night stay in a Category 1-5 hotel every year after your account anniversary.
  • $0 foreign transaction fees.
  • Guaranteed Elite Status (15 nights for signing up earns automatic Silver Elite).
  • Access to cardmember-exclusive events.

There is an $85 annual fee to have this card, but the benefits far outweigh the costs of having this card.  These are my favorite perks organized by tier.

Myrtle Beach Marriott Resort & Spa  Stayed on Points (Photo Credit: Marriott)
Silver Elite Status (10 qualifying nights – will receive automatically by signing up for card):

  • Priority late check-out
  • 20% bonus on Marriott rewards points on base points earned during stays.
  • Hertz #1 Gold Membership

Gold Elite Status (50 qualifying nights):

  • Guaranteed late check-out as late as 4 pm.
  • 25% bonus on Marriott rewards points on base points earned during stays.
  • Complimentary wi-fi.
  • Lounge access/free breakfast.
  • Hertz #1 Gold Membership

Platinum Elite Status (75 qualifying nights):

  • Guaranteed late check-out as late as 4 pm.
  • Guaranteed room type.
  • 48-hour guaranteed availability (perfect for last-minute planners like us!)
  • RewardsPlus: MileagePlus Premier Status with United Airlines (I’ve been upgraded to first class for free!)
  • Guaranteed arrival gift. (I always ask for points instead.)
  • 50% bonus on Marriott rewards points on base points earned during stays.
  • Complimentary enhanced wi-fi.
  • Complimentary room upgrades if available.
  • Lounge access/free breakfast.
  • Hertz #1 Gold Membership

The Envoy Hotel Boston Waterfront – Stayed on Points (Photo Credit: The Envoy Hotel)
Even if you only ever have Silver Elite Status, it’s worth it.  I only listed my favorite benefits.  There are a TON more.  I should also note that your earned nights and points earned add up throughout your time as a Marriott Rewards Member and can earn you these status levels for life.  We just earned Silver Elite for life.  Lifetime Status levels are much harder to achieve though.  Silver Elite requires 250 nights + 1.2 million points.  We have 279 nights and 1.2 million points earned since January 2015.

Marriott recently acquired Starwood Hotels, which means that this credit card is only getting better for us.  I wasn’t a Starwood Preferred Guest (similar to Marriott Membership), so I just created an account.  Marriott is allowing you to link your accounts and SPG will give you the equivalent tiered status in their program.  We are now Platinum with Starwood and have never stayed the night in any of their hotels.  (If only they would have acquired SPG sooner… we could have stayed in the Maldives on our honeymoon for free.  They have THREE resorts there!)

Courtyard Marriott Downtown Denver Stayed on Points (Photo Credit: Marriott)
I haven’t reaped in their benefits yet, but some notable perks for Platinum Members are:

  • Welcome gift upon arrival.
  • Upgrade to best available room at check-in (includes suites).
  • Free wi-fi.
  • Complimentary club level access.
  • 72-hour guaranteed room availability.
  • Register your account with Uber and earn 1 point per dollar every day and 3 points per dollar during your stay with SPG. (Must link accounts.)

I’ve touched on points earned with Marriott, but really haven’t gone into any details.  These points can be redeemed for night stays, room upgrades, point transfers between Marriott and SPG, exclusive experiences, airline miles, airport lounges, travel packages, cruises, merchandise, and gift cards.  They can also be shared with friends, given as gifts, or donated to a good cause.

One of the best promotions Marriott is offering right now is the hotel + flight package.  For as low as 270,000 points, you will get a 7 night stay + 120,000 Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Points.  What this means is that you will earn that amazing Companion Pass for the remainder of the year you earn it in and the entire next year.  It would be wise for Chris and I to book this ASAP and have that Companion Pass for all of 2017 and 2018!  Almost every airline is included in this promo, but I feel the Southwest option is the best for us. FYI – this promo changes March 31, 2017.  

La Concha Resort Puerto Rico – Stayed on Points + Dollars (Photo Credit: La Concha Resort)
Dang.  That was a lot of information thrown at you, but I really wanted to share how we are able to maximize our spending and upgrade our travel.  We pay our credit card off every month, so for us – it’s a no brainer to have this card.

What is your favorite credit card for travel?  I’d love to know!  Drop me a comment below.

XO, Lauren

This post is not sponsored in any way.  I truly love this card and would recommend it to any traveler.  All the information gathered for this post was taken from Marriott.com on 1.7.17.  This information is subject to change.  Please visit Marriott.com to view the most up to date details on the promotions they are running.

3 thoughts

    1. No, we are traveling so much coming up and not through Southwest. I’m going to pull the trigger mid March. I want to book a Category 9 for 7 days and get 100,000 or 120,000 Rapid Rewards. I want to wait to see how many points we gain in Jan/Feb as we are still short. If we are still short in March, I’ll purchase the remainder. If I purchased points today it would cost $695, but I know if I wait it will be way less if at all.

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