I receive compensation for many links on this blog. You don’t have to use these links, but I am grateful to you if you do. I do not write about all credit cards that are available — instead focusing on miles, points, and cash back (and currencies that can be converted into the same).
I’ve been recommending the Marriott Rewards co-brand Visa signup bonus when it hits 70,000 points for years such as here back in November and here from 2011. For those who care about such things, in both of those cases it was not a referral link, and I received no credit for it.
70,000 points plus a free night (up to category 4) is now the standard public offer for a limited-time, and for avoidance of doubt it does now offer referral credit. It’s being much discussed across blogs, so it’s worth repeating what this card is good for (and isn’t good for), the advice I’ve been offering for some time.
- The signup bonus is 70,000 points and after $2000 spend within three months, and a free night at a hotel up to category four.
- There is a $0 annual fee the first year and $85 thereafter
- The card has no foreign transaction fees.
- You also get 15 nights’ credit towards elite status each year, and an additional elite night credit for each $3000 spend on the card.
For a Marriott person, it’s worth keeping the card for help towards elite status and the annual free night in a hotel up to category 5 is worth the annual fee.
But I wouldn’t otherwise put spending on the card — earning 1 Marriott point is worth less than earning an airline mile with most carriers, and certainly worth less than earning a Chase Ultimate Rewards point or Starwood Starpoint (and worth less than earning on a 2% cash back card, since a Marriott point isn’t close to being worth 2 cents).
But the signup bonus can go farther than with many other hotel cards:
- It’s worth two nights in a category 7 hotel plus a night in a category 4. Or 4 nights in a category 4 with 10,000 points leftover (you can convert those to miles, or save them – Marriott points do not expire in practice even though the rules say they will).
- Or it is 1 to 2 nights in a Ritz-Carlton plus a category 4 night.
- And you can also, of course, top off a Marriott account with Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfers. That’s not generally the best use of Chase points but if you’re close to an award it can make sense.
Get the card for the bonus. Keep the card for the annual free night.
But put your spend on higher value cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.
Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either.