Get 70,000 Marriott Points and a Free Night, But Don’t Spend Everyday With Their Card

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.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Do you recommend using it for payed stays at Marriott locations? Seems like 5 marriott points per dollar is better than 2 Ultimate Reward points or 2 Membership Reward points? Thoughts?

  2. @Andy arguably, depends on how you will redeem the points, it can work out well with travel packages but in general i would prefer 2 chase ultimate rewards points over 5 marriott points

  3. Small correction, 15 nights elite credit annually (not 10). Thus, a credit card holder is auto-Marriott Silver (which otherwise requires 10 nights).

    My continuing education meetings each year happen to be at Marriotts — thus the card is of some value to me in helping me reach Marriott Gold (or perhaps Platinum this year).

    The other benefit is diversification — most of my business expenses (and my spouse’s) go onto the SPG Amex, we’ve got boatload of Starwood points and it’s nice to have status (and points) with Marriott for when we travel and there isn’t a Starwood property nearby.

  4. What is it that caused both you and Lucky (among many other bloggers) to both make posts about the Marriott 70K offer within a few days of each other?

    This isn’t a new offer – it’s been around for months. And yet 2 bloggers who almost never make posts dedicated to Marriott credit cards decided to do so in the same week (case in point you have to go back 9 months just to find the last time).

    Is it just one big coincidence, or did something change over the last couple of days that suddenly made you want to write about it?

  5. This card is being touted heavily on all of blogs, so I suspect that Chase has increased the referral fee.

  6. No, Pete, just the bonus — and as I say, I’ve been recommending the 70k offer for years rather than the public offer that provided any referral credit.

  7. Gary, hoping you can help. On the travel packages, once you are beyond the chart can you redeem MR points beyond the chart for additional miles 1 to 1? Ex: United 132K miles and Cat 7 Stay is 330K points. Can I redeem 400K and get 202K United miles? Thanks for your help!

  8. The business version of this card has also been increased to 70k points for a short period of time.

    I’ve private-messaged Chase asking for the extra 20k points as I received the card a week or so ago.

  9. I’m not sure $89 annual fee is worth having card open for a free cat 4 night. Close call IMHO.

  10. Heh Ritz is the best hotel in HK – only if you include hotels you can redeem for points (i.e. they will let in the riff raff)

    Upper House, Mandarin, Peninsula and Four Seasons are all better.

  11. I still like this card and am not just being a negative Nancy, but Marriott drastically devalued Category 5 recently. In theory it should be like Hyatt’s Cat 1-4 nights, but it’s really not. You’re gonna use it at an airport hotel or some shit

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