New South Korean Marriott Card Provides Easy Platinum Status, Breakfast Credits

Marriott has just introduced the first hotel co-brand credit card in the South Korean market, Marriott Bonvoy® The BEST Shinhan Card.

In many ways the card is similar to US co-brands. It has a US$236 annual fee, based on current exchange rates and provides an annual free night worth up to 35,000 points each year. It comes with Gold status in the program automatically. And it comes with an annual points bonus,

  • US$8820 spend = 5000 bonus points
  • US$17,640 spend = 10,000 bonus points

Earn on the card is weaker than its U.S. cousins – 1 Marriott point per $0.88 cents of spend (versus two points per 1 for U.S. cards) with airlines, taxis, and cafés as 3 point bonus categories and Marriott hotel properties earning 5 points per US$0.88 spent.

There are several things actually interesting about the card, however.

  1. Priority Pass airport lounge visits at 4 times per year (including 2 guests). A card at this price point in the U.S. should offer more than 4 visits.

  2. $44 hotel breakfast credit for use at properties in South Korea, which can be used twice per year.

  3. Earn Platinum status through spend In the U.S. the premium American Express card offers Platinum status with US$75,000 in annual spend. Here this card offers Platinum for just under $53,000 in spend, at roughly half the annual fee.

    I wouldn’t trade one of the U.S. cards for this one, but someone spending $75,000 a year on the premium Amex for status certainly might. The breakfast benefit is interesting as well!

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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. @gleff If you were a gambling man what odds would you put on a new US marriott card or major overhaul to a current one in the next 18-24 months? Separately, why do you think we have never seen a biz and or 450 af hyatt?

  2. @Scott – we’ll eventually see a refresh of the Marriott products, Amex was recently surveying some options. The Hyatt portfolio is smaller and may not support cards that have narrower audiences – though I’d love to see it.

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