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How The Merger with Starwood Affects You
Marriott closed on its merger with Starwood on September 23, 2016. And the news for now is that there will be no change to either rewards program or rewards credit card through 2017.
Not only do you get to enjoy your current rewards program until 2018, you also get some additional perks out of the merger.
- Keep Accounts and Points: You will be able to maintain your current accounts with both Starwood and Marriott. You also will retain all your Starpoints and Marriott Rewards points.
- Link Accounts: You will be able to link your existing Starwood and Marriott loyalty accounts.
- Status Match: You will have your highest status with either program honored at all Starwood and Marriott hotels.
- Points Transfer: You can earn points in one program and then transfer them to the other. Three Marriott Rewards points will equal one SPG Starpoint, and vice versa.
- Keep Your Rewards Card: Both the Starwood Preferred Guest Card and the Marriott Rewards Premier Card will remain active.
- More Choices: You will have more choices to choose from, as you can now stay at any Marriott and Starwood properties (including Ritz-Carlton hotels).
On top of all that, while both rewards programs are up and running, you have the ability to take advantage of an enormous travel hack opportunity! Learn how you can benefit from the merger in this article.
The Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card has been revamped to offer even better benefits. If you're a fan of the Marriott chain, a frequent traveler and you want to earn free stays and other rewards, this card may be for you.
If you're not a frequent guest at Marriott hotels, you may prefer to get one of our recommended travel rewards card. Click here to see our Guide to the Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards.
Right now you can get 100,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 within your first three months. Depending on how you redeem your rewards, this bonus will be worth more than $500.
Marriott Premier Rewards Program
The Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card is a travel rewards card designed for frequent travelers who typically stay at Marriott hotels. The card comes with very generous rewards and a reasonable annual fee of $85.
You'll earn points and rewards as follows :
- 5 points per $1 spent at over 4,000 Marriott locations - which include Ritz Carlton properties; and now also includes participating Starwood hotels as well
- 2 points per $1 on airline tickets bought directly from airlines; restaurants; and car rental agencies
- 1 point per $1 everywhere else
- Get 15 Elite Credits upon approval and every year, guaranteeing at least Silver Elite Status
- 1 Free Night upon approval, which is good for a category 1-5 location, PLUS one free night a year on your account anniversary
- The free night stay alone covers the annual fee and then some!
Redeeming Marriott Rewards
There are several ways to redeem points you earn with your Marriott Rewards Premier card. The most popular way to redeem is for stays at Marriott locations.
You can earn and redeem points at more than 3,800 participating hotels, including Marriott Hotels & Resorts, Courtyard by Marriott, The Ritz-Carlton, JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts, Renaissance Hotels, Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott and more. You also earn points at partner brands.
How many points you need to redeem for a free stay depends on the hotel category. For example, a category 1 hotel would require 7,500 points, while a category 9 hotel requires 40,000 points.
And if you redeem points for 4 nights, you will get the 5th night free!*
You can also spend your points on:
- Travel packages and services, such as all-inclusive getaways, Priority Pass airport lounge membership, golf course membership and more.
- Car rentals and travel. Points can be redeemed for rental cars, train tickets and cruises.
- Airline miles. You can convert points to miles with many participating frequent flyer programs. This is not the best value, though.
- Other redemption options include merchandise, charitable donations, and more.
With the Marriott Rewards Premier card, you are always guaranteed at least Silver Elite status, which usually requires 10 qualifying night stays. This comes with many benefits. You will enjoy the Elite Reservation Line to make reservations or request redemption stays through an exclusive toll-free number, as well as an Exclusive Guest Services Line to assist with membership.
You'll also get a 20% bonus on Marriott Rewards Points if you choose to earn points, and free Wi-Fi access. As a Silver Elite member, you get Priority Late Checkout, a 10% discount on regular rates on Friday and Saturday night stays, and a 10% Marriott gift shop discount.
For every $3,000 you spend with your Marriott Rewards Premier card, you earn 1 extra credit towards Elite status.
If you upgrade to Gold Status, you'll get a 25% bonus on points earned for stays, guaranteed lounge access and breakfast, complimentary room upgrades, complimentary premium tiered internet service and more. Platinum Status gives you a 50% points bonus, a guaranteed Platinum arrival gift and more.
If you're a frequent traveler, automatic Silver status helps you earn Gold or Platinum status even faster. If you only travel occasionally, you'll enjoy the benefits of Silver status, no matter how little you travel.
As a Visa Signature card, you'll enjoy a host of shopping and travel benefits with the Marriott Rewards Premier card. The card includes 24-hour concierge service, lost luggage reimbursement, travel accident insurance, auto rental coverage, emergency card replacement and emergency cash disbursement.
Shopping benefits include Warranty Manger Service which gives you up to 1 extra year on warranties of 3 years or less for eligible purchases, and Purchase Security, which covers you up to $500 per claim if your purchase is damaged or stolen within 90 days of purchase.
A major benefit for travelers is the fact that this card has no foreign transaction fee. You'll also enjoy free Wi-Fi at most Marriott locations.
The Bottom Line
If you travel even once a year and plan to stay at a Marriott brand hotel, the card is definitely worth it. The free night stay you get every year more than covers the annual fee, allowing you to still earn great rewards and enjoy Visa Signature benefits.
With a great sign-up bonus, the Chase Marriott Rewards Premier card is definitely worth a try for any frequent Marriott guest. And with the merger with Starwood, you have more great properties than ever to choose from!
Just keep in mind, it will take three Marriott Reward Points to trade in for just one Starpoint.
Please note that if you do not frequent Marriott or Starwood hotels, we recommend checking out our Guide to Travel Rewards Cards to see our current recommendations.