Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Visa Signature
Updated March 25, 2017.
- Annual Fee: $85 for personal version and $99 for business version
- Signup Bonus for Personal Version: 100,000 points after spending $5,000 within 3 months of new account opening and an additional 7,500 points after you add the first authorized user and make the first purchase within the same 3 months. Historical best bonus of this card: (1) 107,500 points with $85 annual fee in 2017; (2) two free nights at Category 1-5 hotels + $200 statement credit + 7,500 points for adding an AU + first year annual fee waiver in 2016; (3) 70,000 points with the first year annual fee waived and a Category 1-4 hotel upon signup a few times in the past years.
- Application Landing Page for Personal Version
- Signup Bonus for Business Version: 80,000 points after spending $3,000 within 3 months of new account opening. Historical best bonus of this card: (1) 100,000 points offer with the $99 annual fee in 2016; (2) 70,000 points with the first year annual fee waived and a Category 1-4 hotel upon signup a few times in the past years.
- Application Landing Page for Business Version
- Rewards: 5x Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, and Starwood hotels (over 5,500 worldwide), 2x airfare, car rental and dining, 1x everywhere else
- Best Use of Marriott Rewards points: You may redeem points for hotel stays or upgrades at over 4,000 Marriott brand hotels worldwide, including Ritz-Carlton, EDITION, JW Marriott, Autograph Collection, Marriott, Renaissance, AC Hotels, Moxy, Courtyard, Fairfield, Residence Inn, SpringHill Suites, TownePlace Suites, Gaylord, and Marriott Vacation Club. You may also transfer Marriott points into frequent flyer miles, but the transfer rates are not very attractive. For example, the best rate you get for United miles is 2.24:1 (112K points = 50K miles) and for Alaska, American, British, Delta etc. is 2.8:1 (140K points = 50K miles). The best value when redeeming Marriott points is the hotel+air travel package where you get 7 free nights plus 35K to 132K airline miles. Even though the charts look very complicated, this option essentially allows you transfer points to miles at 1:1.1 for United Airlines or 1:1 for 12 airline partners (including Alaska, American, British, Delta, etc.), when you book a 7-night awards stay. Undoubtedly, this is an extremely valuable option; however, the problem is that you need a lot of points for one single redemption (200K to 540K).
- Other Benefits: One free night at Category 1-5 hotels upon anniversary (the certificate expires 6 months after issuance). 15 nights credit toward elite status. Earn 1 night credit toward elite status for every $3,000 spent with no earning limit. Waived foreign transaction fees with an embedded EMV chip.
- Unique Benefit of Business Card: The business version offers Marriott Gold status when you spend at least $50,000 per account year. While Marriott Gold is considered the best mid-tier hotel status which guarantees lounge access at JW Marriott, Autograph Collection, Renaissance, and Marriott hotels, charging $50K per year to the card may not worth it due to the low value of rewards on general purchases. As Marriott points are generally valued at less than 1 cent a piece (our value 0.6 cent/point), you lose at least $500 per year compared to using a 2% cashback card such as Citi Double Cash or Fidelity Visa. In addition, JPM Ritz-Carlton Visa may very well be a better card to obtain Marriott Gold status (free for the first year and maintained with $10K spending thereafter) with an effective annual fee of $95 (after making use of the $300 annual airline credit).
- Other Facts: The chipped version of Premier Visa now contains quite bit of metal, just like Sapphire Preferred, so is heavier than regular plastics.
The Premier level is $40/year more expensive than the regular level, but it comes with one annual free night, 5x and 2x categories, more night credit and waived foreign transaction fees thus is the clear winner of the two.
Since Marriott points are normally valued at less than 1 cent per point, this card is not good for general spending. However, thanks to the annual free nights at Category 1-5 hotels, this is one of the few cards that you may want to pay the annual fee happily but keep it in the drawer. Due to its popularity, Chase increased the annual fee from $65 to $85 in July 2011.
The annual free night makes Marriott Rewards Premier Visa Signature a great card to have, even if you only stay at Marriott hotels a few times a year.