Travel Rewards Credit Cards

Dec 06

Update On The Marriott Credit Card

The Marriott/Starwood merger has been in the news recently. Yesterday, it issued a press release regarding the future of its credit card business.

Multiple Marriott Credit Card Issuers

frenchmen's reef, marriott

Marriott’s Frenchmen’s Reef.

The Marriott/Starwood merger meant that the new parent had a big decision to make regarding its credit card partner. Marriott had traditionally issued cards through Chase, while Starwood had always used Amex.

And nothing is changing as, starting next year, Marriott will roll out co-branded cards with both companies. American Express will issue the high-end stuff, with a Super Premium card and business card. For the Super Premium, I’m guessing that it will be something along the lines of the Hilton Ascend product. Chase will issue the premium card (likely  equivalent to the one that costs $85 per year) and a “mass” card, which will probably not carry a fee.

So should you get one of the current cards ahead of next year’s switch? Maybe, but only for the sign-up bonus. Marriott is currently offering 80,000 points to sign up for its Premier Card and spend $3,000 over three months.  That’s enough points to get you as many as many as 13 nights (although you’re unlikely to get that much utility from them, considering the mix of properties) at a traditional Marriott property or 1-2 nights at a Ritz Carlton.*

Biggest Winner: Consumers. With two different companies competing for your business, the rewards will be better.

Big Winner: American Express, who could have easily lost the entire contract. After having lost Costco a few years ago and JetBlue after that, Amex needed a win.

Possible Loser: Marriott Platinum Elite members. There’s a reason that I said “possible,” since benefits for the super-premium card haven’t been announced yet. The equivalent card at Hilton (Aspire) offers top-tier Diamond status just for having the card. If Marriott offers the equivalent with its own high-annual fee product, it will significantly dilute the Platinum pool, not to mention set the value for Platinum status at $450.


*Note that Chase has its own “anti-spammer” program. If you have applied for five cards anywhere within the last 24 months, it will automatically decline your application for certain cards. Its Premier Card is one, although the rule is not applicable to the business version.


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