Why I gave in and got a Marriott card

Yesterday, I did something that I rarely do: I got a credit card for a program that I never use, the Chase Marriott card. The 80,000 point bonus (which ends at the end of August) was simply too good and the value from the card was way higher than the $85 fee. Truthfully, the application was a result of a “want,” not a “need,” but there’s nothing wrong with taking advantage of an opportunity. Here’s why I decided to apply:

The 80,000 point bonus was the tipping point for me. True, there’s a lot of good sign-up rewards, but I don’t see myself using the Drury Hotel Gold Key Club program anytime soon. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, but I have a hard time staying at a hotel that has few properties in the chain and sounds like it was named after one of the Seven Dwarves.*

The Marriott points, however, will be used. For example, earlier this year, my wife and I escaped the kids for a night (They found us the next day.) and used points for a night at the Ritz Carlton in Boston (Ritz is a Marriott partner.). Normally, I’m not a Ritz kind of guy; they always seemed a bit stuffy and cost a fortune. But they’ve done a great job with the brand to make it more accessible, and a night was 60,000 points. A view of the Boston Common came for free with the room. Is it worth it to me to pay $85 for a free night at a Ritz, with some points left over? Absolutely.

Other things to consider:

  • Where do you travel? I spend a lot of time in Washington DC, which is saturated with Marriott-brand properties (Corporate HQ are around the corner in Bethesda.). Not only will I use points there but the card also comes with a free night each year. I’ll definitely use that and it will more than offset the annual fee.
  • Marriott Silver Elite status doesn’t get much, but you do get late checkouts and bonus points. Since status comes with the card, it’s a “nice to have.”
  • If i don’t use the card for a luxury night, it will get me a few nights at a “regular” hotel. And those nights will get used.

Here’s my bottom line: If I were to apply for every card that had benefits that outweighed the costs, I would have a stack of plastic. What’s important to me is that this card offers benefits that I need and want. The 80,000 point bonus is good until the end of August and can be found by clicking through the banner here.

*I have no doubt that the Drury program is a fine one indeed. For those who are interested, they have a property right outside the Mall of America. When I lived in Minneapolis, I used to drive by it and wonder why anyone would name a hotel chain after one of the Seven Dwarves. Oh, right, um, yup, trying to avoid a lawsuit; fine hotel…

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