|Marriott points can be redeemed for free night awards, travel packages, airline miles, or experiences. 5th Night Free Awards: When redeeming points for free nights, the 5th night within a single reservation is free. Airline miles: Points can be converted to airline miles at a rate of 3 points to 1 mile. A bonus is added on when you transfer 60,000 points at a time, such that 60,000 points transfers to 25,000 miles. Also, you'll get a 10% bonus when transferring points to United Airlines.
Everything you need to know about Marriott's rewards program, Bonvoy, can be found here: Marriott Bonvoy Complete Guide
This card is loaded with high-end perks:
- $300 annual rebate: Up to $300 in statement credits per card membership year for purchases made directly at participating Marriott hotels. This includes the room rate itself and any incidentals charged to your room.
- Annual free night award: Each year, after renewal, you will receive one Free Night Award. The Free Night Award can be redeemed for a one-night stay at Marriott hotels with a redemption level at or under 50,000 points.
- Automatic Gold Elite status: Gold elite status offers 2pm late checkout, 25% point bonus on points earned from hotel stays, points-only welcome gift, chance of a room upgrade, and complimentary enhanced internet.
- Platinum Elite status with $75K spend: Spend $75K within a calendar year to get Platinum Elite status good for the rest of that year and all of the next year. Platinum status offers 4pm late checkout, 50% point bonus on points earned from hotel stays, welcome gift with breakfast option, chance of a room upgrade including select suites, and lounge access. You will not get choice benefits, such as 5 Suite Night Awards when Platinum status is achieved in this way (Choice Benefits are only awarded when you earn 50 elite nights within a calendar year).
- 15 Elite Night Credits: This is now a standard perk with all currently available Marriott cards. These elite nights count towards your total towards elite status each year. For example, if you stay 35 nights in Marriott properties, you will earn 50 night Platinum status thanks to these 15 elite nights adding to your actual stays. Unfortunately the 15 elite nights do not stack across cards.
- Priority Pass Select Airport Lounge Access: This card grants the primary cardholder Priority Pass Select membership which allows yourself and up to 2 guests free access to Priority Pass lounges (or dining credits at Priority Pass restaurants). Authorized users do not get their own Priority Pass.
- Global Entry / TSA Pre Check Credit: This card will refund your $100 Global Entry application fee or $85 TSA Pre Check fee once every four years.
Amex Application Tips
- Safe to Apply: Amex is the safest bank for trying your luck at a new welcome bonus. They don’t usually issue a hard pull when denying your application, and if you already have an Amex card, they won't usually issue a hard pull when approved for another one. Plus, they’ll now warn you during the application process if you’re not eligible for the bonus.
- Lifetime Rule: If you've ever had the same card before, you are most likely prohibited from getting a welcome bonus for the card if you apply now. Fortunately you'll be warned during the application process if this is the case. Amex is known to "forget" that you've had a card after about 7 years.
- 90 Day Rule: You can get at most two credit cards within 90 days. This rule does not apply to Pay Over Time (charge) cards.
- 5 credit card max: Amex usually won't approve applications for new credit cards if you already have 5 or more Amex credit cards or 10 or more charge cards.
- Better Offers: You may be able to get a better offer than the best available public offer. Details here.
- Hard inquiries combine into 1 when approved same day
Check application status here.
If denied, call reconsideration: 877-399-3083 (new accountholders); 866-314-0237 (current accountholders)
How to Meet Spend Requirements
In order to meet minimum spend requirements, people often look for options to increase spend in ways that result in getting their money back. These techniques are referred to as "manufacturing spend". American Express has terms in their welcome offers that exclude some manufactured spend techniques
from counting towards the minimum spend requirements for the welcome bonus. For example, most new cardmember bonuses have terms like this:
Eligible purchases to meet the Threshold Amount do NOT include fees or interest charges, purchases of travelers checks, purchases or reloading of prepaid cards, purchases of gift cards, person-to-person payments, or purchases of other cash equivalents.
That said, many techniques for meeting minimum spend are perfectly fine. Here are some techniques that are safe for meeting Amex minimum spend requirements (click each link for more information):
Keep or Cancel?
This card is not particularly rewarding for spend, but it is loaded with high-end perks. If you value those perks significantly higher than the card's annual fee, then keep the card. Otherwise, cancel when the annual fee comes due. To me, the decision really comes down to how highly one values the card's annual 50K free night + $300 in hotel credits. If you value that combination well above $450, then the card is worth keeping.
Related Cards (Marriott Bonvoy)