I see past conversations where Marriott customers commented that the $85 yearly fee for the Premier card is high. I can't disagree with their observation as it is not cheap. However, when you receive a Anniversary free room night in a Marriott hotel up to a level 5, consider you are automatically getting a savings as most hotels up to a level 5 can easily be over $200 per night. So even from a non-business stand-point, it provides a value for personal use.
The Marriott Rewards Card is a deal in my book. The San Mateo Marriott (a category 5 hotel eligible for that anniversary certificate) is $270/night on weekdays so it easily covers the $85 fee. You also get automatic silver status (so immediate bonus points) and elite qualifying nights with every $3k spend.
The United card has a similar annual fee, but you don't get automatic elite status, no elite qualifying miles with credit card spend and the annual freebie is two passes for the United Club (a $100 total value but not that much of a treat; the United Clubs are not that special).
I agree with the others. It is a good value. Coincidentally, yesterday while looking for something else, I came across this article from a credit card forum, which says the same thing (despite the odd phrasing of the title of the article):
Thanks for the reminder; upon reading the 2014 Marriott Credit Card attachment you presented, I totally forgot about the extended warranty manager program. It added on another year of warranty on an Apple iMac computer I bought a few years back. That additional year covered a mal-function I had on the Mac that occurred just outside the normal warranty period. The Warranty Manager service was very easy and quick. Pay for the repair and they quickly reimbursed me.
Yes, the $85 renewal fee is definitely worth it.
I agree with everyone, one last point is that the 15 eilte nights, while yes it provides automatic Silver, it puts you that much closer to Gold. Lets say you have an actual 30 nights in a year, this would get you to 45 and with the elite night per $3K spent, you can reach Gold. Also, take into account your free elite night birthday gift, and that is one more elite night in your account each year.