You might find the below discussions helpful:
I have had the card for a few years and am one who thinks it is well worth the $85 / year fee.
You'll earn 15 elite nights every year (automatically granting Silver Elite status and getting you that much closer to Gold or Platinum). You'll get a free night stay each year (cat 1-5, I think). You'll earn an additional elite night for every $3000 you spend. For charges at Marriott properties you earn 5 points per dollar spent. Charges at restaurants, airlines, and car rental earn 2 points for every dollar. Everything else earns 1 point per dollar. (I hope I've got that right).
You will have an annual fee of $85 after the first year, but the "free" night more than makes up for that (see $85 yearly fee for the Marriott Premier or Signature Visa Card).
One of the best rewards card deals out there.
If I've missed anything, no doubt other Insiders will catch it.
You should definitely go for this. Since you get a free Category 5 certificate every year this more than justifies the $85 annual fee. Plus the 15 elite night credits towards your status in addition to one additional night credit each time you spend $3,000 or more and all the extra Marriott Rewards Points.
This past year I've been using the Marriott Credit Card for all my everyday spending and paying the bill off each month so there is no interest. The points really add up quickly along with the Elite night credits.
Also the card has the special security chip which allows you to use it for foreign travel.
I think the Marriott Rewards card is great.
--15 elite nights every year; it makes it much easier to get to Gold, Platinum, lifetime status, etc.
--Additional elite night with every $3,000 spend; also helps you get higher status easier (very few airline credit cards do this; Delta's card does)
--You usually get a lot of bonus points to start (30k or more)
--You get a free category 1-4 hotel night in your first year and then a free category 1-5 hotel night each year after...can easily be up to a $200 value and even more
--Great bonus if you use it for Marriott Rewards stays (5x points)
--$85 annual fee but the free night covers that
--Credit card points are not that good unless it is for Marriott (great bonus), airplane tickets, car rentals, or dining. You should not use it for other expenses because you only get 1 Marriott Rewards point for each $1 spent...you get the same with United, but 1 United or other airline mile has more value than 1 Marriott Rewards point.
Thanks for the responses so far. I have read the rules but did not see anything about the warranty and the added travel benefits. I believe that I will apply for it since, I will be travel a great deal over the next few months.
Followup Question: I understand that the e-certificates have an expiration date, but I was wondering if points received from the use of the card expires?
You may find this link helpful. It outlines all of the benefits of the Premier Card including the protection(warranty) and travel benefits you are curious about.
I don't ever recall any of the Chase Marriott Cards offering a Category 6 certificate. It's always been a category 5 certificate offering since I've been a card member which is over 10 years. Lots of Insiders and other Marriott Rewards members have asked Chase to consider changing the offering to a Category 6 since many hotels have increased their category level in the last 1-2 years but Chase has not done so,
I apologize! I was mistaken as you have pointed out so many hotels just increasing the category level and that is exactly what I was wrong about. A hotel that we frequented a lot and the last few years we haven't been able to use our certificate for anymore. Even Fairfield Inn's are even category 7's in some cities..which I find absolutely ridiculous!