I have another credit card that has no annual fee and pays 1.5 cents per dollar spent. The Marriott card gives 1 Marriott Reward point per dollar spent. You can buy Marriott Rewards points for 1.25 cents each.
We need to consider the annual fee and the value of the points:
The value of a point depends on which hotel that you choose.
For each of my examples, the value of a Marriott point is less than $0.01 per point. It used to be about 1 cent per point and I could find deals that made them worth more but I am not sure how many of those are left.
Annual fee of $85: I have always felt that the free night more than offset the annual fee but now with all the devaluations what hotels can we get that are a category 5. Looking at what is left, not many. Any that were appealing are no longer a category 5, including many airport locations. What would the hotel cost if we had to pay for it? In most cases the room could be gotten for under $100. If one could use it, it is still not bad but if you can’t as in Hawaii or Alaska, a waste. If we cannot use the free night and pay $85 per year, this means that the first 8500 and maybe more are paid for when we pay the annual fee and after that are free.
From this analysis, I conclude that I may cancel my Marriott card and save the $85 and take cash and pay for my rooms with that money and get points for the paid stays.
I welcome comments on this and if I am wrong, please point out where!
I'm glad to hear that you are taking a look at point values. My new rule is only to use points if I can get a minimum redemption value of 1/2 cent per point. Personally I think the Marriott Credit Card is still a good deal if you can make use of the Category 5 certificate as justification of the $85 annual fee. Since I travel frequently to the Northern VA area where there are lots of hotels that are Category 5 or less I have no problem making use of the certificates.
Recently I discovered the Barclay Arrival Travel Credit Cards which seem to be the best travel card options on the market. There are two versions of the card. One version has no annual fee and the second version is a Premier card which has an annual fee of $85. Here are some more details about each card:
Arrival Card- No annual Fee. Earn 2 miles per dollar on Travel & Dining purchases, Earn 1 mile per dollar on other purchases. Each mile has a value of 1 cent when redeemed for Statement Credits on Travel purchases and receive an additional 10% bonus miles back when you redeem miles for Travel. Signup Bonus of 20,000 miles ($200 value) if you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days. Miles do not expire.
Premier Arrival Card- $85 Annual Fee (1st year no fee). Earn 2 miles per dollar on ALL purchases. Each mile has a value of 1 cent when redeemed for Statement Credits on Travel purchases and receive an additional 10% bonus miles back when you redeem miles for Travel. Receive complementary access to Tripit Pro each year. Signup Bonus of 40,000 miles ($400 value) if you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days. Miles do not expire.
The rewards program is pretty simple. Each mile is worth one cent when you redeem it for travel credits on your statement meaning you can use your miles for any charge on your credit card bill that is categorized as travel. Because you get a 10% bonus back each time you redeem miles for travel that means your getting a 2.3% return on all purchases and the signup bonus values are actually worth $220 for the Arrival Card and $440 for the Premier card.
Barclay also has an online travel community which allows card holders to earn additional miles whenever you participate. If you fill out a profile page you earn 500 miles. If you make a travel post with a picture that has at least 500 words you earn 200 miles. If someone likes or gives "kudos" to one of your posts you earn 10 miles.
I signed up for the Premier Card last month and have earned the 40,000 mile bonus in addition to other miles from purchases and participation in their online community. I'm not sure if the $85 annual fee of the Premier Card will be justified...time will tell. The TripIt Pro service which is normally $79 a year can monitor your airline purchases and let you know if you are do a refund. I've read some reviews of people who have saved hundreds of dollars in getting airline refunds through the TripIt Pro service. If I find the $85 annual fee is not justified then I will most likely switch to the no annual fee version.
There seems to be a lot of cards out there and I think that it is good for us to look at the value that they add. I got stung with a cc that had points only associated with the card. I was saving for an award and was really close when the bank upped the requirements. The set back cost me hundreds of dollars. I also had an Aloha card and when the airline went under, I lost over 100.000 miles. So we could get stung if a hotel or airline go under. I am not sure of the answer but it can be profitable to play with award credit cards.
You may find this article helpful from Travel Blogger "The Points Guy" who does an indepth analization of the Barclay Card I mentioned and how it compares with other popular cash back cards.
I have a cc from Barclay. I have it set up for auto payment of the full balance. My balance was $429.41. They took $1846.04 from my checking account. They cannot do anything about giving it back for 5 days and then it takes time to process and of course they send it snail mail. I talked to management and was told that is the best they could do. Under normal circumstances, this would have caused many payments to bounce and cost a ton of fees. Lucky for me that I have time to transfer money to cover rest of bills that are due to be paid soon.
At this time, I am not very happy with that bank.
First, it bothers me that they took nearly $1500 out of my account that I didn't owe but it bothers me even more that they didn't just put it back when I pointed out the mistake and had a large credit balance. I shouldn't have to wait weeks to get it back.
I have automatics set up on all my accounts since they may come due while I am away and I could get hit with a late fee. After this, I will need to keep more money in my checking account.
Some other considerations:
Thanks for the shoutout to those of us that live in Hawaii that no longer have a cat 5 property... I can't believe even the crummy Courtyard Waikiki is going to be a cat 6 now! It has me seriously re-thinking keeping the card myself. I do still value the EQN earning ability and the 5pts/$ at Marriotts though.
If you're looking for the best value card, though, many say it's hard to beat the Amex Starwood Preferred Guest credit card. Estimated point value is >$0.02. This is especially true when you transfer your SPG points to airlines at a 1:1 ratio and get a 5,000 mile (20%) bonus on top of that!
Of course there's the new Amex EveryDay and EveryDay Preferred cards (the first with no annual fee). Both earn valuable Membership Reward points, though the Preferred has better earning potential (of course). Or the Amex Gold Premier.
Then of course, there's the hard to beat combo of Chase Sapphire Preferred + Freedom + Ink cards earning the valuable Ultimate Rewards currency. The fee on Sapphire Preferred is high ($150), but you earn an annual 7% pts dividend and the points and transferable 1:1 with Marriott, Hyatt Gold Passport, BA Executive Club, UA MileagePlus, and more.
I've personally been considering the Hyatt Gold Passport card or one of the Amex EveryDay cards... But we shall see
Did I mention that the Amex Hilton HHonors Super Pass card awards you automatic HHonors Gold status at $75/annual fee? Yes HHonors program SUCKS after their MASSIVE devaluation, but HHonors gold gets you lounge access + free internet connection at any of their properties worldwide... Unfortunately, the Marriott card gets you only Silver... which gets you diddly squat in terms of real benefits.
The Marriott card gives you the nights for silver status and one can continue from there to obtain gold. The Hilton gives you status but to obtain the next level you have to earn from the bottom. For me, there are not enough Hyatt's that I could stay at and they tend to be expensive.
I have had the Starwood card and it is considered the best by financial people but I find that there are no Starwood hotels in areas that I want to go to so I canceled it. At a Starwood hotel, if they have a room and you want it for points, it is yours. Using it for airline miles is a good deal and I did that with some of my points.
NathalieF Could you change this from a question to a discussion. It appears that many have good input that we could learn from.
All relevant points and I agree. However, if what you want is benefits such as lounge benefits & free internet access with tons of properties worldwide, one could go for the Amex HHonors Super Pass card just for the Gold status. It would be useless for award redemptions in my opinion, but for benefits on paid stays, then it could be worth it
I do like Marriott better than Hilton, though, which is why I'm not considering them... yet.
I think it's a great deal and a CC that seriously is world-wide friendly!
I recently took a trip to SYD and used the card and got the 5x bonus points PLUS the total accrual from my stay. IN addition to the 15 bonus nights, free credit just for signing up. I then added a total of 3200 on the card (sigh...) from the trip expenses and got that bonus points and an elite credit for exceeding 3k in expenses.
This year I've stayed "18" nights in a hotel. 9 reimbursed by my company and the remainder out of my own pocket. Then add the 16 credits for signing up and exceeding one-$3,000 expense. It's a good deal. Worth it.
Oh, did I mention the 70,000 bonus points I/we get? That'll be very useful when it comes time to reserve the honeymoon trip next year
One thing to remember if you are platinum:
For every dollar spent with the MR CC you get 20 points!
10 plus 50% equals 15 plus 5 from the card equals 20.
The best value for using the points is with the hotel + air packages.
Also earning the elite night credits.
I simply love my Marriott everything.
Study all the ins and outs and I think you'll agree.