I've had the expensive VISA Premier card for three or four years and find that the points value for stays and other things make it worth it. Plus when I joined they gave you 15 nights bonus added to your account annually and a certificate for one night's stay at a category 1-6 hotel, which can be worth a couple hundred bucks if you find one in a big city.
Additionally VISA runs promotions with Marriott that sometime add additional vale. If the fee does not bother you that much then get the Premier VISA.
I too have had the card for awhile. If it helps you reach plat and you use the cert, it's well worth it. Here are the terms right from the website:
Thanks, I stand corrected on that. I had a fuzzy memory of it being for something and used it in Bethesda MD at what I recalled was a cat 6 hotel, but checking it is a 5. With the escalation of ratings the number of Full Service Marriotts in places I go seem to have pushed upward. For example, the NYC Marquis is now top of the heap, a category 8 locale, meaning it's far out or range for a VISA Premier free night! (reminds me of Victor Borge's skit on inflationary language).
The 15 nights per year benefit is very nice and a good thing to have as we travel less. If I did a pros and cons, I'd say for me at least, the card makes it all worth the fee.
I hold both cards. I applied for the "original" Marriott Rewards Visa card back in 1995 when I started doing a lot of travel for business. I intended to replace it with the Premier version, but never got around to cancelling the original card. Then Chase sweetened the deal on the original card so it became cost-effective to keep both although I really only carry the Premier version with me. Chase has since devalued the benefits and increased the cost of the Original version so I will probably not renew it this year when my anniversary date arrives.
Here are some comparison features for you to consider. To save typing, I will use OV (Original Visa) and PV (Premier Visa) when referring to the cards
Equivalent Nights (EQN)
You asked if it was worth $65 per year for the PV card. My answer is some questions for you:
Sadly, both cards are issued by Chase – one of the least customer-friendly banks in the country. In my opinion, a MAJOR negative, but what are you gonna do? If Marriott gave us the choice of two banks, I would RUN, not walk to dump Chase and sign up with the other company. Even if it were the Bank of The Pitts – couldn’t be any worse than Chase!
I strongly recommend the Premier Visa card, feeling that the value of the benefits easily exceeds the cost of holding the card.
Good luck with your decision
To NYCUWS10025 - your reply is if you were my ghost writer - I had my OV since 1995, too and have anlayzed the differences as you posted. SUPERB writing!
One thing is different - my OV was compromised in November 2008 and I started seeing small purchases that were not authorized (all under $10). This may be due to the OV being the ONLY card I have ever registered on the internet for online purchases. Good news - Chase suspended the account and gave me a new card in under 5 business days.
NYCUWS10025 - Great analysis on the OV vs PV. I like the examples.
Regards comments about the Issuing Bank, in all fairness, wouldn't it be more constructive to discuss service issues with the bank directly? What is the purpose of disparaging the bank in a forum where Chase is a business partner to Marriott, the host of this travel community?
Asserting that the issuing bank is the least friendly in the entire country seems cavalier and irresponsible. Is it your expectation that others will agree with you to compel Marriott to change business partners? What is the desired result? Provide examples and a basis so that Marriott can contact the bank to address on behalf of Marriott Visa cardholders.
Postscript 5/3/2009: In retrospect, NYCUWS10025's comments about the issuing bank's service may have contributed to cardholding voters sentiments during the annual Freddie Awards for Best Affinity Card. As popular as Marriott Visa and Premier Visa is, neither the OV or PV came home with an Freddie Oscar. See 1st AGAIN-Best Program, Best Web Site, Best Customer Service or Freddie Awards