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(UPDATE: This offer is no longer valid. You can see the current top travel credit offers here)
There is a new public offer out for the Marriott Rewards Visa. Rather than the now standard 80,000 point offer, you can earn 120,000 bonus points in your first year. Sounds great, right?
Yes and no. The offer is definitely solid, but it’s not quite the windfall you might think.
Breaking down the Chase Marriott 120k offer
The new Marriott credit card offer is for 10 points per dollar on all purchases in the first year, up to $12,000. This is how we effectively end up with an offer for 120,000 points. Contrast this with the standard offer of 80,000 points after $3,000 in spending in the first 3 months. This is a typical style of credit card offer.
No matter which offer you take, the card comes with a Category 1-5 “free” night every anniversary (if you pay the $85 fee), and offers 15 elite night credits each year and additional night credits for every $3,000 in spend on the card. Overall, I consider it a solid product, but still not as much of a keeper as either the Hyatt Visa or the IHG Visa which I find to offer a better annual free night perk.
No matter which offer you take, the annual fee is not waived the first year.
Is the 120k a better offer?
My take: it depends. Here’s why:
Consider you took the 80,000 point offer. You would only need to spend $3,000 to get 83,000 points. For the 120,000 point offer, you need to spend $12,000 to take full advantage of it. This is a difference of $9,000 more in spend for 37,000 more points.
Now I’m going to apply some opportunity cost logic. If you’re mainly interested in Marriott points, you could also acquire them from either UR or SPG points (and I guess technically MR, but don’t do that). As each SPG point transfers to 3 Marriott points, $9,000 of spend on an SPG card will net you 27,000 Marriott points. So, with this offer, you technically come out ahead.
However, there is another wrinkle. Taking this offer means you commit yourself to a lot of spend. If taking the offer means you tie up spend that could otherwise be used to meet the sign-up bonus on an additional card, it probably won’t be worth it.
Also, consider where you apply your spend. If the $9,000 is spent at grocery stores that would earn you 27,000 MR points on your American Express EveryDay Preferred card, I would not bother with this offer. I value 27,000 MR points greater than 37,000 Marriott points.
In a nutshell, if the $12,000 spend requires you to forego getting another card with a lucrative bonus, I probably wouldn’t jump on this offer. However, if you have plenty of spend to push around and you have a definite need for Marriott/SPG points, the $12,000 offer makes more sense than the 80,000 point offer.
Should you apply?
If you don’t yet have the Marriott card, this could be a good time to jump on it if you can meet the high spend. You do have a year to do so, so it isn’t quite as daunting as it sounds.
Do note that the card is subject to 5/24. The business version is not, last I checked.