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A couple of months ago, news came out on the release of the new Marriott Rewards Premier Plus card. For those who are currently a Chase Marriott Rewards Premier cardholder (like myself), we were given an option to upgrade to the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus card. When news came out, there were reports from different existing cardholders that they were either getting ZERO points to upgrade, but in my case, I received an offer of 30,000 bonus points if I choose to upgrade. It was a very tempting offer. I’ve seen others get 10,000 or 20,000, but I had a 30,000 offer to upgrade. I’m sure there were others with better upgrade offers.

Want to check what upgrade offer you got? Click here.

a pool with a person in it

Image courtesy of Chase


Marriott Rewards Premier vs Marriott Rewards Premier Plus

Chase laid out a side by side comparison between the old Premier vs. the new Premier Plus:

a table with text and numbers

Image courtesy of Chase

Upgrading to the Premier Plus means a higher annual fee of $10 extra ($95 vs. $85). The new card’s free night anniversary award is also valued at 35,000 points vs. the existing card’s up to 25,000 points value for properties between Cat 1-5. Chase/Marriott’s screenshot above also shows the earnings potential differences when using the card at Marriott Rewards and SPG properties (earn 6x vs 5x). Lastly, the new card will not have the trip cancellation or interruption insurance. That perk stays with current Premier card (not Plus).

I entertained the idea of upgrading for these reasons:

  • My existing Marriott Premier card will become a Marriott Premier Plus.
  • My existing points will carryover to the new card.
  • This will be switching products, no credit check
  • Will not add to my 5/24 status
  • 30,000 upgrade bonus (after using the card just one once – any amount)

Everything looked great. But I called Chase directly to make sure there wasn’t anything I was missing.

Losing my upcoming Free Night

I inquired about my existing card’s free night anniversary award. My current Premier Card was scheduled to get a free night in July 2018. Here’s what Chase told me. Upgrading to the new card means:

  • I will NOT get my upcoming free night anniversary award that I was due to get in July 2018 (this was with my existing Marriott Rewards Premier card)
  • My NEW free night award will be awarded next year (in my case, around May 2019) (this is with the new Marriott Rewards Premier Plus card)

I was bummed with the thought of losing my free night that was due to me within 60 days from the time I made this inquiry in May 2018. I had to make a decision, and I leaned towards how much I valued my free nights. I had around 60 days to wait for my free nights and I decided to wait.

I personally have not used my free nights within the US. I’ve used my free night awards at JW Marriott in Kuala Lumpur we were upgraded from a Standard Room to a Junior Suite with spacious living room, and master bathroom. Plus, they gave us access to the Ritz Carlton pool, and full buffet breakfast and lunch.

a bed with a couple swans made of towels and petals

I used my Free Anniversary night and got an ppgrade to a Junior Suite at JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur

a couch and chair in a room

I used my Free Anniversary night and got an ppgrade to a Junior Suite at JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur (Category 4)

Most recently, in Porto, Portugal,  I was able to use my anniversary free night and scored a great Category 4 hotel at the AC Hotel Porto. Being a Marriott Gold Elite member, we were upgraded to a Superior Room with 2 twin beds, a desk, a living room/sitting area, a bathtub, a dual shower, and walk-in closet. We loved our stay here.

Why are these free nights so important to me? To those who don’t know. My wife and I have 4 kids and every chance we get to stretch our points is a big plus when it comes to our worldly travels.

a room with two beds and a desk

I used my Free Anniversary night and got an upgrade to a Superior Room at AC Hotel Porto (Portugal) – Category 4

a living room with couches and a tv

I used my Free Anniversary night and got an upgrade to a Superior Room at AC Hotel Porto (Portugal) – Category 4

My game plan

After hearing this back in May 2018, this was my game plan. It was quite simple:

  • Hold off in upgrading to the new card
  • Wait for my Free Night Anniversary Award to post (from my Marriott Premier card). Once posted, this Free Night will expire July 2019
  • Check if I could still upgrade and get the 30K bonus after my free night posts (this was the risk)
  • Hope for the best, seriously, hope and pray!

Not necessarily the best laid out plan. But it’s what I did.

Well, it worked

On July 20th, Chase sent me an email informing me that my Free Night Reward from my existing Marriott Premier Rewards card had posted. Shortly after, I checked my online account with Chase and I still had the opportunity to upgrade to the Marriott Premier Plus to get the 30,000 bonus points, which means, I will also get a new Free Night Reward next year (July 2019)

a screenshot of a credit card

I tried to upgrade online, but it kept giving errors. So I called Chase and confirmed that with the upgrade:

  • My new free night award earned with my Marriott Premier Rewards cards  will stay and is good until July 2019
  • My existing Marriott Rewards points will also stay
  • Upgrading will get me 30,000 bonus points (I just need to use it for one transaction, any amount)

These free nights and the 30,000 bonus will help with my two major trips to Asia over the next few months. The free night I just received will definitely be put to good use. That was my motive. I didn’t want to just jump on the offer, gain 30,000, but lose a free night.

A risk I was willing to take

Why was it a risk? I wasn’t exactly sure if the 30,000 bonus to upgrade to the Marriott Premier Plus would still be available. The Chase offers have changed a lot lately. What is offered today may not be available tomorrow. There’s no indication until when this upgrade offer will last.So I just took a risk in waiting for my free night to post, and hoped that the 30K upgrade bonus would still be around, and in the end, it all worked out for me. I got my:

  • Free night from my now former card, the Marriott Rewards Premier card (valued up to 25,000 points using Cat 1-5 hotels)
  • 30,000 Bonus from my new Marriott Rewards Premier Plus card
  • NEW Free anniversary reward night beginning July 2019 (valued up to 35,000 points)
  • Product change
  • No new credit check
  • Will not affect my 5/24 status

How about you? Have you upgraded to the new Marriott Premier Rewards Plus? If you didn’t, what was your reason for not upgrading? And if you did upgrade, I’m interested to know what made you consider upgrading? 


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