Exciting news! Marriott and Chase are launching a new Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Card and for a limited time you can earn 100,000 Bonus Points when you spend at least $5000 in the first 3 months of your account opening. This new credit card comes after the merger of the SPG loyalty program into Marriott’s and below are the highlights:
*Annual free night award (up to 35,000 point value) after card renewal
*Earn Gold Status after spending $35,000 (beginning in 2019)
*Automatic Silver Elite Status
*15 elite night credits beginning in 2019
*Free In-Room Premium Wi-Fi (beginning in August)
*$95 Annual Fee
It is important to state that Marriott’s previous card, Marriott Rewards, also included a free night but it was capped to Category 5 hotels which were worth a value of 25,000 points, meaning that this new card provides a bonus since the free night is now available to higher valued properties. Earnings have also increased on this card in comparison to its former iteration (Marriott Rewards), from 5x to 6x for Marriott and SPG purchases, and from 1x to 2x for everything else. The new card also includes purchase protection, trip delay reimbursement and no foreign transaction fees.
One point to consider, existing Marriott and Ritz-Carlton cardholders will be able to keep their current cards with no change to perks or earning rates, though they will have an opportunity to upgrade to the new Plus card. Customer who change from an existing Marriott card to the Plus will not be eligible for the 100,000-point bonus.
This sign-up bonus is such a great deal for those who are thinking of traveling in the near future. Whether it’s a trip to Disney, New York or even outside the country you cannot go wrong with a Marriott property given that, as of their purchase of SPG Hotels, they are the largest hotel company in the world.
On the last entry I mentioned some of my top favorite Cash Back credit cards. Of those mentioned two hold a special place near and dear to my heart. These are the Chase Freedom® and the Chase Freedom Unlimited® credit cards. Below are some of the reasons why these two are so valuable to me.
Both cards accumulate points and these points can then be redeemed for cash back and gift cards. You could also book travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal or transfer your points to different travel partners (more details on this later, so keep reading).
As a refresher, the Chase Freedom card earns 5% Cash Back on up to $1500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter and 1% on all other purchases. As for the Chase Freedom Unlimited card, you earn a flat 1.5% on all purchases. You can also take advantage and earn even more points when you shop online through the Ultimate Rewards Portal. Select stores offer additional cash back earning potential by going through Chase’s link.
As mentioned in point #1 you may redeem your points with up to 13 different travel partners:
- Aer Lingus AerClub
- British Airways Executive Club
- Air France/KLM Flying Blue
- Korean Air SkyPass
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
- United MileagePlus
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- Iberia Plus
- World of Hyatt
- Marriott Rewards
- IHG Rewards Club
- The Ritz-Carlton Rewards
All points transfer at a 1:1 ratio in increments of 1,000 points (meaning 1,000 Ultimate Rewards Points transfer to 1,000 miles or points). Most transfers are Instant except for Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer. VERY IMPORTANT— In order to transfer points to the travel partners you must also have a Premium Chase credit card such as a Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve or the Chase Ink Business Preferred. I will go into more details regarding these last cards in my next post and I will specify how I use these cards to unlock all their potential.
Now that I have mentioned these benefits, keep in mind that I recommended both the Freedom and the Freedom Unlimited cards for beginners since they have No Annual Fees and their credit score requirements are not as stringent as for some of their premium credit cards. Nevertheless, I would like to mention that if and once you are able to obtain one of their premium cards (such as the Chase Ink Business Preferred, Sapphire Preferred or the Sapphire Reserve) you can take advantage of transferring points to one of the above mentioned travel partners. One other benefit of obtaining a premium card is unlocking discounts when redeeming points for traveling through their portal. These last two features make the redemption of points for Cash Back and gift cards less valuable and therefore not the best use of said points.
May the points game begin!
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Welcome to the Points Game
Our introduction to traveling for free initially took longer than my husband and I would have liked. The reason for this being that we had accrued a good amount of expenses and credit card debt as we moved out to our first place together and planned our wedding. Having mentioned this brings me to a very important point; please make sure that when using credit cards for points and free travels, that you DO NOT carry a balance. Paying interest on those credit cards will deplete any value in accumulating points. Below I will detail some points to keep in mind when trying to select a credit card:
For starters, when looking for credit cards that earn points you should look for ones with no annual fee. These cards typically do not require as high of credit scores as some of the premium cards that do have annual fees, and by doing this you can “get your feet wet” in learning the options at your disposal. Some credit cards that come to mind are the Bank of America® Travel Rewards and my personal favorites, Chase Freedom® and Chase Freedom Unlimited®. The last two, are labeled as Cash Back cards but in reality the points accumulated can also be redeemed towards traveling. Below you can find the advantages of these cards:
Bank of America® Travel Rewards:
- Earn unlimited 1.5 points for every $1 spent on all purchases.
- 20,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening – which can be redeemed for a $200 statement credit toward travel purchases.
- No annual fee and no foreign transaction fees†.
- No blackout dates and no restrictions when booking your trip.
- No expiration on your points.
- Flexibility to redeem points for a statement credit to pay for flights, hotels, vacation packages, cruises, rental cars or baggage fees.
- Get an additional 10% customer points bonus on every purchase when you have an active Bank of America® checking or savings account.
- If you’re a Preferred Rewards client, you can increase that bonus to 25%-75%.
- Introductory 0% APR for your first 12 billing cycles for purchases. After that, a Variable APR that’s currently 16.49% to 24.49% will apply.
Chase Freedom® Credit Card:
- $150 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
- Earn a $25 bonus after you add your first authorized user and make your first purchase within this same 3-month period.This product is available to you if you do not have this card and have not received a new cardmember bonus for this card in the past 24 months.
- No annual fee.
- Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate.
- Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases
- Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open.
- 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers. After that, 16.49%–25.24% variable APR.