Five New Credit Card Offers That Will Help You Travel for Free

Airline and hotel credit cards are offering big sign-up bonuses this spring.

Now is the time to load up your wallet.

Several airline and hotel companies are offering unusually big bonuses on credit-card signups this spring. You can get 80,000 Marriott Rewards by signing up for its Visa card—enough for two free nights at a luxury property. With the new JetBlue Plus Mastercard, you can score sufficient points for two round-trip tickets to Puerto Rico. Use your cards wisely, and you can quickly accumulate enough rewards for an extended vacation.

Like so many great deals, most of these offers are only available for a limited time. Here are the ones to consider before they expire.

The Offer: 80,000 Marriot Rewards points if you spend $3,000 in the first three months. The usual signup bonus is 50,000 points after spending $2,000.

Who Should Get It: Marriott loyalists who have been waiting for a big bonus. Leisure travelers looking to redeem points at a wide range of properties.

What It’s Worth: 80,000 points is enough for two free nights at a Category 8 hotel, such as the new J.W. Marriott in Venice, Italy, where rooms start at around $450 per night in September. Or you could get four nights (and an automatic fifth night free thanks to a card benefit) at a Category 4 hotel such as the Artisan D.C. Hotel, part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection. Rates are around $235 per night in May and June, making your bonus worth $1,175.

Other Big Perks: Five points per dollar at Marriott properties, and two points per dollar spent with airlines, car rental agencies, and restaurants. The card also gives you 15 nights of elite credit per year, enough for Silver status, with benefits such as 20% bonus points on stays and priority late checkout.

The Offer: 100,000 Hilton points when you spend $3,000 within three months of account opening—the highest sign-up bonus ever offered for this card. The promotion expires May 4.

Who Should Get It: Hilton loyalists who want the credit card that will earn them the most points on hotel stays, and give them a shortcut to elite status.

What It’s Worth: One free night at a top-tier property like the Conrad Maldives (where a villa costs $900), or two free nights at a mid-tier property like the Hilton Waikoloa Village on Hawaii, which would otherwise be $249 per night.

Other Big Perks: You get 12 points per dollar on Hilton purchases; six points per dollar at U.S. restaurants, supermarkets and gas stations; and three points per dollar on everything else. The card also confers automatic Hilton HHonors Gold elite status, with perks like 25% bonus points on hotel stays and free breakfast; if you $40,000 in a calendar year, you receive top-tier Diamond status.

The Offer: 70,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 in the first three months, plus 5,000 points for adding a user who makes a purchase in the same time frame.

The Fee: $49, waived the first year

Who Should Get It: Folks who will maximize its annual free night benefit, and want to be able to redeem at some 5,000 properties around the world, from high-end InterContinentals to standard Holiday Inns.

What It’s Worth: 75,000 points is enough for four free nights at a Category 3 hotel like the Hotel Indigo San Antonio Downtown-Alamo, where rates are $145 per night. A Category 7 property like the InterContinental Resort and Spa in French Polynesia runs 40,000 points (or $315) per night.

Other Big Perks: This card confers IHG platinum elite status, with benefits including as a 50% points bonus on stays, complimentary room upgrades, and a 10% refund on points redemptions. But perhaps the single most valuable benefit is the free night you get every year at any IHG hotel.

The Offer: 75,000 Hilton points (versus the usual 40,000) when you spend $1,000 within three months of account opening. The offer expires May 4.

Who Should Get It: Travelers who already have Hilton’s premium cards and want to accumulate points without a high minimum spending requirement .

What It’s Worth: Two nights at a lower-tier property like the Hilton Miami Downtown (30,000 points each, or around $159 a night). The bonus is nearly enough for a night this summer at the Hilton Paris Opera, which is priced around $550 a night or 80,000 points.

Other Big Perks: Cardholders receive Hilton HHonors silver elite status, which gets you a fifth night free on award stays; you can reach gold status with $20,000 in spending in a calendar year.

The Offer: 30,000 TrueBlue points when you spend $3,000 within three months of account opening. The offer is good indefinitely (at least for now).

Who Should Get It: JetBlue fliers who want to juice up their points earning.

What It’s Worth: TrueBlue points are usually worth around 1.3-1.7 cents toward redemptions, so 30,000 points can be worth up to about $510 in airfare. In three months you should have more than enough points for two round-trip award tickets from New York to San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Other Big Perks: This card earns six bonus points per dollar on JetBlue purchases (in addition to the six points you earn booking JetBlue tickets online). You get a 5,000-point bonus every year, and a 10% refund on points you redeem for award tickets, plus elite benefits including free checked bags and waived change and cancellation fees for the first year you have the card.


Marriott Rewards & SPG Reciprocal Credit Card Earning Benefit Expanding To Canada, UK, UAE & Japan

Back in October (read more here), Marriott Rewards enhanced its Visa and SPG Amex cards to include enhanced earnings at each others properties.

Marriott credit card benefits

Now, Marriott is making the same change for cards issued in Canada, UK, UAE and Japan.

Here’s the information for Canada:

Here’s the information for UK:

Here’s the information for UAE:

Here’s the information for Japan:

Marriott Rewards hasn’t had credit cards products for UAE or Japan. Members in those two markets now have this new earning opportunity for their Marriott stays too if they haven’t previously participated to SPG program.

Remember that Marriott Rewards and Starwood Peferred Guest (SPG) members can freely transfer points between accounts at 3:1 ratio.


Marriott International™ — Best in Hotel Rewards Following Unprecedented Merger & Innovative Benefits Program

Ashley Dull • May 3, 2017

Marriott credit card benefits

In a Nutshell: With so many credit card rewards programs to choose from, it can be hard to narrow down the options. When it comes to hotel rewards, though, there is no real competition — the greatest rewards cards are all now part of Marriott International. With the recent acquisition of the Starwood Hotels & Resorts, the Marriott International family has grown to include more than 5,700 total properties across the globe. The merger brought on a host of new benefits for loyalty customers, including account-linking and point transfers across brands. Now, their latest union allows holders of any of their rewards cards to earn points across all Marriott Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest, and Ritz-Carlton brands. Marriott International’s smooth and speedy merger has helped three already amazing rewards programs easily skyrocket to the head of the market, giving them our vote for the Best Hotel Rewards Programs.

Other than purchase security, credit card rewards are, in my opinion, the best reason to have a credit card. It’s essentially like walking around with a discount coupon on everything, and whether you prefer to earn cash back, air miles, or free hotel stays, there’s a rewards program for you.

Unfortunately, the niche nature of some rewards can be both a blessing and a curse. You have to pick the places you want the best rewards from and those options can get pretty narrow, which can make redeeming your rewards for the things you actually want quite difficult. You may have racked up thousands of airline miles, but if the airline you’re loyal to doesn’t fly to your destination of choice — neither do you.

The best way to ensure you can always use your rewards where and when you want is to find the program that offers you the most choices, both for earning and redeeming your rewards. When it comes to hotel rewards, the best programs by far are offered by Marriott International, whose recent acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts has given them the most diverse selection of hotels in the marketplace.

Marriott credit card benefits

“The marriage of these two leading hotel companies means Marriott will deliver an unparalleled guest experience with more hotels in more global destinations, an unrivaled range of comprehensive accommodations to suit every traveler, and the industry’s best loyalty programs,” said Arne Sorenson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Marriott International.

That’s no empty boast. Marriott International now includes the familiar Marriott brand hotels, as well as Starwood’s premium Sheraton properties and the iconic Ritz-Carlton luxury hotels, among dozens of other popular lifestyle brands, for a total of an impressive 5,700 properties, across 30 brands, in more than 110 countries around the world.

You Can Now Earn and Redeem Points at 5,700 Properties Across the Globe

Customers of all of the properties now owned by Marriott saw a wide array of new perks as soon as the merger was finalized. Now, just a few weeks later, they’ll become the first to experience an unprecedented level of rewards freedom as the company’s three major credit card rewards programs — Marriott Rewards®, Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG)®, and Ritz-Carlton Rewards® — allow users to earn cross-brand rewards.

“We are giving loyalty Card Members more flexibility to earn points, no matter where they stay with us. By making our credit cards even more powerful and attractive for them, they’ll earn points more quickly and enjoy travel even sooner,” said Thom Kozik, Vice President of Loyalty at Marriott.

Marriott credit card benefits

Marriott International now includes over 5,700 properties in more than 110 countries.

Under the new program, customers who hold any of the three co-branded credit cards can earn loyalty points for staying at any of the Marriott International properties across the globe.

“Now there’s even more incentive for members to explore our immense portfolio of more than 5,700 hotels while taking advantage of unprecedented earning power,” added David Flueck, the Senior Vice President of Starwood Preferred Guest.

  • The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card from JPMorgan: Earn five The Ritz-Carlton Rewards points per dollar spent at participating SPG properties
  • Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG®) Credit Card by American Express: Earn two Starpoints for every dollar spent at a participating Marriott International property

“This earning opportunity […] shows our ongoing commitment to our members,” said Thom, “so they can truly experience the portfolio and get the most out of each program.”

In addition to the brand new co-branded credit card earning opportunity, members of all three loyalty programs have already seen a variety of cross-portfolio benefits. “This groundbreaking credit card earning opportunity is just the latest benefit offered to loyalty members of all three programs.”

Marriott credit card benefits

Marriott International offers unprecedented flexibility to both credit card holders and loyalty members, including the ability to link loyalty accounts.

Previously introduced benefits include the ability to link rewards accounts, as well as receive instant Elite status matching across programs, and the opportunity to transfer already-earned rewards points between portfolios.

While we all tend to be a little skeptical about change, especially when it affects our finances, in this case, everybody wins. Regardless of the brand on your credit card, if you’re a member of the Marriott International family, this is nothing but good news.

Keep the Features & Benefits You Already Know and Love

Not only do you get all of these new benefits, you’ll continue to see the same rewards you’ve already been using to make the most of your spending. “The rich rewards that existing Card Members already know and love just got even better as we continue to build bridges to connect our tremendous programs,” said David.

To feel the full award-winning effect of the Marriott International experience, pair your new credit card points flexibility with the company’s killer branded loyalty programs. Every dollar you spend at an eligible property will net you credit card rewards and loyalty points, not to mention a host of additional benefits.

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card by American Express

Starwood’s Preferred Guest programs have their own remarkable perks, both for SPG Card holders and loyalty members, such as free in-room wifi when booking through Starwood, no foreign transaction fees, and restaurant discounts.

Marriott credit card benefits

With your SPG Credit Card, you can earn two points for every dollar spent at eligible properties — which are now the over 5,700 properties that are part of Marriott International. You can stack those with the two points per dollar you earn as an SPG loyalty member to really boost your earning rate.

Factor in that Members who link their accounts will be able to transfer points at a three-to-one ratio (three Marriott Rewards points = one SPG Starpoint) between the programs, and it’s an even greater incentive.

As with the Marriott Premier card, SPG Card holders will be able to earn Elite status much quicker, unlocking benefits not only at SPG properties, but Marriott Rewards properties as well with their new status-matching program. SPG Card holders will earn Elite credit for five nights and two stays each year.

To many, “Ritz-Carlton” is synonymous with “luxury hotel,” and with good reason; they are. And the best way to experience the Ritz-Carlton is by pairing a Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card with the Ritz-Carlton Rewards loyalty program.

Marriott credit card benefits

Your credit card will net you five points per dollar on eligible stays at any Marriott International property, two points on airline tickets, and one point on everything else you buy. In addition, you’ll be upgraded to the Ritz-Carlton Club level for up to seven nights across three stays every year, and can qualify to receive a $100 hotel credit and $300 travel credit each year.

Being a member of the loyalty program will get you an additional 10 points or two miles per dollar per stay at any The Ritz-Carlton worldwide, making it even easier to earn free nights in luxury. You can also choose to earn airline miles through more than 30 qualifying airline programs.

In our modern world, cash is no longer king; it’s all about the plastic credit cards — and the credit card rewards. For the best hotel rewards program, with the best options, we’re voting for Marriott International and its three amazing loyalty programs and benefits.

While already great, the addition of Starwood has easily made Marriott International the company to beat. And, to hear it from them, they’re only going to get better from here.

“This is just the beginning,” said David. “Even more exciting announcements [are] coming in the future from our iconic loyalty programs.”

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.


A Complete Guide to the Marriott Travel Packages — The best way to redeem your SPG/Marriott points!

Marriott credit card benefits

Marriott Travel Packages is the best way to redeem your SPG/Marriott points. In this post, I will introduce how to make the best out of SPG/Marriott through Marriott Travel Packages.

As a hotel fan, I have not been redeeming Marriott and SPG points for hotels for over a year. Why? I have been saving points for a Marriott Rewards Travel Package.

So what does that mean and why should you be interested? In short, through Marriott Travel Packages, we can convert tons of Marriott points (or SPG points, since 1 SPG pt = 3 Marriott pt) to airline mileages with a ratio that is too good to be true, AND get 7 consecutive free nights with the redemption. The value of this redemption lies mostly in the acquisition of miles over the free nights, as we are in need of flights more than luxurious hotels. The goal of award travel is primarily to save money, and to do so we have options like staying an Airbnb or a friend’s place instead of in a hotel. But for traveling to another country, for instance, airlines are really the only options, since there is no “Airbnb” or “Uber” in the flight market. Unfortunately we cannot take a boat, or swim through the Atlantic or the Pacific to go to another country, right?

Marriott credit card benefits

Swim across the Atlantic? >.^

The above five tables (screenshots from Marriott) tell what Marriott Travel Packages are. The points shown in the table are how much we need to redeem, with the corresponding column showing the airline miles and the corresponding row showing the categories or tiers of the 7 free nights we can get with the redemption.

The RewardsPlus Hotel + Air Package seen at the top is for United Airlines exclusively. For all other eligible airlines, they are listed at the end of the tables. Through analysis, we found the equations to calculate the airline miles we can get:

  • RewardsPlus: AM = (MRP – 6 x MPN) x 110%
  • Package 1&3: AM = (MRP – 6 x MPN) x 100%
  • Package 2: AM = (MRP – 6 x MPN) x 70%
  • Package 4: AM = (MRP – 6 x MPN) x 50%

(AM = Airline Miles we will get from the Package redemption

MRP = Marriott Rewards points redeemed for the Package

MPN = Marriott Points per Night for the redemption of a free night at the highest category/tier)

For a more fundamental introduction of the Marriott Travel Packages, please refer to the Marriott official webpage for the Travel Packages. In this post, we will focus on “accumulation” and “redemption” of the Packages.

Let’s first talk about the redemption.

Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, Citi Thankyou Points, and SPG points are classified as the four main flexible programs, in which we can convert the points to various airline miles or hotel points. In this sense, the Marriott Rewards Travel Package is a more gigantic system with conversion features. (SPG is also good. Hey! Do not forget that SPG and Marriott have merged). Among all the package options, only RewardPlus and Packages 1&3 are worth discussing due to their reasonable conversion ratios.

14 airlines, including United Airlines, are covered in the RewardPlus and Package 1&3 redemptions. For United Airlines, the package is a 10% bonus over Packages 1&3. Thus, we will then compare the conversion ratio of Marriott Travel Packages to that of the base ratio of SPG (1:1.25 if redeeming in multiples of 20K). In the table below, which is for Package 1&3 redemptions, all ratios are normalized to AM/SPG, where SPG is MRP/3. In other words, the number in this table shows how many airline miles we will get per SPG point redeemed via Marriott Travel Packages. Again this is for Package 1&3. Multiply 1.1 for the RewardPlus cases.

Among these ratios, we can find the most valuable one 1.33 is the 90,000 SPG points = 270,000 Marriott Rewards points = 120,000 airline miles + 7 free nights Cat. 1-5. Besides that, anything else is lower than 1.25 (the direct conversion ratio of SPG to its most partner airlines), which will make this redemption less valuable if we aim to pool in a lot of airline miles. Yes, do not forget there are 7 consecutive free nights, which are worth $500 or more, and even worth $1000 if they are redeemed properly to get the best values. Nonetheless, in most cases we will probably not be able to redeem for extremely expensive hotels for 7 consecutive nights. Then what can we do? The tip is we can call customer service to cancel the hotel portion and “refund” the 7 free nights back to Marriott points!

2. Cancel the hotel portion and get some point back

Based on physixfan’s data point, the Marriott Rewards points refunded from 7 nights are listed below.

In this sense, the SPG to airline miles conversion ratios are further escalated.

It is noteworthy that the ratios of getting 100,000 miles and 120,000 miles are both larger than 1.25, the base ratio of SPG to miles. In other words, through Marriott Travel Packages, to achieve 100,000 airline miles, we need 205,000 Marriott points, or 68,333 SPG points, with a ratio of 1.46; to get 120,000 miles, we need only 225,000 Marriott points, or 75,000 SPG points, with a ratio of 1.60. The latter is extremely valuable. How much is it worth? Based on the estimates of miles and points, the airline miles are worth around 1.6 cpp (cent per point), while SPG points are worth 2.4 cpp. In contrast, through the Marriott Travel Packages, the SPG values are enhanced: 1.60 x 1.6 cpp = 2.56 cpp.

For Marriott’s partner United Airlines, due to 10% bonus miles, all the ratios for getting 77,000, 110,000, and 132,000 miles are over 1.25. Similar to the calculations in the last paragraph, the SPG points are improved to be worth 1.76 x 1.6 cpp = 2.816 cpp.

On the contrary, for Package 2&4 redemptions, the best ratio of SPG to miles is 1.13. Compared with the base SPG ratio 1.25, it is not worthy to acquire miles of the airlines in Package 2&4, including ANA and JAL.

Based on physixfan’s experience, we need to request the rep to “cancel the hotel portion” for “refunding” the 7 free nights, which is somewhat the official term but does not appear in T&C. It is not suggested to “refund” the 7 free nights right away and we should wait at least until the airline miles show up. It would be a better idea to ask for refund of the 7 free nights when the expiration date approaches, because we can then say “we do not have a chance to use it”. Well, sometimes the rep will say “OK, I can extend the validity for another year”. We can get more values from redeeming these 7 free nights so if you can find use this will definitely elevate your redemption, and keep in mind that living in a Cat 5 Marriott hotel for 7 nights will cost us 150,000 Marriott points.

Last but not least, remember to keep an eye on our updates regarding the conversion bonus sales. With bonus from the sales, the SPG to miles ratios will be further improved. The airlines will carry out promotions from time to time to stimulate people to convert hotel points to airline miles. For instance, during October and November of 2016, we saw the 25% bonus for UA miles, and right now, we see the 30% extra miles rewarded for Aeroplan. With these promos, the Marriott Travel Packages are really too good to be true!

Based on the analyses we did above, we will only focus on UA miles and miles from Package 1&3 airlines. Although there are many different airlines, we only recommend the following 6 miles that are most likely to provide us with the best values.

US-CN miles: the miles required to book a return flight between US and China, economy/business/first, unit k; “Vary” in US-CN miles (self) means the airline does not have a published redemption table. “Vary” in US-CN miles (partner) means the miles needed for redemption on a partner depends on the specific operating airline.

YQ: The high/low/none indicates the possibility of YQ occurrence when redeeming the miles on its own or its partners.

Among all of these, we highly recommend the following mileage plans without reservation.

  1. UA: With a 10% bonus, the SPG to miles ratios are the highest and the promos for converting hotel points to UA miles occurred from time to time. Additionally, UA does not collect YQ for award redemptions.
    1. AC: A second best choice for Star Alliance. Again, keep in mind there is a promo going on with 30% extra bonus miles when converting hotel points to >200K AC miles (25% for 100-200 and 20% below that), which ends on April 17. The AC mileage plan is terrific, except that it collects YQ when the miles are redeemed on Lufthansa and ANA.
  2. AA. It has famous and luxurious partners including two of the Big Gulf Three: Qatar, Etihad, and also the Five-Star asian airlines Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines. AA does not collect YQ, except on British Airways and Iberia.
  3. AS. Although there are no promos, AS still has quite the high mile value (

    1.9 cpp), thanks to premium partners including Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, Emirates and Hainan Airlines, and Virgin America. It is currently the best option for Marriott Rewards Travel Package. For example, redeeming AS miles on CX for a US-CHINA roundtrip will cost us 60/100/140 for eco/biz/first respectivly, and will be 70/120/140 for JL metal.

  1. Check the tables and record the airline, category or tier and the corresponding number of Marriott points needed.
  2. Convert SPG to Marriott at 1:3 ratio if the Marriott account does not have enough points.
  3. If your Marriott points are still not enough, find a friend who is willing to transfer some points as complementary and has the same address as you, and then get his/her account ready.
  4. Call 1-800-321-7396.
  5. Feed the rep with your Marriott account and your friend’s account. Verify your address.
  6. Feed the rep with the info in step a.
  7. The 7 consecutive free nights are valid one year after the first date of issue.

Or, if you already know where you are redeeming it beforehand, you can follow the procedures on Marriott.com:

To redeem for a Hotel + Air Package award:

Contact the airline you will use as your carrier. (You must be a member of their frequent flyer program.) Inquire about the number of miles needed to travel from departure location to your destination and remember to take into account the number of people traveling in your party. Once you know the number of miles needed, call 1-800-MARRIOTT to make your hotel reservation. Make sure to inform the reservation agent that you are using a Travel Package Award. After your reservation is confirmed, you can be transferred to a Marriott Rewards Guest Relations representative to complete the order over the phone.

Reward Delivery Information

1. Hotel certificate will be issued electronically and will be available at the hotel upon check-in.

2. Airline miles/Rapid Rewards Points will automatically be sent to your frequent flyer account. Please allow approximately 6 weeks for your miles to be posted to your frequently flyer account or contact your local Marriott Rewards office to inquire about express service (may include a fee).

Let’s talk about accumulation.

Based on the analyses above, we need 270,000 Marriott points, or 90,000 SPG points, for a best-value Package redemption, which seems unaffordable to most people. Nevertheless, the merging of SPG and Marriott generated a chance as we can always convert SPG points to Marriott points at 1:3 ratio. The best and fastest ways to accumulate Marriott/SPG points are summarized below.

Although both Amex MR and Chase UR can be converted to SPG or Marriott respectively, they will not be recommended owing to their low conversion ratios. What is exciting now is that we have one card at it’s highest sign-up bonus:

By signing up for these four cards, completing eligible purchases to get the sign-up bonuses, we can get 110,000 SPG points, or 330,000 Marriott points barely from the sign-up bonuses, which is more than enough for a best-value Package redemption, not counting in the points from transactions. Actually, we can get about 65,000 SPG points from the two Chase cards by getting the sign-up bonus point, transaction, and AU points. Then, we can “borrow” 25,000 SPG points for the best-value Package redemption, which will be elaborated in Part 5.

Both Amex SPG/Biz and Chase Marriott/Biz offer the opportunity to refer a friend and reward you points, which is a main source of points. You can earn 5,000 SPG points per referral of AMEX SPG and Amex SPG/Biz, respectively, capped with 55,000 points per calendar year. Different from SPG, Chase Marriott and Chase Marriott Biz send targeted referral promotions to the customers, so the rewarded points are case by case, but the general case is 10,000 Marriott points per referral, up to 50,000 per calendar year. For more info, refer to Credit Card Refer a Friend Benefits Explained.

When the Amex SPG comes with it’s best sign-up bonus, you should be able to get it and refer 11 friends of yours to apply for it, resulting in 90,000 SPG points for you combining your sign up bonus and referral bonus, which is just the number of points necessary for the redemption of a best-value Package.

With all this talk about bonuses it’s easy to neglect hotel stays as a source of point accumulation. A stay at any SPG property yields 2 SPG points per 1 dollar spent, with an extra 50% bonus if you are a gold or platinum member. A stay at any Marriott property generates 10 Marriott points, with extra 20%, 25%, and 50% bonus from silver, gold, and platinum membership, respectively. It is not a high ratio but better than general credit card transactions. It is unwise to stay at hotels purely for accumulation of points (mattress run), with the exception of when there are…

Promos! Yes, do not forget there are plenty of promos. Check here, and here, for current SPG and Marriott stay promos respectively.

In addition, Marriott has its own referral program, where you can invite your friends to join Marriott program and stay at Marriott properties, Your friend and you will both earn 2,000 Marrott points per his/her first five stays. The number of people you can earn from your referrals will be up to 5. In this sense, you can earn at most 50,000 Marriott points by referring 5 people and they each stay at five or more Marriott properties in a calendar year. For more info, refer to the website.

Generally hotel stay promos can be stacked unless stated otherwise. Then, it could make sense to do mattress run in a quite cheap hotel, by stacking the stay promos, points from stay, credit card cashbback, shopping portal cashback (e.g. Top Cashback has 5-7% cashback for booking Marriott properties through their links).

We can always purchase points directly from SPG and Marriott, but it does not make sense to do so as the cost are 3.5 cpp and 1.25 cpp for SPG and Marriott points, respectively. However, SPG often offers discounted buying points, such as the best-ever targeted 50% off for purchasing SPG points, will lower the cost down to 1.75 cpp. Right now, SPG offers 30% discount, with which we need to purchase 20,000-30,000 points at 2.45 cpp, which ends at April 30, 2017. The current promo is not appealing but acceptable, as we have analyzed above that we can get more than 2.56 cpp values out of it.

In short, we think deals like purchasing SPG and Marriott points with 2.5 cpp and 0.83 cpp respectively, can be considered, depending how you evaluate the costs and values. Remember to use a shopping portal and proper credit cards when buying points from Points.com.

This is huge. SPG members can transfer points from one account to another if both of them have had the same address for more than 30 days. The Marriott does not require the account holders to have the same address. Instead, Marriott will collect a flat $10 fee (free for Gold and Plat members) for transferring points between accounts, with a limit of 50,000 points for incoming and outgoing respectively. A trick to overcome this transfer limit is that we can book a hotel using points from two accounts in order to “transfer points”. Remember that we need both accounts to have the same address in this case to make this trick work. An exemplary action is given below. Say you want to transfer from your friend’s account to your account. We first need to find a hotel we “want to” book, say a Cat 7 Marriott property, and we want to stay for 7 nights, in the far future. Anyway, we need to make sure that the points needed for this redemption is more than what you have in your account. Marriott does not require you to have enough points to make a reservation, and it only requires you to have enough points at the first date of stay. Then, we can call 801-468-4000 to inform the rep of both of your account numbers and let the rep know you guys want to travel together, and request the rep to transfer the points from your friend’s account to yours to complete the reservation. After that, you can cancel the reservation and the portion of your friend’s points will be returned to your account. This is totally eligible as it is stated in T&C.

Marriott credit card benefitsWell, even if you guys do not combine the points before redeeming the Travel Packages, you can use the same trick at the time of redeeming them.

With this trick, it is possible to redeem 225,000 Marriott points for Travel Packages by doing the following steps. First, transfer 45,000 points from a friend’s account to your account (notice that it is within the yearly limit). Then, redeem the best-value package and wait for 120,000 (or 132,000 for UA) airline miles to show up in your account. Finally, “refund” the 7 free nights to get 45,000 Marriott points back, and transfer those points back to your friend’s account. By doing all of these steps, we complete the redemption of Travel Packages without violating any T&C.

Besides these five means of accumulation of points, there are other ways which are perhaps too slow (daily purchases using credit card), adventurous (manufacturing spending), or hard-to-do (reselling). Some people may think it makes sense to convert UR or UA miles to Marriott, or even MR to SPG to make up enough points for redemptions, but we do not recommend these as they are devaluating points by doing so. Think about our incentive of redeeming Travel Packages, which is to acquire high-value airline miles. By converting high-value UR or MR points to low-value Marriott points, we will most likely get less values or even pay more for Travel Package redemptions.

Finally, we would like to predict that after Marriott and SPG are fully merged to one program, the Marriott Travel Packages would get devaluated or even totally cancelled, as it is another way of performing devaluation of their points.

  • The Marriott Travel Packages program is the fifth flexible point system, in addition to the UR, MR, TYP and SPG.
  • The best-value Package needs 270,000 Marriott or 90,000 SPG points.
  • The best-value Package needs 225,000 Mariott or 75,000 SPG points with the refund of 7 free nights.
  • 120,000 airline miles (132,000 miles for UA) will be awarded by redemption of the best-value Package.
  • The SPG to non-UA miles ratio is 1.33, and 1.60 with the refund of the 7 free nights; The SPG to UA miles ratio is 1.47, and 1.76 with the refund of the 7 free nights.
  • Stacking with airline promos results in extra bonus miles, such as the AC promo which ends on April 17, 2017.
  • Airlines including UA, AA, AS, AC are highly recommended and DL and WN (RIP companion pass) are also recommended.
  • Five fast-track point accumulation ways: sign-up bonus, referral, hotel stay, points purchase, and points combination
  • Chase Marriott is offering the best-ever sign-up bonus! Amex SPG just ended but be on the look out for that huge 35K points offer! Furthermore, you can earn referral bonus from these cards.
  • For earning points from hotel stays, remember to stack with current SPG stay promo, Marriott stay promo, and Marriott membership referral bonus.
  • 30% off SPG point purchase is underway with 2.45 cpp price at 20,000-30,000 points, ending on April 30, 2017.
  • Always check shopping portals for extra cashback.
  • It is legitimate to combine points from different account for redeeming Travel Packages.
  • It is NOT recommended to convert UR or MR points or UA miles for redemption of Packages.
  • The future of Marriott Rewards Travel Package is vague.

Please comment below to ask any questions.

Q: Can we redeem the 5-night Travel Packages.

A: No, at the moment they are reserved for Marriott Vacation Club Owners. Some people got luck of redeeming 5-night package by calling Marriott overseas customer service, but YMMV. There is a rumor that it will open to everybody soon.

Q: Why did not you analyze the 5-night Packages?

A: With the refund of free nights, the SPG to miles ratios will not differ most likely for both 5-night and 7-night packages.

Q: I want to utilize my free night certificates. Can you recommend some hotels?

A: Yes! Just await the second episode of the Marriott Travel Packages series: Hotels recommended for free nights

Q: Can I upgrade to a higher category/tier of hotel after I purchase the package?

A: Yes! In fact, we encourage everyone to purchase the lowest tier as to use the least amount of points, and if you so desire you can upgrade with 30,000 Marriott (10,000 SPG) points per category/tier at a later date!

This is a translated article , please click “中文” at the top right corner of this page (desktop version) for the original Chinese version. The article is written by aleph, and translated by jldh8866.


Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card: Sleep Free Canada!

Marriott credit card benefitsThe Marriott Rewards Premier Visa card may look like any other credit card, but don’t kid yourself. It’s got beef.

While not as well know as some of Canada’s other travel rewards credit cards, we think it’s a hidden gem with some incredibly unique and attractive attributes that no other Canadian travel rewards cards match. Think no annual fee in the first year, 4 free nights welcome bonus, no foreign transaction fees and a free hotel night every year just for keeping your account open!

Not only that, with the recent acquisition of Starwood Hotels by Marriott, you can now transfer points from Marriott Reward to SPG, and vice versa, completely free, making it the largest hotel network in the world! The Marriott Rewards loyalty program has also received the highest satisfaction rating of all hotel loyalty programs worldwide by JD Powers – beating out the big names including Hyatt, Hilton and Fairmont.

Marriott Rewards – Premier For a Reason:

1. Sign-up Off er: The Marriott Rewards Premier card st arts off with a bang. Get 30,000 points, after using your card once. That’s a total of up to 4 free nights at a category 1 hotel. No minimum spend required! Buy a pack of gum and the 4 free nights are yours. That’s as easy as it gets.

2. No Foreign Transaction Fees: The Marriott Rewards card is the only travel card in Canada that does not charge a 2.5% foreign transaction fee. For those who travel, buy from U.S. websites, snowbirds, and entrepreneurs who use their credit card to buy goods from non-Canadian suppliers, this is a huge savings.

In fact, a no foreign transaction fee credit card is the cheapest foreign exchange method available, offering near perfect exchange rates, with no mark-up. The no-foreign transaction fees alone makes this the best credit card in Canada to make all of your foreign purchases with. Saving 2.5% on foreign exchange per dollar spent, is worth more than just about any rewards credit card earn rate, the majority of which earn somewhere between .75% to 1.5% per dollar spent.

3. Free Night Anniversary Bonus Every Year: Sweetening the pot even more, the Marriott Rewards card also gives you a FREE nights stay every year at a category 1-5 hotel, just for having the card. No minimum spend or balance required. A strong incentive to keep the card in your wallet.

4. First Year Annual Fee Waiver: Chase has waived the first year annual fee, a value of $120. E ven though there is an annual fee in years 2 and beyond, the free hotel night every year basically wipes out the cost of the annual fee and then some.

5. Elite Status: The Marriott Rewards card will automatically accelerate you to Silver Elite Status, by giving you 15 Nights Credit every year, which gets you that much closer to Gold Elite status. Among other benefits, Silver Elite members get a 20% bonus on base points earned during stays (equivalent to an additional 2 points per $1 spent), 10% discount on weekend prices and priority late checkout.

6. Ongoing Rewards: For every $1 spent, earn 5 points at more than 4,000 Marriott locations worldwide, 2 points on airline tickets purchases, restaurants and car rental agencies & 1 point everywhere else. The high earn rate at Marriott properties, makes the Marriott Rewards card a must-have for those who stay at Marriott hotels frequently (the 5 free nights sign-up bonuses make it a must-have for everyone else). We’ve seen better than 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases, but the value that distinguishes this card from the others is in the sign-up bonus, anniversary bonus, annual fee waiver and no fx fees.

7. Maximizing Point Redemption: There are several ways to maximize your point value when redeeming your Marriott Rewards points. Here’s the simplest. First, if you redeem for 4 nights, the fifth night is free, amounting to a 20% savings. Second, the PointSavers program offers a discount of up to 33% on points required to redeem at a rotating list of Marriott properties. Always check the list before you travel or plan ahead. Combined, that’s an additional 55% savings, essentially doubling the value of your points!

The Marriott Rewards Premier Visa Card is the best option as a primary card for heavy hotel users and foreign spenders that want to avoid the 2.5% foreign exchange fee. We would also recommend it as a great second or third card in wallet for everyone that can use a sign-up bonus of 4 free nights with no minimum spend requirement, spends the occasional amount of money outside of Canada and likes the idea of a free hotel night every year, not to mention the #1 ranked hotel loyalty program worldwide.

Marriott’s recent acquisitions of Starwood (Sheraton, Westin, W) and Delta Hotels, makes it the largest full service hotelier in Canada, offering cardholders more opportunities to redeem for the hotel of their choice than any other card in the world.

Loyalty points can be transferred from one program to the other easily, giving you the largest selection of hotels to redeem for a free nights stay worldwide.

If you’re a big SPG fan, you should definitely get the Marriott credit card. You’ll be able to transfer the 30,000 Marriott welcome bonus points to SPG at a rate of 1:3, giving you a free 10,000 SPG Starpoints.

That’s why the Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Visa card get’s a huge thumbs up from us. It hits on all counts. With a huge sign-up bonus worth over $550, and no annual fee in the first year, it makes trying the card out risk-free and a no-brainer – whether your collecting Marriott Rewards or SPG Starpoints!