*Please note: As of 09/11/2017 it appears that Chase is no longer accepting applications for the Marriott Rewards Visa. We’ve sent an inquiry to Chase in an attempt to confirm or correct our presumption. We will update this article as soon as we hear back from them, but for now we can only recommend the Rogers Mastercard for avoiding foreign transaction fees.
The 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 Offer: The Marriott Rewards Premier card starts 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. Even 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!