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Should I ditch my Marriott Visa

cp73

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I have been thinking about not using my Marriott Visa anymore because I think for me there are better alternatives. My typical use of the points in the past have been to take a 7 day Hotel stay and go to Hawaii for a week. Today this costs 150,000 points. Its a stay worth about $1750 using discounted hotel rates that are available. This equates to about $.0116 per point. I have not purchased the package with airfaire because from California we have been able to get flights for around $400 each or less. Through purchases and occassional Marriott stays (2 nights a year at most) I have accmulated about 425,000 now. My wife has no desire to go to Europe or travel around the world so I see no potential use of an extended trip to Europe using points traveling first class.

The alternative is to use my American Express from Costco. This card pays a 3% rebate for gas, 2% rebate for travel, restaurants, and 1% for everything else. The card is also free.

I guess if I look at this from a truly dollars and sense point of view the AE card is a better way to go. Also I purchased resale so I will not be trading my week for points.

Any thoughts? What card do you use?
 
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csalter2

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It Depends

Hi Chris,

You're a fellow neighbor (I live in Mission Viejo) and Marriott owner. I say it depends. I don't know what your situation is to say which way you should go. If you are a 40 or 50 something, you don't know what you may want to do a few years down the road. You may pick up golf as a hobby and want to suddenly golf all of the great courses in the world and then Europe may be a part of the equation. Then you may wish you had those Marriott points. You may have grandkids and you may want to stay in that hotel close by to them if there is no timeshare available. You just don't know what the future holds. 425,000 points can certainly get you to a lot of places. You could have a daughter who is going to need to have a honeymoon and you might wish you had those points to use to give them that nice package. It all depends.

I did not know that Costco gave American Express cards out for free. I am going to have to call them because I pay for mine each year. I suggest that you keep your Visa even if you decide not to use it because it could possibly have a negative impact on your credit rating if it significantly impacts your debt to credit ratio.

Also, remember Marriott also let's you use your points for household appliances and other stuff like plasma screens and a host of other items. If you did not know that you could go to marriottrewards.com that shows all of the stuff you can trade your points for.

My suggestion is to keep your options open. You never know.
 

MikeM132

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The card with the biggest rebate I've found is the GM card. 5% on everything, but the "money" is only good on a new GM car, and they also limit how much of it you can use on any given car. I've saved several thousand dollars on cars using that card. I also have the Marriott card I use when I get my GM "money" balance up enough. The black Marriott card is also a good deal, if only for the free hotel each year (one cat 5 night for the 65.00 fee---good deal in my opinion).
 

UWSurfer

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I use my Costco Amex for as much as I can and prefer the cash back.

I've also got an HHonors Visa I use when I'm someplace which won't take the Amex. It accumulates HHonors (Hilton) points for stays. Not something I use alot, but given the variety of brands the HHonors points are good for, I can usually get a free night or two near a triathalon venue or other location I'd be just as happy not to need to spend cash.
 

MOXJO7282

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I have 3 cards. I love the Amex clear blue, which gives me 5% on food, gas and drug stores. That nets me about $900 a year in a rebate. I then use the Costco Amex at Costco for the 2% and restaurants for which I get 3%. The Marriott visa is used for anything Marriott, mostly MFs, which for me is about $10K now, and on anything that doesn't take Amex.

Regards.
Joe
 

davidvel

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I did not know that Costco gave American Express cards out for free. I am going to have to call them because I pay for mine each year.
The card is free for Executive members. Maybe you are not an executive member?
 

csalter2

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The card is free for Executive members. Maybe you are not an executive member?
I am an Executive member, but I have had my AX card prior to that. I never inquired about it since I already had it. It's probably too late to go back and do anything about it now.
 

UWSurfer

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I had the classic green card for lots of years as well. We did the executive membership when they did the math for us and we got back more in cash back than the bump in membership cost.

When we added the Costco Platinum card, both showed up on my on-line statement. The basic difference were two: Classic green cost a fee each year, but if you were late paying there wasn't any interest rate set for it. You were expected to pay it off in full each month. They would make threats but at least at the time no interest.

The Costco version is due after x many days and then interest is applied to a revolving balance like other credit cards. There's no annual fee for the card and we simply treat it like a green card, paying off the balance in full each month. It's worked out very nicely for us.
 

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We have the Delta Skymiles AMEX card and are very happy with it. We get most of our airfare from this card and Delta flies everywhere. Everything else goes on our one other credit card which is the Marriott Visa.
 

davidvel

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I am an Executive member, but I have had my AX card prior to that. I never inquired about it since I already had it. It's probably too late to go back and do anything about it now.
I believe it is a different card. Just sign up for the executive level card and then cancel your other one.
 

Cathyb

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UW: Is the Amex card the same card that goes for Starwood points when you pay the Costco bill?
 

andrea t

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We have the Delta Skymiles AMEX card and are very happy with it. We get most of our airfare from this card and Delta flies everywhere. Everything else goes on our one other credit card which is the Marriott Visa.

Same here.
 

dougef

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1st - The Costco Amex is free for ANY Costco member. As long as you remain a Costco member you can keep the card. It pays 3% on dining and gas, 2% on travel and 1% on all else. They send a rebate "check" in February. The check may be used or cashed at Cosco. I use this card for all of my gas and restaurant charges.

I also have the Marriott Visa - the newer more expensive one. I basically only use it at Marriott for the 5 MR points per dollar. Between my Timeshare stays, Marriott hotel stays and paying the annual maintenance fees and lock-off fees etc., plus the annual free night certificate, it is worth keeping. IMO.
 

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I few months ago I started looking into credit card options. I looked around and decided on the AMEX Blue cash rebate card (5% cash back, no limit). Marriott gives a free night hotel, but there were not many places that it could be used. I agree with your analysis of the points, and we have more points than we use.
 

LAX Mom

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I love Marriott points and I love my Marriott VISA!! My husband and I have separate cards and use them for most purchases.

I also have a Costco AMEX card that gives me a 5% rebate on gas purchases. We use the AMEX at Costco and for gas. DH buys way too much gas (too many motorized toys), but at least we get a rebate!!
 

Darlene

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Yes, there are literally hundreds of hotels in the 1-5 catagory, but they do not all accept the certificate since it is issued by Chase not Marriott. If you have luck using the certificate that's great. I go every year to a conference and stay at the Courtyard or Residence (in the big city of Provo, Utah) and they will not accept it. We tried to use in Hawaii, and there were no catagory 1-5 hotels.
 

winger

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Yes, there are literally hundreds of hotels in the 1-5 catagory, but they do not all accept the certificate since it is issued by Chase not Marriott. ....
Funny I happened to call Chase today to ask about when our annual anniversary hotel certif would come out - it will be next mo in Oct, but the rep says Marriott issues and manages it.
 

csalter2

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Be Careful

Yes, there are literally hundreds of hotels in the 1-5 catagory, but they do not all accept the certificate since it is issued by Chase not Marriott. If you have luck using the certificate that's great. I go every year to a conference and stay at the Courtyard or Residence (in the big city of Provo, Utah) and they will not accept it. We tried to use in Hawaii, and there were no catagory 1-5 hotels.
There may be some blackout dates that may be due to a lack of availability, but they usually accept them. I have used a few of them with no problem. You have to be careful too, because some hotels like Courtyard that may be a category 5 in some locations may be a Category 6 in another.
 

DeniseM

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UW: Is the Amex card the same card that goes for Starwood points when you pay the Costco bill?
Cathy - Costco has their own AMEX card, only the Starwood AMEX card earns Starpoints.
 

LAX Mom

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Yes, there are literally hundreds of hotels in the 1-5 catagory, but they do not all accept the certificate since it is issued by Chase not Marriott. If you have luck using the certificate that's great. I go every year to a conference and stay at the Courtyard or Residence (in the big city of Provo, Utah) and they will not accept it. We tried to use in Hawaii, and there were no catagory 1-5 hotels.
Darlene-

I haven't used these in Provo, but I had no trouble in Park City or the SLC City Center hotel. It shows up in your Marriott account as a 1 night, category 1-5 certificate. You can make a reservation and attach the cert. right then. It's just the same as booking a room using points for a "standard stay award".

I've never heard of Marriott hotels that don't accept the Marriott reward points for a stay. Is it possible that you were trying to book a room during a black-out date, or only "stay anytime" rates were available? The certificate has to be used with a reservation made on a "standard reward".

The terms & conditions don't list exclusions for Courtyard or Residence Inn.

https://www.marriott.com/rewards/terms/default.mi
Marriott Hotel Brands Participating in Marriott Rewards:
Marriott Hotels & Resorts - all locations
JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts - all locations
Renaissance Hotels & Resorts - all locations
Fairfield Inn/Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott - all locations
SpringHill Suites by Marriott - all locations
Courtyard by Marriott - all locations
Residence Inn by Marriott - all locations except:
Inn at Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, FL
TownePlace Suites by Marriott - all locations
Marriott Vacation Club International - all locations except:
Marriott's StreamSide Evergreen, Vail, CO
Marriott's StreamSide Douglas, Vail, CO
Marriott's StreamSide Birch, Vail, CO
47 Park Street - Marriott Grand Residence Club, UK
Horizons by Marriott Vacation Club - all locations
Marriott Conference Centers - all locations except:
Aspen Wye River Conference Center, Queenstown, MD (participates as an earnings location only)
NCED Marriott Conference Center, Oklahoma City, OK
Jesse H. Jones Rotary House Conference Center, Houston, TX
 

pcgirl54

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I have had a Marriott Visa credit card for years and thought of closing it period to eliminate another credit card We have had an Amex Preferred Gold for many years that we use for gas and groceries. Since we bought a Marriott resale I do not get points. However not all vendors accept Amex due the the higher fees charged retailers by Amex. I have found this more so with the current economy where I have encounted some frowns from gas station owners when asked if they accept Amex. IMHO-I would rather gain than lose a customer.

Last year I got a Starwood Amex to keep our travel charges seperate from Amex Gold S& T. Starwood Amex is highly rated and I wanted to try starpoints since they never expire. I am not a Starwood TS owner. Normally we stay at Marriotts to earn points but this year we have stayed at several Starwood resorts using starpoints plus cash. This came out to a better deal than using points only or cash and I really enjoyed our Westin stays.

I also like the Amex travel site where I can use points like cash to book airfare on most airlines. It is painless and you earn FF miles since it is viewed as a cash transaction.

CP73- why not put the credit card away for 6 months and see if you find you need it. You still can spend down the points and take some nice trips with the 425k points. Just use the Costco Amex in the mean time.
 

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Hi Chris-

I've posted this elsewhere but it answers your question so here we go again.

When I look at the Cash Back cards, I never get excited. It's not even real Cash Back - it's usually a credit towards your account. Now think of how much you would get back in a year. I suppose you could take those dollars and put them in a separate account but I'd guess few people do that.

The rewards cards, on the other hand, provide me with experiences I wouldn't trade for anything. I have both Marriott and Starwood timeshares and my personal experience is that Starwood FAR outperforms the Marriott Visa. Why?

First and most important of all, Marriott has those awful Stay Anytime rewards - we'll let you stay whenever you want but it will cost twice as many points. With Starwood, if a standard room is available, it's yours. If not, they will usually book you into a better room for slightly more points (happened to me at a Starwood category 5 - usually 12,000 points per night and fifth night free, but they booked me into an upgraded room for an additional 1,500 points per night - Marriott would have charged twice the rate!).

When I started with these cards, Starwood redemptions were much much lower. Altho there have been devaluations, I think it still has the edge. A few years ago we went to Hawaii and spent 5 nights at the Ritz in Maui an d 5 nights at the Princeville in Kauai - simliar hotels. The Ritz cost 150,000 Marriott points but Princeville was only 48,000 Starwood points. So if you're charging dollar for dollar, you got more vacation time using the Starwood AMEX.

With the exception of United and Continental, Starwood points transfer to airlines at a normal rate of 20,000 Starpoints = 25,000 miles! That's a 25% bonus. Try that with Marriott Rewards. Coming from NJ, I find Continental awful on points - either the flights are so cheap that who would want to use them, or they charge double and it's an awful redemption. Case in point - this summer we flew Business Class on points to Rome. Continental wanted 250,000 per person. We went with British Air for 80,000 points per person, 160,000 total, but with the redemption bonus mentioned above, it only cost me 130,000 Starpoints - a little more than half the cost of one ticket on CO!

The ONLY think I use my Marriott Rewards card for now is for the few times I stay at a Marriott. As a Starwood Platinum Elite, I spend most of my time in their hotels and love the perks it comes with.
 
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winger

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whats it take to 'earn' one star point? is it one pt for one dollar spent ?
 

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Yes - except when used at Starwood properties. Then it's two. And that's why I still hold the Marriott Visa for when I stay at a Marriott. But regular purchases where both Marriott Visa and Starwood AMEX give 1 point per dollar, I find I get MUCH more bang for the buck at Starwood.
 
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