The 150,000 point offer everyone should avoid

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Last fall, Marriott began advertising a so-called 150,000 point offer for their Marriott Rewards Premier credit card.  The offer was so clearly inferior to the public 80K offer that I never even wrote about it.  To my surprise, I learned recently that Chase and Marriott are still trying to sucker people in with this offer…

Marriott 150,000 point offer

False Advertising?

First I want to point out that this ad is terribly misleading.  It clearly says that you can “Earn up to 150,000 BONUS POINTS“.  But the offer details (which I preserved here) say that you’ll earn a total of 5 points per dollar on all purchases within your first year up to $30,000.  And the offer details clearly indicate that those 5 points per dollar are a combination of base points (that you would have earned anyway) plus bonus points.  For example, if you use the card to purchase groceries, you’ll usually earn just 1 point per dollar (since grocery is not a bonus category for this card), but while this offer is active you’ll earn the usual 1 point per dollar plus 4 bonus points per dollar.  Or if you use the card to purchase airline tickets, you’ll usually earn 2 points per dollar, but while this offer is active you’ll earn the usual 2 points per dollar plus 3 bonus points per dollar.

My point is this: with $30K spend, you can, at most, earn 4 x 30,000 = 120,000 BONUS POINTS.  The other 30,000 points cannot reasonably be called bonus points.  Unless I misread the offer, the headline saying that you can earn up to 150,000 BONUS POINTS is simply false.

Why no one should apply for this offer

The standard public offer for this same card is 80,000 bonus points (and these are real bonus points) after $3K spend.

Marriott Rewards Premier 80K Offer

Both offers will give you an additional 7,500 Bonus Points for adding an authorized user and making a purchase in the first 3 months, so that does not differentiate the two offers.  And, both offers result in you getting the same card with the same bonus categories.

The difference is that the standard offer only requires $3K spend while the so-called 150K offer requires $30K spend to maximize it.   If you were to spend only $3K with the “150K” offer, you would get only 15,000 points.

What if you really want 150,000 points?

A few readers have mentioned that they have no trouble manufacturing spend and they’re working towards getting a Marriott Travel Package so they could really use those 150,000 points.  Even then, you could easily do better.  Here are a number of ways that you could earn 150,000 or more Marriott points for less than $30K spend:

  • $6K spend to get 160K points: You could sign up for both the Marriott personal 80K offer and Marriott business 80K offer in order to get a total of 160,000 bonus points after only $6K spend.

Since SPG points transfer to Marriott 1 to 3, there are many ways to get 150,000 Marriott points more easily than spending $30K on the lame Marriott 150K offer:

  • $25K spend to get 150K points: If you already have an SPG card, then you could get the first 83K from the standard Marriott signup offer, and the additional 67K from just over $22K spend on your SPG card.  Your total spend, then, would be about $25K rather than $30K with the “150K” offer.
  • $15K spend to get 150K points: With either the SPG personal 35K offer or SPG business 35K offer, you could sign up and spend a total of $15,000.  This way you’ll earn a total of 50,000 SPG points
  • $13K spend to get 249K points: If you sign up for both the SPG personal 35K offer and the SPG business 35K offer you would end up with at least 83,000 SPG points after meeting spend requirements.  Those 83,000 SPG points = 249,000 Marriott points!
  • $8K spend to get 203K points: You could sign up for both the Marriott 80K offer and the SPG personal 35K offer.  After meeting spend requirements, you would have at least 83K + 120K = 203,000 Marriott points!

Summary

The Marriott Premier credit card’s 150,000 point offer is a bad deal.  If you need 150,000 Marriott points, there are many easier ways to get them.

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