195,500 Marriott points. Strike now?

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Last week, Marriott introduced a new 100,000 point offer for their Marriott Rewards Business card.  When combined with the current offer for the personal Marriott card, it’s possible to rack up a huge number of points quickly.

195,500 Marriott

Offer Details

Both offers can be found on our Best Offers Page:

  • Business card: Earn 100,000 bonus points after $5,000 spend in 3 months. $99 annual fee is not waived for the first year.
  • Personal card: Earn up to 87,500 bonus points. $85 annual fee is not waived for the first year.
    • Earn 80,000 bonus points after $3,000 spend in 3 months
    • Earn 7,500 bonus points for adding an authorized user

If you sign up for both cards: After adding an authorized user to the personal card, paying the annual fees, and meeting minimum spend requirements (remember that the annual fee does not count towards minimum spend), you should end up with:

  • Total spend: $8,000
  • Total fees: $184
  • Total points earned from spend (assuming no spend is in 2X or 5X bonus categories): 8,000
  • Total bonus points: 187,500
  • Total points overall: 195,500

Why strike now?

There are several reasons why I think this is a great time to go for these offers:

  • Both offers are the highest we’ve seen.  It’s unlikely that they’ll increase these offers, and pretty likely that the offers will decrease.
  • Chase has not yet implemented their dreaded 5/24 rule for business or co-branded cards.  If you have opened 5 or more credit card accounts in the past 24 months, you should still be able to qualify for these cards, but that could change at any time.  See: Chase calls an end to the game. Should we seek quick wins or long term benefits?
  • Marriott’s acquisition of Starwood may create short term opportunities.  For example, if Marriott allows moving points between programs, even a 2 to 1 ratio (2 Marriott points to 1 Starwood Starpoint) would represent great value.  There’s absolutely no guarantee that anything like this will happen, but I think it makes sense to be ready with a stash of points just in case.

How good are these offers?

A common signup bonus for hotel branded cards these days is for 2 free nights rather than points.  Both of the Marriott cards offer enough points (after meeting minimum spend requirements) to stay two nights at a top-tier Marriott property (which requires 45,000 points per night), but points are more valuable because they are much more flexible.  Unlike free night certificates, points do not need to be used in the first year, they can be used for more than 2 nights if applied to lower category properties, and can even be used for other purposes altogether such as buying travel packages or converting points directly to airline miles.

Marriott’s travel packages, in my opinion, are the best use of Marriott points (see: Analysis of Marriott Travel Packages: 5 Night vs. 7 Night).  If a couple were to apply for 3 or 4 of these cards, they could easily afford to purchase a package consisting of 5 to 7 nights at Marriott and 120,000 airline miles (or 132,000 United miles if they prefer).  One of the best options is to get Southwest points from the travel package in order to qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass.  After earning 110,000 Southwest points in one calendar year, your companion can fly free with you on all flights for the rest of that year and all of the next.

Note regarding the Southwest Companion Pass: A somewhat easier way to get the Companion Pass quickly is to sign up for two 50K Southwest credit card offers and then spend a total of $10,000 across the two cards.

Note regarding 5 Night Travel Packages: Officially, 5 Night Packages are available only to Marriott Vacation Club owners (e.g. timeshare owners), but many people have had luck getting Marriott representatives to make an exception for them.  That said, I’ve heard from at least three people who say that they’ve called many times, and talked with many supervisors, and have not had any luck getting a 5 Night package.

Requesting a 100K match

My wife and I each signed up for the personal and business cards in March (See: Chasing 395,000 points. Final results).  At the time, the business card offer was for 80,000 points after $3,000 spend.  When the new 100K offer appeared, we immediately logged into our Chase accounts to request that they match us to the 100K offer.  Chase will usually do this if the request is made within 90 days of applying.  Our request was 71 days after applying, so we should be fine.  If you’re in a similar situation, I highly recommend requesting a match right away (assuming you’re OK with spending another $2,000 to get the bonus points).

Two days after sending the message we each received a positive response that read, in part:

Your current enrollment offer is to receive 80,000 points
if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
from account opening.

We’re pleases [sic] to be able to match another enrollment offer
to receive 100,000 points if you spend $5,000 on purchases
in the first 3 months from account opening.

Here’s what you need to do next:

Spend $5,000 within the first 3 months of opening your
account and then,

You need to contact us through the secure website to
process your request for the additional points. They will
not post without this second contact after the $5000 spend
is met..

Great!

Combined Credit Inquiries?

Whenever I apply for 2 Chase cards in one day (even if one is a personal card, and one is business), I’ve found that the credit inquiries have combined into one.  That is, within a single credit bureau, I might temporarily see two inquiries, but the bureau has always combined those inquiries into one after the fact.  This is great because, for those who always pay their bills on time, one of the few downsides to opening additional cards is the temporary hit to your credit score caused by “hard pulls” (credit inquiries).  When inquiries are combined into one, the “cost” of multiple applications (to your credit score) is about the same as for a single application.

It is important to note that some readers have reported different experiences.  Some have reported that personal and business inquiries were not combined on their credit reports.  Banks often make credit inquiries to different bureaus in different regions of the country.  So, it may be that the details of the inquiries differ as well, and that may lead to different results for different people who apply.

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