This is the time of year that is bittersweet for me — the holidays, and the maintenance fees. If you aren’t paying your maintenance fees with a Marriott credit card, may I suggest you consider doing it this year? Let me give you the details of the Marriott cards available and the benefits and risks of each.
|Chase Marriott Bonvoy Bold Card||Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card||American Express Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card|
|30,000 bonus points after you make $1000 on purchases in the first 3 months||75,000 bonus points after you spend $3000 on purchases in the first 3 months||100,000 bonus points after you spend $5000 on purchases in the first 3 months|
|Additional 25,000 bonus points on anniversary date|
|3 X points on Marriott spending||6 X points on Marriott spending||6 X points on Marriott spending|
|2 X points on other travel charges||2 X points on other travel charges||3 X points at restaurants|
|1 point on all other purchases||2 X points on all other purchases||2 X points on all other purchases|
|15 Elite night credits||15 Elite night credits||15 Elite night credits|
|Silver Elite Status||Silver Elite Status||Platinum Elite Status for 2021|
|No foreign transaction fees||No foreign transaction fees||No foreign transaction fees|
|Free night on anniversary up to 35,000 points value||Free night on anniversary up to 50,000 points value|
|Priority Pass Select (unlimited visits to over 1200 lounges at airports.|
|Free credit for global entry or TSA Pre-Check|
|No Annual Fee||$95 Annual||$450 Annual Fee|
|$300 statement credit for $300 Marriott purchases|
What does all this mean? Let me give you an example to see why you want to pay your maintenance fees with a Marriott credit card. Let’s say you get the American Express Brilliant Card. You get 100,000 Bonvoy points at the get-go. Use your card to pay your maintenance fees — gives you at least an extra month to hang onto that money. Let’s say you have $5,000 maintenance fees. That qualifies you for an additional 30,000 Bonvoy points (5,000 X 6). That also gives you a $300 statement credit to be used towards your $450 annual fee, making this $150. Plus you have Platinum Elite status for the entire 2021 year — this is a HUGE perk!
What does Platinum Elite status get you? Marriott Bonvoy™ Platinum Elite status entitles you to earn 15 points for every $1 you spend at Marriott hotels (10 base points and 50% bonus on the points you earn), in additional to the points you earn on your Marriott credit card. You’ll receive lounge access at certain Marriott hotels like JW Marriott, Marriott Hotels, Sheraton, Delta Hotels, Le Méridien, Westin, Autograph Collection and Renaissance Hotels. But do your homework — lounge access may not be available at other luxury hotels like Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis. And with Platinum Elite status, you can request an even later checkout time of 4 p.m. You may also be able to request a room upgrade to select suites with Suite Night Awards. Once again, though, both of these features are based on availability. When you check in to a Marriott hotel, you’ll receive a welcome gift in the form of breakfast, points, or $25 to $100 in compensation. While lower membership levels only guarantee your reservation, Platinum Elite members receive a room type guarantee with a reservation. If the type of room you booked is not available, you could be compensated up to $100.
Not to mention the Free credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check!!! Who doesn’t want that? AND . . . a free night at a Category 6 or 7 hotel (worth up to 50,000 Bonvoy points).
Bottom line, in this example, by paying your maintenance fees with the American Express Brilliant Card, you will get all these perks PLUS have 150,000 Bonvoy points, if you don’t use your card for any other purchases!!!
What does 150,000 Bonvoy points get you? How about 5 nights at the beautiful resort in Miami shown below?
Or how about TWO round-trip tickets from Seattle to Honolulu for 130,000 Bonvoy points (Hawaiian Airlines or Alaska Airlines).
You can plug in the appropriate corresponding numbers of either of the Chase Cards as well to see how that compares and decide which card is best for you. Currently the best introductory awards is the American Express Brilliant Card. It does have a higher annual fee of $150 ($450 annual fee minus the $300 Marriott purchase credit) vs the $95 Chase Boundless card. But the huge point bonuses, the higher point free night, and the Titanium Elite status, Global Entry or Pre-check . . . . well you get the idea — makes this card the best value. And keep in mind, this is all for only paying your maintenance fees with your credit card! If you use it for other purchases, the Bonvoy points will increase even more! Since you are paying for your maintenance fees anyway, why not get an extra trip and lots of perks while you do it!
To check out the Chase Marriott Cards, you can go here:
To check out the American Express Card, you can go here:
Or go directly to the website if you don’t want to use the referral links above.