Do You Know Which Card Is Best For Marriott and Starwood Stays?

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The Marriott-Starwood merger created lots of opportunities for great deals on award stays And it has made earnings on certain Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, and Starwood credit card purchases even better!

Do You Know Which Card Is Best For Marriott And Starwood Stays
Earn Bonus Points When You Use Your Marriott Credit Card at Starwood Hotels, Like the St. Regis Princeville in Kauai, Hawaii

Million Mile Secret Agent Brett asked:

Will I get double points if I book a stay at a Ritz-Carlton hotel and pay with the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express?

And Million Mile Secret Agent Misty wanted to know:

Do you need both the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express and the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card?

So let’s take a look at the benefits of the Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, and Starwood credit cards.  And which card is best to use for your Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, or Starwood hotel stays!

The Best Card for Earning Marriott or Starwood Points

AMEX Starwood credit cards will earn the most points per $1 spent at Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, or Starwood hotels.

Do You Know Which Card Is Best For Marriott And Starwood Stays
AMEX Starwood Credit Cards Earn 6 Marriott Points per $1 Spent at Marriott Hotels, Like the Courtyard Denver Downtown

Starwood points convert to Marriott points at a 1:3 ratio.  And you’ll earn 2 Starwood points (6 Marriott points) per $1 spent at participating Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, and Starwood locations.  With the Marriott credit cards, you’ll only earn 5 Marriott points per $1 spent at Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, or Starwood hotels.

Note:   Marriott and Ritz-Carlton are part of the same hotel chain and rewards program, just with different branding.

Here are the bonuses of the Starwood and Marriott credit cards.

What You Get With the Chase Marriott Cards

Link:   Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card

Link:   Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card

Link:   Marriott Rewards Premier Business Credit Card

 

The Marriott credit cards are issued by Chase, which has strict application rules.  But the good news is the Chase Marriott Business and Ritz-Carlton Rewards cards are NOT impacted by the “5/24” rule.

Because Marriott and Ritz-Carlton are part of the same rewards program, the credit cards earn 5 Marriott points per $1 spent at participating Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, and Starwood hotels.  But that’s not the only benefit to having and using these cards.

With the Chase Marriott Rewards Premier card, you’ll also get:

  • 80,000 Marriott points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • 5 Marriott points per $1 spent at participating Marriott & Starwood locations
  • 2 Marriott points per $1 spent on airline tickets purchased directly with the airline, at car rental agencies, and restaurants
  • 1 Marriott point per $1 on all other purchases
  • A free night certificate at a Category 1 to 5 Marriott hotel every account anniversary
  • 15 elite night credits every account anniversary (enough for Silver elite status!)
  • 1 elite night credit for each $3,000 in purchases and no limit to the number of elite night credits you can earn
  • 7,500 Marriott points after adding your first authorized user and making a purchase within the first 3 months of account opening

The $85 annual fee is waived the first year.

And the Chase Marriott Rewards Business card comes with:

  • 80,000 Marriott points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • 5 Marriott points per $1 spent at participating Marriott & Starwood locations
  • 2 Marriott points per $1 spent on airline tickets purchased directly with the airline, at car rental agencies, restaurants, and office supply stores, and for internet, cable, and phone services
  • 1 Marriott point per $1 on all other purchases
  • A free night certificate at a Category 1 to 5 Marriott hotel every account anniversary
  • 15 elite night credits every account anniversary (enough for Silver elite status!)
  • 1 elite night credit for each $3,000 in purchases and no limit to the number of elite night credits you can earn
  • Earn Gold elite status after spending $50,000 on purchases each account year

There’s a $99 annual fee which is NOT waived the first year.

Do You Know Which Card Is Best For Marriott And Starwood Stays
You Could Use the Free Night Certificate From Your Marriott Rewards Credit Card at the Renaissance Austin Hotel, Which Can Cost $300+ a Night!

The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® credit card gets you:

  • 2 complimentary nights at participating Ritz-Carlton tier 1 to 4 hotels after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • 5 Marriott points per $1 spent at participating Marriott & Starwood locations
  • 2 Marriott points per $1 on airline tickets purchased directly with the airline and at car rental agencies, and restaurants
  • 1 Marriott point per $1 on all other purchases
  • $300 annual travel credit to use for qualifying airline purchases such as seat upgrades, baggage fees, and preferred lounge memberships or passes
  • $100 Global Entry fee reimbursement
  • Free Priority Pass Select membership
  • Gold elite status your first year, and every account year you spend $10,000 on purchases
  • Platinum elite status after spending $75,000 on purchases each account year
  • 10,000 Marriott points after adding your first authorized user and making a purchase within the first 3 months of account opening

The $450 annual fee is NOT waived the first year.

The Marriott Rewards Premier, Marriott Rewards Business and Ritz-Carlton Rewards credit cards are great if you plan on putting a lot of spending on your credit card, or you value elite status.  Plus, your Marriott status will match instantly with Starwood!

Team member Joseph keeps the Marriott Rewards Premier card every year, because the annual Category 1 to 5 free night certificate more than makes up for the annual fee.  But it’s important to know you can only redeem the free night certificates from the Marriott credit cards at Marriott hotels.  And free nights earned with the Ritz-Carlton credit card can only be used at Ritz-Carlton hotels.

About the AMEX Starwood Cards

Link:   Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express

Link:   Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express

You can only earn the bonus on AMEX cards once per lifetime per card.  So if you’ve previously had the AMEX Starwood personal card, you could still earn the bonus on the business version, or vice-versa.

Both Starwood cards earn 2 Starwood points per $1 spent at Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, and Starwood hotels.  With the AMEX Starwood Preferred Guest personal card you’ll also get:

  • 25,000 Starwood points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • 2 Starwood points per $1 spent at participating Marriott & Starwood hotels
  • 1 Starwood point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Elite credit for 2 stays and 5 nights each account anniversary
  • Terms Apply

The $95 annual fee is waived the first year.

And the AMEX Starwood Preferred Guest Business card comes with:

  • 25,000 Starwood points after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • 2 Starwood points per $1 spent at participating Marriott & Starwood hotels
  • 1 Starwood point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Elite credit for 2 stays and 5 nights each account anniversary
  • Sheraton club lounge access
  • Free unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi
  • Gold elite status after spending $30,000 on purchases in a calendar year
  • Terms Apply

There’s a $95 annual fee, but it’s waived the first year.

If you have both the business and personal version of the AMEX Starwood cards, you’ll get elite credit for 4 stays and 10 nights.  Which is almost halfway to Gold elite status!

Bottom Line

The Marriott-Starwood merger created some great deals on hotel award nights.  And if you have a credit card with one hotel chain, you’re able to earn bonus points on your spending at participating locations with both chains!

With the Marriott Rewards Premier, Marriott Rewards Business, or Ritz-Carlton Rewards credit cards, you’ll earn 5 Marriott points per $1 spent at participating Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, and Starwood locations.

But because Starwood points transfer to Marriott at a 1:3 ratio, I recommending using one of the AMEX Starwood cards for all of your Marriott or Starwood stays.  Because you’ll get 2 Starwood points per $1 at participating Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, and Starwood locations, which is equal to 6 Marriott points!

Having fun using all those extra points, Misty and Brett!

Million Mile Secrets is a contributor to Million Mile Secrets, he covers topics on points and miles, credit cards, airlines, hotels, and general travel.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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