Is the Marriott Rewards card the right card for a newbie who's plans are to fly business with his wife? Any other cards I should look into?
It is the right card to use for paying for Marriott hotel stays. As a general travel rewards card though I would use a Chase sapphire. Chase ultimate rewards is consistently rated the best travel rewards program. Chase ultimate rewards points are worth more than marriott rewards points. Both the Sapphire and Marriott cards earn 2 x points on dining and travel, so with the ultimate rewards points worth more it provides a better return. The only situation in which the Marriott card wins is for Marriott stays in which it pays 5 x points. I use the Marriott card for Marriott hotel stays and the Sapphire for dining and all other travel expense for maximum gains.
I also travel for business with my wife and combine the use of the Sapphire Reserve and Marriott cards on all trips.
I would recommend getting Chase Sapphire Reserve. CSR allows you to get 3X points for travel, flights, hotel, and food.
I use CSR for flights, hotel, and food. I stay at Marriott pretty much exclusive and just collect the stay points. Once you make platinum, Marriott gives you 15X.
I did this to us to get a "balanced number" of points. I use Chase points for free flights/upgrades and I use Marriott points for free hotel rooms.
I would have to say sapphire preferred could be a better option based on spending patterns.
The reserve card has a pretty hefty annual fee 450$ + 75 $ for each authorized user where as preferred has only 95$ with no additional fees for authorized users.
The reserve card does come with a 300 $ annual credit which cushions the annual fee but you will have to spend atleast an additional $5500 every year on travel and dining to justify the high annual fees and add $7500 more for every authorized user. Granted there is priority pass benefit but it depends on the usage.
Since the sign up bonus is same for both - actually preferred has extra 5k for authorized users which reserve does not - see your spending patterns and pick your card.
If you are paying an annual fee on a card you should get benefits which outweigh the fee else you are just wasting money.
This is my breakdown on the two cards. I had preferred before i got the reserve.
You're right... the preferred is $95/year. 2X bonus on travel/hotel/dining.
Reserve is $450/year. Here is where it gets interesting.... $300 credit drops you down to $150/year. so technically, you're only paying a $55 difference between getting a preferred card vs reserve. The extra $55 gives you 3x on flights/hotel/dining, priority pass. Depending on your spending habits, IMHO $55 is a very small price to pay for the additional benefits.
I had the preferred till last year but when the bonus was 100k for the reserve my wife got the reserve and I downgraded to freedom card.
With the same bonus for both the cards and additional household members it comes down to spending patterns as they changed the rules to limit the $300 credit to cardmember year instead of calendar year.
The barclays arrival card also gets you 2% cash back on travel with no annual fee and 5% additional cash back if you redeem for travel expenses - albeit no transfer partners.
Again it all depends on one's spending patterns. You got to do the math and see which card is perfect fit for you.
Of course if you favor a particular airline, you may want to consider a credit card that earns airline miles. I think it's fair to assume that a lot of folks on this forum may have different ideas about what they consider the "best" credit card is for travel rewards, each based on his/her own experiences. As a newbie myself, I'm having difficulty understanding where best to find value that works for me. As I currently understand it, earning the points is only half of the equation. To really make it work, you must also consider how you will redeem your points.
I like my Marriott credit card because it's points are pretty straightforward. Could I earn more value by using a credit card with a flexible points currency? Most likely the answer is yes, but I'm a little nervous about committing to an annual fee for something so abstract that I don't yet fully understand. Whenever I eventually decide to try a credit card with a flexible points currency, Ill need to make sure that I'm able to use the points in a way that offsets any annual fee I might have to pay. In the meantime, I'm looking closely at my spending patterns and travel patterns to help me decide what is likely to work best.
Picking up the Marriott credit card earlier this year made a lot of sense to me since I am always staying at some category 1-5 Marriott hotel each year. I pay the $85 annual fee, but I stay at least once per year at a property that costs about $130/night. Once my anniversary date hits, I'll have a certificate that I can redeem for that stay. So I look at my Marriott credit card as a $45/year savings with added perks.
I think the Chase Marriott card is definitely worth the annual free. In addition to the free cat 1-5 certificate you also get 15 nights of credit each year. I use the card to pay for hotel stays only and then use Amex for other everyday stuff. Sapphire cards are probably better, but I've been with Amex so long I can't switch now.
Check out Ask Sebby and Credit Shifu on YouTube for great reviews and suggestions to maximize credit cards.
A place where the Marriott card alone is advisable is if you are interested in Lifetime Platinum (or even gold). In my case I'm at platinum on nights but only recently topped the point total for gold. With the credit card spend I expect to make the 2 million threshold for platinum by the end of 2018 If the merger does not change the rules. Without the card it might take a couple years longer.
If you really want more Marriott points, the SPG Amex card actually gives 6 points/dollar at Marriott properties. Granted, it may be going away soon with the merger, but maybe that is a reason to get it now since Amex bonuses are once per lifetime anyways - currently.
If you will be purchasing business class seats routinely, I would go with an Airline branded card that would maximize your reward earnings for business class travel.
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