You’ve checked out Hilton and it’s 4 credit cards and now let’s talk Marriott.
Hilton is somewhat straight forward. Marriott get’s a bit complicated. When Marriott acquired Ritz-Carlton and Starwood Hotels it also inherited their credit cards. The original Marriott card came with 80,000 points and Silver Status (yawn…). It paid 5 pts per dollar spent on the stay. Enter the Ritz-Carlton card which also gives you 5 points per dollar spent on rooms. Both cards have an approximate value of ~.009 (10,000 pts = ~$90 value)
Now along comes the SPG (Starwood) card (www.americanexpress.com). 25,000 points after a 5k spend W/I 90 days. 25,000 sounds pretty low doesn’t it? Not really, SPG is valued at ~.027 cents per point (10,000 points =~$270.00). WOW! And you can convert SPG pts to Marriott 1-3. Convert your 25k to Marriott and now you have 75k Marriott Points.
In simple terms, stay at a Marriott and pay with a Marriott or Ritz card and get 5 pts per Dollar spent on the room ($100 bill = 500 points), use the SPG card and get two points per $ spent = 200 pts. Easily convert to Marriott 1-3 and you now have 600 Marriott points for the same stay with the SPG card.
All three cards work at all three brands. I use my SPG card at Marriott and Starwood. I’m still crunching the numbers regarding Ritz but at this point, its Spg in the lead.
Also, get Gold status with any and your Gold at all three. Marriott and Ritz-Carlton are Chase cards (www.chase.com)
A few thoughts, Pick a Hilton Card (I like the Surpass card by American Express) that suits your needs. For Marriott, it’s more complicated. I have the Business Marriott (which I never use) and the SPG card which I’m wearing out. The Ritz card is a Premium Card that is Feature Packed (check it out at http://www.chase.com). The annual fee is $450.00 and it can be well worth it. Its benefits are a conversation in itself.
Ask Questions…it’s starting to get interesting and complicated.
Next, we need to talk about Chases 5/24 rule.