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As I wrote about last week, Chase just introduced a new Marriott co-branded credit card – The Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card (Learn more). Unfortunately though, this card is not available to those who are currently a Marriott Rewards Premier cardmember or those who have received a new cardmember bonus within the past 24 months. For those ineligible to apply for the offer, you can instead upgrade your current card to the “Plus” version of the card. This means you will not be eligible for the sign up offer, BUT, you will be keeping your credit history with your current card and it will not count as a new application – thus not hitting your credit or your Chase “5/24” status. You can learn more about the two different sign up offers here.
Earn Bonus Points for Upgrading Your Card
Chase is offering all current cardholders the opportunity to upgrade their card and receive some amount of bonus points. From the reports I’ve read, members are being offered anywhere between 10,000 and 50,000 points to upgrade. I personally received a 20,000 point offer and that seems to be the norm. You can check your offer here by entering your name and last 4 digits of your card number. You are able to check your offer without actually committing to the upgrade.
While I personally would prefer to jump on the 100,000 point new cardmember offer, at this moment I am ineligible since I am currently a cardmember. Now, I could absolutely cancel my current card and apply for the new card, but this was the first credit card I applied for right when I graduated from college and I have a longstanding credit history with this card (13+ year). I need to do a little digging to see if canceling this card is okay or not.
Note that there are some decent differences between the two cards. I personally think the new card is better, but here are the pros and cons of the new card:
- Annual fee increase: The new card now costs $95 a year where the previous version was only $85 – so a $10 difference.
- No trip insurance: The new card also does NOT carry that trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance. For me, that is a huge con, but I have many other Chase cards that carry that same insurance so I am fine forgoing it. Many Chase cards (the ones that cost an annual fee) carry travel insurance in case you need to cancel a trip for a approved reason, flight is cancelled/delayed, etc.
- No more nights towards status on spend: With the current version of the card you’ll earn 1 night towards status for every $3,000 you spend on the card. For some, just being able to earn a few more nights towards status per year is huge and will get them to the next status level. This will be the only Marriott and Starwood card that carries this benefit.
- Earn more points for your credit card spend: The new card will earn 6x points for spend at a Marriott and Starwood hotel and 2x points on all other purchases. The current version of the card is one that sat in the back of my wallet year after year since the points earned were nothing so special. This now brings the card to be semi-competitive.
- Better free night certificate: The free night certificate that you receive year after year with the new card can be used at a property that costs up to 35,000 points where the current card certificate can only be used at a property that costs up to 25,000 points. Once the new award chart comes out in August, this will be a huge difference – there will be many great 35,000 point properties, where the 25,000 point properties will just be decent (although there will be some hidden gems I am sure). NOTE: If you upgrade, it might alter the month of when you receive your annual certificate. I am still trying to get clarification on how this will impact card members.
- Earn Gold status by spending on the card: If you spend $35,000 on your card within each account year, you’ll receive automatic Gold status. Earning Gold Elite status will be easier this way then the 1 night per $3,000 spent that you receive with the current card.
For me, the biggest difference is the free night certificate. Being able to use it at a much higher hotel category will provide more value for me year after year. However, for right now, I am keeping my current card as I am only 11 nights away from earning Platinum Premier status, so I am trying to earn some nights be the credit card spend. Chances are, however, that I’ll upgrade this card by the end of the year and grab those 20,000 bonus points.
What is your plan? Will you be upgrading?