Is the Chase Marriott Rewards 120k Point Sign-Up Bonus Worth It?

Marriott currently has a public offer of 120,000 points after spending $12,000 over the course of 12 months. 

There are a few things we need to consider:

1. How much are Marriott points worth?
2. What is the minimum spend requirement? 

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Marriott points

Marriott points are usually valued at 0.9 cents per point. For reference, 3 Marriott points = 1 SPG point. You can transfer points freely from Marriott to SPG at a 3:1 ratio, and SPG to Marriott at a 1:3 ratio. 

With other point programs like Chase Ultimate Rewards, you can transfer points from Chase to Marriott, but you can't transfer the points back to Chase. 

Chase Transfer Partners and Cents Per Point Valuation

All of these transfer 1:1 (1 UR = 1 partner point) but worth of the points ("cents per point" valuation) are different based on ideal/likely redemptions. 

For example, 10,000 Chase Ultimate Reward points could equal 10,000 of any of the following points:

  • IHG = 0.6 CPP (10,000 points = $60 in value)
  • Marriott = 0.9 CPP (10,000 points = $90 in value)
  • Hyatt = 1.5 CPP (10,000 points = $150 in value)

This means that 120,000 Marriott points (0.9 CPP) = $1,080 in value

Minimum spend

To receive the 120,000 point sign-up bonus, you need to spend $12,000 within the cardmember year. 

If you add an authorized user, you can earn an extra 7,500 points. The authorized user has to make one transaction within the first three months to receive the bonus. 

The total sign-up bonus (with an authorized user) for the Marriott 120k offer is 127,500 points, which is $1,148 in value.

To use the spreadsheet: 

1. File -> "Download As" or "Make a Copy."
2. Modify the YELLOW cells; if you're not going to add an authorized user, then change the AU bonus to "0."

Access the spreadsheet here: http://bit.ly/2jkWIuv

When you compare the 120k offer to the 80k offer, you're getting a higher return on spend with the 80k offer. 

The opportunity cost is a difference of 40,000 points and $9,000 of minimum spend, which comes out to a 4% return on spend. If you're someone who doesn't want to add additional credit cards, then the 120k offer might be a good option for you. Otherwise, there are better card options to maximize the spend. 

Optimal Strategy

$9,000 in minimum spend is a lot. The $9,000 can be spread across at least three additional credit cards for a vacation with flights and hotels. 

In the example below, the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the United Explorer are added with a total of $6,000 in minimum spend. The Chase Sapphire Preferred 50,000 point sign-up bonus can be used for flights or additional hotel nights. 

The United Explorer card has a public offer of 40,000 points, and it comes out to 33.8% return on spend. 

If you don't mind adding additional credit cards, then the optimal strategy is to go for the Marriott 80k offer and add other cards. 

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