Loyalty rewards and elite status can be earned at a quicker pace if you have a loyalty program branded credit card to accompany your hotel stays with Marriott or Hilton. I rarely write about credit cards, but I took a look at the current offers recently when comparing Marriott Rewards and Hilton HHonors.
Heavy spenders may favor the Hilton Surpass American Express card for its instant Diamond elite membership offer if you are in a position to spend $40,000 per year.
Marriott Rewards Premier VISA Credit Card from Chase offers 15 nights toward elite status conferring instant Silver elite and reducing the annual elite qualification threshold for Marriott Rewards Gold to 35 nights and Platinum to 60 nights. This card is only available to US residents in the 50 states and District of Columbia.
One feature of the Hilton-branded American Express card is access to discount 4-night awards for 125,000 points at Category 5 hotels (AXON5) and 145,000 points at Category 6 hotels (AXON6). These American Express award offers will likely be amended for January 2010 since the current American Express member awards for Category 5 and 6 hotels will actually be offered at a lower rate to all HHonors members in the new HHonors Rewards chart in 2010. It seems HHonors and American Express will likely offer a discounted AXON6 and AXON 7 reward in 2010.
Here is a table of the features for Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card from Chase Bank and the Hilton Surpass from American Express. While Hilton has a larger sign-up bonus and better earning on hotel and everyday spending, Marriott Rewards offers a free night every year of membership that equates to a 25,000 points annual bonus.
Starwood Preferred Guest
New Members Offer for Instant SPG Gold Elite through February 2011 (normally requires 10 hotel stays or 25 nights in a calendar year), plus 1,000 bonus points per night through March 31, 2010.