Chase Sapphire Preferred® vs Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Brendan Harkness

Brendan Harkness | Versus

May 05, 2016 | Updated May 26, 2016

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This is a review and comparison of two popular travel rewards credit cards: the Chase Sapphire Preferred® and the Marriott Rewards® Premier credit card (also issued by Chase).

The Sapphire Preferred is a general travel card, while the Marriott Rewards offers special rewards and benefits when staying at Marriott hotels and resorts. They’re similar in several ways, but they also each offer some unique and valuable other benefits.

Both cards have fairly small annual fees which are waived for the first year, as well as pretty large signup bonuses. These bonuses, as well as the points you’ll earn and the other card features, will more than pay for the annual fee on each card.

If you’re a frequent traveler one of these cards could be right for you. Read on to learn how they compare, and to see if one of these might be the right card to save you some money on your next trip.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

For People with
Good Credit

  • Annual Fee: $95 - Waived first year
  • Interest Rate: 16.24% - 23.24% *Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • Earn 40,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $500 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees, plus chip-enabled for enhanced security and wider acceptance
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading frequent travel programs at full value - that means 1,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points equal 1,000 partner miles/points
  • Premium Travel and Purchase Protection Benefits, including Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Purchase Protection and more
  • 24/7 direct access to dedicated customer service specialists
  • Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95

The information for Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has been collected independently by Credit Card Insider. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card

For People with
Good Credit

  • Annual Fee: $99
  • Interest Rate: 16.24% *Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • Limited Time! Earn 80,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Enjoy 1 Free Night Stay at a Category 1-5 location every year after your account anniversary date!
  • For every $1 spent, earn 5 points at 3,800 Marriott locations, 2 points on airline ticket purchases directly with airlines, at car rental agencies & restaurants and 1 point everywhere else
  • The fastest way to earn Marriott Rewards points towards free nights
  • No limit to how many points you can earn
  • Pay no foreign transaction fees and enjoy wider acceptance when you travel with your embedded chip card and you make purchases at chip-enabled card readers
  • All for an $85 Annual Fee

The information for Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card has been collected independently by Credit Card Insider. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

The Rewards

Sapphire Preferred

This card provides:

  • 2 points per dollar on purchases from restaurants and on travel
  • 1 point per dollar on all other purchases
  • A 50,000 point sign-up bonus for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
  • A 5,000 point bonus if you make a purchase and add an authorized user in the first 3 months
  • A 20% travel discount when redeeming points for travel expenses through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 1:1 point transfer with popular frequent traveler programs; see the table below for details
Participating frequent traveler programs include:
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® United Mileage Plus® Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
British Airways Executive Club Korean Air SKYPASS Hyatt Gold Passport®
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® IHG® Rewards Club
Marriott Rewards®

You can use your points to pay for travel purchases (where you’ll get the best deal), but you can also use them to pay for other other types of purchases. Or, transfer them to your favorite frequent traveler program where you might get a better deal for a particular trip.

If you ever end up cancelling your Sapphire Preferred, you’ll be able to transfer the points you’ve earned to a different Chase card.

Marriott Rewards Premier

With this card, you’ll get:

  •  5 Marriott Rewards® points per dollar at over 4,000 Marriott locations around the world (including the Ritz-Carlton®)
  • 2 Marriott Rewards points per dollar at restaurants, car rental agencies, and airline tickets when purchased directly from the airline
  • 1 Marriott Rewards point per dollar for all other purchases
  • An 80,000 point sign-up bonus for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
  • 7,500 bonus points for adding an authorized user and making a purchase in the first 3 months

You can redeem your points for hotel stays, but there are a number of other options as well. You can use them to get room upgrades, to pay for purchases during hotel stays, to access airport lounges and pay for other traveling expenses, and for gift cards to various retailers. Click here for details on redemption options.

Hotel Category 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Points for a Free Night 7,500 10,000 15,000 20,000 25,000 30,000 35,000 40,000 45,000

The Verdict

These cards are both very rewarding, providing a good number of points for purchases and pretty hefty signup bonuses.

They’re somewhat similar, both offering points that you can redeem for travel expenses. But you probably wouldn’t want to own both of them.

If you travel often but don’t tend to stay at a particular hotel chain, the Sapphire Preferred will be a great choice not only for the 20% discount, but also for the ability to transfer your points into other traveler programs. So if you’ve accumulated a lot of points and will be traveling with Virgin Atlantic, for example, you can use those points to get some nice benefits on that airline. This is a versatile card that will be good in many situations.

If you’re frequently out of town and love to stay at Marriott locations, however, you’ll definitely appreciate the points and many benefits you’ll get from the Marriott Rewards card. You’ll earn points quickly at the 5-per-dollar rate, and the 50,000 bonus points are enough to pay for quite a few free nights at hotels in the lower categories. There are also many hotel-specific benefits to enjoy, which you can read about next.

Sapphire Preferred Marriott Rewards Premier
  • 2 points per dollar at restaurants and on travel
  • 1 point per dollar on all other purchases
  • A 50,000 point sign-up bonus for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
  • A 5,000 point bonus if you make a purchase and add an authorized user in the first 3 months
  • A 20% travel discount when redeeming points for travel expenses through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 1:1 point transfer with popular frequent traveler programs
  • 5 Marriott Rewards® points per dollar at over 4,000 Marriott locations around the world (including the Ritz-Carlton).
  • 2 Marriott Rewards points per dollar at restaurants, car rental agencies, and airline tickets when purchased directly from the airline
  • 1 Marriott Rewards point per dollar for all other purchases
  • 50,000 point sign-up bonus for spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
  • 15,000 bonus points for redeeming points for 7 or more nights in hotels of category 7, 8, or 9

The Benefits

Each of these cards offers a nice set of perks and benefits, and making use of them will really help you get the full value from the card. Here are some of the most interesting from each.

Sapphire Preferred

Perks

  • Exclusive Sapphire℠ Events and Experiences

    Special travel and event opportunities for cardholders.

  • 20% Off Travel

    If you redeem for airfare, hotel stays, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

  • No Blackout Dates or Restrictions

    As long as you can find a seat on the flight, you will be able to book it using Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Travel

  • Chase Global Lifeline℠

    24/7 emergency service assistance when traveling, including card replacement and cash access.

  • Trip Cancellation / Trip Interruption Insurance

    If a trip is disrupted for an eligible reason, provides reimbursement up to $10,000 per trip for non-refundable costs.

  • Travel and Emergency Assistance

    Provides help with emergencies, including legal and medical referrals.

  • Trip Delay Reimbursement

    If a trip is delayed by over 12 hours, provides reimbursement for expenses like meals and lodging, up to $500 per ticket.

  • Lost Luggage Reimbursement

    If checked or carry-on bags are lost or damaged, provides reimbursement up to $3,000 per passenger.

  • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver

    Provides coverage against theft and collision, as long as the car rental company’s own insurance is declined.

  • Travel Accident Insurance

    Accidental death or dismemberment coverage of up to $500,000 when you pay for travel by air, bus, train or cruise with your card.

  • Baggage Delay Insurance

    Reimbursement for purchases such as toiletries and clothing when baggage delays go beyond 6 hours by the passenger carrier; up to $100 a day for 5 days.

Marriott Rewards Premier

Perks

  • 15 Credits toward Elite Status each year

    This is enough to earn Silver Status, which provides enhanced benefits and upgrades like priority late checkout, weekend discounts, and bonuses on point redemptions.

  • Earn Credit Toward Elite Status

    You’ll earn 1 credit toward Elite Status for every $3,000 spent on purchases.

  • Free Night Stay

    One free stay, every year after your account anniversary.

  • Visa Signature Concierge Service

    Provides personal assistance like travel and business reservations, trip planning, and much more.

  • Dedicated Customer Service Line

    Access to dedicated customer service professionals.

  • Premier Experience Events

    Includes invitations to exclusive events such as premier dining and cooking lessons, rounds of golf, and meetings with exciting people.

Travel

  • Purchase Protection

    Provides coverage for 120 days against theft and damage, up to $500 per incident and $50,000 per account.

  • Extended Warranty Protection

    Extends a manufacturer’s warranty by 1 year, for warranties of 3 years or less.

  • Travel and Emergency Assistance

    Provides help with emergencies, including legal and medical referrals.

  • Trip Cancellation / Trip Interruption Insurance

    If a trip is disrupted for an eligible reason, provides reimbursement up to $5,000 per trip for non-refundable costs.

  • Trip Delay Reimbursement

    If a trip is delayed by over 12 hours, provides reimbursement for expenses like meals and lodging, up to $500 per ticket.

  • Lost Luggage Reimbursement

    If checked or carry-on bags are lost or damaged, provides reimbursement up to $3,000 per passenger.

  • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver

    Provides coverage against theft and collision, as long as the car rental company’s own insurance is declined.

The Verdict

As you can see, both of these cards have an abundance of benefits. The most important difference is the Perks category, where you’ll find the really valuable features for each card.

For general travelers, the Sapphire Preferred offers some nice perks and protections that will save you money and can help get you out of a jam. The Marriott Rewards is designed to make your hotel stays in particular much more comfortable, and it will do a great job at that if you take full advantage of everything it has to offer.

When deciding between these cards, don’t be swayed by the benefits alone. Frequent travelers will need to visit Marriott hotels often enough to make that card worth it, but, if you do, the benefits offered by the Marriott card make it a very strong choice.

Here’s an overview of the benefits offered by each card:

Sapphire Preferred Marriott Rewards Premier
Perks
  • 20% off travel when redeeming through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Exclusive SapphireSM Events and Experiences
  • No blackout dates or restrictions
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Visa Signature® Concierge
  • Automatic Silver Elite Status at Marriott every year
  • 1 credit toward Gold and Platinum Elite Status for every $3,000 spent
  • Free night stay every year after your account anniversary
  • No foreign transaction fees
Security
  • Fraud Protection
  • Chip-and-Signature Technology
  • Fraud Protection
  • Chip-and-Signature Technology
Travel
  • Chase Global LifelineSM
  • Travel and Emergency Assistance
  • Travel Accident Insurance
  • Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance
  • Trip Delay Reimbursement
  • Lost Luggage Reimbursement
  • Baggage Delay Insurance
  • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver
 

  • Travel and Emergency Assistance
  • Emergency Cash and Card Replacement
  • Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance
  • Trip Delay Reimbursement
  • Lost Luggage Reimbursement
  • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver
Shopping
  • Purchase Protection
  • Price Protection
  • Return Protection
  • Extended Warranty Protection
  • Purchase Protection
  • Extended Warranty Protection

The Costs & Fees

Card Annual Fee Regular APR Regular Balance Transfer APR Cash Advance APR Foreign Transaction Fee
Chase Sapphire Preferred $95 - Waived first year 16.24% - 23.24% *Variable 16.24% - 23.24% *Variable 25.24% *Variable 0%
Marriott Rewards Premier $99 16.24% *Variable 16.24% *Variable 25.24% *Variable 0%
Card Penalty APR Late Fee Returned Payment Fee
Chase Sapphire Preferred See Terms Up to $37 Up to $37
Marriott Rewards Premier Up to 29.99% *Variable Up to $39 #39

The Verdict

There really isn’t much to distinguish these cards when it comes to their interest rates and fees.

The APR’s and foreign transaction fees are identical, and the only difference is the annual fee. They are both waived for the first year, but the Marriott Rewards Premier will cost $10 less. This is a pretty insignificant difference, and shouldn’t be a big deal if you’re trying to decide between these two cards.

Just be sure to pay off your balance in a timely manner with each card, because you won’t have an introductory 0% interest rate to fall back on. If you start paying interest on a high balance you’ll begin to negate the benefits you get from both of these cards, making them far less useful. Only charge what you’ll be able to pay for in that billing period, and you’ll never have to worry about interest.

The Bottom Line

The Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Marriott Rewards Premier are both great cards for travelers, but for different kinds of travelers.

If you travel often but don’t typically stay at Marriott locations, the Sapphire Preferred will definitely be a better choice to help pay for your expenses, provide some great experiences, and protect you in case something goes wrong. The annual fee will probably be worth the cost, especially if you always make use of the 20% discount through Chase Ultimate Rewards. And the 1:1 point transfer will let you move the points you earn to a more valuable program, if you see the opportunity.

If you do stay at the Marriott often, however, the Marriott Rewards Premier will be a great asset. The bonus points you can earn will pay for quite a few nights, and you’ll get a lot of points when staying at the Marriott and paying for travel. These features plus the other benefits, like the free night stay every year and automatic Silver Elite Status, will more than pay for the annual fee and make your stays at the Marriott much more comfortable.

Sometimes it’s wise to use several credit cards, one for general purposes and another for specific purposes. In this case, however, I wouldn’t recommend getting both of these credit cards. If you’re a more general traveler, staying with different hotel brands, the Sapphire Preferred will probably be fine for you to pay for your expenses.

If you frequent the Marriott you’ll be able to use that card to cover everything, for your travel spending as well as for hotel stays, and you can cash in those points to pay for those stays. So you wouldn’t need another card like the Chase Sapphire to pay for your general travel expenses.

Do you use one of these cards? How do you like it? Click here to leave your own review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred, or click here to leave a review for the Marriott Rewards Premier.

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