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New Contributor
Posts: 106
Registered: ‎05-06-2013
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Amex/Citi HHonors vs. Marriott Premier

Would love to hear everyone's opinion.  I'm planning a trip to Louisville next summer and was shocked that there weren't any Starwood hotels there.  Since I've locked myself in the garden, planning is all I can do.  I have an Amex SPG card as my primary hotel rewards, but am thinking having a Marriott or Hilton card would be good since they are more prevalent.  I'm having a tough time deciding what would make more sense.  Marriott's are everywhere which is a plus, but the card doesn't seem to be that competitive versus its peers (the metal card would be nice though!).  For Hilton, the decision is between Citi or Amex.  Which program is the best?  I'm not really loyal to Hiltons, but the idea of spending towards a free room is always a plus.  Louisville has both.  I think backdating is making the Amex more desirable (I'd probably go no fee vs. Surpass), but the gold status of the Citi may be better?  What are people's experiences with these hotel rewards card and what does everyone recommend?

 

Thanks!

Chase Sapphire Preferred $12k | Chase Freedom $7k | Chase United MileagePlus Explorer $15k | Chase Hyatt Visa $11.8k | Chase Amazon Visa $3k | Citi TY Premier $8.5k | Amex SPG $13.5k | Amex HHonors $5k | Discover IT $9k | BofA Cash Rewards $6k | BofA BB Rewards $2.7k | Banana Republic Visa $3k
Valued Contributor
Posts: 2,300
Registered: ‎01-22-2012
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Re: Amex/Citi HHonors vs. Marriott Premier

I'd probably pick up the Citi Hilton Reserve card for the following reasons:

 

1. The Citi Reserve gives you automatic gold status, whereas the Marriott card will give you automatic silver. For both programs, the real benefits kick in at gold. At silver for Marriott, you will still have to pay for things like internet which can run $10-20 per day. Hilton gold will also get you breakfast and/or lounge access in most cases. For every 3k you spend on the Marriott card, you'll get 1 night credit. So if you want Marriott gold simply through spending, it'll take 105k annually which frankly isn't worth it.

 

2. Marriott's program is tilted disproportionately towards those who actually stay in hotels often. In terms of CC earning 1 point per dollar of general spend is horrible, whereas you'll see a better value at 3x Hilton points per dollar spent on their CC. Yes Marriott points are worth more (especially after the devaluation), but not 3x more. However for heavy travellers, Marriott offers a very strong program in terms earning, burning and promos.

 

3. The Citi card gives 1 free night after 10k spend, which shouldn't be too hard for most people. The Amex surpass doesn't give any free nights. Instead it offers bonuses in other categories like restaurants, but spending here would be better placed on cards like th CSP. Also the Amex surpass offers 12x points per dollar spent in Hiltons vs. the Citi Reserve's 10, but you'd have to spend quite a bit at actual Hilton properties to see a noticable difference.

 

 

 

FICOs: EX: 826, EQ: 817, TU: 810
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New Contributor
Posts: 106
Registered: ‎05-06-2013
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Re: Amex/Citi HHonors vs. Marriott Premier

Thanks for the response!

 

I think you're right.  I've been trying to read a lot of blogs and it seems the Marriot is definitely tilted towards people that stay at the hotel a lot, a profile I don't fit.  Would it be ridiculous to get the Citi Reserve and the Amex no fee?  That way I get both bonuses, the gold status, and an opportunity to earn more via gas and groceries if im in the mood to gain points instead of cash back via BCP?  Are either card hard to get?  my profile isn't the best, but its gotten me some great cards in my recent app spree.

Chase Sapphire Preferred $12k | Chase Freedom $7k | Chase United MileagePlus Explorer $15k | Chase Hyatt Visa $11.8k | Chase Amazon Visa $3k | Citi TY Premier $8.5k | Amex SPG $13.5k | Amex HHonors $5k | Discover IT $9k | BofA Cash Rewards $6k | BofA BB Rewards $2.7k | Banana Republic Visa $3k
Valued Contributor
Posts: 2,300
Registered: ‎01-22-2012
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Re: Amex/Citi HHonors vs. Marriott Premier


rkinnahan wrote:

Thanks for the response!

 

I think you're right.  I've been trying to read a lot of blogs and it seems the Marriot is definitely tilted towards people that stay at the hotel a lot, a profile I don't fit.  Would it be ridiculous to get the Citi Reserve and the Amex no fee?  That way I get both bonuses, the gold status, and an opportunity to earn more via gas and groceries if im in the mood to gain points instead of cash back via BCP?  Are either card hard to get?  my profile isn't the best, but its gotten me some great cards in my recent app spree.


A lot of people use that combination, especially before the recent changes. Now that the no-fee Amex has reduced bonuses, it's less-attractive but still a good value proposition.

 

I don't imagine that the Amex Hilton is that hard to get, but I think the citi Reserve will be harder. FICOs around 680-700 should work for the previous, but I have a feeling that you'll want 720-740 for a very good chance at the latter.

FICOs: EX: 826, EQ: 817, TU: 810
Bank of America Privileges with Travel Rewards Visa Signature - $23,200 CL
Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa Signature - $12,700 CL
Chase United MileagePlus Club World Elite MasterCard - $26,500 CL
Citibank American Airlines Executive World Elite MasterCard - $22,500 CL
J.P. Morgan Ritz Carlton Visa Signature - $23,500 CL
Regular Contributor
Posts: 154
Registered: ‎02-01-2013
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Re: Amex/Citi HHonors vs. Marriott Premier

I'm planning on having both someday when I step out of the garden again. 

The AMEX is okay, but would love that Gold status. If the AMEX Surpass gave gold for as long as you had the card, I'd upgrade, but the fee isn't worth it in it's current form. 

The Citi also gives you a free stay every year (With spending) which makes it look better. 

-- I need a new card graphic -- Coming Soon! --
New Contributor
Posts: 106
Registered: ‎05-06-2013
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Re: Amex/Citi HHonors vs. Marriott Premier

Yeah I read somewhere that last 4Q Amex ran a promotion for 65k points for the no fee card.  That's definitely worth the wait from the current 40k offer, in my opinion.  I plan on leaving the garden in October or November, so hopefully they run that promotion again.  That will give me some time to build some history with Citi and hopefully apply for the reserve early next year.

Chase Sapphire Preferred $12k | Chase Freedom $7k | Chase United MileagePlus Explorer $15k | Chase Hyatt Visa $11.8k | Chase Amazon Visa $3k | Citi TY Premier $8.5k | Amex SPG $13.5k | Amex HHonors $5k | Discover IT $9k | BofA Cash Rewards $6k | BofA BB Rewards $2.7k | Banana Republic Visa $3k
Valued Contributor
Posts: 2,224
Registered: ‎09-16-2011
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Re: Amex/Citi HHonors vs. Marriott Premier

I am staying in Hotels for 5 days a week for the next 3-4 months, got the AMEX HHonnors Surpass card, 40,000 points with first purchase and 20,000 more after 3k spend enough for 2 nights at a level 3 property, 12pts per dollar at Hilton, and 6pts per dollar for gas and groceries, and everything else is 3pts.  Had to book my first stay of only one night, before the Surpass arived, got 3960 points (2000 pts bonus for a weekend night stay) for a $100 night even though I booked with my BCP, got gold status in the same week, got 500 pts for paying online with any AMEX card at the HHonors site and 9 pts per dollar and the 250pts amex gold bonus, still have to check how much rewards I get with the actual Surpass card. With current promotions I should be getting some really nice pts quickly. Putting every expense at the hotel, on site bar & resturant on the hotel bill to get full 12pts on everything. Not doing crazy stuff like ordering roomservice, $3 delivery fee plus 18% to deliver a trave of over priced food is insane when I am paying the bill. I should be pretty close to diamond level by the end of the year if you can still get diamond for staying the required nights without spending $40k, I don't think I am going to spend that much.

 

On top of all that I also got 2 years of backdating goodness on the card, and a 5.5k CL so well worth the hardpull and $75 annual fee, next year will probably drop the surpass and go back to the free card unless I am going to be doing a lot of hotel living again. Then I will have to decide on the Citi card that costs money for 2 free weekend nights or the free one with 40k pts.

 

Want to put all the pts towards a week in California for my daughter wedding.

 

 

 

Cards: Chase Southwest 20k & CSP 10k & Freedom 6.6k & Amtrak 4.6k, FNBO DISC 14.9k Oregon Duck 5k, & AMEX BCP 15k & Hilton Surpass 7.5k & Delta Gold 6k & Zync NPSL, Fidelity AMEX 12k Sally Mae5k Sams Club MC 10k, Paypal Extras MC 6k, CapOne Venture 15k, QS 2.5k, QS 750, Amazon 5k, Walmart 10k, Citi Simplicity 7k, HHonors Gold 1k (moved 5k CL to Simplicity), Discover IT 10k and a nice stack of store cards.
Last APP/HP 4/22/2015
Valued Contributor
Posts: 1,050
Registered: ‎02-03-2009
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Re: Amex/Citi HHonors vs. Marriott Premier

[ Edited ]
Actually, there is a Four Points Sheraton (which is a SPG hotel) in Louisville, near the airport.

In terms of HHonors vs Marriott, I have the Amex Surpass (recently upgraded from free card to get 50k bonus points after 3k spend). They pro-rated $75 fee from month I opened original HHonors card, so my fee for this year was only $12.50. I will probably downgrade back to the free card after the 1 yr gold status.

I recently got the Marriott because I found a link for 70k bonus points after 1k spend, plus the 1 night free certificate at account approval. It also has the 1 night free certificate every year (Cat 1-4 hotel), so basically the card pays for itself, even if you don't spend a lot on it.

Amex will pull EX for their card (and most likely so will Citi). For the Chase Marriott, they pulled both EX and TU for me. They may not for everyone, but just wanted to warn you.

CC's: AMEX (4), Alliant Visa, PenFed AMEX, Pen Fed Promise, Citi (4), Chase (6), Nordstrom Visa,US Bank Cash+, Huntington Voice, UMB Visa, Nasa Plat Cash Visa, Barclay's Visa, Citi (5), Discover IT, Walmart Discover, Sam's MC, Cabela's Visa, Cap One QS, BOA (2), BMW Visa, Comenity Visa/MC (3), Ebates Visa Siggy, 5/3 RLR MC, Diner's Club MC; Macy's AMEX; A few store cards.

Current Scores (5/2015): EQ My Fico: 789; TU MyFico: 777; EX (My Fico): 764
New Contributor
Posts: 106
Registered: ‎05-06-2013
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Re: Amex/Citi HHonors vs. Marriott Premier

Thanks for the tip!  I went on the SPG website and it came up with nada.  I'll check it out!

Chase Sapphire Preferred $12k | Chase Freedom $7k | Chase United MileagePlus Explorer $15k | Chase Hyatt Visa $11.8k | Chase Amazon Visa $3k | Citi TY Premier $8.5k | Amex SPG $13.5k | Amex HHonors $5k | Discover IT $9k | BofA Cash Rewards $6k | BofA BB Rewards $2.7k | Banana Republic Visa $3k
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