This works best if you are a business traveler, but don't they all???
at 270k Marriott points (category 1-5), you get 7 nights at a Marriott resort of your choice worldwide, plus 120k airline miles of your choice. 120k airline miles gets you and a partner to pretty much anywhere on United or a Star Alliance flight. Those 7 nights can be Aruba, Costa Rica, Spain, you name it.
I am going to make a comparison with a few other cards and feel free to draw your own conclusions. For the comparison, I am using a 7 night stay in the Marriott at Aruba ($439 per night) for a total of 3073. Looks like about 1100 for 2 in airfare from my home airport. So, we need approximately 4200 in value.
Capital One Venture card...you get double points on everything, or .02 cents on the dollar. You need to spend 210k dollars on this card to achieve this.
Chase Sapphire. This is the card I have and I average about 1.8 points per dollar since I spend most of my money on food, hotel, airfare, etc... 233,333k to achieve this.
Marriott Rewards Card. If you stay at a Marriott property you get 5 points per dollar that you spend there, this is where you really can rake it in. If you stay at full service Marriott's, you get 10 points per dollar spent there on everything (NOT card related). By using your card, you just upped that to 15. Plus you get 2 for food, airlines, other hotels, etc..
Edit for Aruba re-calculations:
Since the Aruba hotel is a Category 7, you actually need 330k points. So, just by staying at Marriott properties alone, you only need to spend 22k to get a week's trip with airfare. This seems like a lot, but for a frequent business traveler like myself, I rack this up easily in a year. Also, if you stay frequently, you get up to a 50% bonus on your points (I am a platinum member), so that 22k becomes 16.5k (in between if you are a gold or silver member). Add in food and the rest, and you make it even quicker.
Now what about if you don't stay at Marriotts that often, but would like a trip with one? To beat the Capital One Venture, you need to average a little above 1.5 points per dollar spent to reach 330k. So if you spend most of your dollars on hotels, flights, or food, the Marriott wins.
The obvious downside is you are tied to Marriott properties for your vacation, but let's be honest, using these cards, you have to save up a lot of points for a long time to really pay for a good trip. I use a Chase Sapphire and put about 50k last year on it for work travel only and I am sitting at about 16-1700 worth of travel, and that includes a 50k signup bonus. I am also sitting on 125k Marriott points, minus the 40k I used for a cheer competition for the kids, and when I check out of my Hawaii Hotel, I will get about 50k more next week. Had I used a Marriott Rewards card all year, I would have made 50% more points, so I would have 220k in my account, plus the 50k signup bonus and I would be on my way to Aruba this summer...
So, I know it was very long, but I believe it to be thought out. It is a different perspective and different approach to choosing a credit card, but all of these cards get the best of us, just seems that w/ a Marriott card if you are a Marriott member and stay there as your hotel choice, you can actually get something out of this deal more frequently.
Edit: I am obviously switching cards soon, just figuring out what to do w/ my 120k on my Chase right now.
This post was edited on 1/30 at 10:10 pm