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Marriott and IHG both recently launched new rewards credit cards with impressive sign-up bonuses. The Marriott Rewards Premier Plus offers 75,000 Marriott Rewards points and the IHG Premier Credit Card offers 80,000 IHG points. The only question that still remains to be answered is which bonus offer is better?
Although the better offer might hinge on which brand you stay at more often, you need to compare how easy it is to earn the signup bonus and the individual redemption value for each point.
Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card
You will earn 75,000 bonus Marriott Rewards points after spending $3,000 in the first three months with your Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card.
These points can be redeemed at any Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, or Starwood Preferred Guest property thanks to the ongoing Marriott-SPG merger.
Earn Up to 6x Points on All Purchases
In addition to the 100,000 bonus points after spending your first $5,000, you will also earn the following amount of Marriott Rewards on your purchases too:
- 6x points on all Marriott Rewards and SPG properties per $1 spent
- 2x points per $1 spent on all remaining purchases
Enjoy These Additional Marriott Rewards Benefits
Each year, you will also enjoy these Marriott Rewards benefits:
- Free anniversary night at any property that costs 35,000 points or less
- Automatic Silver Elite Status
- Automatic Gold Elite Status when you make at least $35,000 in annual card purchases
- 15 Elite Stay Credits beginning in 2019
Redeeming Marriot Rewards Points
The sign-up bonus is only worth the maximum number of nights you can redeem them for. Although Marriott will be introducing peak and off-peak award rates in 2019, you currently have a standard “Hotel Reward” rate and a discounted “PointSavers Reward” rate.
Marriott Rewards currently has nine different hotel categories. The basic Category 1 reward rate starts at 6,000 points for PointSavers and 7,500 points for hotel rewards.
Your 75,000 Marriott Rewards Premier Plus credit card bonus is worth up to 12 free nights when redeemed for 6,000 points each.
Of course, you can stretch your points balance when you book a 5+ night stay thanks to the 5th-night free benefit.
How Much Are Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Points Worth?
To determine how much each Marriott Rewards point is worth, we’re going to compare the booking prices to the points required per night. All award night rates are calculated on the standard Hotel Reward Rate, although many of these properties offer limited PointSavers Reward nights too.
In most cases, your Marriott Rewards points will generally be worth between 0.5 cents and 1.8 cents each.
Grand Residences by Marriott, Lake Tahoe (Category 8): 0.58 Cents
The average nightly rate at the Grand Residences by Marriott, Lake Tahoe is $232 or 40,000 points. This makes each Marriott point worth 5.8 cents each.
Residence Inn Washington, DC/Dupont Circle (Category 6): 1.33 Cents
Each Marriott point is worth 1.33 cents each with an average nightly rate of $184 at the Residence Inn Washington, DC/Dupont Circle.
Courtyard Houston Hobby Airport (Category 1): 1.76 Cents
If you stay at the Category 1 Courtyard Houston Hobby Airport, your points are worth 1.76 cents each. Otherwise, the cash price starts at $132 per night.
IHG Premier Credit Card
You will get 80,000 bonus IHG points after spending $2,000 in the first three months with the IHG Premier Credit Card. Plus, you’ll get an extra 5,000 points when you add an authorized user.
Although you get 20,000 fewer points than the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus bonus offer, you also get to spend $3,000 less. If you’re not a big spender or only want a secondary credit card, only having to spend $2,000 in three months compared to $5,000 makes a huge difference.
But, is the more affordable bonus offer worth it long term? Let’s keep digging.
Earn Up to 10 IHG Points Per $1 Spent
Like the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus, you will earn your everyday purchase rewards on the first $2,000 spent plus the 80,000 or 85,000 bonus points from the signup offer:
- 10 points per $1 on all IHG purchases
- 2 points per $1 on gas, dining, and grocery stores
- 1 point per $1 on all remaining purchases
Additional IHG Travel Benefits
These are the additional IHG travel benefits you can enjoy:
- Free anniversary night at any property less than 40,000 points per night
- Fourth night free on 5+ night stays
- Automatic Platinum Elite status
- Save 20% on IHG Point purchases
- Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fee reimbursement
Redeeming IHG Rewards Points
Free IHG nights cost between 10,000 and 70,000 points per night. On these properties, you get the 4th night free on a 4+ night stay booked with IHG points.
Each quarter, IHG releases a list of select PointBreaks properties that only cost 5,000 points each. These nights can be a bargain, but you’re only allowed to book two award nights each booking period. This is okay if you’re taking a weekend trip or only staying for one night while traveling, but not a good deal if you want to stay for the entire week without paying cash.
If you only keep your 80,000 bonus points for PointBreaks, you’ll get 16 free IHG nights.
How Much Are IHG Points Worth?
In general, you can expect your IHG points to be worth between 0.4 cents and 0.9 cents each.
Let’s compare three IHG properties to see how much each IHG point is worth.
InterContinental Hotels: The Willard Washington, D.C.: 0.37 cents
The ritzy InterContinental Hotels: The Willard Washington, D.C. costs 70,000 points or $262 per night. At this redemption rate, each point is worth 3.7 cents each.
Holiday Inn Express & Suites Boston Garden: 0.72 cents each
Stay right next to Boston Garden and the various sports arenas at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Boston Garden. The nightly rate can be $292 or 40,000 points which makes each IHG point worth 0.72 cents each.
Holiday Inn Express Hilton Head Island: 0.86 cents each
If you visit Hilton Head Island, SC, your points are 0.86 cents each. Each night at the Holiday Inn Express Hilton Head costs 20,000 points and summer cash rates are around $171. This can be one of the better redemption values on a per point basis.
Summary of Marriott Rewards Premier Plus vs. IHG Premier Credit Cards Better Bonus Offer
As a whole, Marriott Rewards points are generally worth more per point. Plus, it’s easier to find properties that are worth at least one cent per point. But, you must also focus on which hotels you typically stay at more often. Both hotel portfolios are large, so you might compare the nightly award rates when planning your next trip to get the best deal.
Of course, some brands offer better value than others and some locations offer better value even within the same category. This applies to the Marriott Rewards and IHG Rewards programs. Although IHG points aren’t always as valuable, the bonus offer is easier to earn. Plus, you can earn more points on IHG stays than Marriott which can make up the value difference.
Your decision about which bonus offer is better might depend more on how easy it is to earn bonus points and purchase rewards.
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Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.