How We Added $700 Worth of Free Travel with Marriott

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My wife and I opened up our first travel rewards card about 8 months ago … and have earned approximately $7,946 towards future travel. All of this future free travel has been earned by opening up 6 new credit cards and meeting the minimum spending requirements to earn sign up bonuses.

We are also working to finished up 2 additional cards … which should push our future value to $9,230 in future travel. That is almost $10,000 in free travel for the future … all earned in less than 1 year!

Now just because the potential value is over $9,000 … that doesn’t necessarily mean we will get that value. It all depends on if we can maximize our travel redemption’s and stretch our points and miles.

We plan to use some of of our free travel this coming summer to spend some quality time with family. However, our long term goal is to build up enough points and rewards to take our family of 5 to Hawaii for FREE! How awesome will that be?

Anytime we hit our minimum spending requirements on a card … we publish a post on it here. I like to give details on how we are hitting our minimum spending requirements and the logic behind which card to open next.

Our most recent card of the 6 we have finished up, was actually the 5th card opened … and why we refer to it as card #5.

This latest card earned us Marriott points, which was the first hotel specific rewards points we have earned so far. These points can be transferred to SPG Starpoints as well as many different travel partner airlines.

Note – Card #6 will be finished up very soon as well … so expect a few more updates coming.

Here is a recap of our 5th travel rewards card. We took advantage of some business expenses and our homeowners insurance bill to hit our spending requirements on this card.

Travel Rewards Card #5

How We Earned an Extra $700 in Free Hotel Stays in less than 2 MonthsWe recently finished up our minimum spending requirement on card #5, which is the Chase Marriott Preferred Business card.

This latest card has a minimum spend of $3,000 in the first 90 days to earn 75,000 Marriott points. Those bonus points will end up helping our family get over $700 in free travel this summer! We don’t have any specific plans for the points just yet … but will add them to our travel rewards portfolio for future use.

The good thing about these points is they currently can be transferred to SPG Starpoints … opening up a lot more possibilities for hotel stays. However, in a few months these two rewards platforms will be merged … but we will probably use the points up before then.

I know we are looking forward to using some of these points this summer for some quality family time!

How Did We Use Card #5?

We hit our $3,000 minimum spending requirement and earned our 75,000 point bonus on day 76 of opening up this business credit card.

This card was initially opened to help pay for our annual homeowners insurance bill … which was $1,002 and due in February. That expense helped to cover 1/3 of the minimum spending requirement of $3,000 in the first 3 months.

Spending the remaining $2,000 in those 3 months was simple and allowed us to even open up cards #6 & #7 all within a few weeks of each other.

Overall, we spent around $3,055 on this cards in about 2.5 months. This allowed us to hit our minimum spend and earn our bonus rewards for opening the card.

Here is a breakdown of where our spending came from on card #5 –

  • $1,002 on homeowners insurance
  • $353 on expenses related to our blogs
  • $1,700 on normal spending

Besides our homeowners insurance, we spent about $350 on business related expenses for our blogs. Unfortunately, our blogs are not earning any income currently … but definitely have some expenses.

We also spent around $1,700 on normal living expenses like paying our cable bill, a couple restaurant trips, gas for my car, other food expenses, etc.

Travel Rewards Card #5 – Points Recap

Our purchases on this card went over the minimum spend by about $55 (at the time of this writing). As always … I prefer to go a little over on our spending on each card, just to make sure we are covered. It would be horrible if we missed our minimum spending on a card by a few dollars and didn’t get those awesome sign-up bonuses.

Here is a recap of the Marriott Points we have earned on our Chase Marriott Preferred Business card.

  • Regular Spending (1 point/$1 spent) – 2,912
  • 2X Spending on Restaurants (2 point/$1 spent) – 18
  • 2X Spending on Cable (2 points/$1 spent) – 287
  • Sign-up Bonus – 75,000 points

Total Marriott Points = 78,217

I do like the 2X points on restaurant and cable spending … but I am not sure this card will be of much use moving forward once we redeem our points.

How Much are These Marriott Points Worth?

There is no doubt, these Marriott points are not even close to the value of our Chase Ultimate Rewards points. However, they still hold some value and gives us options for upcoming hotel stays … with either Marriott or SPG hotels.

According to The Points Guy, Marriott rewards are worth about $0.009 per point … so almost 1 cent per point.

So based on this point value, our 78,217 Marriott points are worth $703.95 at a $0.009 redemption. I would say that was a good return on this business credit card.

Future Point Value = $703.95

Hopefully we can squeeze at least 3 free night stays at a hotel out of these points … but it will depend on where we travel and the hotel options available. Anytime in the future when we redeem these points, we plan to detail how they were used and if they came close to the redemption value we listed above.

What’s Up Next for Travel Rewards

This is another card we opened in the last year with an annual fee ($95) that is waived the first 12 months. Since we opened it up back in January, we still have about 9 months to decide what to do with the card in the future.

There are also some questions surrounding the Marriott/SPG merger and the future of their rewards cards. Details from this merger will help dictate if we end up keeping the card open or close it once our year is up.

In the meantime, I doubt we will use this card all that much based on the Marriott point value. Personally, I would rather use our Capital One Spark card or even one of our Chase cards instead.

As for our other open cards, we are currently wrapping up cards #6 & #8, which are listed below –

  • #6 – Capital One Venture (Mrs. Money Sprout) – 50,000 Miles ($500+ in travel)
  • #8 – American Express Starwood Preferred Guest (Mr. Money Sprout) – 25,000 ($700+ in travel)

We have hit our minimum spending requirement on card #6 (Capital One Venture) but are waiting for a few transactions to clear to get the bonus points. Those points should be rewarded by the end of the week from what we can tell and give us over $500 worth of future free travel credit.

As far as card #8, the American Express Starwood Preferred Guest card, we just got that in the mail about 2 weeks ago and are halfway to hitting the spending requirements of $3,000 within 90 days. We should earn our rewards on these points within the next month.

Once the Starwood card spending has been met, then we will likely start using our Capital One cards (#6 & #7) or possibly one of our Chase cards. We will probably take a breather from opening up any new cards for a while and focus on earning the most points we can from the 8 cards we have opened.

To follow our journey of earning free travel, check out our Travel Rewards page.

Are you building your travel rewards portfolio? Would love to hear your comments and experience!

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