Marriott Rewards Premier Card Swipes Can Win You a Free Hotel Stay

Using the card counts as an entry in the 1,000 Nights of Summer sweepstakes, which could win a free night in a hotel.

[Disclosure: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]

Want to win a free stay at a Marriott hotel in some exotic locale? Well, you’re in luck. More than 4,000 Marriott properties in 90 countries are taking part in the 1,000 Nights of Summer Sweepstakes, offering a free night to 1,000 lucky winners.

If you’re a Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card member, you’ll have improved odds of winning because you’ll be entered for a chance to win that free night every time you swipe your card through June 30. Of course, you’ll have to register at the 1,000 Nights of Summer website first. That’s also where Marriott Rewards members who don’t have a Premier card can enroll.

But you’re not a Marriott Rewards member? That’s OK. You can sign up for free at and then register for the sweepstakes by entering your name, mailing address and other information on the 1000 Nights site above.

Keep in mind, if you’re a Premier card member that only purchases through U.S. merchants count as entries. ATM transactions, cash advances and balance transfers do not qualify.

The winners will be randomly picked from the entries on or about July 20, and winners will receive an e-certificate deposited into their Marriott Rewards account a few weeks after the drawing. The prize doesn’t include transportation to or from the hotel and must be used within six months.

Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card

If this sweepstakes has you wondering if you should apply for the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card (read our review here), here’s what you need to know.

New cardholders can receive 80,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. You can earn another 7,500 bonus points for adding an authorized user and making a purchase within the first three months of account opening. Keep in mind that top-tier Marriott properties can require as many as 45,000 points per night for an award, which doesn’t include Ritz-Carlton hotels, which can charge as many as 70,000 points per award night. Still, the signup bonus is enough for a free night on its own, even if you don’t win the sweepstakes.

The card also offers five points per $1 spent at Marriott International and Starwood Preferred Guest properties (you can transfer points between programs), which include the Ritz-Carlton, Renaissance, Sheraton, Westin and several other brands. You earn double points for purchases from airlines, rental car agencies and restaurants, and one point per $1 for all other charges.

Points can be used for hotel stays and other travel rewards. There’s an $85 annual fee for this card. You can compare this card with other rewards credit cards using our expert guide on rewards credit cards.

Aside from taking part in the sweepstakes, the card might be a good choice for anyone who stays frequently at the above hotel brands. The card can also help get you to Elite Status in the Marriott Rewards program faster. Remember, it’s mostly for those with good to excellent credit, so you may want to check two of your credit scores for free on before applying.

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

Image: izusek

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The Amped-Up Amex Platinum Card: How Does It Compare to the Chase Sapphire Reserve?

American Express just upgraded its already stacked Platinum Card. Does it now top Chase Sapphire Reserve?

For years, the American Express Platinum Card has provided a wide range of travel benefits and luxury perks to its cardholders. But recently, there’s been increased competition from travel-centric credit cards entering the game or increasing their benefits to take some of American Express’ market share.

One of the biggest new players is the Chase Sapphire Reserve (you can read our full review here), which has been popular for its extensive travel perks.

Presumably to compete, American Express is expanding its benefits, offering a wider range of rewards that kick in March 30. So how does it stack up to the Chase Sapphire Reserve? Here we compare each card so you can decide which one is best for jet-setters.

Earning & Redeeming Points

Both cards earn points as they are used. Users can redeem points for gift cards, merchandise or travel.

With the Platinum Card’s newly enhanced features, cardholders earn five points for every dollar spent on airfare and eligible hotels using the American Express Travel platform (they can also book directly with the airline). That’s on top of the existing two points per dollar spent on other eligible travel purchases and one point per dollar spent on everything else. American Express offers a bonus 75,000 points if you spend $5,000 during the first three months after receiving the card.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card earns three points per dollar spent on travel and restaurants and one point per dollar spent on everything else. Chase offers 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months. On top of that, you get 50% additional value when you redeem your points for travel.

Travel Perks Included

American Express has enhanced its already extensive travel benefits.

The card will now come with $200 in annual Uber credits, earned by linking the card to your Uber account. The Global Lounge Collection has expanded, and cardholders get access to more than 1,000 airport lounges in 120 countries, including the luxury Centurion Lounge. There’s also a new Global Dining Collection, which provides exclusive reserved seating at culinary events hosted by world-renowned chefs. The By Invitation Only program has also grown to include more exclusive experiences like access to the Grand Prix de Monaco and trips to French wine country.

The Platinum Card’s existing benefits were already impressive. American Express offers a $200 annual credit for airline fees such as checked bags or in-flight meals and a $100 credit toward a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application. Cardholders get competitive hotel rates and benefits (according to American Express, worth an average $550 annual value) and a complimentary room upgrade and $75 hotel credit when cardholders book two consecutive nights at a hotel through American Express Travel. Cardholders can also get VIP status with Starwood and Hilton hotels and select rental car agencies.

Chase’s existing travel features include $300 in annual statement credits for travel purchases and $100 for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck applications. Plus, cardholders get access to more than 900 airport lounges and special car rental privileges. Cardholders also receive benefits at The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection properties.

Both cards come with concierge services that can assist with travel bookings, dining reservations, entertainment and sporting events. Each card also provides many travel perks standard, including car rental protection, trip cancellation protection and no foreign transaction fees.

Heavy Metal Card Design

American Express is upgrading the Platinum Card to a new metal design. The Chase Sapphire Reserve already came in a “hand-crafted embedded metal” design.

The Cost

The new Platinum Card also comes with a new annual fee of $550 — a $100 increase. It’s also not technically a credit card as cardholders are expected to pay their balance in full each month. As a result, there are no interest charges. (We explain the difference between a charge card and a credit card here.)

The Chase Sapphire Reserve’s annual fee is $450, and has an annual percentage rate (APR) of 16.49% to 23.49%.

How They Stack Up

Both cards have strong signup bonuses, and the Platinum Card’s five points policy is tempting, but the Chase Sapphire Reserve likely has the best long-term point value. Cardholders earn triple points on dining, and most cardholders will likely dine out more than they fly. In addition, redeeming points for travel through Chase gets you a bonus 50% value for every point.

As for travel perks, results are mixed. The Platinum Card’s $200 travel credits only apply to airline fees, while Chase’s $300 credit can be applied to any travel cost. The Platinum Card’s Uber credit is nice, but only if you use Uber. However, the Platinum Card gives access to exclusive dining and travel experiences that Chase doesn’t provide.

Another major consideration that you must pay the Platinum Card’s balance in full each month. If you need the ability to carry a balance, the Chase Sapphire Reserve offers that option. (Carrying a balance is, of course, an expensive option, with that APR between 16.49% and 23.49%.)

In the end, the better card depends on how you plan to use it. The Platinum Card may be worth the price if you can pay your balance off each month, if you want access to private exclusive events and travel and if you ride Uber frequently. If you want a simpler, more practical credit card that still provides big travel perks, the Chase Sapphire Reserve may be the way to go.

You’ll need a strong credit score to qualify for either card. Before you apply, you can check two of your scores free, updated every 14 days, on

Image: Weekend Images Inc. 

At publishing time, the American Express Platinum card is offered through product pages, and is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for this card. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).

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Why Chase Customers Might Want to Adjust Their Overdraft Back-up Fund


Attention, Chase customers: The bank is making some changes to its overdraft protection policy.

Starting August 20, customers will no longer be able to cover overdrafts with a linked Chase credit card should they (accidentally) spend more than what’s in their checking account. Only savings accounts will be used as designated back-up funds.

Previously, customers could link either type of account and have overdrafts covered for a $10 transfer fee.

The good news is that the $10 transfer fee is going away; instead, the exact amount needed to cover the transaction will be transferred, according to the bank’s website. On the flip side, Chase checking account holders without a savings account could face declined transactions, insufficient funds and returned item fees, the Chicago Tribune reported, if they don’t note the change.

Chase currently charges $34 per overdraft.

While the bank did not immediately respond to’s request for comment, bank representatives told the Tribune that most customers enrolled in overdraft protection have their personal checking accounts tied to a savings account, and that, in a six-month period, only 1.5% of overdraft protections went to a credit card.

Overdraft 101 

Banks are currently prohibited from automatically enrolling customers in various forms of overdraft coverage (the modus operandi prior to Dodd-Frank legislation in 2008). Instead, customers must opt into the service, which covers electronic payments, purchases or withdrawals that exceed the available balance in their checking accounts, typically for a high fee.

Cutting your credit card out of the equation isn’t the worst thing in the world, especially if you’re using it to cover purchases you don’t have money to make. However, if you do have a credit card covering your checking account, which some other banks still allow, you’ll want to monitor statements closely to make sure you keep track of charges and know when the balance is due.

Missing a credit card payment won’t just hurt your wallet but also your credit score. (You can see how late payments affect your credit by viewing your free credit report summary, updated each month, on

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Image: ZoneCreative S.r.l.

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