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Guide: Earn Marriott Bonvoy Elite Nights With Credit Cards



One of the benefits of hotel credit cards is that they can help you earn elite status. Some hotel credit cards outright offer elite status, while others offer a certain number of elite nights towards a status tier.

In this post I wanted to share a guide to earning elite nights in the Marriott Bonvoy program using co-branded Marriott credit cards. Hopefully this is useful with it being a new year, as people start to consider their elite status strategy for 2022.

Earn 30 Marriott Bonvoy elite nights with credit cards

Let’s talk about everything you need to know to earn Marriott Bonvoy elite nights using Marriott’s credit cards. Long story short, if you have the right credit cards you could be 60% of the way to Platinum status each year without spending a dime on the cards.

What are Marriott elite nights?

For those who haven’t historically pursued hotel status, it’s perhaps worth clarifying what I’m talking about when I say “elite night.” An elite night doesn’t get you a free night in a hotel, or get you a free night in a hotel with elite benefits.

Rather hotel loyalty programs have certain minimum requirements to earn status with them (this could be 50, 75, or 100 nights per year, depending on the benefits). Status gets you benefits like room upgrades, late check-out, free breakfast, etc.

When I use the term “elite night,” I mean you’re getting credit that qualifies towards earning status in the program. If a credit card gets you 15 elite nights, that doesn’t get you any free nights in hotels, but rather it gets you closer to earning status with a program, since it’s the equivalent of having spent 15 nights in a hotel when it comes to the progress towards elite status.

Some hotel credit cards can get you closer to elite status

Which Marriott credit cards offer 15 elite nights?

Marriott has credit cards issued by both American Express and Chase, and several of them offer 15 elite nights towards status annually just for having the card. The following Marriott credit cards each earn 15 elite nights per year (four are open to new applicants, while four are older cards that are no longer open to new applicants):

Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card (review)Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card (review)Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card (review)Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card (review)Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card (no longer open to new applicants)Marriott Bonvoy Business Credit Card (no longer open to new applicants)Marriott Rewards Premier Card (no longer open to new applicants)The Ritz-Carlton Credit Card (no longer open to new applicants)Several Marriott credit cards can help you earn elite status

Earn up to 30 Bonvoy elite nights per year with credit cards

As you can see, there are potentially up to eight Marriott Bonvoy credit cards each offering 15 elite nights. Does that mean you can get three Marriott credit cards and earn 45 elite nights per year that way? No, unfortunately not.

You can earn a maximum of 30 Bonvoy elite nights per year through co-branded credit cards:

You can earn at most 15 elite nights per year through personal Marriott Bonvoy credit cardsYou can earn at most 15 elite nights per year through business Marriott Bonvoy credit cardsThere’s only one business credit card that’s open to new applicants, so if you want to earn 30 elite nights per year with credit cards, you’ll need to have the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card plus one personal Marriott Bonvoy credit card (here’s a guide to Marriott credit card eligibility)You can earn up to 30 elite nights per year with Marriott credit cards

When do Marriott credit card elite nights post?

The ability to earn Marriott Bonvoy elite nights with credit cards is an ongoing perk:

In other words, you don’t just get 15 elite nights your first year, but you also get them in subsequent yearsYou also get these elite nights even if you open your credit card in the middle of the year, so there’s no requirement that the account has to be open at the beginning of the year

When should you expect Marriott Bonvoy elite nights to post?

If your Marriott Bonvoy credit card is open at the beginning of the year, your 15 elite night credits will post by March 1; however, in practice, they typically post much faster, often within the first week of January (it looks like some elite nights have already posted for 2022, but not all)If you open your Marriott Bonvoy credit card during the year, your 15 elite night credits will post within 60 days of account opening; if you open the card towards the end of the year, don’t worry, the nights will be backdated, even if they post in the subsequent yearYou could start each year with 30 Bonvoy elite nights

Do elite nights earned through Marriott credit cards count towards lifetime status?

Marriott Bonvoy offers the following three tiers for lifetime status:

Lifetime Silver status requires 250 elite nights plus five years of statusLifetime Gold status requires 400 elite nights plus seven years of Gold status or higherLifetime Platinum status requires 600 elite nights plus 10 years of Platinum status or higher

Do elite nights earned through Marriott credit cards count towards the lifetime status night requirement? The answer is yes, they absolutely do.

Credit cards can get you closer to Marriott lifetime elite status

What about Marriott credit cards offering status for spending?

A couple of Marriott credit cards offer elite status for spending. For example, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card offers Platinum status when you spend $75,000 on the card in a calendar year.

For some people that might be worth it, though there is one important distinction to understand. When you earn status through spending, you’re not actually getting the corresponding elite nights.

To explain this in the form of an example:

Say you spend $75,000 on the Bonvoy Brilliant Card and then earn Platinum statusYou’ll have Platinum status, but won’t get the corresponding 50 elite nightsIf you want to then go for Bonvoy Titanium status (which requires 75 elite nights), you’re not any closer to earning it, since you’re not getting the 50 elite nights usually associated with Platinum statusYou also wouldn’t qualify for Bonvoy Choice Benefits, since those are based on the elite nights you earn, rather than your statusSome Marriott credit cards outright offer Platinum status with spending

Marriott credit cards make Platinum status attainable

Marriott Bonvoy has five elite tiers (Silver, Gold, Platinum, Titanium, and Ambassador), and I’d say status starts becoming valuable around the Platinum tier. Bonvoy Platinum members receive perks like the following:

Unlimited suite upgrades, subject to availabilityGuaranteed 4PM check-out, except at resorts, where it’s subject to availabilityComplimentary lounge access and/or breakfast at most Marriott brands50% bonus Bonvoy points on staysBonvoy Choice Benefits, where you can select perks like Suite Night Awards

Now, in fairness, there are a lot of Platinum members and I do find Marriott to be quite inconsistent, so temper your expectations when it comes to the unlimited suite upgrades. 😉

Bonvoy Platinum status ordinarily requires 50 elite nights per year, so if you can earn 30 elite nights per year, that gets you 60% of the way there. Then you’d only have to earn an additional 20 elite nights to achieve status.

Keep in mind that even award stays and redemptions of free night certificates count towards status with Marriott, so you don’t even have to stay 20 nights on paid rates. That’s potentially not that hard even for someone who is ordinarily a leisure traveler.

It’s much easier to earn Platinum status with the right Marriott credit card

How do other hotel credit card elite status opportunities compare?

In case you’re curious about how Marriott’s policy of earning status with credit cards compares to the policies of competitors, I figured I’d talk briefly about what other hotel groups offer.

The best opportunity to earn status with a hotel credit card is available with Hilton. The Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express (review) offers Hilton Honors’ top-tier Diamond status for as long as you have the card, with no spending requirement. That’s an incredible perk, though admittedly Hilton doesn’t promise suite upgrades, late check-out, etc.

IHG Rewards Club also has a decent opportunity, as the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card (review) offers IHG Rewards Club Platinum status for as long as you have the card. This is a rather weak elite tier, though, as IHG makes no promises regarding upgrades, free breakfast, or late check-out.

When it comes to Hyatt, World of Hyatt Globalist status is my favorite top-tier hotel status, and understandably it’s also not that easy to earn. However, the World of Hyatt Credit Card (review) and the World of Hyatt Business Credit Card (review) can help you earn elite status:

On the personal version of the card you receive five elite nights annually just for having the card, and two more elite nights for every $5,000 spentOn the business version of the card you receive five elite nights for every $10,000 spent in a calendar yearI love the status opportunities with the Hilton Aspire Card

Bottom line

Marriott Bonvoy members can earn up to 30 elite nights per year using co-branded credit cards. This is potentially a great opportunity, as it gets you 60% of the way towards Bonvoy Platinum status. If you have the right Marriott credit cards and stay just 20 nights per year with Marriott, that’s enough to maintain Platinum status.

Personally I have both the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card and Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card, and that proves to be a huge help with maintaining status with the program.

Do you leverage Marriott credit cards to earn Bonvoy elite status?

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IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card Review (2022)



Hotel credit cards are incredibly underrated. Even if you don’t spend much money on them, they can offer huge perks, including elite status and free night certificates. When you combine these two factors, a lot of these cards offer outsized value.

In this post, I wanted to take a closer look at a hotel credit card that I think just about everyone should have, for the anniversary free night certificate if nothing else. This is an especially good time to get the card, as the current welcome bonus is excellent.

IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card Basics For January 2022

The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is the premium Chase and IHG co-branded credit card. Even if you don’t plan on putting much spending on the card, this card can be worth having for the anniversary free night certificate, fourth night free on award redemptions, and more.

For those of you not familiar with IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group), the group owns InterContinental, Six Senses, Regent, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, and more.

Let’s take a closer look at what you need to know about this card.

Welcome Bonus Of 125,000 Points & Free Night

At the moment the IHG Premier Card is offering an excellent two-part welcome bonus, which is earned after spending $3,000 within the first three months:

Receive 125,000 IHG Rewards pointsReceive a free night award valid at a property costing up to 40,000 points

Personally I value IHG points at 0.5 cents each, so the 125,000 points are worth ~$625 to me, while the free night certificate can be worth up to ~$200.

Card Eligibility

The welcome bonus on the IHG Premier Card isn’t available to those who currently have this specific card, or those who have received a new cardmember bonus on this card in the past 24 months. You’re eligible for the IHG Premier Card even if you have the no annual fee IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card (review).

Furthermore, you’re eligible for the IHG Premier Card even if you have IHG’s previous co-branded credit card. These cards are even great complements to one another.

While you can get multiple cards, note that Chase also typically lets you product change between personal cards, assuming you’ve had a card for at least 12 months. You’ll need to phone up the number on the back of your card to find out more.

Chase’s 5/24 Rule

Chase has what’s known as the 5/24 rule. This means that if you’ve opened five or more new card accounts in the past 24 months you typically won’t be approved for this card. So if you do apply for this card, make sure you’re under that limit. Chase’s other general application restrictions apply.

$89 Annual Fee

The IHG Premier Card has an $89 annual fee. You can add additional cardmembers to your account at no extra cost. As I’ll explain below, the annual fee is well worth it even if you don’t spend money on the card, since you get an anniversary free night certificate.

Earning Points With The IHG Premier Card

The IHG Premier Card offers some bonus categories, though in general this isn’t a card that I would put much spending on, given the relatively low value of IHG Rewards points.

10x Points At IHG Properties

If you have the IHG Premier Card then you can earn a total of 25x IHG Rewards points per dollar spent at IHG properties. However, in reality, not all of those points are coming from the credit card as such. Here’s how this breaks down:

You earn 10x points from IHG for being an IHG Rewards memberYou earn 5x points from IHG with Platinum status, which is a benefit of this cardYou earn 10x points for paying with your IHG Premier CardEarn 10x points for stays at IHG properties

2x Points At Gas Stations, Grocery Stores, And Restaurants

The IHG Premier Card offers 2x points for purchases made at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants. Given my fairly low valuation of IHG points, that translates to a return of about one cent per dollar spent.

Personally, I wouldn’t recommend spending money in these categories with this card, since there are much better options out there.

Earn 1x Points On Other Purchases

For categories in which you can’t earn 2-10x points, the card offers one IHG Rewards point per dollar spent. I would highly recommend against spending money on the card at that rate, since you can do better with other cards.

No Foreign Transaction Fees

The IHG Premier Credit Card has no foreign transaction fees, so it’s a good card for purchases abroad. That’s especially true when staying at IHG properties abroad, as well as for dining and commuting outside the United States.

IHG Premier Credit Card Benefits

What truly makes the IHG Premier Card exceptional is the benefits and perks that it offers, which in my opinion more than offset the annual fee on the card.

Anniversary Free Night

Every year on your account anniversary you get a free night certificate, valid at any property costing up to 40,000 points per night. This will be issued shortly after your anniversary and is valid for 12 months. This is in addition to the free night certificate currently being offered as part of the welcome bonus.

This covers a vast majority of IHG properties worldwide, and I’ve consistently gotten outsized value with this. For example, I’ve now three times in a row redeemed it at hotels that would have cost $250+ for one night if paying cash.

I’ve used a free night certificate at the Kimpton EPIC Miami

Fourth Night Free On Award Redemptions

Just for having the IHG Premier Card you get a fourth night free on award redemptions. When you stay four consecutive nights on an award redemption then you only have to redeem points for the first three nights.

This is an awesome perk, since it can be used an unlimited number of times (you can even use it to book multiple rooms at the same hotel). If you usually redeem points for stays in increments of four nights, this is like getting 25% off all your redemptions.

Get a fourth night free on an award at the InterContinental Maldives

IHG Rewards Platinum Status

You receive IHG Rewards Platinum status for as long as you have the card. While IHG isn’t the richest program in terms of elite benefits, this more than does the trick for those who only occasionally stay with IHG.

Among other things, IHG Rewards Platinum members receive:

Complimentary room upgrades, subject to availability50% bonus pointsLate check-out, subject to availabilityPriority check-inComplimentary internetWelcome amenityGet room upgrades as an IHG Rewards Platinum member

Global Entry Or TSA Pre-Check Credit

The IHG Premier Card offers a Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check credit once every four years. Just charge the membership fee of up to $100 to your card, and it will automatically be reimbursed. It doesn’t matter who the fee is being paid for, as long as you charge it to your eligible card.

Chase Offers

One of the great features of Chase cards is access to Chase Offers, which provides savings on purchases with all kinds of retailers. The program wasn’t launched that long ago, but has already saved me a significant amount of money.

Secondary Car Rental Coverage

The IHG Premier Card offers auto rental collision damage waiver coverage. Decline the rental company’s collision insurance and charge the entire rental cost to your card.

Coverage is provided for theft and collision damage for most cars in the United States and abroad. Do note that domestically the coverage is secondary to your personal insurance, though.

Protection With Trip Delays, Lost Luggage, And More

The IHG Premier Card offers a variety of other protection when traveling. Among these features is:

Trip Cancellation & Trip Interruption Insurance — be reimbursed up to $5,000 per trip when your trip is canceled or cut short due to sickness, severe weather, etc.Lost Luggage Reimbursement — be reimbursed up to $3,000 per passenger if you or your immediate family member check or carry on luggage that is damaged or lost by an airlineBaggage Delay Insurance — be reimbursed up to $100 per day for three days for essential purchases when your bag is delayed by over six hours

Make sure you check your cardmember agreement for all of the details, since there are terms & conditions.

Is The IHG Premier Credit Card Worth It?

I think the IHG Premier Card is absolutely worth having. While this isn’t a card I would put much spending on, the card is worth the $89 annual fee for the incredible perks that it offers. The card offers an anniversary free night certificate, a fourth night free on award redemptions, IHG Rewards Platinum status, a Global Entry fee credit, and more.

Everyone in my family has an IHG Card, if for no other reason than that we consistently redeem the free night certificates at hotels that would cost $250+ when paying cash.

IHG isn’t my favorite hotel group, but there are 5,000+ locations, and I inevitably end up staying at IHG hotels several times per year, because the brand often has the best options.

Let’s discuss a few other aspects of the card, though…

Quick Comparison: IHG Premier Vs. IHG Traveler Card

Above I’ve written about the $89 annual fee IHG Premier Card, though there’s also the no annual fee IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card (review). The Premier Card is absolutely worth the annual fee. Why?

The Premier Card offers an anniversary free night, while the Traveler Card doesn’tThe Premier Card offers IHG Platinum status, while the Traveler Card offers IHG Gold statusThe Premier Card offers a Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check credit, while the Traveler Card doesn’tThe Premier Card offers a huge welcome bonus

Like I said, the single best benefit of the Premier Card is the anniversary free night certificate, and that’s worth way more than its annual year.

Other Options For Earning IHG Points

The IHG Premier Card doesn’t actually offer great points earning rates when you factor in the fairly low per point value of IHG Rewards.

Do keep in mind that IHG is transfer partners with Chase Ultimate Rewards, so you could transfer points at a 1:1 ratio. For example:

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card (review) offers 3x points on dining and travelThe Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (review) offers 3x points on dining, online groceries, and streaming services, and 2x points on travelThe Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card (review) offers 3x points on the first $150,000 spent annually on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable and phone services, and advertising purchases made with social media sites and search enginesThe Chase Freedom Unlimited® (review), in conjunction with one of the above cards, earns 3x points on dining and drugstores, and 1.5x points on all purchasesThe Chase Freedom FlexSM (review), in conjunction with one of the above cards, earns 3x points on dining and drugstores, and 5x points in rotating quarterly categories

That being said, in general I absolutely wouldn’t recommend transferring Chase points to IHG. As I said, I value IHG points at ~0.5 cents each, while you can instead transfer points at the same ratio to programs like World of Hyatt, where I value the points at ~1.5 cents each (three times as much).

Sometimes it can make sense to buy IHG points when the program has a sale. IHG Rewards sometimes sells points with a 100% bonus, which brings down the cost per purchased points to 0.5 cents each. When you stack that with the fourth night free offered by this card and the Platinum perks you’ll receive, that could be well worth it.

Have The IHG Select Card?

Back in the day, there was the IHG Select Card, which is no longer open to new applicants. If you have that card, then you should absolutely hold onto it and then also apply for this card, as you’re eligible for both. Why? Because you can stack the benefits on both cards:

Both cards offer an anniversary free night certificate, so you could earn two of those each year, and use them for back-to-back staysThe old card offers a 10% refund on redeemed points (up to 100,000 refunded points per year), while the new card offers a fourth night free on award redemptions, and you could stack those benefits; in other words, if you make a four night stay at a hotel costing 70,000 points per night you’d end up paying 210,000 points, and then would get 21,000 points back, for a total cost of 189,000 points, which is over 30% off

Bottom Line

The IHG Premier Card is a card that I highly recommend getting. Not because it makes sense to put a lot of spending on the card long term, but because the anniversary free night certificate can be worth way more than the $89 annual fee.

Add in the IHG Platinum status, fourth night free on award redemptions, Global Entry/TSA Pre-Check credit, and more, and this card is a no-brainer. The card even has a top notch bonus right now, getting cardmembers even more value.

I know some people are opposed to having a lot of credit cards, but often it can make sense to have some cards just for the perks they offer, even if they’re not worth spending much money on. This is one of those cards.

If you want to learn more about the IHG Premier Credit Card or apply, follow this link.

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Commentary: “Hockey Day” Was a Rousing Success



FITCHBURG — Money aside, it’s safe to say Saturday’s “Hockey Day in the Burg” was a success.

That’s not to say the thousands of people who entered the Wallace Civic Center didn’t raise a boatload of money for the Thibeault Family Rehabilitation Trust. They certainly did.

But the smile that was pasted on Jake Thibeault’s face — clearly visible at all times, even with a mask on — was proof that the event was successful. That happiness, the escape it brought even temporarily, was worth more than any amount of money.

Thibeault was greeted by friends, teammates and coaches. In a way, it was akin to a family reunion for the teen.

He was welcomed back to his hometown rink as rock star, posing for photos, chatting with each and every person who came up to say hello. Turn and look at any 10 people and at least one would be wearing one of the “TBOTOUGH” T-shirts that were being sold.

What a boost that must be for Thibeault, who arrived back to his home in Fitchburg Friday for the first time since a hit during a September hockey game left him without sensation from the waist down. Until then, it had been all hospital time in Boston, working hard in rehab to hopefully someday walk again.

If any of that was on Thibeault’s mind throughout Saturday’s three hockey games, you wouldn’t know it. He was back with teammates, embraced by coaches. When I mused that it would be a long day for him, Thibeault smiled and said “yeah, but it’ll be a great day.”

If you haven’t had a chance to talk to Jake Thibeault, here’s a primer on what you pick up on immediately. He’s polite. Thoughtful. Wise beyond his years. Engaging. Determined.

His positivity is contagious. Inspiring. The road ahead of Jake Thibeault is a long one that will be filled with challenges, but it’s one he’s meeting with the mindset of a hockey player: he’s going to grind it out every day and he’s going to win.

“Every day is a new day with ups and downs, but I try to minimize the bad days and just have bad moments,” he told me. His focus is on the good.

Want a glimpse at what kind of young man Jake Thibeault is?

He’s not worried about living a fulfilling life; he knows he’s going to no matter what obstacles are ahead. And his biggest concern? Letting people know how grateful he is for the support he’s received.

“I have so many people that I have to repay and I don’t know how I will,” he said.

Humble. Determined. Full of respect and love for those who have shown the exact same thing to him.

It’s been an incredibly tough few months for the Thibeault family, but Mike and Tracy — Jake’s parents — know they’ve raised a remarkable young man. He didn’t become that way because of a tragic accident on the ice; he’s been that way for a long time.

Whether or not he walks again doesn’t change that one bit. Jake Thibeault off the ice is what he’s always been on the ice to teammates and coaches; a dedicated and determined leader who works hard and is the kind of kid you root for.

And using Saturday’s showing at the Wallace Civic Center as a clear indication, he still has a lot of people rooting for him.

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Large Scale Renovation Plans for Richford Arms Soon to Be Unveiled



A large scale plan to renovate one apartment building in Downtown Erie is close to being unveiled.

The owner of Richford Arms, the apartment building located on State Street, has reportedly planned what they’re calling a “kick off event” for January 24th.

Beacon Communities has already begun the work on the north side of the apartment building.

Plans to renovate Richford Arms set to be unveiled in “Kickoff Event” next week

The project has been priced at 27 million dollars and will include major updates inside and outside of the 100 unit building.

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According to Beacon, the changes will include a two story addition and six new fully-accessible units.

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