I have been in the Marriott Rewards programs since 1986 and it has done well for us.
Here are some facts about us:
- Our family is comprised of me (54 year old husband), 59 year old wife, 16 year old son and 24 year old son (lives out of town)
- We live in the Detroit area so we fly Delta 95% of the time.
- We like to travel. We usually take 1-2 very nice vacations per year. Our annual vacation budget is $ 40,000-$ 50,000.
- We like to cruise and cruise usually once every 1-2 years on Royal Caribbean. We expect this to continue.
- We are starting to explore Europe including a trip to Italy with Adventures by Disney in July 2018.
Our strategy has always been to use credit cards to earn points for hotel stays and we have done well with this. I think our days of spending one week on a beach using hotel points are close to over. So the 5th free night free when we use points for 4 free nights probably isn't very helpful any longer.
Here are the credit cards that we have:
- Hyatt VISA (Chase)-This is our primary credit card (effective June 2017). We pay a $ 75 annual membership fee. We spent $ 64,000 on this credit card over the past 12 months. We have Explorist status with Hyatt. We originally got this credit card in 2014 before we went to Hawaii and received the 2 free nights worldwide and used it at the Grand Hyatt in Kauai. In 2016, we used points and stayed at the Hyatt Regency in Lake Tahoe which we loved. The Lake Tahoe property is the primary reason we still have this credit card because we see our family going back there.
- Marriott Signature VISA (Chase)-This is our back-up credit card. It was our primary credit card until June 2017. We pay an $ 85 annual membership fee. We spent $ 25,000 on this credit card over the past 12 months. We are Gold Elite status and enjoy the free concierge lounge when we travel. We really like the number of quality of Marriott properties. We are using SPG points (after transfer from Marriott) to stay in Paris 2 nights (35,000 points/night) and Amsterdam 1 night (35,000 points) this summer around our Italy trip.
- Delta American Express-We pay a $ 195 annual membership fee. We receive and use the free companion ticket. We use this credit card so we can get free baggage since we usually fly Delta as a family. We charge our flights in this credit card. We have spent $ 16,000 on this credit card in the past 12 months.
- Sam's Club Mastercard-No annual fee. We use this credit card when we shop at Sam's Club and earn rebates. We spent $ 6,000 on this credit card in the past 12 months.
- Costco VISA (Citi)-No annual fee. We recently joined Costco to take advantage of their cash back on travel. We received 7% on our recent cruise booked through Costco Travel and 7% for our upcoming Adventures by Disney Italy trip. We have spent $ 21,000 on this credit card in the past 12 months, all on travel.
So it all adds up to about $ 132,000 spending per year on our credit cards (wow, that's a lot), all of which we pay off every month.
We have always loved staying with Marriott but the value of Hyatt points seems to be better than Marriott. I compared Kauai, San Diego, San Francisco and New York CIty. Points for a free night are 30-50% less at a nice Hyatt property compared to a similar Marriott property.
I am wondering if we should consider consolidating these credit cards, at least Hyatt, Marriott and Delta. Do I get one credit card that I can transfer to a rewards program that allows me to use for hotel and travel (e.g. AmEx Membership Rewards)?
Cruise credit cards do not tend to have great value so those are probably out.
I appreciate your comments and recommendations.