The Marriott hotel family includes many other brands (Ritz-Carlton, Renaissance, AC, Courtyard, Springhill Suites, Fairfield Inn and Suites, Residence Inn, Townplace Inn and Suites) and its network is one of the most extensive in the world. There are not many deals to be had, except for the 5th night free option on point redemption awards. Their points are among the least valuable in the industry, with their top-tier hotels going for 40,000 points/night. Marriott’s network is very extensive–I have been saved by these points several times when I went to cities with no feasible options but Marriott.
Special deals: “Pointbreaks” are a 5,000 point discount on certain hotels with pretty restrictive dates. I have not found these to be very useful because of their limited availability and small discount.
“5th night free” is effectively a 20% discount on 5-night stays. When you redeem points for 4 nights at a hotel, the 5th night requires no additional points.
I applied for the Chase Marriott Visa card in 2011 for 70,000 points, 1 free night certificate at a category 1-4 hotel, a $75 statement credit, and the annual fee waived for the first year ($85 value). Then when the annual fee hit my Chase account, I checked to see if my “anniversary gift” (1 free night certificate at a category 1-5 hotel) was put into my Marriott account. It was there, so I called Chase to cancel my account and get the annual fee taken off my bill, and there was no problem. So all in all, I got 2 free night certificates, 70,000 points, and $75. The current offer is not quite as good–50,000 points instead of 70,000. But the biggest reason not to get this card is that Chase has so many other great cards and you can’t get them all at once.