Why Marriott’s 10x points on food delivery isn’t as good as it seems

Aug 1, 2020

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The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has completely changed how and where consumers shop, and credit card issuers have been forced to adapt as the travel-specific perks they offer have been rendered nearly useless. We’ve seen a number of cards offering limited time bonus categories and statement credits in food-friendly categories, including grocery purchases and food delivery.

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(Photo by Monika Skolimowska/picture alliance/ Getty Images)
(Photo by Monika Skolimowska/picture alliance/ Getty Images)

I’ve already decided to shift much of my points earning strategy from flights to hotels this year, and as a loyal Marriott Titanium elite member, I was especially excited to see Chase offering a limited time 10x bonus category for restaurants (including food delivery services) and gas on its Marriott co-branded credit cards. Here’s a list of eligible products:

*Not available for new applicants

At this point in time I’m still not eating out at restaruants, but I was excited about earning 10x points per dollar when ordering food through DoorDash. TPG values Marriott points at .8 cents each, meaning this limited time promo gives you an 8% return. That’s better than the 3x (6%) return I’d been getting with my Chase Sapphire Reserve®, but this promotion is not as good as it looks at first glance.

You lose DashPass if you don’t pay with the Sapphire Reserve

Earlier this year, the Chase Sapphire Reserve raised its annual fee to $550 a year. To offset this change, the card added some new perks with Lyft and DoorDash, including at least one year of DoorDash DashPass. DashPass, which normally costs $9.99 a month, gives you free delivery on eligible orders over $12 and a reduction in fees. The exact value of this benefit is hard to pin down, but food delivery fees have gotten pretty egregious and if you use DoorDash even semi-regularly, the savings really add up.

In this example of a pretty standard Chipotle order, my Sapphire Reserve DashPass benefit saves me $3.36. I’d earn 3x Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on this transaction, for a total of 45 points worth 90 cents according to TPG’s valuations. That means my total net cost for a burrito, chips and guac would be ~$14.25

However, if I swap the payment method to my Marriott Bonvoy Premier Plus Business Credit Card, I see a popup saying that I’m not able to use DashPass benefits with this card. This means I’d have to pay the full fees and delivery charge, bringing my order total to a whopping $18.51 before tip. I’d earn 185 Marriott points, worth $1.48 based on TPG’s valuations, but my total cost here is still $17.03, or nearly $3 more.

The difference here may seem small, but if you’re placing larger orders or ordering in regularly those extra dollars will really add up. Bonus points are nice, sure, but not if it means paying more money during a recession to earn them.

Bottom line

Whenever you’re evaluating a new deal or comparing booking options, you need to think about your total, all-in cost and not just the number of points you’ll earn. If you’d been relying on DashPasss from your Chase Sapphire Reserve to save you money on food delivery, be warned that you’ll lose that benefit when paying with a Marriott card to earn 10x points. Yes you’ll take home more points, but your total cost will also go up making this a tough sell.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.