A hotel card firmly planted in the middle ground
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Marriott loyalists searching for a hotel card with mid-tier travel benefits will find a lot to consider with the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy Amex card. The welcome offer is lucrative and there’s plenty of potential to tap into a host of hotel and travel benefits. However, if you’re searching for a bit more flexibility and long-term value, the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy falls short.
The Marriott Bonvoy Bevy bursts on the scene as a mid-tier hotel option in the Marriott Bonvoy program’s portfolio of credit cards as the third offering through the issuer American Express. A high welcome offer and automatic complimentary Gold Elite Status in the Marriott Bonvoy program sets this card off on a good foot. However, the card misses out on a handful of benefits that even lower-cost, general travel cards have. Whether or not the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy is the best hotel card for you comes down to a thorough review of your personal travel habits and whether or not you can make the most of what this card offers.
The welcome offer value on this card is significant, easily recouping your annual fee cost for the first year.
The card gets you complimentary Gold Elite Status in the Marriott Bonvoy rewards program, boosting your points and granting you a bevy of extra hotel perks automatically.
Since the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy is co-branded with American Express, you’ll have access to a lot of Amex perks in addition to Marriott’s perks and benefits.
The $250 fee could be steep for some, especially if you don’t travel often and can’t maximize stays at Marriott properties.
You won’t get some key features that are common on a lot of other hotel cards with annual fees like TSA PreCheck credit or lounge access.
There are no intro APR offers on purchases or balance transfers, so you won’t get a break on interest if you end up carrying a balance for a while.
You could earn 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months with your Marriott Bonvoy Bevy card. If you calculate that value using Bankrate’s point valuations, the estimated value for this welcome offer comes out to about $595. This offer sets the Bonvoy Bevy in the middle of the pack on welcome offer values when compared with other co-branded Marriott hotel cards. In the end, the best hotel card (or any card) for you should be based on more than just a welcome offer, as this windfall of rewards is only given at the start of your card membership and you’ll want to select a card that has solid ongoing value.
The Marriott Bonvoy rewards program is free to join, fairly flexible and could be quite lucrative depending on your program membership level. With the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy card, you’ll get complimentary Gold Elite membership status, and you can earn your way to a higher status and even more perks through qualifying stays at participating Marriott properties. Ideally, this card is most valuable to people whose hotel of choice is almost always a Marriott.
You’ll earn your highest rewards rate of 6X points with this card by making purchases at participating hotels in the Marriott Bonvoy program. Since the Bonvoy Bevy comes with complimentary Gold Elite membership status, you’ll earn 25 percent more points than regular Bonvoy program members. You’ll also earn 4X points at restaurants worldwide and U.S. supermarkets on up to a combined total of $15,000 in purchases per year (then 2X points) and 2X points on all other purchases. Based on the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s 2021 Consumer Expenditures Report, the average consumer has a combined spending of $8,289 total on food at home and dining out. Based on this average, you most likely won’t need to worry about hitting that spending cap in the restaurants and U.S. supermarkets category.
Most obviously, you can use your cache of points to book award nights (terms apply). However, you can also redeem points on VIP events and other experiences through Marriott Bonvoy Moments, a program similar to Citi Entertainment and American Express Experiences.
You could also transfer points to a partner airline program for a bonus of 5,000 points for every 60,000 points you transfer.
Bankrate currently values Marriott Bonvoy points at about 0.7 cents, but this value could vary based on what property you stay at or when you book. To determine the most accurate value of your points at the time of booking, divide the cost of your stay by the amount of points needed to book.
Your Marriott Bonvoy points also hold substantial value if you take advantage of Marriott’s airline partners. United Airlines and Marriott have a partnership that applies for all levels of Marriott Bonvoy membership. As a result, United adds a 10 percent bonus in value for points transferred to the United MileagePlus program. If you transfer your Marriott Bonvoy Bevy card welcome offer of 85,000 points (after spending $4,000 in the first three months of card membership) to United MileagePlus miles, you could wind up with about 36,167 MileagePlus miles. Our valuation of MileagePlus miles comes out to an average of 1.1 cents, so your total value would be around $400.
Though the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy boasts some key features, like its fairly large welcome offer, it does leave a few things to be desired that are staples on similar co-branded hotel cards. Two examples of some missing perks include access to the airport lounge program Priority Pass and a credit to use toward Global Access or TSA PreCheck. Despite a few missing pieces, the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy is one of now three American Express cards with Marriott, which opens up a host of issuer-specific perks as well.
As a cardmember, the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy secures you complimentary Gold Elite status in the Marriott Bonvoy rewards program. This membership status affords you access to a few key perks like complimentary in-room Wi-Fi during stays, exclusive member rates, enhanced room upgrades (when available) and more. More hotel benefits you’ll get outside of your Gold Elite status include 15 Elite Night credits, which are used toward upgrading to the next Marriott Bonvoy program rewards membership tier. You’ll also get 1,000 bonus points per eligible stay and a Free Night Award after spending $15,000 on eligible purchases with your card in a calendar year (redemption level must be at or below 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points at a participating hotel).
As a co-branded card with American Express, the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy grants access to a handful of Amex benefits. Most notably, you’ll be able to use Amex’s Plan It®, a buy now, pay later feature that lets you combine up to 10 purchases of $100 or more into a payment plan (fees apply). Other Amex perks you’ll get include Amex Experiences where you could get exclusive offers on tickets to events and presales and Amex Offers where you could be eligible for various discounts.
As an extension of your Amex perks you’ll get a slew of travel insurances that come with holding an Amex card including trip delay insurance, baggage insurance and car rental loss and damage insurance.
The Marriott Bonvoy Bevy does come with a $250 annual fee, another feature that places it in the middle tier when compared to the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card’s $650 annual fee on the high end and the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card’ $95 annual fee on the low end. There are also no intro APR offers on purchases or balance transfers on the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy, plus the ongoing variable APR is 20.49 percent to 29.49 percent variable, meaning that carrying a balance could be costly. One plus is that the card doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, an ideal feature for any travel card. If you do decide to use the Amex Plan It feature, your benefit is subject to a plan fee of up to 1.33 percent of each purchase based on the plan duration, the APR that would apply and other factors determined by the issuer.
Co-branded hotel cards can have a varying degree of added perks and benefits depending on the issuer the card is branded with. Some of these perks may be more valuable than others and another large determining factor will be where you spend the majority of your hotel stays.
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These two cards immediately check a few boxes depending on your issuer and rewards program preferences. If you’re a loyalist to Amex or Marriott, both of these cards will benefit those consumers the most. You may also add United Airlines loyalists to the list, as the partnership between Marriott and United makes transferring points from Marriott Bonvoy to United’s MileagePlus program even more valuable. The few key places where these cards start to differ substantially include affordability, benefits and long-term value. The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex card is Marriott’s premier consumer card and it has the price tag and benefits spread to match. Though you’ll have to pay a fairly steep $650 annual fee, your welcome offer value is higher than what you’d get with the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy (paired with a higher required spend) and you get access to ongoing benefits present on a few of the best travel cards. Examples of these benefits include annual statement credits, premium lounge access, up to $100 for Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fees and more.
Essentially, you get what you pay for with the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant. With the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy you’ll pay a lower, though still relatively high $250 annual fee and still get a welcome offer of sizable value that will recoup your annual fee cost easily for the first year. A major difference to note on this point is that after you receive your welcome offer, there aren’t any extra statement credits or rewards windfalls to continue to recoup the annual fee after the first year. This factor is unlike the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant, which still offers ongoing annual credits beyond the initial welcome offer that could let you easily rebound on most of an even higher annual fee each year. In this case, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant wins out on long-term value, even if it loses a bit of ground on the affordability front.
Interestingly, the two cards have the same ongoing APR and no intro APR offers on purchases and balance transfers, so both will prove expensive if you have to carry a balance. If you want a card that’s going to give you the most luxurious travel benefits, lounge access and offer long-term value for a higher cost, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant may be the best pick for you. If you’re still a Marriott loyalist and frequent Marriott properties enough to make the most of the rewards program benefits, but you could live without the extra travel bells and whistles, the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy is a solid choice as a mid-level hotel card.
Most obviously one of the biggest determining factors in choosing between these two cards will be what hotel properties you stay with most often: Hilton or Marriott. Both cards are issued through American Express, so if you prefer Amex benefits both of these cards would meet that criteria. Based on Bankrate’s most recent point valuations, Hilton Honors points are slightly less valuable than Marriott Bonvoy points. However, the difference is marginal, with Hilton Honors point values coming in at an average of 0.6 cents compared to Marriott Bonvoy’s 0.7-cent average.
One major place where the Hilton Honors Amex card wins out is affordability. This card doesn’t charge an annual fee, which is significant when compared against the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy’s $250 annual fee. The two cards both have the same ongoing APR and no intro offers so carrying a balance would be expensive on either card. In exchange for no annual fee, you’ll get even less in terms of travel protections and benefits, but the Hilton Honors Amex card does have more everyday spending categories in which you can earn points toward your hotel stays.
If you’re trying to decide between these two hotel cards, start first with deciding which suite of hotel properties you prefer more. Next, evaluate how often you spend on travel. If you’re an infrequent traveler and don’t want to shell out the extra cash for more benefits and protections, you may want to steer away from options like the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy. But if you want to rack up points for future travel on purchases like groceries and gas, the Hilton Honors Amex card may be one of the best choices for you. If you prefer a Marriott property, you may want to stick to choosing a Marriott card, but you may only want to choose the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy if you can make the most of what you get for the annual fee.
Your most ideal card to pair with the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy might be a more affordable, general travel card that covers some of the bases the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy misses. One example is the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, which still offers a decent rewards rate (earns miles) on hotel purchases when booked through Capital One’s travel portal, but also offers up to $100 credit for Global Entry/TSA PreCheck and access to Capital One lounges — all for a significantly less hefty $95 annual fee when compared to the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy.
In short, it depends. The Marriott Bonvoy Bevy is a mid-tier card that gets you a bit, but not the most, or the best, perks and benefits by any means. Choosing this card will depend on how often you travel, where you spend the majority of your hotel stays and how much you’re willing to spend for quality benefits. If you’re somewhere in the middle, the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy is worth a look, but if you’re looking for more or don’t have any loyalty to a particular brand, you may be able to get more from another travel card.
The information about the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.
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