Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card review: a high rewarder for Marriott Loyalists

With a high hotel rewards rate and convenient bonus categories, this card makes a great business travel partner.

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Snapshot

4.7

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Bottom line

Thanks to complimentary benefits like a free anniversary night and gold elite status, this card is a solid pick for small-business owners looking for a travel rewards card with hotel-specific perks.

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Best for business rewards

Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card

Rewards rate

2x–6x

Annual fee

$125

Intro offer

Welcome Offer: Earn 75,000 points

Regular APR

19.49% - 28.49% Variable

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent  (670 - 850)

Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card Overview

If your business frequently takes you to different places and you’re a devoted Marriott fan, then the Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card may be right for you.

It not only earns rewards on travel and select everyday purchases, but it also comes with valuable perks like an automatic free night stay when you renew your card (and get charged an annual fee) each year. It also comes with automatic Gold Elite status and 15 Elite Night credits to help you get to the next elite level faster. While your rewards must be redeemed for travel, points can be used for hotel stays, upgrades, and a variety of hotel experiences at over 7,000 hotels worldwide. They can also be transferred to one of Marriott Bonvoy’s airline or car rental transfer partners.

Despite the impressive levels of value and flexibility, the card may not be a great fit for all your business travel needs. If you tend to stay at more than one hotel brand when traveling, you may not spend enough time at Marriott to get the best value out of the card and justify its annual fee. Plus, like most hotel rewards cards, the value of your rewards aren’t worth as much as the points you can earn with a general travel rewards credit card, which tend to offer greater flexibility and value, though you lose out on the hotel-specific perks.

What are the pros and cons?

Pros

  • Complimentary Gold Elite status unlocks a number of valuable features
  • One Free Night Award (valued at 35,000 points or less) every year after your card renewal month
  • Points transferrable to 38 travel partners

Cons

  • $125 annual fee could be hard to justify if you don’t take advantage of the card’s best perks
  •  Some redemption options are far less valuable compared to what other rewards cards offer

A deeper look into the current card offer

Quick highlights

  • Rewards rate: 6X points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program, 4X points at restaurants worldwide and U.S. gas stations, 4X points on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping and 2X points on all other purchases
  • Welcome offer: 75,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new card to make $3,000 in eligible purchases within the first three months of card membership
  • Annual fee: $125
  • Purchase intro APR: N/A
  • Balance transfer intro APR: N/A
  • Regular APR: 19.49 percent to 28.49 percent variable

Current welcome offer

This hotel card comes with a solid welcome offer given its modest annual fee. You can earn 100,000 points after you spend $4,000 in your first three months. Based on Bankrate’s latest point valuations, Marriott points are worth about 0.7 cents apiece on average, which gives this offer a value of about $700 if you redeem for Marriott stays.

Rewards rate

Provided you do some planning, you can make your Marriott Bonvoy rewards go a long way. What’s great about the Marriott Bonvoy® program is that you can earn unlimited points, though you will need to either earn or redeem points at least once every 24 months to ensure your points don’t expire.

How you earn

You’ll earn the most points by staying at participating Marriott Bonvoy locations — 6X points. You also receive Gold Elite status, a perk that could help you earn 25 percent more points than regular members on every eligible hotel purchase. This makes the card highly rewarding and incentivizes continued stays at hotels in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.

The Marriott card also offers 4X points per dollar for purchases in popular spending categories such as restaurants worldwide, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. shipping purchases, making it a fantastic option for small business owners who want to build points quickly.

How to redeem

Points can be redeemed in several ways, though award nights at one of Marriott Bonvoy’s hotels could get you the best value, especially if you can take advantage of your elite status and get a room upgrade.

Marriott recently switched to a dynamic pricing model, so the number of points you’ll need for a free one-night stay will vary based on a variety of factors, including where and when you book. If you have flexibility about when you travel, you can use Marriott’s PointSavers program to stretch your rewards. Just choose “flexible dates” when searching for a stay, and Marriott will show you discounted rates if available. If you don’t have enough points when booking a room, you can take advantage of the Points + Cash redemption option.

The Marriott Bonvoy Business card also comes with an extensive transfer program. This program allows points redemption for flights and car rentals across a global network of travel partners, giving you options and flexibility that you’ll struggle to find with other hotel rewards cards.

But the overall value of your rewards will likely drop with these options. For example, your points transfer at a 3:1 ratio for most of Marriott Bonvoy’s airline transfer partners. This means three points earned with the Marriott Bonvoy business card are only worth one point when transferred over to an airline loyalty program. On the bright side, Marriott Bonvoy will add 5,000 bonus miles for every 60,000 points you transfer to select partners (excluding some partners, such as American Airlines, Avianca and Delta), which can make for a somewhat better transfer ratio of 2.4:1.

How much are the rewards worth?

Each Marriott Bonvoy point is worth 0.7 cents according to Bankrate’s latest monthly point valuations. This is less than the standard credit card rewards point (1 cent per point), but a fair value among hotel rewards programs:

Rewards Program Bankrate value* Estimated value of 50,000 points/miles
World of Hyatt 2.1 cents $1,050
Wyndham Rewards 0.9 cents $450
Marriott Bonvoy 0.7 cents $350
IHG One Rewards 0.7 cents $350
Hilton Honors 0.6 cents $300
Best Western Rewards 0.6 cents $300
Radisson Rewards Americas 0.4 cents $200

It helps to know how much your points are truly worth based on your redemption option. When it’s time to redeem your points, divide the cash cost of your redemption option by the number of points it costs. This will give you the cash value of your points. If the cash value matches or beats our valuation of 0.7 cents, you’re getting a good deal on your Marriott points.

For example, if you book a room overnight at a five-star luxury Marriott hotel that costs $711 or 82,000 points, your points would be worth 0.9 cents ($711 / 82,000 = $0.0086). That beats the estimated value of 0.7 cents, so you’re getting a great deal. But if you redeem your points for a stay that costs $296 or 59,000, the value of your points drops to 0.5 cents ($296 / 29,000 = $0.005), which doesn’t match the estimated value you should expect for your rewards. In this case, it would be better to try and book a room with a better value or pay with cash and save your points for a better redemption option.

Other cardholder perks

While this card comes with fewer benefits compared to a general travel rewards credit card, its hotel perks are so generous that you’ll easily make the $125 annual fee back if you’re a Marriott regular. This is great if you’re the type of business traveler who doesn’t fly frequently but still uses hotels as needed for yourself and employees.

Hotel benefits

  • Complimentary Gold Elite status: Receive 25 percent more bonus points on eligible purchases and priority late checkout on Marriott stays as well as a dedicated elite reservation line and other benefits.
  • 1 Free Night Award every year: Receive one free night award each year after your card renewal month to be redeemed at a Marriott property for a night costing no more than 35,000 points.
  • Earn an additional free night: Spend $60,000 on purchases with your card in a calendar year and earn a free night. This can add up quickly with business stays for yourself and your employees.
  • Elite night credits: Fast track to the next elite status level with 15 elite night credits. No matter what Elite status you’re at, these credits get you to the next tier quicker.
  • Premium Internet access: Get complimentary in-room Internet access at participating locations. While Wi-Fi is generally standard in most hotels, this enhanced internet option is reserved for Marriott Bonvoy cardholders.
  • 7 percent Marriott Bonvoy Room Rate Discount: Cardholders that directly book standard guest rooms at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels will receive a 7 percent discount. A loyalty-specific discount like this can make a difference for frequent hotel guests over time. For instance, a small business that typically spends $2,000 on eligible hotel rooms each year will save $140 — enough to cover an extra night, based on the 2021 average cost of a one-person hotel room. (Terms and conditions apply)

Travel benefits

  • Miles bonus: Receive 5,000 bonus miles for every 60,000 points you transfer to a partner airline frequent flyer program.
  • No foreign transaction fees: Save on the standard 3 percent on foreign transactions when making purchases overseas. Although this is a regular perk featured on travel cards, it’s an added bonus to the Marriott Bonvoy Business card which also comes with enhanced hotel perks that may not be available on a traditional travel card.

Protection and insurance

  • Lost, stolen or damaged luggage insurance: Receive coverage of up to $500 on checked bags and $1,250 for carry-on items. Although insurance coverage like this is typical on cards in this class, it’s always a welcome cushion in the uncertainty that comes with travel.
  • Car rental loss and damage insurance: Receive secondary coverage on car rental when you pay with this card.
  • Purchase protection: Up to 90 days and $1,000 per occurrence (up to $50,000 per account per calendar year), items purchased with your card are protected against damage, loss or theft. Although this is another common perk, it adds to the comprehensive list of benefits available on the Marriott Bonvoy Business card.
  • Extended warranty: Includes warranty coverage for up to one additional year for eligible items with an original manufacturer warranty of five years or less.

Rates and fees

This card’s annual fee of $125 is steep for small businesses that don’t require frequent travel, but it’s possible to offset the fee with the rewards you earn. As long as you can take advantage of the card’s bonus categories, you can offset the annual fee by spending about $3,000 per year at Marriott properties or about $375 across your 4X categories per month

Although the card’s late payment fee is upwards of $39, on the bright side, there is no foreign transaction fee or over-the-limit fee. But you will have to watch out for the penalty APR. If you make two or more late payments in a year or fail to pay the minimum payment before the closing date of the billing period, you could get hit with a 29.99 percent penalty APR that will last for a minimum of 12 billing cycles.

Like many other premium travel rewards cards, the Marriott Bonvoy Business doesn’t offer a 0 percent introductory APR for purchases and balance transfers. Regular APRs for purchases range from 18.74 percent to 27.74 percent variable, which could be slightly below the current average interest rate.

How the Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card compares to other travel rewards cards

The Marriott Bonvoy Business card certainly has its perks, but if you prefer to stay with a different hotel brand or want a more versatile rewards card, you have options. Here are two alternative cards that could provide better value.

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Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card

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4.7
See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply
Apply now

on American Express's secure site

Annual fee

$125

Intro offer

Welcome Offer: Earn 75,000 points

Rewards rate

2x–6x

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent(670 - 850)
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The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

Annual fee

$95

Intro offer

Earn 130,000 Points

Rewards rate

3X–12X

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent(670 - 850)
Chase Image

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Annual fee

$95

Intro offer

100,000 points

Rewards rate

1X–3X

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent(670 - 850)

Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card vs. The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

When it comes to choosing between the Marriott Bonvoy Business card and The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card , it’s likely just a matter of which hotel brand you prefer. They both come with similar features, but there are a few key differences. For example, the Marriott Bonvoy Business card gives you an automatic free night every year after your card renewal month (and annual fee charge), but you’ll have to spend $15,000 in eligible purchases to earn a free night with the Hilton Honors business card.

Despite the lack of an automatic free night, the Hilton Honors business card has its own features that help it to be a standout card. It charges a slightly smaller annual fee and offers higher bonus rewards for your various purchases. Hilton Honors points aren’t as valuable as Marriott Bonvoy’s points, but the difference of 0.6 cents vs. 0.7 cents can be quickly erased since you can rack up an incredible amount of points a lot faster.

Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card vs. Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card can’t match the Marriott Bonvoy Business card when it comes to hotel perks. So frequent travelers and Marriott loyalists would miss out on the free nights, elite status and other cost-saving perks.

But what the Ink Business Preferred card lacks in hotel rewards, it makes up for with its rewards and versatility. It’s a business card that earns points generously for travel purchases, and those points can be redeemed for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal with a 25 percent bonus. You also have the option of transferring your points to one of Chase’s travel partners, including Marriott Bonvoy.

With the right transfer partner, your Chase Ultimate Rewards points could jump in value from 1.25 cents (when redeemed for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal) to an estimated 2 cents each. That’s more versatile and valuable than the points offered by the Marriott Bonvoy Business card, which are only worth an estimated 0.7 cents.

Best cards to pair the Marriott Bonvoy Business Credit Card with

To optimize rewards for your business spending, pair your card with a cash rewards card with no annual fee, such as the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card. The Ink Business Cash will give you 5 percent cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases on office supplies and the ability to transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards to your Marriott Bonvoy account. This would be a great card to use to fill gaps in your spending that might otherwise earn you only 2X points with your Marriott Bonvoy Business card.

Additionally, pairing it with a flat-rate rewards business card like the Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card might also be a wise option since you’ll be able to earn more rewards on expenses that fall outside your Marriott card’s bonus categories.

Bankrate’s Take: Is the Marriott Bonvoy Business Credit Card worth it?

From hotel perks to complimentary protections, the Marriott Bonvoy Business benefits and rewards make this card a great option for a small-business owner who travels frequently and stays often at Marriott hotels. This card also has a good rate on restaurants worldwide and gas stations, which can earn points whether or not you are close to home.

But you must be happy to stay exclusively at Marriott Bonvoy properties, which shouldn’t be too much of a hassle because the program has a wide range of variety in their branded chains. However, if you’re after more variety in a rewards program, then a general travel rewards credit card may be more suitable for you.

For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Business, please click here.

Frequently Asked Questions