Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card review
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. While your rewards have to be redeemed primarily for travel, points can be used for hotel stays, upgrades or a variety of hotel experiences. Even better, points are transferable to over 40 travel partners.
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What are the advantages and disadvantages?
A deeper look into the current card offer
- Rewards rate: 6X points per dollar at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program, 4X points at U.S. restaurants 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: Limited Time Offer: Earn 125,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points & 2 bonus Free Night Awards after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months. Each bonus Free Night Award has a redemption level up to 50K points. Certain hotels have resort fees. Offer ends 11/3/2021.
- Annual fee: $125
- Purchase intro APR: N/A
- Balance transfer intro APR: N/A
- Regular APR: 15.74 percent to 24.74 percent variable
Current welcome offer
This hotel credit card has Limited Time Offer: Earn 125,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points & 2 bonus Free Night Awards after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months. Each bonus Free Night Award has a redemption level up to 50K points. Certain hotels have resort fees. Offer ends 11/3/2021.
With that, you can get at least one free night stay on your account anniversary at most Marriott Bonvoy locations, or multiple nights if you choose a property in category five or lower.
Another clever use of these points is to turn them into miles. Given the transfer ratio is 3:1 for many airlines and you get 5,000 bonus miles for every 60,000 points transferred, your welcome bonus can potentially be converted into at least 25,500 miles for air travel with a partner airline.
Provided you do some planning in advance, you can make your Marriott Bonvoy rewards go a long way. What’s great about the Marriot 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.
As you would expect, you’ll earn the most points by staying at participating Marriott Bonvoy locations. Owners of this Marriott business credit card automatically receive Silver Elite status, too, which means you could earn up to 17 points per dollar on a Marriott stay—6X points from the card, 10X points from the loyalty program and 1X points from Silver Elite status.
The card also offers 4X points per dollar for purchases in popular spending categories such as U.S. restaurants, 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 or startups who want to build points quickly.
Maximizing rewards can take a little planning because there are 24 possible rates for an award night. The number of points you’ll need for a free one-night stay depends on the hotel category and whether you’re staying during off-peak, standard or peak times. You can also use Marriott’s PointSavers program to stretch your rewards, and the Points + Cash redemption option can help if your points balance is just shy and you need to cover the remainder of your stay out of pocket.
Another perk of the Marriott Bonvoy Business is its transfer program. This program allows points redemption for flights and car rentals across a global network of travel partners.
How much are the rewards worth?
Each Marriott Bonvoy point is worth 0.8 cents according to The Points Guy’s monthly valuations. This is less than the standard credit card rewards point (1 cent per point), but a fair value among hotel rewards programs.
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.
- Complimentary Silver Elite status. Receive 10 percent bonus points and priority late checkout on Marriott stays as well as a dedicated elite reservation line and other benefits.
- Earn one free night. Earn an additional free night award after you spend $60,000 in purchases on your card in a calendar year.
- Elite night credits. Fast track to the next elite status level with 15 elite night credits.
- Premium Internet access. Get complimentary in-room Internet access at participating locations.
- Free anniversary stay. Receive one free night award every year after your card account anniversary at a Marriott property costing no more than 35,000 points.
- 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.
Protection and insurance
- Lost, stolen or damaged luggage insurance coverage of up to $500 on checked bags and $1,250 for carry-on items.
- Car rental loss and damage insurance. Receive secondary coverage on car rental when you pay with this card.
- Purchase protection against damage, loss or theft for up to 90 days and $1,000 per occurrence (up to $50,000 per account per calendar year).
- Extended warranty by up to one additional year for eligible items with an original manufacturer warranty of five years of less
Rates and Fees
This card’s annual fee of $125 will be steep for someone who isn’t a frequent traveler, but you can easily offset it by spending $218 each month at Marriott properties, or by spending $326 across your 4X categories per month. Additionally, the late payment may attract an up to $39 fee.
On the bright side, there is no foreign transaction fee or over-the-limit fee, which could be a big help if any unexpected emergency expenses arise.
Like many premium other 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 15.74 percent to 24.74 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 Hilton Honors American Express Business Card is an obvious competitor, and it’s well-regarded due to its higher rewards potential. It offers 12X points on Hilton’s stays—double what the Marriott Bonvoy offers—as well as more points for the same bonus categories. It also has a lower annual fee at $95. But according to The Points Guy, Hilton points are worth slightly less than Marriott points at 0.6 cents per point.
Outside of the co-branded credit cards space, the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card and the Business Green Rewards Card from American Express may be of interest to those who prefer a general travel rewards program for greater redemption flexibility thanks to the Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards programs, both of which offer Marriott Bonvoy as a transfer partner.
|Card||Annual fee||Rewards||Welcome bonus|
|Hilton Honors American Express Business Card||$95||
||Earn up to 180,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points. Earn 130,000 Bonus Points after you spend $2,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors Business Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership. Plus, you can earn an additional 50,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend a total of $10,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 6 months.|
|Ink Business Preferred® credit card||$95||
||100,000 points after spending $15,000 within three months of account opening.|
|Business Green Rewards Card from American Express||$95 ($0 the first year)||
||15,000 points after spending $3,000 within the first three months.|
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.
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 on offer makes this a great option for a small-business owner who frequently travels.
But you have to be happy to stay exclusively at Marriott Bonvoy properties, so if you’re after more variety in a rewards program, then a general travel rewards credit card may be more suitable.