Marriott Bonvoy™ American Express® Credit Card Review

Mariott Bonvoy

If you’re unfamiliar with Marriott Bonvoy, it’s the new name for Marriott’s loyalty program. This new name wasn’t a huge surprise since Marriott already announced that a rebrand would be coming ever since Marriott Rewards merged with SPG. With the new Marriott Bonvoy™ American Express® Card replacing the Starwood Preferred Guest credit card American Express, everything is now under a single name.

As you can imagine, this credit card is aimed at people who are loyal to the Marriott brand. You’ll earn 5 points for every dollar in eligible card purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy properties. Since Marriott has more than 6,500 properties in 120+ countries, you won’t have any issues racking up those points. All other purchases earn you 2 points for every dollar spent.

Casual travellers may also be interested in the card since you’ll get 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points when you charge $1,500 to your card in the first three months of card membership. That’s enough for 5 free standard nights at a category 2 hotel since Marriott gives you the 5th night free when you book 4 nights on points.

The card also comes with some pretty good benefits which you can use at Marriott properties. You instantly get Silver Elite status which gives you 10% bonus points on stays, priority late checkout, and 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year. If you charge $30,000 to your card each year, you’ll be automatically upgraded to Gold Elite status.

Although you get a decent package of travel insurance including travel accident, car rental theft and damage, flight delay, baggage delay, lost or stolen baggage, and hotel/motel burglary, you don’t get emergency travel medical insurance which is a bit disappointing.

The card does come with a yearly fee of $120, but you get an annual free night award which can be redeemed at participating Marriott properties as long as the redemption value is no more than 35,000 points.

One other thing worth noting is that you can transfer your Marriott Bonvoy points to many airline loyalty programs (including Aeroplan) at a 3:1 ratio. When you transfer 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points, you get an extra 5,000 airline miles.

If you’re loyal to Marriott properties, then this credit card is a must since you’ll earn a ton of points on your stays. Even if you don’t book hotels often, this card is a good way to earn points which can be redeemed for free hotel nights when you want to treat yourself.

Earning Potential: 146,549 Marriott Bonvoy™ Points

So, how does this card stack up to other rewards options? We crunched the numbers using our Best of Finance methodology to see how much you could earn over a 24-month period.

Assuming $1,600 is spent on the card monthly, at eligible retailers in the following categories*:

Pharmacy Food Gas
 $            55.33  $         710.58  $         134.31**
Travel Other Monthly Total
 $         151.21  $         548.57  $      1,600

Rewards earned over a 24-month period: 146,549 Marriott Bonvoy™ Points
Monetary worth of points: $1,318.94
Total value of points (subtracting annual fee): $1,078.94

*Source: Statistics Canada – amount spent by average Canadian each month
**Based on $1.00/litre gas prices
*** Includes 50,000 bonus points

We assumed that half of your other spend would be on Marriott properties.

Pros

  • Get 50,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points when you charge $1,500 to your card in the first three months of card membership
  • You will earn five points for every $1 you spend at participating Marriott properties
  • You earn two points per $1 spent on everything else.
  • Supplementary cards are free to help you increase your earn rate
  • Free annual night reward which can redeemed for a room with a maximum value of 35,000 points
  • Redeem your points at more than 6,500 participating properties in 120+ countries.
  • A free night can be redeemed for as low as 5,000 points
  • Points can be redeemed for Marriott Moments
  • Get Silver Elite status immediately
  • Get Gold Elite status when you charge $30,000 to your card each year
  • Receive 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year
  • Free in-room, premium internet access
  • Transfer your points to 40+ airline partners
  • Some travel insurance included

Cons

  • Marriott Bonvoy has peak pricing which means select dates will cost you more points for a free night
  • No travel medical insurance included
  • Foreign exchange fee of 2.5%
  • Points can’t be redeemed for flights directly
  • Poor value when using points for car rentals
  • Merchandise redemptions have low value
  • Points expire after two years of inactivity

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