Courtesy of American Express
American Express has incredible offers on two of its Marriott Bonvoy cards.
You can enjoy two free nights at some of Marriott’s best hotels around the world with that many points.
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Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more. Some offers may no longer be available. View the current offer for Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card here. View the current offer for the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card here.
Back in March, American Express launched limited-time bonuses for two of its Marriott Bonvoy credit cards, with an eye-popping number of points and statement credits worth hundreds of dollars. These offers are only around for a few more days—until May 12, 2021—so be sure to get your application in by then.
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card is currently offering up to 125,000 bonus points after making $5,000 in eligible purchases on your card in the first three months of card membership. That’s 50,000 more points than this card typically offers to new applicants. The card also comes with up to $200 in statement credits toward purchases made at U.S. restaurants within the first six months.
The Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card is extending its own historically high offer of up to 100,000 bonus points after making $5,000 in purchases on the card within the first three months of card membership, plus up to $150 in statement credits toward eligible purchases within the first three months. This card usually only offers 75,000 bonus points to new applicants for spending $3,000 in the first three months, so this is an attractive boost.
With the busy summer travel season looking more and more hopeful thanks to the vaccine rollout, this could be the best time to apply for a Marriott credit card so you can stock up on the points you’ll need for when you’re ready to head out into the world again.
Here are the details on each of these cards, and a brief overview of whether you might be better off with one of them, or with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card from Chase instead.
This is the highest-end Marriott Bonvoy credit card, and it comes with the annual fee and benefits to match.
Annual fee: $450 (see rates and fees)
Current welcome offer
Now through May 12, 2021, new cardholders can earn up to 125,000 bonus points after making $5,000 in eligible purchases on their card within the first three months of card membership. Plus, get up to $200 in statement credits for eligible dining purchases made with the card at U.S. restaurants within the first six months. That should go a long way toward offsetting the annual fee.
This card earns:
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This card packs in plenty of value. Cardholders receive up to $300 in statement credits each year of card membership to put toward purchases at Marriott Bonvoy hotels, plus a free night award every year after their account anniversary worth up to 50,000 points. When using their card to book stays of two nights or more using a special rate at the Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis hotels, cardholders receive up to $100 in credit for on-property purchases like restaurant charges or spa bills.
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant confers complimentary Gold elite status and 15 elite night credits each year toward a higher tier if you already qualify for status thanks to stay activity. Cardholders who spend $75,000 or more on purchases in a calendar year get a boost up to Platinum. They are also eligible for either a $100 statement credit for Global Entry once every four years, or up to $85 toward a TSA PreCheck application once every 4.5 years. Finally, card members receive Priority Pass Select membership for access to airport lounges around the world (enrollment required), and foreign transaction fees are waived (see rates and fees).
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant is an excellent option for Marriott loyalists who stay at the chain’s hotels on a regular basis. Its annual fee is high, but if you can earn its best-ever bonus, maximize its statement credits each year, and take advantage of the Gold elite status—with perks like room upgrades, bonus points, and welcome amenities—it’s almost certainly worth the expense.
Business rewards credit cards are often overlooked gems, and this one is no exception.
Annual fee: $125 (see rates and fees)
Current welcome offer
Now through May 12, 2021, earn 100,000 bonus points after you make $5,000 in purchases on your card within the first three months of card membership plus $150 in statement credits toward eligible purchases. This card usually only offers 75,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 in three months and no statement credits.
The business card is a really strong earner. It accrues:
Cardholders receive 15 elite night credits each calendar year, which is enough for Silver status on its own, and a hefty boost toward the 25 nights you need for Gold. A free night award each year after the account anniversary is worth up to 35,000 points, and cardholders can earn an additional one after spending $60,000 on purchases in a calendar year. There are no foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees).
If you have more work-related purchases in mind, and you want a more modest annual fee, this card might be your top choice.
Because Marriott Bonvoy fields cobranded credit cards with both American Express and Chase, there are many restrictions on who is eligible for which card.
These current offers are only accessible to new Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant or Marriott Bonvoy Business card members. That means if you carried one of these cards in the past, or even certain discontinued Starwood Preferred Guest cards, you might find yourself shut out. If you opened the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless from Chase within the last 90 days or received a new bonus or upgrade offer for that card (or a number of other ones in the Chase stable) within the past 24 months, you might also be ineligible. Check your account history and make sure that you haven’t ruled yourself out.
Luckily, American Express has built in a pop-up during the application process that should let you know whether or not you’re eligible for a particular bonus. While you will have to enter some personal information, you won’t have to submit an entire application only to find out you’ve been declined.
Earning 100,000 to 125,000 bonus points sounds great, but what can you actually get for them? Quite a lot of value, if you know where to look.
Nights at Marriott’s top-tier category 8 hotels, like the luxurious St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort or the tony Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch in Colorado, require between 70,000 to 100,000 points per night. So with either the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant or Marriott Bonvoy Business cards, you should have enough points for at least a night at either of those, which could be worth well over $1,000, depending on where and when you book.
Down just one tier in category 7, award nights start at 50,000 points, so you could potentially book two nights at a property like the beachy Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara in California, or the chic London Edition, where room rates regularly hit $600 per night.
You can string your points out even longer by redeeming them at budget-friendly hotels in Marriott’s category 1, like the Fairfield Inn & Suites Houston Richmond in Texas, which start at a mere 5,000 points per night. The 125,000 points from the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant would be worth up to 25 nights at one of those places.
The question many folks probably have is whether to apply for one of these cards or to go with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless instead. That card also recently raised its introductory bonus to 125,000 bonus points plus a free night award worth up to 50,000 points after spending $5,000 within the first three months. What’s more, the Boundless only carries a $95 annual fee, which is much more affordable than the Brilliant, in particular.
The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless earns six points per dollar on purchases made at Marriott Bonvoy hotels, and two points per dollar on everything else, so you won’t rack up extra points on other kinds of purchases as you would with the Amex products.
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless cardholders receive 15 elite night credits per calendar year (though they can hit Gold after spending $35,000 on purchases in a calendar year) and are gifted an annual free night award worth up to 35,000 points—almost identical to the Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex’s perk.
As you can see, there are tradeoffs to choosing the Chase card over one of the Amex cards. If you’re just looking for a quick points haul from the welcome bonus, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless from Chase is probably your best bet.
The Marriott Bonvoy Business is likely the top card for folks who can maximize its spending categories and stay enough at Marriott properties to earn a medium or high level of elite status on their own and can use its elite night credits to boost them higher.
Finally, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant is the standout for folks who will leverage its various statement credits and anniversary free night to reap hundreds or even thousands of dollars’ worth of free travel from it year after year in order to make up for its higher annual fee.
No matter which of these cards you choose, though, you can’t really go wrong thanks to these limited-time offers. The only mistake you can make is not applying while they’re still available.
While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they are subject to change at any time, and may have changed or may no longer be available. This article was originally published in October 10, 2020, and updated March 18, 2021, May 5, 2021, and May 13, 2021.
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