Courtesy of JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa
You can redeem free award night certificates at hotels like the JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa in Vietnam.
Even if Marriott isn’t your hotel chain of choice, here’s why it’s a good idea to pick up one of these credit cards while the offers last.
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Although leisure travel is booming, business travel continues to slump due to COVID-19. Possibly in an effort to lure wary travelers back to its thousands of hotels across the globe, Marriott Bonvoy is posting some of the best intro offers ever available with its cobranded credit cards—two with American Express and two with Chase.
The most lucrative of these offers includes the opportunity to earn up to 150,000 points and a free award night certificate worth up to 85,000 points. That certificate alone should be enough for an evening at nearly any Marriott Bonvoy hotel around the world—including tony Ritz-Carltons and sophisticated St. Regises—and you could use the bonus points to stay even longer.
While you might be cutting back on major international trips for the time being, you may want to sign up for a new hotel credit card with points and perks you can use closer to home. Here are details on the current Marriott Bonvoy credit card offers and which type of traveler each might suit best.
Targeted at big spenders who frequent Marriott’s high-end hotels, this premium product has a slew of excellent travel-related benefits and the highest intro bonus offer of any of these cards.
Current welcome offer
Earn 150,000 bonus points and a bonus free night award worth up to 85,000 points (basically enough for Marriott Bonvoy’s top-tier Category 8 properties) after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of card membership. All told, you’re looking at a potential 235,000 points in value. Compared to this card’s usual intro offer of just 75,000 points after $3,000 in spending, this offer allows you to reap more than three times the value. This offer expires November 3, 2021.
$450 (see rates and fees)
This card’s many benefits can add up to hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars in value per year. They include up to $300 in statement credits each year toward purchases at Marriott Bonvoy hotels, plus a free night award every year after the account anniversary worth up to 50,000 points, which is redeemable at thousands of low- and mid-range properties participating in Marriott Bonvoy (some of which may charge resort fees), such as the beachy Ritz-Carlton, Cancun.
Cardholders receive automatic Gold elite status for perks like bonus earning on stays, a good shot at room upgrades, and priority for late check-out, among other advantages. Cardmembers who book reservations of two nights or more at Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis hotels using a special rate also receive on-property credits of up to $100 to use during their stay.
With an affordable annual fee, but benefits that can still enhance any stay, this card might be best for folks who stay at Marriott hotels a few times a year, but not enough to earn elite status on their own.
Current welcome offer
Earn 125,000 bonus points and one free night worth up to 50,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. For context, this card usually only offers 75,000 points as part of its welcome offer. This offer expires November 3, 2021.
The card earns six points per dollar on Marriott purchases and two points per dollar on everything else.
Cardholders are rewarded with 15 nights of elite credit per calendar year, enough for starter Silver status and a good boost toward mid-range Gold status, which they can earn by using the card to make $35,000 in purchases in a calendar year.
They also receive a free night award worth up to 35,000 points every account year, which can be a great money-saver if they redeem it at hotels where rates tend to top $200–$300 per night, such as the tropical JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa in Vietnam.
This card can help road warriors rack up tons of extra points on work purchases thanks to its many bonus earning categories.
Current welcome offer
Earn 125,000 bonus points and two free night awards worth up to 50,000 points each when you use your new card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first three months. That’s a potential total of 225,000 bonus points. Compare that to the mere 75,000 points this card normally offers, and you’re coming out way ahead. This offer expires November 3, 2021.
$125 (see rates and fees)
You don’t have to focus solely on business expenses to maximize this card. It accumulates:
This card’s perks put it closest to the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless. Namely, cardholders receive a free night award each year after their account anniversary worth up to 35,000 points, and 15 nights of elite credit each calendar year, which is enough for Silver status and a decent bump toward Gold.
If you want to try out Marriott Bonvoy but don’t want to commit to a pricey annual fee, consider this card.
Current welcome offer
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 in the first three months from account opening. That’s twice the points this card normally comes with. This offer expires November 3, 2021.
Interestingly enough, cardholders receive 15 elite night credits each year—the same as with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless and Marriott Bonvoy Business—but don’t have to pay an annual fee for that privilege. Its other benefits are pretty scant, although they include waived foreign transaction fees, which can come in handy for international travelers.
If you’re thinking about applying for one of these cards, there are a lot of terms and benefits to compare, so let’s break it down to the main factors that should help you make your decision.
First things first—you should usually apply for the card with the best welcome bonus offer for your needs, and whose spending requirement you can meet without stretching your finances. The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant, Marriott Bonvoy Business, and Marriott Bonvoy Boundless are all offering stellar terms and require the same amount of spending, $5,000, within the same amount of time, the first three months of card membership. Assuming you can meet those terms, think about whether you can get more value from one bonus versus another.
At face value, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant has the best offer, worth up to 235,000 points. But if you’re not going to actually use that free night award for its full potential 85,000-point value, you might be better off applying for the Marriott Bonvoy Business instead. That’s because it comes with 125,000 bonus points and two award certificates worth up to 50,000 points apiece. Those might be more leverageable, depending on where you tend to stay.
If you’ve had any of these cards in the past, or former versions with Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest, you might also be precluded from their bonuses, so be sure to check the terms before you apply and only attempt to open a card for which you are eligible.
Another major point of difference among these cards is their respective earning structures. The Marriott Bonvoy Business might be the most lucrative of them since it has so many bonus categories, including general ones such as U.S. restaurants and U.S. gas stations, in addition to several work-related categories.
You might also think the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant is a better choice than the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless since the former earns more points at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines. But if those aren’t major expenses for you, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless’s flat two-point-per-dollar rate on non-Marriott purchases might suit you just fine—especially considering its annual fee is much lower than that of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant.
Sure, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant is jam-packed with other potentially valuable perks. But if you’re not actually getting their full value, opt for one of the other cards. It’s easy enough to maximize the Brilliant’s $300 annual credit toward Marriott purchases, even on a single stay. But if you get Global Entry or Priority Pass through another card, opening this one, too, might be overkill.
You also want to think about which card’s annual award night certificate will be best for you. The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant’s is worth up to 50,000 points, but those from the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless and Marriott Bonvoy Business are worth up to 35,000 points, which might suit some travelers who stay at budget or mid-range properties more.
As you decide which of them might be right for you, just make sure you can meet the full welcome bonus offer spending requirements and that you will be able to use both the points and the award night certificates that come along. Focus on the card whose bonus earning categories match your typical spending habits, and then make sure you will get more value from the card’s ongoing benefits than it charges as an annual fee. Once you think through those questions, you should be able to narrow down your choice quickly.
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 on September 24, 2021; it was updated with current information on September 28, 2021.
>> Next: The Best Hotel Credit Cards
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