Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
Put those Marriott Bonvoy points to use at hotels like the picturesque Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay in California.
Higher-than-usual welcome bonuses might make now the right time to get one of Chase’s Marriott Bonvoy credit cards.
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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.
Marriott Bonvoy is unique among hotel loyalty programs in that it partners with not one but two credit card issuers on cobranded cards, American Express and Chase. The two banks often compete for new customers by matching each other’s welcome bonuses, all to the benefit of prospective cardholders. Case in point: American Express launched limited-time welcome offers on its Marriott Bonvoy cards a couple weeks ago, with up to 125,000 bonus points. In response, Chase just raised the introductory bonuses on two of its Marriott Bonvoy cards.
For a limited time, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card is offering up to 100,000 bonus points, while the Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card comes with up to 50,000 bonus points. Which card you choose will depend on the one whose annual fee and earning rates you can maximize. But since Marriott fields over 7,000 hotels around the world in brands as diverse as St. Regis, Ritz-Carlton, Sheraton, Westin, Aloft, and Moxy, no matter which card you get and where you intend to travel, chances are some Marriott Bonvoy points will come in handy.
Here are the details on both cards.
Welcome offer: For a limited time, earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. For context, that’s 25,000 more points than the previous offer.
The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless earns six points per dollar spent at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy and two points per dollar on all other purchases.
Cardholders get a free night award worth up to 35,000 points every account year, and 15 nights of elite credit every calendar year, which is enough for the first tier of elite status, Silver. Spend $35,000 or more on purchases in a calendar year and you get bumped up to Gold. Cardholders are also entitled to premium Wi-Fi during stays.
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With no annual fee, this card might be a better choice for less committed travelers.
For a limited time, earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. That’s 20,000 more points than this card was previously offering.
The Marriott Bonvoy Bold earns three points per dollar at Marriott Bonvoy hotels and two points per dollar on everything else.
Cardholders receive 15 nights toward elite credit every year, which is enough for Silver status.
>> Read more: How to Earn, Redeem, and Maximize Marriott Bonvoy Points
Both the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless and Bold’s limited-time sign-up offers are much higher than usual, so if you’ve put off applying for one of them, now might just be the right moment. Or you may want to consider one of Amex’s Marriott Bonvoy credit cards instead.
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card is currently offering up to 125,000 bonus points after making $5,000 in purchases in the first three months, plus up to $200 in statement credits for eligible dining purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first six months. This offer is available through May 12, 2021 (terms apply).
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant charges a $450 annual fee (see rates and fees) but includes plenty of value-added perks to match. Those include automatic Marriott Bonvoy Gold status, statement credits of up to $300 per year toward purchases at Marriott Bonvoy hotels, and up to $100 once every four years for a Global Entry application.
Cardholders receive an annual free night award worth up to 50,000 points and can enroll for Priority Pass Select airport lounge access. Perhaps most importantly, the card earns six points per dollar on Marriott purchases, three points per dollar at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines, and two points per dollar on everything else.
Also through May 12, 2021, the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card is offering up to 100,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first three months, plus up to $150 in statement credits toward eligible purchases (terms apply). Its annual fee is $125 (see rates and fees), and like the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless, its annual free night award is worth up to 35,000 points.
Where the Marriott Bonvoy Business really excels is its earning structure. It accrues six points per dollar on Marriott purchases and four points per dollar at U.S. restaurants and gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers, and on U.S. purchases for shipping. It earns two points per dollar on everything else.
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With all these fantastic offers out there, you might even want to apply for all four cards. Unfortunately, you’ll lose out on most of their bonuses by doing so. That’s because both Amex and Chase have very strict eligibility requirements for these particular cards since the two issuers are competitors.
For example, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless application page clearly states that the card is not available to folks who are current or previous cardholders of the Marriott Bonvoy Business or Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant who received a new cardholder bonus or upgrade bonus within the last 24 months, or if you applied for either card and were approved within the past 90 days. Amex has similar language regarding Chase’s cards on its application pages. In short, you’ve got to pick one card for now and stick with it for a while.
So which Marriott credit card should you choose? The answer will depend on which product’s perks you can maximize and which one’s annual fee suits your budget.
The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless is a solid middle-of-the-road card with decent earning potential and an affordable annual fee of $95. You can more than offset that by redeeming its annual free night award at a Category 5 Marriott property worth 35,000 points per night, such as the Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner, where room rates regularly run around $220 per night.
The Marriott Bonvoy Bold is the best choice for budget-conscious travelers who want to try Marriott Bonvoy out by earning a lot of bonus points right away without committing to a high annual fee.
For luxury travelers who spend a lot of time at Marriott properties each year, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant is probably the best option. The annual fee is something to consider, but you can still easily come out ahead thanks to the card’s various travel-related statement credits, plus the annual award night worth up to 50,000 points.
Finally, the Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a great choice if you’re looking for a business credit card. But don’t ignore its tremendous earning potential thanks to the preponderance of bonus categories that include dining and gas but also work expenses like shipping and phone bills.
As you make your choice, consider the benefits you will actually use and which card will earn you the most points on purchases you tend to make the most. Then pick the product that most closely matches your habits. Thanks to these limited-time welcome offers, though, you can’t really go wrong with any of the Marriott Bonvoy credit cards at the moment.
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.
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