Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card Review 

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Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card  Review 

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"Great choice for Marriott Bonvoy loyalists!"

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Business travelers who opt for Marriott as their hotel chain of choice will definitely want to consider the Marriott Bonvoy Business card. The card offers great benefits to cardholders like a complimentary hotel night once a year, automatic Silver Elite status (with a fast-track to Gold Elite status), free employee cards, and multiple point redemption options.

Pros

  • 6x points per $1 on Marriott purchases
  • 4x points per $1 at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers, and on U.S. purchases for shipping
  • 2x points per $1 on all other purchases
  • 15 Elite Night Credits
  • 1 Free Night Award each cardmember anniversary (up to 35,000 points)
  • Silver Elite status (Gold Elite status when you spend $35,000 on purchases each account year)
  • No foreign transaction fees

Update: Through October 31, 2020, cardholders will earn 10x points per $1 on Marriott, gas station, and restaurant spending, on up to $7,500. This promotion requires activation through your Amex Offers page. 

Cons

  • Moderate annual fee
  • No premium perks like airport lounge access
  • Marriott Silver Elite is the lowest status tier

Card Snapshot

The Ideal Cardholder

Business Man Walking with Suitcase
When you’re always on the go, you need a card that helps you travel in style. Image Credit: Jacob Lund via Shutterstock

The Marriott Bonvoy Business card is a great option for business owners who travel frequently and prefer staying with Marriott-branded hotels. Additionally, taking into account the annual fee, you’ll want to make certain you can get great value out of each of the card’s benefits.

Anniversary Complimentary Night Certificate

The complimentary night certificate, given each year at your card renewal, is perhaps one of the best benefits this card has to offer and helps to make up for the card’s annual fee. This free night award is good for any Marriott hotel costing up to 35,000 points per night. 

Since Marriott now utilizes dynamic award pricing, this complimentary night certificate could get you a free night in a Category 5 property, assuming that it is not a peak night.

Category 5 Marriott properties can often be priced anywhere from $200 to $300 a night, so the annual fee in exchange for a free night in one of these hotels can make a lot of sense if you know you’ll be frequenting Marriott hotels anyway.

The free night certificate expires 12 months after it was issued, giving you plenty of time to find a good use for it.

Silver Elite Status

The card also grants you Silver Elite status in the Marriott Bonvoy program, and while this is the lowest status level in the Marriott Bonvoy program, it can still be valuable to those frequenting Marriott hotels that didn’t have status with the chain otherwise.

Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status offers:

  • Priority late checkout, based on availability
  • 10% bonus on Marriott points
  • Access to exclusive phone lines for booking reservations
  • Compensation if Marriott can’t honor your reservation

The primary benefit is that you will earn an extra 10% point bonus on your Marriott stays, and it’s worth mentioning that this applies to points earned through the hotel, not through the credit card.

This bonus amounts to a total of 11 Marriott points per $1 on your Marriott stays, up 1 point from the base membership level.

If your business has a decent level of expenses each year then you’re in luck, as the Marriott Bonvoy Business card also offers a fast track to Gold Elite status after spending $35,000 or more on the card each account anniversary year. Marriott Gold Elite status offers increased perks like a 25% point bonus, 2 p.m. late checkout (based on availability), and enhanced room upgrades.

15 Elite Night Credits

In terms of working your way to upper levels of Marriott elite status, the Marriott Bonvoy Business card gives cardholders a boost towards status with 15 nights of elite credit each year. Don’t confuse these with free night certificates, though, as you cannot redeem these credits for award nights — they only count towards your elite status requirements.

For example, Gold Elite status and Platinum Elite status require 25 nights and 50 nights a year, respectively. That means, with your automatic 15 elite night credits, you will only actually need to stay 10 nights each year to earn Gold Elite status, and 35 nights each year to earn Platinum Elite status.

Great Card If

  • You’re a business owner and Marriott loyalist
  • You want a fast track to Marriott elite status
  • You see value in the annual complimentary night certificate

Don't Get If

  • You’re not a business owner
  • You’re not a fan of Marriott-branded hotels, or don’t travel much
  • You prefer a card with more elite benefits like airport lounge access
  • You want a card with no annual fee

Card Fees

    How to Earn More Points

    Business Owner Amex Business Platinum vs Amex Business Gold
    Image Credit: Dragon Images via Shutterstock

    Marriott Stays

    It should come as no surprise that you’ll want to use this card for all of your Marriott stays. The card earns 6x Marriott points per $1 spent with the hotel chain. This represents a 4.2% return on your spend with Marriott hotels, based on our 0.7 cents per point valuation for Marriott points.

    Hot Tip: With the Silver Elite status, you’ll earn 11x points per $1 for being a Silver Elite member, plus another 6x points per $1 when paying with your card for a total of 17x points per $1 (or 11.9% back).

    U.S. Restaurants and U.S. Gas Stations

    The card also earns 4x points per $1 at U.S. restaurants and U.S. gas stations. There are cards out there that offer a much better return on your spending for both dining and gas stations, but both of these categories present a great opportunity to earn extra Marriott points.

    Wireless Telephone Services and U.S. Purchases for Shipping

    If your business has significant shipping and telephone service expenses, then the Marriott Bonvoy Business card is a stellar option as it will reward you with 4x points for every $1 you spend in these categories.

    Again, this makes for an excellent opportunity to earn extra points for expenses you’re likely to be making anyway.

    Everyday Spending 

    Finally, the Marriott Bonvoy Business earns 2x points for every $1 you spend on all other purchases. While this isn’t a top option for non-bonused spending, it is worth considering for those trying to earn as many Marriott points as possible.

    Refer-a-Friend Bonus Rewards 

    Know another business owner in need of a solid travel rewards card? You can refer people to the Marriott Bonvoy Business card and earn up to 50,000 Marriott points per year — 10,000 for each referral.

    To send out a referral, visit the Refer-a-Friend website and log in using your Amex username and password (or your credit card information).

    Adding Ultimate Reward Cards

    Marriott is one of the Chase Ultimate Reward transfer partners, so utilizing their credit cards can help you earn extra Marriott points as well!

    Recommended Chase Cards (Personal)

    Chase Sapphire Preferred® - This is our favorite beginners travel rewards card which currently has a limited time offer of 80,000 point bonus (highest ever!) after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

    Plus, this card earns 2x points per $1 on travel and dining worldwide, eligible delivery services, take out and dining out, 5x points per $1 on Lyft rides, a 12-month subscription for DoorDash DashPass, flexible point redemption options, no foreign transaction fees, and great travel insurance coverage.

    This sign up bonus is worth $1,000 in travel purchases (flights, hotels, car rentals etc) when you redeem your points through Chase's travel portal, which works like Expedia. The bonus alone could get you multiple round-trip flights or hotel stays.
    Chase Sapphire Reserve® - Consider this premium card if you want to get into a lot of airport lounges. The current sign up bonus is 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. You'll also get a $300 travel credit per year which wipes away a big chunk of the $550 annual fee.
    Chase Freedom Unlimited® - A fantastic, no annual fee card that earns you a $200 bonus after you spend $500 in your first 3 months. Earn 5% cash-back on travel purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% cash-back on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% cash-back on all other purchases, but you won't get any travel benefits with this card.

    Recommended Chase Cards (Business)

    Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card - this is our #1 recommended business card and right now comes with a 100,000 sign up bonus after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening. This bonus is worth $1,250 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards for travel purchases (flights, hotels etc). Pay your cell phone bill with this card to receive up to $600 in cell phone insurance coverage per year.

    Earn 3x on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year, plus 1x on all other purchases—with no limit to the amount you can earn. All for an annual fee of $95.
    Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card - earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening.

    This no annual fee business card earns up to 5% cash-back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year, plus 2% cash-back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary.
    Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card - earn unlimited 1.5% cash back rewards on every purchase made for your business.

    Earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening. There's no annual fee.

    Hot Tip: If you’re a regular reader of the Upgraded Points, you know we value Chase Ultimate Reward points much higher than Marriott points, so we generally don’t recommend transferring Chase points over to Marriott.

    How to Use These Points for Max Value

    Once you’ve racked up a bunch of Marriott points, which redemption methods offer the best value?

    Marriott Stays

    W Koh Samui
    W Koh Samui. Image Credit: Marriott.com

    Not surprisingly, one of the best ways to redeem your Marriott points is for award stays at Marriott hotels.

    Marriott has over 6,900 hotels worldwide across 30 different brands. Marriott has 8 different award categories, and with the addition of peak and off-peak pricing, free nights can range anywhere from 5,000 to 100,000 points per night. Depending on which hotels you decide to use them with, you can receive excellent value for your Marriott points on hotel stays.

    Hot Tip: Want to extend the value of your Marriott points even further? Then take advantage of the fifth-night free perk on your award stays. This effectively earns you a 20% discount on the number of points required for a redemption!

    Airline Transfer Partners

    Similar to American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards, your Marriott points are also a transferable currency. But unlike the first 2, Marriott has a massive list of over 40 airlines you can transfer your points to.

    Although, while the list of potential transfer partners is longer, these are not 1:1 transfers. Marriott points, for the most part, transfer at a 3:1 ratio with a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 Marriott points transferred. This means that transferring 60,000 Marriott points to Korean Airlines would result in 25,000 miles in your account.

    From a numbers standpoint, this might seem like a terrible idea. Why would it be a good idea to end up with fewer points after a transfer, right? But keep in mind that not all points are created equal.

    If you’re transferring your Marriott points to an airline in order to have enough for a redemption, or moving them to an airline program that doesn’t have any other transfer partners, then it can make a lot of sense.

    Marriott Moments

    Cardholders also have the option of redeeming their points for one-of-a-kind experiences through the Marriott Experiences portal, like sporting events or culinary trips.

    Some experiences cost a set number of Marriott points, while others are auction-style, allowing you to attempt to outbid others. Be certain of your travel plans before bidding, though, as most experiences are nonrefundable.

    Marriott Hotel + Air Package

    Marriott allows you to redeem your points for one of their Hotel + Air packages, which consist of a 7-night hotel stay plus a stash of airline miles.

    When you buy a Hotel + Air Travel Package, you’ll get a certificate for a 7-night Marriott hotel stay plus a certain number of airline miles ranging from 50,000-110,000, depending on which package you choose. Packages range from 255,000 all the way to 750,000 Marriott points, depending on how high of a hotel category you select.

    Hot Tip: When Marriott and SPG merged, the Hotel + Air package redemptions were devalued in a big way — but that doesn’t mean there isn’t still value to be had. Check out our full guide to find out which packages make the most sense.

    Marriott Shopping

    Marriott, like many programs, also allows you to redeem your points for products or merchant gift cards. The redemption rates when doing so are generally pretty poor and it seldom makes sense to do so.

    Bottom Line: At Upgraded Points, we highly advise that you redeem your points either for hotel stays, or via an airline transfer partner whose points are both valuable and hard to earn, like Alaska Airlines, Japan Airlines, or Korean Air.

    Marriott Transfer PartnerMin TransferTransfer Ratio (Marriott > Partner)Bonus Airline Miles
    for every 60k Marriott Points Transferred
    Transfer Time (based on pre-merger reports)
    Aegean Airlines Miles+Bonus3,0003:15,0003 days
    Aer Lingus Aeroclub3,0003:15,000unknown
    Aeroflot Bonus3,0003:15,00020 days
    AeroMexico Club Premier3,0003:15,0004 days
    Air Canada Aeroplan3,0003:15,0005 days
    Air China PhoenixMiles3,0003:15,0005 days
    Air France/KLM Flying Blue3,0003:15,0003 day
    Air New Zealand Airpoints3,000200:1251 day
    Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan3,0003:15,0004 days
    Alitalia MilleMiglia3,0003:15,0007 days
    ANA Mileage Club3,0003:15,0004 days
    American Airlines AAdvantage3,0003:15,0002 days
    Asiana Airlines Asiana Club3,0003:15,0004 days
    Avianca Airlines LifeMiles3,0003:15,0001 day
    British Airways Executive Club3,0003:15,0003 days
    Cathay Pacific Asia Miles3,0003:15,0005 days
    China Southern Airlines Sky Pearl Club3,0003:15,0003 days
    Copa Airlines ConnectMiles3,0003:15,0003 days
    Delta Air Lines SkyMiles3,0003:15,0001 day
    Emirates Skywards3,0003:15,0003 days
    Etihad Guest3,0003:15,0003 days
    FRONITER Miles3,0003:15,000unknown
    Hainan Airlines Fortune Wings Club3,0003:15,0008 days
    Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles3,0003:15,0001 day
    Iberia Plus3,0003:15,0001 day
    Japan Airlines JAL Mileage Bank3,0003:15,0002 days
    InterMiles3,0003:15,000unknown
    JetBlue TrueBlue3,0006:12,5001 day
    Korean Air SKYPASS3,0003:15,0002 days
    LATAM Airlines Multiplus Fidelidade3,0003:15,0002 days
    Lufthansa Miles & More3,0003:15,0006 days
    Qantas Frequent Flyer3,0003:15,0002 days
    Qatar Airways Privilege Club3,0003:15,0003 days
    Saudi Arabian Airlines Alfursan3,0003:15,000unknown
    Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer3,0003:15,0002 days
    South African Airways Voyager3,0003:15,0003 days
    Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards3,0003:15,0001 day
    TAP Air Portugal Miles&Go3,0003:15,000unknown
    Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus3,0003:15,0004 days
    Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles3,0003:15,000unknown
    United MileagePlus3,0003:1.15,5003 days
    Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer3,0003:15,0002 days
    Virgin Australia Velocity3,0003:15,0001 day
    Vueling Club3,0003:15,000

    Competitor Cards

    The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

    Rather have Hilton as your hotel chain of choice? The Hilton Business Amex card is a great option. With an annual fee of just $95 (see rates and fees) it offers 12x points per $1 on Hilton stays, 6x points per $1 with U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services, U.S. purchases for shipping, U.S. restaurants, flights booked directly with airlines, and car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies, plus 3x points per $1 on everything else.

    The card also offers Hilton Honors Gold status, a free weekend night award when you spend $15,000 on your card in a calendar year, and 10 free Priority Pass visits.

    Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

    Not loyal to a specific hotel group or prefer a more well-rounded option? The Ink Business Preferred card could be a good fit.

    While it doesn’t feature any of the luxury perks or elite status, it has a fantastic earning rate of 3x points per $1 on up to $150,000 in combined purchases on travel, shipping, ad purchases made with social media sites or search engines, internet, cable, and phones services.

    Given the annual fee is just $95, it makes for a compelling option for those who just want a strong point earning card without any extras.


    Frequently asked questions

    Is the Marriott Bonvoy Business card worth it?

    If you’re a business owner who frequents Marriott hotels enough to get value out of the elite status and annual free night, then the Marriott Bonvoy Business card might be a great option.

    Which Marriott Bonvoy card is best?

    Which card is best depends on which is the best fit for you and your needs. Be sure to compare and contrast the benefits of each card to determine which will be the most useful to you.

    Can you transfer Marriott points?

    Yes, Marriott has a variety of airline transfer partners that you can transfer your points to.

    Am I eligible for a business credit card?

    If you’re a business owner, even just as a sole-proprietor or freelancer, you’re eligible to apply for a business card. Whether or not you will be approved depends on your credit worthiness which is determined by your credit score as well as other factors like your income.

    Does the Marriott Bonvoy Business card charge foreign transaction fees?

    The Marriott Bonvoy Business card does not charge foreign transaction fees.

    Are employee cards free with the Marriott Bonvoy Business card?

    Yes, adding employee credit cards is free for Marriott Bonvoy Business cardholders.

    Do Marriott points expire?

    Your Marriott points will expire after 24 months of no account activity. To keep them alive, you just need to a qualifying activity, like earning or redeeming points.

    Jarrod West

    About Jarrod West

    Born and raised just outside of Cincinnati, Jarrod became fascinated with using points and miles as the perfect way to visit dream destinations without breaking the bank. Thanks to points and miles, Jarrod was able to spend 3 months traveling Europe financed nearly entirely with points and miles; while flying in premium cabins and staying in 5-star hotels along the way. To date, Jarrod has traveled to 16 countries and 22 US states.

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