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Why I’ll Never Close My Amex Marriott Bonvoy Business Card

Ryan Smith's image
Ryan Smith
Ryan Smith's image

Ryan Smith

Senior Editor & Content Contributor

147 Published Articles 54 Edited Articles

Countries Visited: 197U.S. States Visited: 50

Ryan completed his goal of visiting every country in the world in December of 2023 and now plans to let his wife choose their destinations. Over the years, he’s written about award travel for publicat...
Edited by: Stella Shon
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Stella Shon

News Managing Editor

108 Published Articles 739 Edited Articles

Countries Visited: 25U.S. States Visited: 22

With a degree in media and journalism, Stella has been in the points and miles game for more than 6 years. She most recently worked as a Corporate Communications Analyst for JetBlue. Find her work in ...

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I currently have over 20 credit cards — and each has its purpose. One earns points here; another earns points there. I have a credit card that gives me lounge access and another that gives me free checked bags when I fly Delta.

However, I review my credit cards every year when the annual fee comes due, if the card has one. And if the card is no longer justifying its fee, I’ll close it or downgrade it. I’m not emotionally attached to any of them. I could get those benefits from another credit card on the market.

The Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card is a different story, though. I can’t replicate its most important (to me) benefit elsewhere. That’s why this is the one credit card I’ll never close.

Marriott Bonvoy Business Card Overview

Before we get too far, let’s make sure we’re on the same page. The Marriott Bonvoy Business card has a fair amount of benefits, and you might wonder which one is the most important.

Aside from a solid welcome bonus offer and a decent earning structure for Marriott Bonvoy points, I want to focus on the card’s ongoing benefits. These are the key perks of the Marriott Bonvoy Business card:

  • Complimentary Gold Elite status with Marriott Bonvoy
  • 15 elite night credits in your account each year to help you reach higher status levels
  • Annual free night award worth up to 35,000 points, awarded on each card account anniversary
  • Up to a 7% discount on paid rates at Marriott Bonvoy hotels
Hot Tip:

The last benefit on the list isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. From numerous searches using this benefit, I find that the Marriott Bonvoy Business card holder discount rate isn’t always the cheapest rate at a hotel, and, even when it is, it’s more like a 3% to 4% discount. However, it’s nice to have another option for savings when booking a paid stay.

My Favorite Benefit on the Marriott Bonvoy Business Card

I’ve named 4 key benefits on this card, and you’ll likely guess that the discount isn’t the reason I’ll never close the Marriott Bonvoy Business card. The benefit I can’t get elsewhere? Elite night credits.

It’s easily possible to get Marriott Gold elite status from other credit cards — or go one better with automatic Platinum Elite status from the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card.

And I definitely love the annual free night on the Marriott Bonvoy Business card, which is worth up to 35,000 points, plus I can add up to 15,000 more points on top to redeem at properties worth up to 50,000 points per night. I easily redeem this free night at properties costing over $125 (rates & fees), meaning I’ve offset the card’s annual fee from one benefit alone.

JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes Ritz Carlton Pool and Deck
Enjoying the pool at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes. Image Credit: Nick Ellis

But those aren’t the perks that make me say I’ll never close this card. The elite night credits provided on the Marriott Bonvoy Business card can’t be replicated elsewhere. Each year, I receive 15 elite night credits deposited into my Marriott Bonvoy account automatically, simply by having this card.

And it’s true that you can get elite night credits from other Marriott co-branded cards. What’s special is that the elite night credits from the Marriott Bonvoy Business card can stack on top of those.

Here’s what I mean by that.

How Do Marriott Elite Nights From Credit Cards Work?

Assume you have 2 personal Marriott credit cards, such as the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card and Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card. Both of these cards provide 15 elite night credits in your Bonvoy account each year; however, you can’t get the 15 nights from both cards.

At most, you’ll get the bonus elite night credits from 1 personal Marriott credit card, no matter how many of them you have.

That rule doesn’t apply to the Marriott Bonvoy Business card from American Express. The 15 elite night credits stack on top of those from Marriott’s personal cards, meaning you can start the year with up to 40 elite nights, depending on which card combination you have.

Considering that Marriott’s Platinum Elite status requires earning 50 elite nights in a year, starting the year with more than 50% of the requirements by holding 2 Marriott credit cards is a much easier, much cheaper way to progress toward the upper ranks of Bonvoy status.

Put another way, there’s no way I could get these extra 15 elite night credits for under $125, the Marriott Bonvoy Business card’s annual fee — certainly not for $125 of cash or $125 worth of Marriott points.

What About Marriott’s Premium Credit Card?

Yes, I could get the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card and receive automatic Platinum Elite status, but the card’s $650 annual fee (rates & fees) is significantly higher. Moreover, I prefer to get the elite night credits on a personal card from Chase, as this doesn’t interfere with the maximum number of cards American Express allows people to have at a time.

Additionally, simply holding the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card doesn’t qualify you for the annual choice benefit at 50 nights per year, which is the threshold for earning Platinum Elite status.

Bottom Line:

The ability to shortcut my way to Marriott elite status by stacking elite night credits on top of each other, helping me qualify for annual choice benefits and upper status tiers cheaply and efficiently, is why I’ll never close the Marriott Bonvoy Business card.

Key Benefits of Marriott Platinum and Titanium Elite Status

Platinum Elite is the tier where the benefits start to get interesting. You’ll receive 50% bonus points on paid stays, 4 p.m. late checkout (when available), a dedicated support line for elites (less time waiting on hold? Love it.), guaranteed lounge access at hotels with a lounge, and you become eligible for suite upgrades at check-in.

You’ll also be eligible for a guaranteed welcome gift, though this varies by brand. It could be points, a food and beverage credit to use during your stay, or even daily breakfast. Moreover, after 50 qualifying nights in a year, you’ll qualify for an annual choice benefit, including 5 elite nights toward your next status tier or 5 nightly upgrade awards.

Sheraton Fiji Golf and Beach Resort welcome snack in room
The miniature desserts in my welcome gift from the Sheraton Fiji Golf & Beach Resort. Image Credit: Ryan Smith

Above Platinum is Titanium Elite; this is the tier I aim for every year. You’ll earn 75% bonus points, qualify for another annual choice benefit (including an option for a free night certificate worth up to 40,000 points), and automatic United MileagePlus Premier Silver status. That comes with perks like choosing preferred seats at no fee during check-in and free checked bags.

By starting the year with 30 elite nights from holding 2 credit cards, I’m 60% of the way to Platinum Elite and 40% of the way to Titanium Elite without any effort. Maximizing my stays and any promotions for double elite nights helps me complete the remaining nights, and I’ve had incredible experiences as a Marriott Platinum and Titanium Elite in recent years.

Choosing which car the hotel should use to pick me up at the airport in Kuwait was extremely memorable, as was the 2-bedroom villa at the Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi. Even when I don’t get upgraded to a suite, I find that hotels consistently put a nice welcome snack in my room upon arrival and give me a preferred room, such as a good view or away from noisy parts of the hotel. Given Marriott’s global footprint, elite status has been both meaningful and easy to achieve with my travels.

Final Thoughts

There’s a lot I like about the Marriott Bonvoy Business card. It offers an annual free night, automatic mid-tier Gold Elite status, and a discount on paid stays at Marriott Bonvoy properties.

For me, though, the most important benefit is the 15 elite night credits that stack on top of nights received from personal credit cards. By holding the Marriott Bonvoy Business card and a Marriott personal credit card, you can quickly and easily shortcut your way to Marriott’s best perks in a way that holding 2 Marriott personal cards doesn’t offer.

Unless American Express would make major negative changes to the Marriott Bonvoy Business card, removing the free nights or massively increasing the annual fee, I don’t see myself closing this card.

The information regarding the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® card, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

What's the annual fee on the Marriott Bonvoy Business card?

The card has an annual fee of $125.

What are the benefits of the Marriott Bonvoy Business card?

The card offers automatic Gold Elite status with Marriott Bonvoy, 15 elite night credits in your Marriott account each year to help you reach a higher status level, up to 7% off paid stays at Marriott Bonvoy properties, and a free night (worth up to 35,000 points) on each account anniversary.

Can I have both an Amex and Chase Marriott credit card?

Yes, you can have Marriott co-branded credit cards from both issuers. Presently, only Amex issues a Marriott small business card; however, both issuers currently offer personal cards, and you can hold more than 1 of them at a time. However, the application rules for which cards you can get, based on the other Marriott cards you have or previously had, are complex.

Can I get a Marriott business credit card?

People often assume they don’t qualify for a business credit card because they don’t own a storefront, warehouse, office, or other typical places of business. However, working as a contractor, operating a dog-walking business, babysitting, tutoring, or selling handmade items on Etsy can all qualify as operating a business. Those can make you eligible for a business credit card, even if the money you generate from these seems small.

Ryan Smith's image

About Ryan Smith

Ryan completed his goal of visiting every country in the world in December of 2023 and now plans to let his wife choose their destinations. Over the years, he’s written about award travel for publications including AwardWallet, The Points Guy, USA Today Blueprint, CNBC Select, Tripadvisor, and Forbes Advisor.

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