Here’s why you need both a personal and business Marriott Bonvoy credit card

Aug 5, 2020

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While unannounced changes to a loyalty program are rarely good news, earlier this year Marriott surprised and delighted many cardholders by awarding them 30 bonus elite night credits instead of the 15 they’d been expecting.

One of the best perks of the Marriott Bonvoy family of credit cards is the complimentary 15 elite night credits you receive each year from any Marriott card. Historically, this perk has been limited to one set of credits per Bonvoy account no matter how many credit cards you have. That has officially changed, with Marriott confirming that these you can earn up to 30 nights if you hold both a business and personal Marriott credit card.

If you’re still trying to figure out how best to take advantage of this new policy, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card is currently offering an elevated sign-up bonus of 100,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first three months. This is the best mid-level personal Marriott card on the market. Today, I wanted to zoom in and review all the reasons why you can get more value out of having both a personal and business Marriott card.

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Get 60% of the way to Platinum status

Now that Marriott has changed the terms of this benefit so you can stack the credits, it’s definitely worthwhile to hold both a personal and business Marriott card. Every Marriott credit card comes with 15 elite nights annually – including the no-annual-fee Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card.

This is more than enough to earn you Marriott Silver status, which requires 10 nights. You may be wondering why this is relevant when several of the Marriott cards also offer automatic Gold elite status or the ability to upgrade based on spend. If you frequently stay at Marriott properties, you can stack these 15 nights on top of your own travel to upgrade to the next elite tier faster.

With the new policy allowing credit stacking between a personal and business card, you’ll be able to earn up to 30 elite night credits a year. This is 60% of the way toward’s earning Marriott Platinum status and all the free breakfast and suite upgrades that come with it. Once you’re able to travel again, these benefits will be incredibly valuable. The elite night credits from the personal and business Marriott cards are a great way to progress towards elite status, considering you’re not likely to be earning elite night credits via hotel stays at the moment

If you were to hold any combination of personal and business Marriott credit cards, such as the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card and the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card, you’d only need to stay 20 actual nights in a Marriott hotel each year to earn Platinum status, which is a fairly low number that many more people will be able to hit.

Related: Why I prefer Marriott Bonvoy premium cards

(Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy)
With the right combination of Marriott credit cards you’ll be 60% of the way to unlocking Platinum status and suite upgrades at luxury properties like the St. Regis Langkawi. (Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy)

annual Free nights

But why stop at two Marriott cards? I’ve said it before, but I’ll gladly take as many Marriott credit cards as I can get my hands on because I get incredible value out of the anniversary free night certificates. All the middle-market Marriott credit cards offer an anniversary free night worth up to 35,000 points. The exceptions are the Bonvoy Bold (which doesn’t offer a free night) and the premium Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card — with its $450 annual fee (see rates and fees) — which offers a free night worth up to 50,000 points per night.

At 35,000 points, you can book a Category 1-5 hotel, although Category 5 peak redemptions are priced out at 40,000 points and thus excluded. TPG values Marriott points at 0.8 cents each, meaning 35,000 points are worth $280 – nearly triple the annual fee on these cards. Still, depending on how you travel, you might be able to get an even higher return on these free nights. I’ve used mine at the Sheraton Grand Hyde Park in Sydney, where we were upgraded to a massive terrace suite during peak travel season, and at the St. Regis Beijing for a room that would have cost well over $300 per night.

Use your points at stunning category 5 properties like the Mira Moon in Hong Kong. (Photo by Ethan Steinberg / The Points Guy)
Use your points at stunning Category 5 properties such as the Mira Moon in Hong Kong. (Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy)

Not only are these free night certificates an easy way to lock in incredible value, but Category 5 is the biggest sweet spot in the Marriott program, in my opinion. Major cities like Chicago, Atlanta and New York have about a dozen different hotels where you can redeem these free night certificates. I’ve also enjoyed plenty of luxurious, but otherwise expensive properties around the world, like the Mira Moon Hong Kong.

Category bonuses

(Photo by The Points Guy)
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card. (Photo by The Points Guy)

Aside from annual free nights and elite night credit, having a personal and business Marriott card can help you earn more points across several spending categories. All four Marriott cards earn 2x points per dollar on non-bonus spending and 6x points at Marriott hotels (with the exception of the no-annual-fee Bonvoy Bold). But it’s the extra bonus categories, most of which do not overlap, that can help you maximize your earnings (terms apply):

Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card

  • 4x points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers, and U.S. shipping purchases

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

  • 3x points at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card

  • 2x points spent on other travel purchases

Marriott Bonvoy Bold

  • 3x points at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels
  • 2x points spent on other travel purchases
  • 1x points on all other purchases

Combining the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card with the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card can really help you maximize some of the biggest spending categories out there.

For a limited time you can also earn 10x points per dollar on your first $3,500 in restaurant and gas purchases (including food delivery services like Grubhub and DoorDash) on select Chase Marriott cards. This promotion is only valid until Sept. 15, 2020, and it does require activation to use. But if you’re planning on applying for the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card to take advantage of its elevated 100,000 point sign-up bonus, this can be a great way to get even more value out of the card.

Related: Which Marriott Bonvoy credit card is right for you?

Bottom line

Marriott has made it much easier to qualify for elite status by allowing customers who hold both a personal and business credit card to earn two sets of elite night credits each year, for a total of up to 30 nights per Bonvoy account. This and the already valuable free night certificates that these credit cards offer make it a no-brainer to hold both a personal and business card in your wallet.

Despite some ups and downs over the years (and a few questionable choices since the closing of the SPG merger) I’m still convinced that there’s plenty of value to be had in the Marriott Bonvoy program if you know where to look. For me, a big part of that value comes from the four different Marriott credit cards I keep in my wallet.

For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex, please click here.

Featured photo by The Points Guy


Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
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