Here’s why you need both a personal and business Marriott Bonvoy credit card
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One of the best perks of the Marriott Bonvoy family of credit cards is the complimentary 15 elite night credits you receive each year. For many years, this perk was limited to one set of credits per Bonvoy account, no matter how many credit cards you had. That changed in 2020, with Marriott enabling its members to earn up to 30 nights if you hold both a small business and a personal card.
If you’re still trying to figure out how best to take advantage of this policy, you’re not alone. Today we’ll review all the reasons why you can get more value out of having both a personal and small-business Marriott card – and why now might be the perfect time to capitalize on an elevated welcome offer.
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Get at least 60% of the way to Platinum status
Since you can stack elite night credits, it’s definitely worthwhile to hold both a personal and business Marriott card if you’re eligible. Every Marriott credit card comes with 15 elite nights annually – including the no-annual-fee Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card.
You may be wondering why this is relevant when several of the Marriott cards, along with The Platinum Card® from American Express, also offer Gold elite status or the ability to earn higher status based on spending (enrollment is required). The big difference is that automatic status doesn’t include elite nights — so you still need to reach the normal qualification thresholds if you want to hit Platinum (or higher).
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.
When you stack credits between a personal and business card — like the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card and the Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card — you’ll be 60% of the way toward earning Marriott Platinum status. In fact, you’d only need 20 actual nights to reach that tier — or just 10 if the program is offering a promotion with double elite nights on paid stays (like earlier this year). That’s a very attainable number for many travelers.
Annual award 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. This is because I get incredible value out of the anniversary award night certificates. All the mid-tier Marriott credit cards offer an anniversary reward night worth up to 35,000 points. However, the premium Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card — with its $450 annual fee (see rates and fees) — offers an annual award night worth up to 50,000 points per night.
TPG values Marriott points at 0.84 cents each, meaning 35,000 points are worth $294: nearly triple the annual fee on those cards.
Still, depending on how you travel, you might be able to get an even higher return on these award 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.
Marriott removed published award charts earlier this year, and the program will shift entirely to dynamic pricing as of 2023. However, it also launched the ability to supplement a certificate with up to 15,000 points from your Bonvoy account. That said, it may be harder to get the same value out of these certificates in future years.
Aside from annual award nights and elite night credits, having a personal and business Marriott card can help you earn more points across several spending categories. All four Marriott cards earn 2 points per dollar on everyday spending and 6 points per dollar at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program (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: 4 points per dollar on purchases at restaurants worldwide, 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: 3 points per dollar on dining at U.S. restaurants, including takeout and delivery, and on flights booked directly with airlines.
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card: 3 points per dollar on the first $6,000 spent in combined purchases each year on gas stations, grocery stores and dining; 2 points per dollar spent on other travel purchases.
- Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card: 2 points per dollar spent on other travel purchases; 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.
So, if you’re a big Marriott fan and want to focus your earning strategy solely on Bonvoy points, you can have multiple cards and enjoy earning rates across several categories.
Having multiple Marriott Bonvoy credit cards means potentially earning multiple welcome bonuses when you apply, including a limited-time offer on the Business Amex card:
- Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card: Earn 125,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new card to make $5,000 in eligible purchases within the first three months of card membership. This offer expires Aug. 31, 2022.
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card: Earn 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership.
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card: Earn three free nights (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after spending $3,000 on purchases in your first three months from account opening.
- Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card: Earn 30,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in your first three months from account opening.
Of course, check to make sure you’re eligible to apply and receive a welcome bonus.
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 annual award 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, 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.
Additional reporting by Ryan Wilcox, Chris Dong and Christina Ly.
Featured photo by Melanie Lieberman/The Points Guy.
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