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

Oct 25, 2020

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Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information.

Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card, Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card, Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

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, due to the fact that the ongoing pandemic has limited travel.

One of the best perks of the Marriott Bonvoy family of credit cards is the complimentary 15 elite night credits you receive each year. 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 you can earn up to 30 nights if you hold both a business and personal Marriott credit card.

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

If you’re still trying to figure out how best to take advantage of this new policy, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card and Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card are currently offering elevated sign-up bonuses. 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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In This Post

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 including 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, such as 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 participating 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.

Elevated sign-up bonuses/welcome offers

(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)

As mentioned above, all of the Marriott Bonvoy co-branded cards (with the exception of the Bold) are currently offering elevated bonuses for new cardholders. Here’s a quick rundown of each offer:

  • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card: Earn up to 125,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. Earn 100,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months. Plus, earn an additional 25,000 bonus points after your first anniversary of card membership (offer expires Jan.13, 2021).
  • Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card: 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new card to make $5,000 in purchases within your first three months of card membership. Earn up to $150 in statement credits within your first six months of card membership for all eligible purchases on your card on U.S. advertising in select media. Plus, receive complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Platinum elite status for one year, between Feb. 1, 2021, and Jan. 31, 2022 (offer expires on Jan. 13, 2021). $125 annual fee (see rates and fees).
  • Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card: Earn five free nights (up to 50,000 points per night) after spending $5,000 in purchases in the first three months from account opening.

All three of these offers have the potential to pack quite a punch, but the Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is definitely one to consider closely if you’re looking to try out Marriott Bonvoy elite status. TPG values Platinum elite status at $2,655 annually, which means you could get $3,605 with this welcome bonus alone. Add in the long-term benefits of pairing the card with a personal version to get 30 elite night credits per year, and it’s a winning combination for the long-term.

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

Featured photo by The Points Guy. 

Additional reporting by Madison Blancaflor. 


Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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