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

May 7, 2021

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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. Historically, this perk has been limited to one set of credits per Bonvoy account no matter how many credit cards you have. That officially changed last year, with Marriott confirming that you can earn up to 30 nights if you hold both a small-business and a personal Marriott credit card.

If you’re still trying to figure out how best to take advantage of this policy, you’re not alone. So today, I wanted to zoom in and review all the reasons why you can get more value out of having both a personal and small-business Marriott card.

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Get at least 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 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 required). 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.

W Maldives overwater villa with pool and cabana
My Marriott elite status helped me score an upgrade to an overwater villa at the W Maldives. (Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy)

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 earning Marriott Platinum status and all the free breakfast and suite upgrades that come with it.

Once you’re traveling regularly again, these benefits will be incredibly valuable. The elite night credits from the personal and business Marriott cards are a great way to progress toward elite status, considering you’re not likely to be earning elite night credits via a ton of 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. And actually, if you already had status, that number of needed nights might be even less in 2021.

Related: Why I prefer Marriott Bonvoy premium cards

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 mid-tier 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 at 40,000 points and thus are excluded. TPG values Marriott points at 0.8 cents each, meaning 35,000 points are worth $280 – 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 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.

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 properties around the world, such as the Mira Moon Hong Kong.

If you are looking for a family getaway, here are some of the best spots to redeem a Marriott 35K certificate when traveling with the kiddos.

The Marriott Harbour Lake. (Photo courtesy of Marriott)

Category bonuses

Aside from annual free 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 2x points per dollar on non-bonus spending and 6x points 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

  • 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 Credit Card

  • 2x points spent on other travel purchases.

Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card

  • 3x points on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
  • 2x points spent on other travel purchases.
  • 1x points on all other purchases.

Sign-up bonuses/welcome offers

(Photo by The Points Guy)

Having multiple Marriott Bonvoy credit cards means potentially earning multiple welcome bonuses/sign-up bonuses when you apply:

  • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card: Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $200 in statement credits for eligible purchases made on your new card at U.S. restaurants within the first six months of card membership.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card: Earn 75,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Plus, earn up to $150 back in statement credits on eligible purchases made on your new Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.($125 annual fee; see rates & fees) Terms apply.
  • 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 you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

Of course, check to make sure you’re eligible to apply and receive a welcome bonus or sign-up offer.

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, 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 American Express Card, please click here.

Featured photo by The Points Guy. 

Additional reporting by Chris Dong. 

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.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.