Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex review: 125,000 bonus points and a $125 annual fee
Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card overview
The Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card is a solid small-business card for Marriott Bonvoy fans. It comes with useful perks such as an annual free night at hotels (up to 35,000 points) and the ability to expedite your Marriott elite status by offering 15 elite night credits every year. Card Rating*: ⭐⭐⭐½
*Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG’s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
This Marriott Bonvoy Business Card comes with most of the same features and benefits as the Marriott Bonvoy consumer cards, but it happens to include generous bonus reward categories that are well suited to small-business owners.
With a reasonable annual fee of $125 (see rates and fees), this card also comes with plenty of extra benefits that make this a solid hotel business card option. And last year, it was refreshed with even more perks, without any change to the annual fee.
Currently, there’s a limited time welcome offer of 125,000 Marriott bonus points after you use your new card to make $5,000 in eligible purchases within the first three months of card membership — worth $1,050, according to TPG’s valuations.
It can also jumpstart your 2023 status qualification if you currently have a personal Marriott card as well.
Here’s everything you need to know about the only Marriott business credit card still open to new applicants.
Who is this card for?
This card is ideal for business owners who are loyal to the Marriott Bonvoy program. Remember that a business of virtually any size can qualify for small-business credit cards. You can use your Social Security number on your application if you haven’t obtained an Employer Identification Number (EIN). Plus, it’s good for those with side hustles such as freelancing or running an eBay store.
This card would also complement an airline card or one that earns transferable rewards that can be transferred to airline miles. It even could make sense to hold the consumer version of the Marriott Bonvoy cards from American Express, since the elite night credits can be stacked together. Anyone who has a Marriott Bonvoy small-business credit card and a Marriott Bonvoy consumer credit card is eligible to receive a maximum of 40 elite night credits per year.
Welcome offer: worth $1,050
You can currently earn 125,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 in eligible purchases in the first three months of card membership. We value Marriott points at 0.84 cents each, making this full offer worth $1,050.
This represents a solid increase over the normal bonus on the card, so if you’ve been eyeing it for a while, now might be a time to put in an application.
Main benefits and perks
One of the primary reasons to consider this card is for all of the extra benefits. First, it now offers you automatic Marriott Gold Elite status, which includes 25% bonus points on paid stays, late checkout, premium internet, a welcome gift of points on each stay and room upgrades (based on availability at check-in).
You also receive 15 nights credits toward the next level of elite status (which can be stacked with a Marriott Bonvoy consumer card) and a free-night award each card anniversary year. The free night can be spent at properties at or under 35,000 points per night. You can even earn a second free-night award (at or under 35,000 points per night) after you spend $60,000 in a calendar year.
Just note that Marriott did remove published award charts in March 2022, so pricing for free nights can vary. However, there are still some ways to get solid value — and some higher-end properties that were previously out of reach with these certificates may now be available.
Other benefits include access to Amex Offers and no foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees).
Plus, you can also now enjoy an automatic discount of 7% on standard room rates when you search for the “Amex Biz Card Member Rate” on Marriott’s website and then book using your card. However, the 7% discount may appear to be more rewarding on the surface than in reality.
How to earn points
This card offers 6 points per dollar of eligible purchase spent at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program. You also receive 4 points per dollar spent at restaurants worldwide and at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on purchases made from merchants in the U.S. for shipping. You earn 2 points per dollar on all other eligible purchases.
Gold members will also earn a total of 18.5 points per dollar spent, and if you qualify for Platinum status you will earn 21 points. Finally, top-tier Titanium and Ambassador elites will earn a total of 23.5 points per dollar spent, which equates to a phenomenal 18.8% return.
How to redeem points
In March 2022, the Marriott Bonvoy program switched from its award charts with set redemption rates to flexible point redemption — in other words, a dynamic pricing model. Marriott claimed that the new redemption model would not be a drastic change, as hotels will generally retain current peak and off-peak pricing for the majority of the year. And fortunately, TPG’s initial tests found that largely to be the case.
Marriott is not the first hotel chain to ditch its award chart for dynamic pricing, as both Hilton Honors and IHG Rewards have already done so within the past few years. Marriott’s senior vice president of global loyalty, David Flueck, stated the changes were “to make sure that our members have more flexibility and it’s more rational pricing.” The effects of the program have yet to be fully realized, but there are potential benefits from this change.
For example, this could help travelers who are looking to book during the off-peak season. However, it could make the Marriott program less valuable to those who travel during peak season, as the point prices are likely to reflect demand.
The New York Marriott Marquis was previously a Category 7 hotel and would have cost 50,000 – 70,000 points depending on the season. It is currently 53,000 points a night for a Sunday night in April 2023, which aligns with Marriott’s claims of minimal changes in award pricing.
On a positive note, this change has added new flexibility to Marriott’s free night awards. The program now allows you to top off your 35,000-point certificates with up to 15,000 points from your Bonvoy account. This means cardmembers can redeem a free night at pricier properties where a 35,000-point free night may have not been previously available.
The same changes apply to more premium Marriott cards — including the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card which features an annual certificate valid at up to 85,000 points.
Marriott Bonvoy also has some underrated perks that can be extremely valuable. For instance, thanks to Marriott’s “Stay for 5, Pay for 4”, you’ll get a complimentary night when you redeem for five consecutive nights when you pay with Marriott points. The lowest point-value night will be free.
Finally, you can also transfer your Marriott Bonvoy points to airline miles at a 3:1 ratio — plus a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 points you transfer. Marriott points can be especially useful for certain award flights because they transfer to airlines that don’t partner with other transferable points programs, such as Alaska Airlines, Japan Airlines, Asiana and Korean Air. This opens up all sorts of options for booking sweet spots with difficult-to-earn miles.
For example, you can use Alaska Airlines miles to book a one-way business-class award with Cathay Pacific from the U.S. to Asia with a free stopover in Hong Kong. If you’ve been dreaming of booking an Emirates award with credit card points, then Japan Airlines is a great transfer option. You could even transfer Marriott points to top off your American Airlines account if you’re just shy of enough miles to book an award flight.
Marriott Bonvoy Business card alternatives
While this is Marriott’s only small-business card available to new applicants, there are personal Marriott Bonvoy cards that offer similar (or better) perks.
For example, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card comes with automatic Platinum Elite status, an annual free night at Marriott hotels costing up to 85,000 points per night and up to $300 in statement credits every year when you use your card at eligible restaurants worldwide. These benefits can help offset the card's hefty $650 annual fee (see rates and fees).
Outside of the Marriott Bonvoy family, there aren’t many hotel cobranded cards specifically for small businesses. Among the few is The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card. It offers new applicants a welcome offer of 165,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after you spend $5,000 in purchases on the card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 04/05/2023.
These points are worth up to $990 according to TPG valuations. It offers you Gold status, plus 12 points per dollar at eligible Hilton portfolio properties.
It also offers 6 points per dollar at U.S. gas stations and U.S. restaurants, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers, U.S. purchases for shipping, flights booked directly with airlines or with Amex Travel and car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies. You earn 3 points per dollar on all other eligible purchases.
This card has a $95 annual fee (see rates and fees) and offers a free night award each calendar year after spending $15,000 plus another one after spending a total of $60,000.
Ultimately, picking between these cards as a business owner will come down to which program works best for you and your employees since they both have large global footprints that should make it relatively easy to find a participating property — no matter where you’re traveling.
Another option is The Business Platinum Card® from American Express. It offers you 5 bonus points per dollar on flights and prepaid hotels booked on Amex Travel. Among its numerous other benefits and fee credits, you also receive Gold status with both Marriott and Hilton hotels (enrollment required).
To learn more about the card’s benefits take a look at our Amex Business Platinum card review for all the details on what can make it worth the $695 annual fee (see rates and fees).
The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a solid small-business card that offers the most possible benefits at more than 7,000 Marriott Bonvoy properties around the world.
With a solid welcome offer and decent earning categories and perks, it’s one of the better hotel credit cards suited for small-business owners. It’s also a great option for anyone who’s also interested in opening valuable Chase credit cards because as an Amex business card, it won’t add to your Chase 5/24 count.
Apply here for the Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card with a 125,000-point bonus after you spend $5,000 in eligible purchases in the first three months of card membership.
Additional reporting by Ryan Wilcox, Stella Shon, Jason Stauffer, Chris Dong and Christina Ly.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex, click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors Business Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Business Platinum Card, click here.