It’s all about extra benefits: Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex Credit Card review

Sep 6, 2019

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

The Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card is a great small-business card for Marriott Bonvoy fans. While it’s not the best overall travel card, it comes with perks like an annual free night at hotels costing up to 35,000 points and helps 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.

In 2018 American Express released the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card with a 100,000-point welcome bonus. Now this 100,000-point bonus is back, through Oct. 23, 2019, for new cardholders who spend $5,000 in purchases on their new card in the first three months. American Express only allows you to earn the intro bonus on a card once per lifetime, so if you’ve been waiting to apply for this card, now is a good time.

The card comes with some of the same features and benefits as the Marriott Bonvoy consumer cards but also with generous bonus reward categories that are well suited to small-business owners. Another hidden benefit of this card is that as an Amex small-business card, it won’t show up on your personal credit report. That means it won’t add to your Chase 5/24 count. On top of that, Marriott points are useful for more than just booking award nights because you can also transfer Marriott points to 40+ different airlines.

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Who is this card for?

This card is ideal for small-business owners who are loyal to the Marriott Bonvoy program. Remember that virtually any size of business can qualify for a small-business credit card, and that 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 flexible rewards that can be transferred to airline miles. But since the features and benefits largely duplicate the consumer versions of the Marriott Bonvoy cards from American Express and Chase and benefits like the 15 elite night credits toward status aren’t stackable, the business version might not make sense for those who already hold another Bonvoy card.

The rooftop pool at the JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort (Photo courtesy of Marriott)
The rooftop pool at the JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort, a Marriott Bonvoy property. (Photo courtesy of Marriott)

Further Reading: Does it make sense to hold multiple Marriott Bonvoy credit cards?

Welcome bonus

You can earn 100,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 on new purchases within three months of account opening. According to TPG’s most recent valuations, Marriott points are worth 0.8 cents each, making the welcome bonus worth $800. The card has a $125 annual fee (see rates & fees).

Main benefits and perks

One of the primary reasons to consider this card is for the benefits. First, it offers you automatic Silver elite status, and the chance to earn Gold when you spend $35,000 on purchases in a calendar year. Silver offers you a 10% points bonus on paid stays, priority late checkout and a dedicated reservation line.

You also receive 15 nights credit toward the next level of elite status and a free-night award each 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 using your card to spend $60,000 in a calendar year.

The Villa Mutiara, another Bonvoy property. (Photo courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton)
The Villa Mutiara, another Bonvoy property. (Photo courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton)

Other benefits include premium on-property internet access, no foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees) and, through July 1, 2020, you can enroll in a complimentary Boingo Wi-Fi Preferred Plan.

Further reading: How to use a Marriott Bonvoy 35,000-point certificate

How to earn points

This card offers you 6x points per dollar spent at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels. You also receive 4x points per dollar spent at U.S. restaurants and 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 2x points on all other purchases.

In contrast, the consumer version of the mid-tier Marriott Bonvoy Amex card doesn’t offer any opportunities to earn bonus rewards, aside from 6x points at Marriott hotels. (Note that the personal $95-a-year Bonvoy Amex card is no longer open for applications.)

All Bonvoy Business Amex card members receive Silver elite status, meaning that you’ll earn a total of 17 points per dollar spent at Marriott Bonvoy hotels. This includes 6x from the card, 10x base points and 1 bonus point for elite status. Gold members will earn a total of 18.5 points per dollar spent and Platinum members will earn 21 points. Finally, top-tier Platinum Premier elites will earn a total of 23.5 points per dollar spent, which equates to a phenomenal 18.8% return when factoring in TPG’s value of Marriott Bonvoy points at 0.8 cents each.

The Miami Beach Edition, a Bonvoy property where you’d receive 6 points per dollar spent. (Photo by Nick Ellis/TPG)

How to redeem points

The Marriott Bonvoy program now has eight award tiers, and will be adding peak and off-peak prices starting Sept. 14, 2019. Dates for the peak and off-peak periods will vary by property. Marriott will continue the old Starwood Preferred Guest policy of giving you the fifth night free on redemptions of four or more consecutive nights, but with variable pricing, the fifth-night-free feature is changing to the “Stay for 5, Pay for 4” deal and the lowest-priced night will be the free one.

You can also transfer points to airline miles. There are currently 45 airline partners, and 42 of them transfer at a 3:1 ratio (equivalent to the 1:1 ratio under the old Starwood program). Even better, you receive a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 points you transfer to those 42 airlines, reducing the ratio to 2.4:1. The transfer times for Marriott points vary greatly, from instant to nearly one week.

Marriott points can be especially useful for award flights because they transfer to airlines that don’t partner with other transferrable-points programs, like Alaska Airlines, Japan Airlines, Asiana, American Airlines 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 to book an award flight.

Marriott Bonvoy Business card alternatives

Chase’s small-business Marriott card is no longer offered to new applicants, but there are personal Marriott Bonvoy cards that offer similar (or better) perks. For example, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card comes with automatic Gold status, an annual free night at Marriott hotels costing up to 50,000 points per night and up to $300 in Marriott credits every cardmember year. Those benefits can easily make the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant worth the annual fee even though it’s $450 (see rates and fees).

Outside of the Marriott Bonvoy family, there aren’t many small-business cards cobranded with hotels. Among the few are the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card. It offers new applicants 125,000 Honors points after spending $3,000 within three months of account opening. These points are worth $750 according to TPG’s latest valuations. It offers you Gold status plus 12x points at Hilton portfolio properties. It also offers 6x points at U.S. gas stations and 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 3x points on other purchases. This card has a $95 annual fee (see rates & fees) and offers a free-weekend-night award each year.

Another option is The Business Platinum® Card from American Express. It offers you 5x bonus points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com. Among its numerous other benefits and fee credits, you also receive Gold status with both Marriott and Hilton hotels. 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 $595 annual fee (see rates & fees).

Bottom line

The Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express card is a solid small-business card that offers the most possible benefits at more than 7,000 Marriott Bonvoy properties around the world. It’s not the top of the heap in overall travel cards, but by offering a great welcome offer and better rewards and benefits than the consumer version, it’s one of the better hotel credit card available 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 card to earn its limited-time 100,000-point bonus.

Additional reporting by Jason Steele. Featured image by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy.

For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors Business Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Business Platinum Card, please click here.

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. TPG values 75K Bonvoy points to be worth around $600. Aside from the huge welcome offer you'll earn  1 free night every year after cardmember anniversary and complimentary Marriott Silver Elite status.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 75,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • 6x points at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels.
  • 4x points at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping. 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card account anniversary. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) at a participating hotel. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status with your Card. Plus, earn Gold Elite status after making $35,000 in eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
17.24% - 26.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$125
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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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