Skip to content

Points of View: Which credit card should you use for Marriott stays?

Dec. 13, 2022
9 min read
a Marriott logo above a hotel entrance
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

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


If you have an upcoming stay at a Marriott hotel or a resort participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program, what’s the best credit card to use for this stay? Should you use a Marriott cobranded credit card, or is another credit card the best for your stay?

With Marriott unveiling two new credit cards and making other major changes in September 2022, has the answer to this question changed? Here’s a look at some popular credit cards you might use to pay for your next stay at a Marriott hotel and what these cards can offer you in terms of return on spending and perks during your stay.

Comparing credit cards for a Marriott hotel stay

Aside from using a Marriott cobranded credit card, you might also consider using a good travel rewards card that earns transferable points. Let’s look at some common options and what you could get when using these cards.

Card nameEarning rate at Marriott hotelsValue of the rewards earned*Marriott-related benefits from the cardAnnual fee
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card6 points per dollar.5.04 cents.Automatic Platinum Elite status, which offers complimentary breakfast, late checkout and upgrades to suites when available at check-in, as well as 50% bonus points on paid stays.

25 elite night credits per year.

Earn an annual choice benefit when you spend $60,000 per year on this card.

$650 (see rates and fees).
Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card6 points per dollar.5.04 cents.Automatic Gold Elite status (which includes upgrades to preferred rooms and 25% bonus points), plus 1,000 bonus points on each paid stay with Marriott Bonvoy.$250 (see rates and fees).
Marriott Bonvoy Bountiful Card6 points per dollar.5.04 cents.Automatic Gold Elite status (which includes upgrades to preferred rooms and 25% bonus points), plus 1,000 bonus points on each paid stay with Marriott Bonvoy.$250.
Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card6 points per dollar.5.04 cents.Automatic Gold Elite status (which includes upgrades to preferred rooms and 25% bonus points), plus cardholders receive up to a 7% discount on room rates when booking directly.$125 (see rates and fees).
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card6 points per dollar.5.04 cents.Automatic Silver Elite status provides 10% bonus points on paid rates (though you can achieve Gold Elite status if you also have a small-business credit card from Marriott).$95.
Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card3 points per dollar.2.52 cents.Automatic Silver Elite status (though you can achieve Gold Elite status if you also have a small-business credit card from Marriott).$0.
American Express® Green Card3 points per dollar.6 cents.None.$150 (see rates and fees).
Chase Sapphire Reserve3 points per dollar (or 10 points per dollar if booked via the Chase travel portal).6 cents (or 20 cents).None.$550.
Citi Premier® Card3 points per dollar.5.4 cents.None.$95.

* Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer.

The information for the Marriott Bonvoy Bountiful and Amex Green cards has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Which card should you use?

There are two parts of this conversation: the benefits you enjoy during your stay and the points you earn on the card when paying for your stay.

For the first part, it’s relatively simple. Your elite status perks will apply regardless of whether you use a specific card for your stay. As an example, you don’t need to pay with the Bonvoy Brilliant card to enjoy your Platinum Elite status benefits during your next Marriott stay.

(The one exception is booking a paid Marriott stay using the Sapphire Reserve through the Chase travel portal. This will generally count as a third-party booking, so while you’ll earn 10 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on the purchase, you’ll likely forgo any perks of Marriott elite status you might hold.)

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Using your Marriott cobranded credit card may not be your best bet when it comes to earning points from spending money at Marriott Bonvoy properties. That’s because some cards that earn transferable points can provide a better rate of return on spending for your hotel stays. Additionally, you’ll be able to use these points for more than just upcoming hotel stays.

The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage. ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

When earning points with American Express Membership Rewards or Chase Ultimate Rewards, you could transfer these to Marriott Bonvoy if you want to use them for a hotel redemption, but you also can redeem these points in other ways, such as for flights or cruises. If you pay with a Marriott cobranded card, you will earn Marriott Bonvoy points, which have fewer redemption options.

The one caveat to this is if you’re working on spending your way toward higher levels of Marriott Bonvoy status or working on an annual choice benefit. You will need to pay with your Bonvoy Brilliant card to meet the spending requirements for an annual choice benefit and will need to pay with your Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card if you want to achieve Gold Elite status through spending. That requires $35,000 of purchases on your card each year.

Related: Here's everything you need to know about using Marriott Suite Night Awards

However, you could likely achieve Platinum Elite status without spending so much money on a hotel credit card. For most people, it's cheaper to achieve Marriott Bonvoy status by staying at inexpensive properties and holding both a personal and a small-business Marriott credit card.

Bottom line

The credit card you should use for an upcoming trip might not have the answer you expected initially. Often, using a credit card with the name of the hotel or airline on it isn’t your best card for that purchase. That’s because you may be able to earn more valuable (or a greater number of) rewards using a different card. That's because transferable points are more valuable than points that belong to just one rewards program.

Luckily, paying with a credit card not attached to the Marriott Bonvoy program doesn’t mean you’ll sacrifice your Marriott elite status benefits. Because of that, you should pay with whichever card in your wallet will earn the most valuable rewards.

Editor’s note: “Points of View” is a new series evaluating decisions on which credit card to use. If you’re facing a dilemma about which card is best for an upcoming payment, email us at tips@thepointsguy.com.

Also in this series:

For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Green card, click here.

Featured image by ERIC ROSEN/THE POINTS GUY
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site

Rewards

3 - 4X points
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.

Intro offer

60,000 bonus points
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

Annual Fee

$250

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees