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

September 12 2022
7 min read
a Marriott logo above a hotel entrance
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If you have an upcoming stay at a Marriott hotel or a resort that participates 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?

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.

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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 Gold Elite status, which offers 25% bonus points on paid stays, a welcome gift, late checkout and room upgrades when available.$450 (see rates and fees).
Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card6 points per dollar.5.04 cents.Automatic Gold Elite status, 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).Three months of complimentary Gold Elite status if you enroll by Sept. 30.$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 Amex Green card 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 separate 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 actually need to pay with the Bonvoy Brilliant card in order to enjoy your Gold 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.)

When it comes to earning points from spending money at Marriott Bonvoy properties, using your Marriott cobranded credit card may not be your best bet. 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.

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 have the ability to 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. While you could earn Platinum Elite status by spending $75,000 in a year on your Bonvoy Brilliant card, you could likely achieve Platinum Elite status without spending so much money on a hotel credit card. It's likely cheaper to achieve Marriott Bonvoy status by staying at inexpensive properties and by holding both a personal and a small-business Marriott credit card.

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

Bottom line

Which credit card you should use for an upcoming trip might not have the answer you expected at the start. 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.

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 Business card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Green card, click here.

Featured photo 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.

TPG featured card

Best Marriott card for Business Owners
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 6X points
6X6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
4X4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
2X2x points on all other eligible purchases.

Intro offer

Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 points75,000 points
Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.

Annual Fee

$125

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

The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

Pros

  • 6x points on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
  • 4x points at restaurants worldwide, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. shipping
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases
  • Earn a free-night award each card renewal month (up to 35,000 points)
  • Receive 15 elite night credits to jump-start status
  • Transfer Marriott points to 40+ airlines

Cons

  • Airline points transfer ratios are poor
  • Must spend $60,000 in a year for second free-night award
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, 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 a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. 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 hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best Marriott card for Business Owners
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

6X6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
4X4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
2X2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Intro Offer
    Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.

    Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 points
    75,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $125
  • 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

The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

Pros

  • 6x points on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
  • 4x points at restaurants worldwide, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. shipping
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases
  • Earn a free-night award each card renewal month (up to 35,000 points)
  • Receive 15 elite night credits to jump-start status
  • Transfer Marriott points to 40+ airlines

Cons

  • Airline points transfer ratios are poor
  • Must spend $60,000 in a year for second free-night award
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, 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 a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. 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 hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees