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The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex card adds new benefits and launches 125,000-point offer — without an increase in the annual fee

July 21, 2022
9 min read
Marriott in Toronto
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How would you like a slew of new benefits on your hotel credit card — like an improved earning structure, higher (automatic) elite status and a discount on upcoming stays? And what if we told you that you could have these without an increase in your card's annual fee?

These improvements for cardmembers are the new reality for the Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card. As of today, cardmembers can enjoy a handful of new perks without an increase in their card's annual fee.

In addition, the card is launching a new welcome offer of 125,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 in purchases on the card within the first three months from account opening. The offer expires Aug. 31, 2022.

Here's a look at what you can expect from your card going forward.

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Changes to the Amex Marriott Business card

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

Before we get into the details, here's a quick overview of what's changing on the Amex Marriott Business card:

Cardholder benefitPreviouslyAs of July 21, 2022
Annual fee$125 (see rates and fees).No change.
Earning rate at Marriott Bonvoy-participating hotels6 points per dollar.No change.
Earning rate at restaurants4 points per dollar in the U.S. (2 points per dollar worldwide).4 points per dollar worldwide.
Earning rate on U.S. shipping, wireless service and gas4 points per dollar.No change.
Earning rate on all other purchases2 points per dollar.No change.
Automatic elite statusSilver Elite.Gold Elite.
Room rate discount when paying with your cardNone.7% on standard rates when booking directly.
Anniversary free night awardWorth up to 35,000 points, received on your cardmember anniversary.No change.
Elite night credits received each year15 nights.No change.

Here's a closer look at each one of these updates.

New earning structure

Cardholders will continue to earn 6 Marriott Bonvoy points per dollar spent at Bonvoy-affiliated hotels, 4 points per dollar for U.S. shipping, wireless services and gas, and 2 points per dollar on all other purchases. These aren't changing.

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What is changing is how you earn at restaurants outside the U.S.

Previously, cardmembers earned 4 points per dollar at restaurants in the U.S., but dining out internationally fell under the "all other purchases" category and thus only earned 2 points per dollar. This has now improved to 4 points per dollar at all restaurants worldwide.

Remember that the card already waived foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees), so you won't be charged extra for swiping it outside the U.S.

Higher elite status level

Previously, cardholders enjoyed automatic Silver Elite status with Marriott (and 15 elite night credits to jump start your progress to higher levels). Silver is the lowest status tier in Marriott Bonvoy. Other than a 10% bonus on points earning and the ability to request a late checkout, you don't receive many benefits at the Silver level.

Going forward, cardholders will receive the same 15 elite night credits but now receive automatic Gold Elite status.

Gold benefits include 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). While Gold members aren't eligible for suite upgrades, you can receive upgrades to larger rooms, rooms in preferred locations or rooms with preferred reviews.

As a Gold member at the time, I received an upgrade to a larger room with an excellent oceanfront view over Copacabana Beach at the JW Marriott Hotel Rio de Janeiro.

That said, it's important to note that you only receive status in name. If you want to qualify for higher tiers, you still start with 15 elite night credits earned from this card — not 25 nights, which is what you typically need to reach Gold status.

However, bear in mind that you can stack these 15 credits with those earned from a personal Marriott card (like the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card). As a result, you could be just 20 nights away from Platinum status and the additional perks it confers.

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

Booking discount on hotel rooms

Perhaps the most interesting change to the Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is the addition of a 7% discount on rooms booked directly with Marriott.

The terms of this benefit are as follows:

"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."

Thus, this discount should apply to bookings made directly with Marriott Bonvoy-affiliated properties when using a standard rate. It likely won't stack with other discounts, such as AAA or AARP.

No increase in the annual fee

Typically, we associate new benefits and improved earnings structures with an increase in a card's annual fee. A perfect example is the addition of numerous benefits to The Platinum Card® from American Express in 2021, resulting in the card's hefty $695 annual fee (see rates and fees).

However, the Amex Marriott Business card is adding an elevated status tier, hotel discount benefit and improved earning structure without raising the card's annual fee, which will remain at $125 (see rates and fees).

Evaluating the changes

Hearing that a credit card has elevated perks and benefits without an increase in the annual fee can sound exciting. But how good are these benefits?

In terms of the card's earning structure, how you earn Marriott Bonvoy points is only changing in one way — at restaurants outside the U.S. TPG values Marriott Bonvoy points at 0.84 cents apiece. That provides an effective return of 3.36% on each dollar you spend at restaurants.

Of course, there are many other great cards to use on your dining purchases — like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (3 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent) or the American Express® Gold Card (4 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent). However, these are both personal credit cards. For small-business owners who want to maximize the number of Marriott points they can earn, these changes can be valuable.

The elite status benefit change is very subjective. How frequently you get an upgraded room or are able to use the late checkout perk can vary by your travel style, destinations and numerous other factors. Since the number of elite night credits you receive toward status isn't changing, the card will not provide any additional assistance to help you reach Platinum Elite status, which is the tier where more significant benefits come into play.

However, Gold status is unequivocally an improvement over Silver.

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

The most significant change for Marriott Business Amex cardholders may be the addition of a 7% discount on hotel room bookings. There wasn't much information available on this perk prior to launch, but expect TPG to dig into this to see how much you can really save now that the benefit is live — though initial searches indicate that it only applies to standard rooms and not upgraded rooms or suites.

Further evaluation will determine the value of this new benefit.

New welcome offer

If you're interested in applying for the Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card to take advantage of these new cardmember perks, now is a great time to apply, as it just launched a limited-time welcome offer.

New applicants can receive 125,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after making $5,000 in purchases on the card within the first three months from account opening. TPG values this bonus at $1,050.

To understand whether you're eligible for the welcome offer, consult our guide to credit card application rules. Also remember Amex's once-per-lifetime bonus rule and limits on how many credit cards you can hold. Your eligibility for welcome offers on Marriott cards can be tricky to understand, so we have a chart to help you understand if you can receive a bonus on a Marriott credit card.

Bottom line

The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex now includes additional benefits, including expanded bonus categories, automatic Gold status and a 7% discount on eligible Marriott stays — all without any increase in the card's annual fee. Even if these don't mean much to you based on your personal travel patterns, new perks at no added cost is always a good thing.

And if you don't currently have the card, the new offer of 125,000 bonus points could be just the deal sweetener you need to add the card to your wallet.

Official application link: Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card

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

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.