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Testing Marriott's new 7% discount for business credit cardholders

July 28, 2022
6 min read
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I love testing features to see if they work as advertised. Is the value of the perk real or does it only exist on paper?

Last week, we announced that the Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card had added new perks without increasing its annual fee. One of these new benefits is a 7% discount on cash rates at Marriott Bonvoy properties. We were keen to test this out to see whether the discount is really 7% and — if so — 7% off of what, exactly?

Here is a look at our sample bookings to evaluate this new benefit on the Amex Marriott Bonvoy Business card.

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Understanding the new benefit

(Screenshot from Marriott.com)

First things first, understand that this discount does not apply automatically. You must specifically book the applicable rate through Marriott's channels.

To accomplish this as a cardholder, you must log into your Marriott Bonvoy account for it to appear. Then, you'll need to make sure the "Amex Biz Card Member Rate" is selected from the drop-down menu of rate options. Now, this may automatically populate when you log in, but verify that from the homepage prior to searching.

Let's dig into this to see how it plays out during our sample bookings.

Sample bookings and analysis

For our sample bookings, we chose the cheapest rate for a room with one king-sized bed. We also ignored prepaid, nonrefundable rates to get the most direct, apples-to-apples comparison. Here are our findings (all rates are per night and based on currency conversions at the time of writing):

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Hotel nameDatesCheapest flexible member rate
Amex Biz Card Member RateAAA rateCheapest rateDiscount provided by card perk
JW Marriott MiamiOct. 4-6, 2022.$302.50.$287.50.$264.AAA.5% off member's flexible rate.
Moana Surfrider, a Westin Resort & Spa, Waikiki BeachNov. 4-6, 2022.$372.19.$380.$347.65.AAA.2% higher than member's flexible rate.
Dallas Marriott Downtown
Jan. 23-26, 2022.$440.$417.67$427.Marriott Business Amex rate.5.1% off member's flexible rate
W LondonFeb. 3-5, 2023.$683.13.$668.76 .$647.26.AAA.2.1% off member's flexible rate.
Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel & Towers, BangkokMarch 1-3, 2023.$114.33.$108.50.$110.81.Marriott Business Amex rate.5.1% off member's flexible rate.

We checked at least two dozen additional properties across random dates and saw similar results — and there are two important takeaways.

First, we weren't able to find a single instance where the discount was truly 7%. And when reading the terms of the benefit, it becomes clear why this is the case. Here's how American Express describes the discount (emphasis mine):

“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.”

Note that this specifies standard rates, not member rates. But as a Marriott Business Amex cardholder, you are (by definition) a member of Marriott Bonvoy. Thus, your effective discount will almost certainly be less than 7%, since you already have access to lower rates as a loyalty program member.

In addition, the new perk may not offer the lowest flexible rate for your stay. In the five examples above, two of the properties did show this. However, the other three had AAA rates that were lower than the discounted Marriott Business Amex rate. Moreover, you can get a AAA membership for as little as $59.99 per year, which is cheaper than the $125 annual fee (see rates and fees) for the Amex Marriott Bonvoy Business card.

And for one of the properties above — the Moana Surfrider in Hawaii — there was a special member rate that was fully refundable and actually lower than the discounted Amex rate.

What does this mean for you?

If you're a new (or existing) cardholder of the Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card, you were probably excited about the recent addition of a 7% discount on eligible stays booked (and paid for) with your card. However, there are three important things to note about this perk:

  • It will likely not be a full 7% off, as you can access already-discounted rates as a Marriott Bonvoy member.
  • There may be other rates that offer even more savings — including AAA, special packages, senior discounts or government and military rates.
  • It doesn't apply to upgraded rooms — including suites and those with club lounge access.

And, of course, you could always opt for a prepaid, nonrefundable reservation, as these rates were often even lower than the ones cited above. Just be sure you're willing to sacrifice that flexibility just to save a few dollars.

Bottom line

Maximizing your credit card's benefits each year is critical to justify the annual fee you pay, and the new perks on the Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card are unquestionably positive. However, the 7% discount may appear to be more rewarding on the surface than in reality. You'll want to double check all available rates before booking to make sure you're getting the best price.

Luckily, the card does offer perks that make it worth keeping in your wallet — including the ability to stack elite night credits and a free night award (worth up to 35,000 points) each year on your account anniversary.

And right now, new applicants who are approved by Aug. 31, 2022 can earn 125,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months of card membership — giving you a nice haul of Marriott points along with enhanced perks ahead of your next trip.

Apply here: Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex

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

Featured image by (Photo by Andrea Rotondo/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.

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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10XEarn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel partner site
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    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.

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Why We Chose It

The revamped Wander Card from Credit One Bank earns cardmembers up to 10 points per dollar spent on eligible travel purchases. With no foreign transaction fees, the card is also great for international travel. However, points earned from this card can only be used at a fixed value, so it may not be the best option for those striving to get maximum value from their rewards.

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  • This card has no foreign transaction fees and earns up to 10 points per dollar on travel purchases through the Credit One Bank travel partner site.

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  • While cardholders can earn a significant amount of points on travel purchases, there isn't any way to redeem points from the Wander Card for maximum value (beyond 1 cent per point).
  • Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days and redeem for a $100 statement credit, gift cards, or travel
  • Earn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel site
  • Earn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas
  • Earn 1x points on all other purchases
  • Redeem your reward points for statement credits, gift cards, merchandise, flights, hotels, and more
  • With $0 Fraud Liability, you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Free Online Credit Score and Credit Report summary, terms apply
  • If you are a Covered Borrower under the Military Lending Act, you may get a different offer
  • See Rates & Fees