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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?

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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):

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 photo 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.

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