Which Marriott Bonvoy Credit Card Should I Choose?

There are three consumer options, and their rewards and benefits increase in step with the annual fee you pay.

Gregory KarpJune 4, 2020
Which Bonvoy Credit Card Should I Choose?

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Marriott enthusiasts have choices for a co-branded credit card: basic, midlevel and luxury. Options were revamped in 2019 when the hotel company introduced its new Bonvoy loyalty program after its merger with Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide.

Card choices for consumers are:

The pricier cards come with richer benefits and rewards than the basic card. Should you pay more to get more?

Marriott credit cards, compared

Marriott credit cards share the hotel company loyalty program, Bonvoy. Note that one card is offered by American Express; the others, Chase. Here’s how they compare.

Nerd tip: NerdWallet values Marriott points at 1 cent each. This is a baseline value, drawn from real-world data, not a maximized value. In other words, you should aim for award redemptions that offer 1 cent or more in value from your Marriott points.

Cheat sheet for choosing a Marriott card

If you want that anniversary night: The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card

This will be the right choice for many Marriott loyalists. As long as you use the free night each year, the card more than pays for itself. That’s because a night at a Marriott property typically costs more than the annual fee of $95.

Also key: If you’re looking for a card to use beyond Marriott booking, this one offers 2 points per dollar spent anywhere besides Marriott. That’s competitive with flat-rate cash back cards.

If you want to try a Bonvoy card for free: The Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card

The allure here is the annual fee of $0. That makes it a no-risk way to earn perks and points in the Bonvoy program, or generally to test the hotel loyalty waters. It’s the card for those who refuse to pay annual fees, but it has less potential for outsized value compared with other Marriott cards.

If you want luxury benefits: The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

The annual fee of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card might be hard to swallow, but it starts making sense when you break it down. If you can use the $300 hotel credit every year, that effectively drops the fee to $150. And you can book swankier hotels with your anniversary night, worth far more than the remaining $150. In addition to perks in the comparison chart, this card offers a $100 Marriott property credit on two-night stays at Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis hotels. The credit is good for expenses such as room service and spa treatments. Terms apply.

Other Marriott cards

Marriott has legacy cards that predate the launch of the Bonvoy program. They are closed to new applications. For reference, they are:

  • Marriott Bonvoy™ American Express® Card.

  • Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card.

  • The Ritz-Carlton Card.

A current Bonvoy card for small business is the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card.

Information related to the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card card has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

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