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After a big year of changes, including a revamp its loyalty program and a refresh of its $95-annual fee credit card, Marriott Bonvoy is shaking things up yet again.
Marriott has announced the launch of two new co-branded credit cards, bringing the hotel's credit card portfolio to a robust total of five personal credit cards (and one business credit card). Plus, the existing Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card is also getting a big overhaul with new benefits and a substantial increase to the annual fee.
Two new Marriott Bonvoy Cards from two issuers
The similarly named new cards, Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express Card and Marriott Bonvoy Bountiful™ Card, have identical earnings, benefits and $250-annual fee; the only difference is the issuers.
Both cards come with a limited-time new cardholder offer: "Earn 125,000 Marriott Bonvoy points after you spend $4,000 in eligible purchases on the card in the first three months." Both offer cardholders the following:
6X Marriott Bonvoy points on purchases at participating Marriott hotels.
4X Marriott Bonvoy points on up to $15,000 in combined purchases per year at restaurants worldwide and at U.S. supermarkets.
2X Marriott Bonvoy points on all other eligible purchases.
1,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points with each qualifying stay.
Automatic Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status.
Free night award (up to 50,000 points) after making $15,000 in purchases per year.
15 elite night credits each calendar year.
But you may not be eligible for these new cards. According to Marriott, you are not eligible for either card if you received a new card bonus from any Marriott card in the past 24 months. Additionally, you cannot get the AmEx version if you have, or have had, any Chase Marriott card in the past 30 days, and those same rules apply for getting the Chase version if you have or have had any AmEx Marriott card.
Big changes to the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card
The existing Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card has been refreshed with new features and a higher annual fee.
Annual fee increase from $450 to $650 — that's a 44% jump.
Free night award annually, worth up to 85,000 points (up from 50,000 points).
Up to $300 in statement credits per calendar year (up to $25 per month) for eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide (previously, a $300 annual statement credit for eligible purchases at Marriott hotels).
Automatic Marriott Bonvoy Platinum elite status (previously it granted automatic Gold status).
25 elite night credits each calendar year (up from 15).
Current cardholders will see the annual fee increase take effect on their next annual renewal date starting on Jan. 1, 2023.
Additionally, for a limited time, new cardholders will receive a welcome offer: "Earn 150,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after spending $5,000 in eligible purchases in the first three months."
Which Marriott card should you choose?
If you're a Marriott diehard and you value elite status, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card can be worth the hefty annual fee. Automatic Platinum status, previously available only when you earn 50 elite nights in a year, gives substantial perks like free breakfast, room upgrades (including suites), early check-in, late checkout and lounge access at participating hotels. NerdWallet estimates the value of Marriott Bonvoy Platinum status benefits around $3,000 per year, depending on how often you stay. Value from the card will be determined by how you use the annual free night certificate and if you use the card's statement credits on dining purchases up to $25 each month.
While the new Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express Card and Marriott Bonvoy Bountiful™ Card boast splashy welcome offers, their long-term value is subpar compared with other hotel credit cards. Many hotel cards offer a free anniversary night award without spending requirements, but these new Marriott Bonvoy cards require $15,000 spent on eligible purchases before you can earn a free night.
The $95-annual fee Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card provides a better value for most travelers, offering an annual free night award (up to 35,000 points) with no spending requirements.
» SEE: Best hotel credit cards