How to Get a Marriott Credit Card

Getting a co-branded credit card greatly increases your points earning potential and comes with other perks too.
Anya KartashovaOct 4, 2021

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Perhaps you’ve joined the Marriott Bonvoy hotel loyalty program and have a few Marriott stays booked on the calendar — or maybe this is the first time you’ve considered Marriott loyalty.

Getting a dedicated credit card can help you ramp up your rewards earning rates so you can earn free stays more quickly. But the road to getting a Marriott credit card isn’t all sparkles, upgrades and points.

Here’s what you need to know to add a Marriott credit card to your lineup.

Marriott credit cards that are available to new applicants

When it comes to co-branded credit cards, Marriott partners with two issuers: American Express and Chase. Each bank offers two Marriott credit cards to Bonvoy members, for a total of four credit cards available to consumers and small-business owners.

Here are some key differences:

  • Welcome offer: Earn 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points and a bonus Free Night Award after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Resort fees may apply. Terms apply. Offer expires 11/3/2021.

  • Earning rates: 6x at hotels in the Marriott Bonvoy program, 3x on dining at U.S. restaurants, 3x on airfare booked directly with airlines and 2x on all other purchases.

  • Automatic elite status: Gold Elite.

  • Elite status with annual spend: Platinum Elite after $75,000.

  • Free nights: A standard 50,000-point free night certificate every year after your Card account anniversary, plus one bonus free night certificate worth up to 85,000 points per night if you use your Card to complete $5,000 of eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

  • Foreign transaction fees: None.

  • Annual fee: $450.

Other benefits: Up to $300 Marriott Bonvoy statement credit, 15 elite night credits, Priority Pass Select membership (enrollment required), Global Entry or TSA PreCheck enrollment fee credit, and a $100 Marriott Bonvoy property credit for a two-night minimum stay at The Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis. Terms apply.

  • Welcome offer: Earn 125,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points & 2 bonus Free Night Awards after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months. Each bonus Free Night Award has a redemption level up to 50K points. Certain hotels have resort fees. Offer ends 11/3/2021. Terms Apply.

  • Earning rates: 6x at hotels in the Marriott Bonvoy program; 4x at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations, U.S. shipping purchases and U.S. cell phone services; 2x on all other purchases.

  • Automatic elite status: Silver Elite.

  • Elite status with annual spend: Gold Elite after $35,000 in eligible purchases.

  • Free night certificates: Beyond the welcome offer, cardholders automatically receive an annual free night certificate for redemption up to 35,000 points. Cardholders who spend $60,000 in a calendar year are eligible for a bonus free night certificate. Terms apply.

  • Foreign transaction fees: None.

  • Annual fee: $125.

  • Other benefits: 15 elite night credits annually.

Terms apply.

  • Welcome offer: For a Limited Time Only! Earn 60,000 Bonus Points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

  • Earning rates: 3x at hotels in the Marriott Bonvoy program, 2x on travel and 1x on all other purchases.

  • Automatic elite status: Silver Elite.

  • Elite status with annual spend: None.

  • Free night certificate: None.

  • Foreign transaction fees: None.

  • Annual fee: $0.

  • Other benefits: 15 elite night credits annually.

  • Welcome offer: For a Limited Time Only! Earn 125,000 Bonus Points and 1 Free Night Award (value up to 50,000 points) after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

  • Earning rates: 6x at hotels in the Marriott Bonvoy program and 2x on all other purchases.

  • Automatic elite status: Silver Elite.

  • Elite status with annual spend: Gold Elite after $35,000.

  • Free night certificate: Yes, one per year, limited to 35,000 points per night.

  • Foreign transaction fees: None.

  • Annual fee: $95.

  • Other benefits: 15 elite credit nights annually.

Nerdy tip: Casual Marriott guests will likely be fine with either the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card or the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card. Small-business owners will find value in the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card, and frequent Marriott guests will benefit from holding the premium Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card. Learn more about how to choose between the Marriott credit cards.

Things to ask before you apply for a Marriott rewards card

Getting a brand-specific travel credit card can be a significant step towards determining your hotel rewards program loyalty. Before you make that decision and select a hotel credit card, ask yourself the following questions.

Which issuer meets your needs?

Before you apply for a Marriott rewards card, figure out which issuer suits your needs best — American Express or Chase — and whether you qualify for one of its credit cards. Keep in mind the unwritten 5/24 rule from Chase that limits the number of credit cards you can be approved for in any 24-month span (max five).

Also, consider which cards you’ve had in the past. For instance, American Express cardholders are only allowed to earn a welcome bonus on a specific card once in a lifetime. If you’ve already had the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card or the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card in the past, you might consider one of the Chase-issued options instead.

Do you want to pay an annual fee? How much?

Examine your recent travels to decide which card has an annual fee you can justify. We recommend thinking through which cards have a fee you’re comfortable paying (if any) that offer benefits you expect to use. The goal is to extract enough benefits from card membership to offset the fees.

Which card has bonus categories that overlap with your frequent expenses?

Consider each card’s bonus categories and whether your existing (or anticipated) spending patterns will result in a lot of Bonvoy points. If you rarely eat out, a card that offers extensive bonus points on dining might not be of use to you.

Is brand loyalty the right decision or should you opt for a more generic travel credit card?

While the ability to earn Bonvoy points at an accelerated rate can be attractive to some, it’s worth doing a gut-check about whether going “all-in” on a single hotel brand is the right choice for you.

A more generic travel credit card that isn’t tied to a specific brand, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card, could give you more flexibility in booking not just accommodations with points, but flights, too. If you anticipate traveling to destinations where Marriott properties are harder to come by, a card like this can come in handy.

How hard is it to get a Marriott credit card?

If you currently don’t hold a Marriott card and haven’t applied for too many credit cards in the last 24 months, getting a Marriott credit card shouldn’t be too difficult. However, you need to be aware of some restrictions that can preclude you from obtaining a Marriott Bonvoy card.

Potential barriers include:

  • The Chase 5/24 rule. As aforementioned, Chase bank’s unwritten 5/24 rule could prevent anyone from opening a new Chase credit card if they have opened five or more credit cards from any bank in the last 24 months. If your new card count is higher than that, Marriott cards issued by Chase won’t be a good fit right now.

  • The AmEx once-per-lifetime rule. Though American Express is more lenient when it comes to your recent card counts, it’s stricter about earning multiple welcome offers on the same cards. If you’ve received a bonus on a specific AmEx card in the past, you can’t get another bonus on the same AmEx card again.

  • Your credit score. What credit score is needed for a Marriott rewards card? Although card approvals are based on multiple factors and not a credit score alone, we recommend your score be in the good to excellent range (690 to 850) to qualify for a Marriott rewards card. The higher the score, the better your approval odds will be.

  • Existing Marriott cards in your wallet. Several restrictions are in place for individuals who have recently added other Chase- or AmEx-issued Marriott cards to their wallet. For instance, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card from Chase isn’t available to current holders of the Marriott Bonvoy™ Premier Plus credit card (no longer available) or the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card. You’ll also be denied if you’ve received a sign-up bonus on any of these cards in the last 24 months. American Express has similar restrictions that vary by card type. In other words: It could be difficult to get approved (again) for a Marriott credit card if you already hold one.

How to apply for a Marriott Rewards credit card

You can easily apply for the Marriott credit card of your choice by clicking the Apply Now button on each card's review page:

The application process is fairly straightforward, and the application questions will differ depending on if you're applying for a personal card or a business credit card. For instance, American Express asks Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card applicants to provide the legal business name, the company Doing Business As name and the business’s physical address.

Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card applicants on the Chase website will need to provide information like name, mailing address, gross annual income and primary source of income.

If you’re looking to apply for a Marriott credit card …

Co-branded Marriott cards help accelerate the speed with which you earn rewards in the Marriott Bonvoy program. However, the ongoing perks, such as elite status, elite night credits and free night certificates are also worth considering.

Based on how often you stay at Marriott properties, pick a card that suits your needs best, and use it to keep earning rewards in between hotel stays.

To view rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, see this page.

To view rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card, see this page.


How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:

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