Is the Marriott Bonvoy Business AmEx Card Worth Its Annual Fee?

Maximizing the free night certificate and welcome bonus can make the annual fee look like a deal.

Jon Nickel-D'AndreaSeptember 3, 2020
On a similar note...
On a similar note...
Is the Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card worth the Annual Fee

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With so many Marriott credit cards to choose from, finding the right one can seem overwhelming. For business owners, the main option is the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card, which comes with an annual fee of $125. While that yearly cost might turn some people off, the question is: Does the card provide value above and beyond the $125 fee? Terms apply.

Here’s a look at the benefits and earning potential that, for some users, could make this card a good choice.

Rack up bonus points

Earn 6x points for each dollar spent on eligible purchases at Marriott Bonvoy properties and 4x points for every dollar of eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping. Plus earn 2x points per dollar on all other purchases. Terms apply.

Those points can add up. For example, if you were to spend $2,500 a year at Marriott hotels, you would earn an extra 15,000 points from the credit card — enough for a night in a Category 3 Marriott property.

Get instant elite status

Free Silver status with the Marriott Bonvoy program is a nice perk, but the reason you get that Silver status is because the card grants 15 nights toward elite status, giving you a bump toward Gold, Platinum and beyond. If you spend $35,000 a year on your card, you’ll be elevated to Gold Status. At the Gold level, you’ll get a 2 p.m. late checkout, a 25% bonus on your points earned by staying, room upgrades and more. Terms apply.

Enjoy a free night every year

Every year on your account anniversary you earn one free night at any Marriott property in the portfolio that can be redeemed for 35,000 points or less. If you spend $60,000 a year on the card, you’ll earn a second night for free as well. Terms apply.

Depending on where you stay, that free night award can have a high cash value. For example, a night at the Marriott Village d'ile-de-France might cost you around $300 a night if you paid cash, but it qualifies for your free night award. Or you could get a free night in Times Square, New York, saving you $249.

In either case, your free night is worth at least double the $125 annual fee.

Don't pay foreign transaction fees

While traveling overseas, being able to use your credit card without being charged a fee is crucial. The Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card does not charge foreign transaction fees, which can save you around 3% on every purchase made abroad. Terms apply.

Nerd tip: When you make purchases abroad, you’ll sometimes be asked if you want to pay in local currency or U.S. dollars. By choosing local currency, you’ll avoid the merchant’s currency conversion fees, which are usually higher than you’ll pay if you let your credit card payment network handle the conversion. 

Earn a nice welcome bonus

Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Earn up to $150 in statement credits within your first 6 months of Card Membership for all eligible purchases on your Card on U.S. Advertising in select Media. Plus receive complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status for one year (February 1, 2021-January 31, 2022). Offer ends 1/13/21. Terms Apply. After seeing what 35,000 Bonvoy points can get you, it’s clear that this bonus is no small sum. It’s worth more than two nights at a Bonvoy hotel redeemable for 35,000 points or less. Depending on the cash price of that room, those bonus points could get you a value of $500, $600 or more.

The bottom line

If you’ll be staying at Marriott Bonvoy properties in the future, this card can bring you value well exceeding the $125 annual fee. The free night alone could be worth $300 or more, depending on where you use it. If you would be spending $60,000 a year for your business on the card anyway, you get another free night. And the 15-night jump-start toward Gold status and beyond means you get to your next status level even faster. Terms apply.

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 2020, including those best for:

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