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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.
» Learn more: Your guide to the Marriott Bonvoy award chart
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. NerdWallet calculated the value of the benefits offered by the major hotel elite status tiers and found that Marriott Silver is worth $10. If you spend $35,000 a year on your card, you’ll be elevated to Gold Status, which we value at $126 annually. 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 hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program 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.
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 offer
Welcome Offer: Earn 75,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply. After seeing what 35,000 Bonvoy points can get you, it’s clear that this bonus is no small sum.
The additional bonus free night awards are just icing on the cake.
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 2023, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card