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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.
April 3, 2020
Airline Credit Cards, Credit Cards, Rewards Credit Cards
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?

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best hotel credit cards

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.

Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit CardMarriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit CardMarriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
Annual fee
$0$95$450
Marriott Bonvoy bonus points

  • Earn 3X Bonvoy points per $1 spent at over 7,000 participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels.

  • 2X Bonvoy points for every $1 spent on other travel purchases (from airfare to taxis and trains).

  • 1X point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.


  • Earn 6X Bonvoy points per $1 spent at over 7,000 participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels.

  • 2X Bonvoy points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

  • 6 points per $1 spent at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels.

  • 3 points per $1 spent at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines.

  • 2 points per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases.

Terms apply.
Issuer and other benefits
Chase

  • Receive 15 Elite Night Credits annually, qualifying you for Silver Elite Status. Restrictions apply.

Chase

  • An additional Free Night Award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary.

  • Automatic Silver Elite Status each account anniversary year. Path to Gold Status when you spend $35,000 on purchases each account year.

  • 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year.

American Express

  • Complimentary anniversary night (valued up to 50,000 points).

  • Gold elite status.

  • $300 statement credit for Marriott purchases.

  • Terms apply.
New cardholder bonus
Earn 30,000 Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.Earn 75,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.See website

» MORE: Benefits of Marriott Bonvoy credit cards

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.

» MORE: Full review of the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card

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.

» MORE: Full review of the Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card

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.

» MORE: Full review of 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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