Editorial Review

Marriott Bonvoy Business Review: Free Night, Rich Rewards

Earn and redeem rewards at thousands of properties in the Marriott hotel group, with a free night every year and automatic elite status.

Gregory KarpMarch 18, 2020

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Our Take

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line: The free night's stay every year can pay for the fee on this card all by itself. The wide array of redemption options makes it the rare hotel credit card that doesn't feel limiting.

Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card

on American Express's website

Rates & Fees

on American Express's website

Rates & Fees
Annual Fee

$125

Regular APR

15.74% - 24.74% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

Quick FactsView rates and fees

Annual Fee
$125
Annual Fee
$125
Intro APR
N/A

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • High rewards rate

  • No foreign transaction fee

Cons

  • Has annual fee

Alternate Pick: cash back rewards

Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

What's more flexible than cash?

If flexibility is your top priority in a rewards credit card, consider a cash-back option. This card gives you an unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases, and you can redeem your cash back in any amount. There's a great sign-up bonus, too. The annual fee is $0 intro for the first year, then $95.

Read our review

Compare to Other Cards

Annual Fee

$125

Annual Fee

$0 intro for the first year, then $95

Annual Fee

$95

Regular APR

15.74% - 24.74% Variable APR

Rates & Fees

Regular APR

18.49% Variable APR

Regular APR

17.49% - 22.49% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score

Full Review

If your business has you staying at hotels in the Marriott hotel family regularly, your short list for credit card options should include the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better branded hotel card for businesses without shelling out hundreds of dollars a year in annual fees for a luxury travel card.

The card’s annual free night award alone can quickly recoup the annual fee. Then, you get generous spending rewards with highly useful bonus rewards categories. And racking up points pays off because it’s easy to redeem them at the plethora of Marriott properties. The card includes automatic elite status at Marriott, which adds to the allure.

Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card: Basics

  • Card type: Hotel and small business.

  • Annual fee: $125.

  • Bonus 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. Terms Apply.

  • Rewards:

    • 6 points per dollar of eligible purchases on the card at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels.

    • 4 points per dollar at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers, and on U.S. purchases for shipping.

    • 2 points per dollar on all other eligible purchases.

    • Points are worth more than those of some hotel competitors. NerdWallet values Marriott points at 1 cent each.

  • Interest rate: The ongoing APR is 15.74% - 24.74% Variable APR.

  • Foreign transaction fees: None.

  • Noteworthy perks:

    • Free night award each year on your account anniversary.

    • Additional free night award when you spend at least $60,000 in a calendar year.

    • Automatic Silver Elite status and chance for Gold with high card spending.

Why you might want the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card

Versatile points

The sheer number of Marriott properties makes its Bonvoy points a good currency. You can redeem points for stays at a wide range of hotels, from economy to upscale — over 7,000 properties in all. You can also transfer your points to more than 40 airline partners, most at a 3:1 ratio (3 hotel points for 1 airline mile). And they are highly useful airlines, including all the largest U.S. carriers.

Nerd tip: NerdWallet values Marriott points at 1 cent each. This is a baseline value, drawn from real-world data, not a maximized value. In other words, you should aim for award redemptions that offer 1 cent or more in value from your Marriott points.

Generous rewards

The Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card comes with a good bonus offer for new cardholders: Earn 75,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Terms Apply. That could be enough to book several nights in the hotel network's most affordable rooms.

Ongoing rewards are also quite generous, particularly for spending on eligible purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels. You'll get points:

  • From the card: 6 points per dollar spent on these qualifying purchases.

  • From the loyalty program: 5 to 10 points per dollar spent at eligible properties, as well as a 10% bonus from your Silver Elite status (which comes with the card).

Together, that could add up to an outstanding rewards rate on eligible hotel purchases. You could potentially earn up to 17 points per dollar spent on a Marriott stay: Up to 11 points from the loyalty program — that is, 10 points plus 1 point from the 10% Silver Elite bonus — and 6 points from the credit card.

The card also gives you a reason to use it beyond Marriott purchases. It earns 4 points per dollar at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping. Those are all highly useful reward accelerators for many small-business owners.

HIGH-VALUE FREE NIGHT BENEFIT

The annual free night benefit, good for eligible stays that would otherwise cost up to 35,000 points, can easily make up for the annual fee of $125.

Say you used that benefit for a room that would have otherwise cost $200. Just by doing that, you would already come out well ahead of the annual fee  — even before earning any spending rewards. The free-night benefit is awarded every year after your card account anniversary.

Big spenders can earn an additional free night by putting at least $60,000 on their card in a calendar year. That free night is restricted to rooms valued at up to 35,000 points.

SILVER ELITE STATUS

Among the benefits of the automatic Silver Elite status you earn with this card:

  • Priority late checkout.

  • 10% bonus on Marriott Bonvoy base points earned through eligible stays (not earned on the credit card).

  • Free Wi-Fi.

  • Compensation for a hotel stay if Marriott can’t honor your reservation.

  • Dedicated phone lines for reservations.

Big spenders can qualify for Gold Elite status, which gets you even more perks, by making over $35,000 in qualifying purchases in a calendar year.

Why you might want a different card

Tied to Bonvoy System

Few if any branded hotel credit cards offer more redemption options than the ones in the Marriott portfolio. But if you’re looking for more flexibility in travel rewards — earning and redeeming points for travel other than Marriott hotels — consider a general travel credit card to use for business.

  • The Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business earns an unlimited 2 miles per dollar on all purchases. Miles can be redeemed for statement credit against any travel purchase — hotel stays, airline flights and more. Book however you want, then use miles to pay for it, with no blackout dates or restrictions. Sign-up bonus: Earn a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles – equal to $500 in travel – once you spend $4,500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening. Annual fee: $0 intro for the first year, then $95.

  • The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card earns 3 points per dollar on the first $150,000 spent each year on travel and select business categories, and 1 point per dollar on other purchases. Points are worth 1.25 cents apiece when redeemed for travel through Chase. There's a giant sign-up bonus: New Offer! Earn 100k bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,250 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Annual fee: $95.

The personal card could be a better fit

The personal version of the card — the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card — is a little cheaper. The annual fee is $95. That could make it a more appealing option to use for your small business, even though it’s not a small-business card. It has the same important benefits, like a free night every year, but doesn’t offer as many bonus categories for earning points.

Acceptance

Acceptance of American Express cards has been growing, especially in the U.S. But if you often travel abroad, you’ll find American Express isn’t as widely accepted as Visa and Mastercard. That makes the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card less ideal for traveling abroad, even though it doesn't charge foreign transaction fees.

The Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business, the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card and the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card enjoy broader acceptance and don't charge foreign transaction fees, so they could make better travel companions.

Is the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card right for you?

The Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card is a rare bird — a co-branded hotel credit card that doesn't make you feel like you're locked in to a single hotel chain because it’s so large. If your business has you checking into hotels regularly, it's among the best cards you can carry.

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

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