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 KarpJul 15, 2021

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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

Annual fee

$125

Regular APR

15.74% - 24.74% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

Quick FactsView rates and fees

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Anniversary perk
  • High rewards rate
  • Automatic elite status

Cons

  • Has annual fee
  • Rewards have limited flexibility
  • Lower acceptance abroad

Alternate Pick: VIP benefits

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN Credit Card
NerdWallet rating 

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

Make life on the road a little easier

With an annual fee of $595, this card isn't for budget business travelers. It's for those who prefer comfort and are willing to pay for it. Perks include terrific airport lounge access, hotel benefits (including automatic Gold status with Marriott Bonvoy), valuable credits and more.

Read our review

Compare to Other Cards

NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Annual fee

$125

Annual fee

$95

Annual fee

$0

Regular APR

15.74% - 24.74% Variable APR

Rates & Fees

Regular APR

15.99% - 22.99% Variable APR

Regular APR

15.99% - 22.99% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score

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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 . 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.

To view rates and fees of the , see .

Card type:  and

Annual fee: .

Bonus offer:

Rewards:

Rewards earned by using the credit card are in addition to points you earn as a member of the Marriott Bonvoy program.

NerdWallet values Marriott points at each.

Interest rate: .

Foreign transaction fees: None.

Noteworthy perks:

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.

The comes with a good bonus offer for new cardholders: 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:

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.

» MORE:

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 .

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.

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

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.

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 to use for business. These two offer solid rewards and a great sign-up bonus for an annual fee even lower than on the :

The personal version of the card — the  — is a little cheaper. The annual fee is . 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.

» MORE:

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  less ideal for traveling abroad, even though it doesn't charge foreign transaction fees.

The , the  and the  enjoy broader acceptance and don't charge foreign transaction fees, so they could make better travel companions.

The 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 , see .

 To view rates and fees of , see .