Marriott Bonvoy Business Review: Free Night, Rich Rewards
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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.
Pros & Cons
High rewards rate
Automatic elite status
Has annual fee
Rewards have limited flexibility
Lower acceptance abroad
With an annual fee of $695, 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.
Compare to Other Cards
20.74%-29.74% Variable APR
21.24%-28.24% Variable APR
22.24%-29.24% Variable APR
Recommended Credit Score
690850good - excellent
Recommended Credit Score
690850good - excellent
Recommended Credit Score
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.
6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program.
4x points at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
2x points on all other eligible purchases.
Rewards earned by using the credit card are in addition to points you earn as a member of the Marriott Bonvoy program.
Interest rate: The ongoing APR is 20.74%-29.74% Variable APR.
Foreign transaction fees: None.
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 Gold Elite status.
Why you might want the Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card
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.
NerdWallet values Marriott points at 0.7 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 0.7 cent or more in value from your Marriott points.
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: 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program.
From the loyalty program: 5 to 10 points per dollar spent at eligible properties, as well as a 25% bonus from your Gold 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 18.5 points per dollar spent on a Marriott stay: Up to 11 points from the loyalty program — that is, 10 points plus 2.5 points from the 25% Gold 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 restaurants worldwide, 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.
GOLD ELITE STATUS
Among the benefits of the automatic Gold Elite status you earn with this card:
Complimentary room upgrades (when available).
2 p.m. checkout.
25% bonus on Marriott Bonvoy base points earned through eligible stays (not earned on the credit card).
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. These two offer solid rewards and a great sign-up bonus for an annual fee even lower than on the Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card:
The Capital One Spark Miles for Business earns an unlimited 5 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 2 miles per dollar on all other 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.
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.
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 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.