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- Amex has increased the welcome bonuses on the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card and Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card.
- These offers include statement credits that can help offset the cards’ annual fees.
- Marriott points won’t expire as long as you have and use your card, so it’s a good time to stock up.
- Read Insider’s guide to the best hotel credit cards.
Amex is back with another round of elevated welcome offers on the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card and Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card, and it’s not just the bonus points that have been given a boost.
Limited-time American Express Marriott card offers
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card: Earn 125,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points, plus up to $200 in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. Restaurants, after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 6 months.
- Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card: Earn 100,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points, plus up to $150 back in statement credits, after you use your new Card to make $5,000 of eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card membership
These bonuses are among the highest we’ve seen for the Marriott Bonvoy cards, and the statement credits are particularly valuable because they can help offset the cards’ annual fees. Each card also comes with Marriott elite status, a free anniversary night each account anniversary, and other valuable travel and shopping perks that can be worthwhile, even if you don’t stay with Marriott that often.
It’s a good time to consider building your Marriott Bonvoy points balance, even if you’re not quite ready to travel yet. Marriott points normally expire after 24 months of having no earning or redemption activity in your account, but opening and using a Marriott credit card is a good way to keep your points from expiring. That said, because of COVID-19, Marriott has paused points expiration until August 1, 2021.
Here’s what to know to help you decide if you should apply.
We’re focused here on the rewards and perks that come with each card. These cards won’t be worth it if you’re paying interest or late fees. When using a credit card, it’s important to pay your balance in full each month, make payments on time, and only spend what you can afford to pay.
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
Along with the increased welcome bonus, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card comes with up to $300 in statement credits each year toward Marriott Bonvoy hotel purchases — including room rates and on-site purchases like room service or spa treatments. Combined with up to $200 in credits toward U.S. restaurant purchases, you can reduce your net annual fee cost to zero (and then some) by taking advantage of both credits.
The card also offers a perk that can be worth well more than the annual fee. Each year on your card anniversary, you’ll receive a free night certificate valid at Marriott hotels that cost 50,000 points or less — that’s equivalent to a standard night at a Category 6 hotel, or even an off-peak night at luxurious Category 7 properties.
It’s possible to redeem your Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant free night certificate at hotels that can cost over $500 per night, so this card is a great long-term keeper if you enjoy staying at Marriott brands like Ritz-Carlton, JW Marriott, and St. Regis hotels.
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card members also receive automatic Marriott Gold elite status, which comes with perks such as a 25% points bonus, room upgrades, and a welcome gift at select properties. You’ll also get premium travel benefits including a Priority Pass Select membership for airport lounge access, a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit, and up to $100 property credit when booking eligible paid stays of two nights or more at Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis hotels.
The card earns 6x Marriott points per dollar on eligible Marriott purchases, 3x points at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines, and 2x points on eligible purchases everywhere else.
Based on Insider’s points and miles valuations, Marriott points are worth, on average, 0.7 cents each. That means you can expect to get about $875 worth of Marriott stays from the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card 125,000-point bonus, and potentially even more if you redeem points at expensive hotels.
Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card
Cardholders receive a free night certificate each card anniversary valid at hotels that cost up to 35,000 Marriott points — enough for a standard night at Category 5 properties. You’ll also get automatic Silver elite status, and if you spend $35,000 or more in a calendar year, you’ll get an upgrade to Gold elite status, which comes with more benefits. If you’re already close to reaching a higher tier of elite status, the 15 elite night credits offered by the card each year can give you a needed boost.
There are over 1,000 Category 5 hotels at which you can redeem your annual Marriott 35,000-point free night, but you can also use the certificate at more than 6,000 Category 1 to 4 hotels.
At Marriott hotels, the card earns 6x points, and it also earns 4x points on eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers, and on U.S. purchases for shipping, plus 2x points on everything else.
Based on Insider’s valuations, 100,000 Marriott points are worth about $700 in hotel stays. For example, you could redeem those points for two nights at an upscale Category 6 hotel, or stretch the bonus for as many as 13 nights at budget-friendly Category 1 properties.
I’ve had the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card for a few years and have consistently been able to use the anniversary free night at hotels that cost much more than the annual fee, so it’s a no-brainer to renew it year after year.
Jasmin Baron is an associate editor at Personal Finance Insider, where she helps readers maximize rewards and find the best credit cards to fit their lifestyles.
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Please note: While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they’re subject to change at any time and may have changed, or may no longer be available.
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