Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card Review

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If you and your employees spend a lot of time on the road, the Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express® Card is a great way to earn free nights at popular hotels. This card pairs one of the highest rewards rates you’ll find in the hotel category with a bevy of valuable perks for frequent travelers.

Marriott Bonvoy Business™American Express® Card

overall rating
3.6
Marriott Bonvoy Business™American Express® Card
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 17.49% - 26.49% variable
Annual Fee $125
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 6X points for every $1 spent at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels, 4X points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. purchases for shipping, and 2X points everywhere else.
Cash Advance APR (%) 26.99%
Cash Advance Fee Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Ratings Breakdown
for Interest
1.6
for Fees
2.6
for Rewards
4.1
for Credit
4.0

Earn 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.

Top Rated For

  • Best Business Credit Cards for Travel

Who is This Credit Card Best For?

  • Avatar for Savvy Saver Persona
    Prioritizes sticking to their budget while buying what they want and need
    Savvy Saver
  • Avatar for Entrepreneur Persona
    Is turning their passion into a money-making venture
    Entrepreneur
  • Avatar for Road Warrior Persona
    Hits the road often, whether for work or play
    Road Warrior
  • Avatar for Deal Seeker Persona
    Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain
    Deal Seeker

If you or your employees spend days at a time traveling for work, the Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card can save you lots of money on hotel stays. You can rack up free nights quickly, and your choice of hotels is vast, from no-frills Fairfield Inn and Suites to mid-range hotels such as Courtyard Marriott, and more luxurious digs such as the Ritz Carlton.

The card is ideal for small business owners with good to excellent credit. Regardless of your spending, you’re guaranteed one free night at some of the nicer participating hotels every year after the first year. You’ll earn another free night if you charge at least $60,000 in one calendar year.

Pros

  • You can earn lots of points quickly

  • Great redemption rates for some hotels

  • Guarantee of one free night

  • Vast network of properties 

Cons

  • Higher annual fee

  • Low point values at popular locations

  • American Express isn’t as widely accepted abroad

Pros Explained

  • You can earn lots of points quickly: This card offers at least two points for every $1 that you spend, making it relatively easy to rack up enough for multiple free nights stays. With bonus points for Marriott stays, as well as gas and restaurant spending, this is a good card to have if you are a fan of Marriott hotels and drive or entertain guests frequently for your work. 
  • Great redemption rates for some hotels: If you plan on staying at an economy hotel in a less popular location, you could redeem a free night’s stay with just 7,500 rewards points, which can be earned with as little as $1,250 in Marriott charges. Even if you only use the card for gas, restaurants, shipping, or wireless services, you can earn those points by spending just $1,875 on the card.
  • Guarantee of one free night: Each year, after you renew your card, you’ll get a free hotel night. And the eligible properties aren’t just economy level. You’ll also receive another free night’s stay if you charge at least $60,000 in a calendar year.
  • Vast network of properties: Marriott boasts more than 7,000 hotels in 131 countries and territories. There are also 30 brands operating under the Marriott umbrella, including economy hotels, stylish boutiques, and luxurious retreats.  

Cons Explained

  • Higher annual fee: The annual fee is slightly more than on comparable cards. If you don’t take advantage of all the card’s benefits, including the free night hotel stay, it may not be worth the annual commitment. 
  • Low point values at popular locations: If you’re planning to stay in a big city or sought-after location, earning free nights is likely to require a slew of rewards points, whether the hotel is high-end or not. A night’s stay at an economy hotel in a popular destination such as Austin, Texas, or Anaheim, California, could cost 17,500 to 25,000 rewards points—even if the hotel room itself costs less than $120 a night when you pay in cash. This means the value of a single Marriott point can run as low as half a cent. 
  • American Express isn’t as widely accepted abroad: You may run into merchants who don’t take American Express, especially if you try to use the card in other countries. Although the number of merchants who accept it is growing, the card network still isn’t as widely accepted as Mastercard and Visa.  

Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card Welcome Offer

The welcome offer for this card is not only generous, but pretty easily achieved. If you charge $3,000 within three months of opening your card, you’ll receive 75,000 bonus points. Depending on when and where you travel, that may be enough to purchase 10 free nights at an economy hotel such as the Fairfield Inn and Suites or four free nights at a mid-range hotel like Courtyard by Marriott.

You’re not eligible for the welcome offer if you have or previously had the Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card. You’re also excluded if you’ve had certain Marriott business credit cards from Chase in the last 30 days.

Earning Points & Rewards

The Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card’s points earning system is generous. Six points per $1 spent at participating Marriott hotels is higher than competing hotel cards, and not many business cards earn you 4 points per $1 on gas, restaurants, wireless and shipping. That said, point values vary dramatically with this credit card and you may have to use many more points to purchase travel than you would with a competing card. Also, be aware that the purchases for gas, restaurants, telephone services, and shipping must be made within the U.S.—not internationally—to qualify for points.

Redeeming Rewards

You can redeem points in several ways, and surprisingly, we’ve found the best value to be for free flights, not hotel stays. Editors at The Balance determined that points on this card are worth an average of 0.98 cents (just shy of a penny) when transferred to American Airlines or other members of the oneworld alliance. 

In all, you can transfer points to more than 40 frequent-flyer programs and get an additional 5,000 miles for every 60,000 rewards points you transfer. Besides American, partners include Delta, Alaska Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest, and United. The transfer ratio in most cases is 3 points to 1 mile, which is a terrible rate, but we value American/oneworld points so highly (at nearly 3 cents a mile) that this is still the most valuable use of your points.

For hotel stays, The Balance calculates that your points are worth an average of 0.64 cents. The points cost of a free night changes constantly depending on demand and other factors. Hotels are grouped into eight tiers. You’ll typically get more value from your points by using them for lower category hotels, though even budget properties will be categorized at higher tiers in many popular destinations. You can also redeem your points for concerts and sports events, a variety of merchandise, gift cards, and more. Keep in mind some redemptions will lower the value of your points. For gift cards or merchandise, for example, your points may only be worth a quarter of a cent to a half-cent each.

Marriott Bonvoy points cannot be redeemed for cash, checks, or statement credits.

How to Get the Most Out Of This Card

Spend at least $3,000 in the first three months to qualify for the welcome offer, which is worth multiple free hotel nights. The sooner you meet the spending requirement, the sooner you’ll get your welcome offer. Add employees or business partners as authorized users—up to 99 are allowed at no cost—so that you can pool your points and quickly hit the $60,000 threshold for another free night.

Be mindful, too, of how you use your points: You may get more value if you use your points to redeem free nights in less expensive hotels or in less sought after locales. Marriott often requires significantly more points for hotel stays in hip locations—even if you choose a budget hotel that costs less than $120 a night. Also consider booking longer trips when you use your card to pay for Marriott hotel stays: If you book five nights in a row, you’ll receive the fifth night free.  

Because the redemption options aren’t always a good value, we recommend pairing this card with another general travel, airline, or cash-back business card to maximize your rewards potential.

Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card’s Excellent Perks

We think these are the card’s exceptional benefits:

  • One free night each year: No matter how often you use your Marriott card, you’ll earn a guaranteed free night’s stay on each renewal anniversary at a hotel worth up to 35,000 points—the redemption level for many mid-range hotels. 
  • An additional free night if you charge $60,000: You’ll get another free night at a hotel worth up to 35,000 points if you charge $60,000 in one calendar year (which comes out to about $5,000 a month). 
  • Automatic Silver Elite status: With Silver Elite status in Marriott’s loyalty program, you’ll get access to perks like free Wi-Fi and late checkout, plus you'll earn 10% more points eligible hotel purchases.
  • Baggage insurance: If you use your card for airfare and your luggage is lost, damaged, or stolen, American Express may reimburse you up to $500 for checked baggage and up to $1,250 for carry-on. 
  • Travel accident insurance: If you’re injured or killed on a trip paid for with your card, you may receive up to $100,000.

Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card’s Other Features

  • Auto rental collision damage waiver
  • Extended warranties 
  • Insurance for stolen or damaged purchases
  • Roadside assistance
  • Access to VendorPay by Bill.com

Customer Experience

American Express ranked second in J.D. Power’s 2019 Credit Card Satisfaction Study of U.S. issuers, getting 838 out of 1,000 points, or an "among the best" score. It offers 24-7 help on the phone or online, and a mobile banking app that you can use to keep tabs on your credit card and easily pay your bill.

Security Features

American Express offers standard security features. One nice option is the ability to set up alerts to help keep tabs on employees’ spending and ensure that every purchase has been authorized. 

The Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card’s Fees

This card’s fees are fairly standard, though the annual fee is a little high for a card with these rewards and perks. It’s worth noting that there are no foreign transaction fees, and balance transfers are not allowed.

For Marriott Bonvoy Business™American Express® Card

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CURRENT CARD
Marriott Bonvoy Business™American Express® Card
overall rating
3.6
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 17.49% - 26.49% variable
Annual Fee $125
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 6X points for every $1 spent at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels, 4X points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. purchases for shipping, and 2X points everywhere else.

Our Methodology

  • At The Balance, we are dedicated to giving you unbiased, comprehensive credit card reviews. To do this, we collect data on hundreds of cards and score more than 55 features that affect your finances.
  • Our Reviews Are Always Impartial: No one can influence which cards we review, the way we present them to you, or the ratings they receive. The scores and reviews come directly from the data we collect and our editorial expertise, and we focus on three areas:
  • How Much Does It Cost? With credit card debt at an all-time high, we believe you should know the cost of carrying a balance. Because of that, we give regular purchase APRs significant weight in overall scores, and cards receive low marks if they have an array of pricey fees.
  • What Are the Rewards Worth? Cards accumulate rewards in different currencies—points, miles, cash back—and their values vary widely. To simplify the problem, we built a system that fairly compares rewards and gives them a dollar value. We do this by looking at the ways you can earn and use rewards, which includes evaluating Americans’ typical spending habits and analyzing common travel patterns.
  • Does It Make Your Life Easier? Our scoring system favors cards that accept a wide range of credit profiles and offer simple solutions for things like checking your credit score or contacting customer service. Finally, we give preference to credit cards that have several tools for dealing with fraudulent charges.
  • For every review on The Balance, we hold the credit cards to these standards, and we set the bar high. While we recognize the appeal of splashy features like six-digit sign-up bonuses, our approach ensures that credit cards with the best combination of value, affordability, and accessibility receive the highest scores. See our full methodology for more details.