Who Is This Credit Card Best For?
Is turning their passion into a money-making venture See more cards
Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain See more cards
Prioritizes sticking to their budget while buying what they want and need See more cards
Hits the road often, whether for work or play See more cards
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.
Great point-earning potential
Free night each year you renew your card (and another for big spenders)
Bonus is a great value due to Marriott’s high-value points
Elite status benefits
Higher annual fee
American Express isn’t as widely accepted abroad
- Great point-earning potential: This card offers at least 2 points for every $1 that you spend, making it relatively easy to rack up enough for multiple award night stays with everyday spending. With bonus points for Marriott stays, as well as for cell phone service, shipping, gas, and restaurant spending, this is a good card for Marriott hotel fans and those who drive or entertain guests frequently for work.
- Free night each year you renew your card: Each year, after you renew your card, you’ll get a free hotel night, without blackout restrictions. The competition offers a free weekend night, and only after you reach a spending requirement. You’ll also receive another free night’s stay if you charge at least $60,000 in a calendar year.
- Bonus is a great value due to Marriott’s high-value points: The welcome offer includes a large cache of points, which, our research shows, are worth more than those of many competitors on average. So this bonus could go further than some other hotel cards’ bonuses.
- Elite status benefits: Cardholders get Silver Elite status in the Marriott rewards program as well as 15 Elite Night credits when you open your card and every subsequent year with enrollment. Silver status comes with a 10% bonus on Marriott stays and priority late checkout.
- Higher annual fee: The annual fee is slightly more than on comparable hotel and general business travel 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.
- 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 on your business travels. Although the number of merchants who accept Amex is growing, the card network still isn’t as widely accepted as Mastercard and Visa.
Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card Welcome Offer
If you charge $3,000 within three months of opening your card, you’ll receive 75,000 bonus points. That may be enough to purchase two or three nights at a low- or mid-tier hotel such as the Fairfield Inn & Suites in New Orleans, or one night in a premium hotel like the St. Regis in New York City. You can also earn up to $150 in statement credits on eligible purchases made in the first three months.
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 credit cards or received a bonus for new cardholders for Chase-issued Marriott cards in the last 24 months.
Earning Points & Rewards
The Marriott Bonvoy Business™American Express® Card’s points earning system is generous. With this card, you’ll earn:
- 6 points per $1 spent at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy(TM) program
- 4 points per $1 spent on U.S. restaurant, gas station, cellphone service, and shipping purchases
- 2 points per $1 spent on everything else
This means you could earn a basic 7,500-point night’s stay for 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.
There are opportunities to earn additional points with Marriott Bonvoy travel partners, like Hertz rental cars and cruise companies, too.
Purchases for gas, restaurants, telephone services, and shipping must be made within the U.S.—not internationally—to qualify for points.
The hotel brand earning rate is higher than competing hotel cards, and not many business cards earn you 4 points per $1 on gas, restaurants, wireless and shipping. Double points on everything else doesn’t hurt, either.
You can redeem points in several ways, and unsurprisingly, we’ve found the best value is for hotel stays. Editors at The Balance determined that points on this card are worth an average of 1.05 cents when redeemed for stays at Marriott properties.
Note that the points cost of a free night changes constantly depending on demand, location, and other factors. Hotels are grouped into eight tiers. However, wherever you’re staying, if you redeem four nights, you’ll get the fifth free.
You can also transfer your points to an airline loyalty program. In all, there are more than 40 frequent-flyer programs to choose from and you’ll get an additional 5,000 miles for every 60,000 rewards points you transfer. Partners include all the major domestic carriers and plenty of familiar international ones, too. If you’re a United MileagePlus member, you could get a 10% mileage bonus when converting Bonvoy points to MileagePlus miles.
Unfortunately, the overall transfer ratio in most cases is 3 points to 1 mile, which is a terrible rate and will dramatically reduce the value of your points once transferred
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.
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.
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 redeeming rewards for Marriott hotel stays to 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.
We think these are the card’s exceptional benefits:
- Free annual hotel stay: No matter how often you use your Marriott card, you’ll earn a guaranteed free night’s stay on each renewal anniversary at a participating hotel that costs up to 35,000 points—the redemption level for many mid-range hotels.
- Automatic elite status: With Silver Elite status in Marriott’s loyalty program, you’ll get perks such as late priority checkout and a 10% points bonus on Marriott spending. Enrollment is required to get this perk.
- Insurance coverage for lost or delayed luggage: If you use your card for airfare and your luggage is lost, damaged or stolen, American Express will reimburse you up to $500 for checked baggage and $1,250 for carry-on.
- Rental car collision insurance (secondary to your own policy)
- Extended warranties
- Insurance for stolen or damaged purchases
- Global assist hotline
American Express ranked first in J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study and in the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Credit Card Mobile App Satisfaction Study. Amex 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.
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 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.