Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card review

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In a Nutshell

Business owners and managers who regularly find themselves on the road for work may do well with the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card. The card includes a free-night reward annually, automatic Bonvoy Silver Elite status and other perks. While the card charges a $125 annual fee, the free night alone may make up for the cost.

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Pros Cons
Great sign-up bonus Annual fee of $125
Free annual night after card anniversary Big spending requirement to earn second free night
Complimentary Bonvoy Silver Elite status at Marriott properties Moderate spending requirement to reach Bonvoy Gold Elite status

Most important features

Here’s what you need to know about the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card .

Annual fee vs. rewards rate

The Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card has a $125 annual fee. Is it worth it? It depends how much you spend and on what.

The card offers the following rewards rates on eligible purchases:

  • Six points per $1 spent at participating Marriott Bonvoy properties
  • Four points per $1 spent at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. wireless service providers, and on U.S. purchases for shipping
  • Two points per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases

According to Credit Karma’s point valuation estimate, one Marriott Bonvoy point is worth about 0.94 cents. That means you’d need to spend at least $2,217 on stays or purchases at Marriott Bonvoy properties per year to offset the cost of the annual fee. Broken out over a whole year, that’s pretty doable for someone who stays at Marriott frequently — it breaks down to about $185 per month spent on qualifying Marriott hotel stays. Anything you put on the card after that is just gravy in terms of points.

Now if you don’t have any spending at all in the bonus categories, you’d have to spend about $6,649 over the course of the year to match the annual fee.

Earning free nights

Every year after your account anniversary, you’ll earn a free-night credit that can be worth up to 35,000 points at any eligible Marriott property. Marriott operates more than 6,900 hotels, so there’s bound to be one that you can take advantage of. You can get a second night free if you spend a hefty $60,000 or more on eligible purchases on the card in a calendar year.

Beyond that, when you redeem points for five consecutive nights, Marriott will offer the fifth night on the same booking for free. That’s a pretty neat way to get more value out of your points!

Marriott Elite status

All cardholders get instant Silver Elite status in the Bonvoy program. Silver Elite status includes perks like free Wi-Fi when you book directly through Marriott, and late checkout when available.

You can get an upgrade to Gold Elite status if you spend $35,000 or more per calendar year on eligible purchases with the card. This may be a lot, depending on the size of your business and travel needs — it breaks down to $2,916.67 per month. Gold status includes room upgrades and 2 p.m. late checkout where available, plus a free gift of 250 to 500 points with each stay.

Big sign-up bonus

The Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card offers a really good sign-up bonus. You can earn 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy points if you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.

Redemption rates vary widely, from 5,000 points for the new off-peak rate at category one properties to as many as 100,000 points for peak rates at category eight.

Other Marriott business card features

Here are some other features of the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card to consider.

  • No foreign transaction fees — You won’t pay any foreign transaction fees at merchants that accept American Express.
  • Free, premium internet — Book your stay with this card, and you’ll qualify for premium in-room internet when staying at participating Marriott hotels.
  • Elite night credits — This card includes 15 nights of credit each calendar year toward the next tier of Marriott Bonvoy elite status before your head ever touches the pillow. It only takes 10 nights per year to get to Silver Elite. Those extra five nights can be put toward gaining Gold Elite status, which requires staying 25 nights per year at a Marriott property.

Understanding your points and redemption options

The unified Marriott Bonvoy rewards program combines the old Marriott, Starwood (known as SPG) and Ritz-Carlton programs. The Marriott Bonvoy program covers this entire, massive portfolio of hotels.

Redeeming rewards from your card is easy — just make a reservation online and choose to apply points during the reservation process. If you get stuck, you can call the Marriott reservation desk for a little extra help.

Standard redemption rates range from 7,500 to 85,000 points per night. New peak and off-peak rates will offer discounts or require extra points on some hotels depending on the season. In general, you’ll pay more for fancier hotels or hotels in prime locations.

Sometimes you can stretch points a little further using points with cash to book or PointSavers awards. PointSavers can discount your reward by up to 20%. Cash + Points lets you mix the two to save points when making a reservation.

Who this card is good for

This card is best for business owners who will stay in Marriott hotels at least once a year. Really, the annual free-night benefit could easily be worth more than $125 per year. When you book, you might beat the cost of the card’s $125 annual fee before considering points and other benefits. Any rewards and perks you tap into above that is value added back into your pocket.

Not sure this is the card for you? Consider these alternatives.