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American Express has been on a roll recently. We’re seeing some pretty large bonuses on a lot of different Amex cards. Delta and Hilton have been leading the pack over the last few weeks, but now Amex has turned their attention to their Marriott co-branded cards.

Let’s take a look at some of the updates to the American Express Marriott cards that just launched.

Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card

The Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card is one of two Amex Marriott cards that got a boost to their bonus recently. 

You can earn 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you spend $3,000 in the first three months of card membership. In addition to the bonus points, we’re seeing the trend of statement credits continue. You’ll be able to get up to $150 in statement credits on eligible purchases made on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Terms apply.

The Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card is a good card to hold onto long term for Marriott loyalists. You can earn 4X points per dollar at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping. Every year you hold onto the card you get a free night certificate for a free night up to 35,000 points.

I personally love the free night certificates. Although they aren’t enough if you’re looking for an exotic getaway, they’re great for use at airport hotels when you just need a good place to lay your head down for the night. 

The annual fee isn’t waived for the first year, but at only $125 you can easily break even with the free night certificate (Rates and fees). Once you consider the statement credit, you’re actually being paid $25 the first year to open the Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

In addition to the business card, Amex has also upped the bonus on the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card. This is Amex’s premium Marriott card, and it doesn’t come cheap. The annual fee of $450 is not waived the first year (Rates and fees). 

Although it isn’t waived, Amex is taking a bit of the sting out of the high annual fee by offering 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you spend $3,000 in the first three months. You’ll also be eligible for up to $200 in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first six months of card membership.

Despite the annual fee, there’s a case to be made for keeping the Bonvoy Brilliant Amex year after year. The card earns 3X for every dollar spent at U.S. restaurants. All other purchases earn a flat 2X points. Considering both Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer to Marriott 1:1, you’ll often come out ahead putting your spend on the Bonvoy Brilliant and save your Membership Rewards and Ultimate Rewards for use on better transfer partners.

The statement credit you get at U.S. restaurants isn’t where it ends either. Cardmembers are eligible to receive statement credits up to $300 for purchases at eligible Marriott Bonvoy properties every year. This can be used for dining, valet, or many other expenses that you’ll encounter at Marriott properties (yes, even the dreaded resort fees).

Similar to the Bonvoy Business Amex, you’ll also receive a free night award for a free night up to 50,000 points. This opens up a few more doors than the 35,000 free night award.

Although you will still have to pay the annual fee in the first year, if you’re able to take advantage of both the $200 credit at U.S. restaurants and the $300 credit at Marriott properties, you’ll come out ahead $50.

What You Can Do With The Bonuses

Although these aren’t quite the highest bonus offer we’ve seen on these cards, they’re pretty competitive. The statement credits are a really nice perk that Amex has been adding to their cards, and I hope they’re here to stay.

Depending on the type of travel you enjoy, you can use either bonus for a long trip or to earn points for a luxury vacation. A category one Marriott goes for only 5,000 points per night in the off season. That means you can get 20 nights with the Marriott Bonvoy Business Card and 25 nights with the bonus from the Bonvoy Brilliant.

If you’d rather stay at a high end resort, these cost up to 100,000 points per night. Although you may only get one night, that one night may have cost over $1,000. 

For those that fall somewhere in between, Marriott’s average hotel across their 8,000 property portfolio is a category 4. This means that your average Marriott costs 20,000 points per night in the low season and 30,000 points in the high season. On average, you can stay 3-5 nights with the bonus from the Marriott Bonvoy Business card and 5-7 nights with the bonus from the Bonvoy Brilliant.

Bonus Restrictions

Before opening either card, keep in mind that American Express will limit you to one bonus per lifetime. If you’ve had these cards in the past, you won’t be eligible for a new bonus.

Additionally, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant will add to your 5/24 count. If you’re trying to stay below 5/24, now isn’t the time to open this card. The Marriott Bonvoy Business card, on the other hand, won’t count towards 5/24 since it is a business card.

Another thing to keep in mind is that both American Express and Chase partner with Marriott. This leads to some unique card interactions. You aren’t eligible to receive the welcome bonus on the Bonvoy Business Card if you’ve received the bonus on any of the following cards in the last 24 months or if you opened any of these cards within the past 90 days:

  • Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card
  • Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card
  • Marriott Bonvoy Premier Credit Card

You also won’t be eligible for the bonus on the Amex Bonvoy Business card if you’ve also had a Marriott Bonvoy Business From Chase card or the Marriott Bonvoy Premier Plus Business from Chase in the past 30 days. This doesn’t mean you’ve earned the bonus bonus. This means if you’ve had the card open at all in the past 30 days, even if you’ve closed it since then.

Similar restrictions are in place for the Bonvoy Brilliant. You won’t be eligible for a new bonus if you’ve received the bonus on any of the following cards in the past 24 months or if you’ve opened any of these cards within the past 90 days:

  • Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card
  • Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card
  • Marriott Bonvoy Premier Credit Card
  • Marriott Bonvoy Premier Plus Business from Chase

For the Bonvoy Brilliant, you won’t be eligible for the bonus if you’ve also had the Ritz-Carlton Credit Card in the past 30 days.

The 30 day restrictions should be fairly easy to get around, however. As long as you opened the card more than 12 months ago, you can close it and wait 30 days before applying for your new American Express Bonvoy card. Both of these offers are good through May 12, 2021 which is well beyond 30 days out. Just keep an eye on your calendar if you need to close one of these cards, as April 11 would be the deadline to have it closed (just to be safe, we’re adding an extra day).

Final Thoughts

The newly increased American Express Marriott co-branded cards come with some compelling reasons to open these cards. 

Not only are the bonuses fairly high, the addition of statement credits gives the opportunity for new cardmembers to offset the annual fee on both cards. 

Considering the poor transfer rate of both Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards to Marriott, it makes a lot more sense to earn your Marriott points by opening Marriott co-branded cards. Save your transferable points for Hyatt or Hilton.

Whatever the case, if you’re looking to add another Marriott card to your portfolio, now may be one of the best times to consider it.

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