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What rules do you need to know? What are the offers? And which cards should you choose? Let’s take a look at this or that: which updated Marriott card offer should you choose.

Amex and Chase updated their bonus offers on their co-branded Marriott cards. There’s a lot of rules around the cards, given the history Marriott and its acquired brands had with different banks.

What rules do you need to know? What are the offers? And which cards should you choose? Let’s take a look at this or that: which updated Marriott card offer should you choose.

What You Need to Know About the Marriott Co-Branded Cards

Starting off, the updated offers on the Marriott cards.

Back in the day (was it really that long ago?) Chase had the Marriott and Ritz-Carlton co-branded cards while American Express had the infamous Starwood Preferred Guest portfolio. At first all three major brands remained independent, but Marriott wanted to merge them all under the Marriott portfolio. In 2018, Marriott completed the new merger and all three brands were now under the Marriott portfolio with the rewards program being renamed to Marriott Bonvoy.

Upon completion, the credit card portfolio was a bit convoluted. Usually, hotels and airlines partner with one bank to issue their co-branded cards, but now Marriott was tied in with both Amex and Chase.

This left some competing cards which resulted in some interesting restrictions on which cards you were eligible to get. Before getting into which card you should choose, let’s go over the restrictions that apply to the cards with updated offers.

Marriott Credit Card Restrictions

The Marriott credit card restrictions aren’t the clearest. Each Marriott card available on the market now has conflicts with other Marriott cards across two different issuers.

Each card will have restrictions based on the following rules:

  • 30 Days – you cannot have had a specific card in the past 30 days
  • 90 Days – you cannot have opened a specific card in the past 90 days, but it is okay if it is still open
  • 24 Months – you cannot have received a welcome offer on these specific cards in the past 24 months, but it is okay if they are still open

Clear as mud? Yeah, it isn’t the easiest to follow, but let’s put them into practice on the cards with updated offers. It will be a bit easier to understand then.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

Limited Time Offer: Earn 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points and a bonus Free Night Award after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

Resort fees may apply. Terms apply. Offer expires 11/3/2021.

LEARN MORE 

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card‘s welcome bonus was just increased to 150,000 bonus points plus a free night award for a redemption of up to 85,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first three months (Rates & Feesoffer ends 11/3/2021).

You’re ineligible to open a new account and receive a welcome bonus if you have or have had the following cards open in the past 30 days:

  • The Ritz Carlton Credit Card (unavailable to new applicants)

You’re also ineligible for a welcome bonus on the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant if you’ve opened any of the following cards in the past 90 days or received a bonus on any of the following cards in the last 24 months:

  • Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card
  • Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card
  • Marriott Bonvoy Premier Credit Card from Chase (unavailable to new applicants)
  • Marriott Bonvoy Premier Plus Business Card from Chase (unavailable to new applicants)

Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

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The Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card’s welcome bonus was just increased to 60,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first three months.

You’re ineligible to open a new account and receive a welcome bonus if you have or have had the following cards open in the past 30 days:

  • Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card
  • Marriott Bonvoy Premier Card from Chase (unavailable to new applicants)
  • Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card (unavailable to new applicants)

You’re also ineligible for a welcome bonus on the Marriott Bonvoy Bold if you’ve opened any of the following cards in the past 90 days or received a bonus on any of the following cards in the last 24 months:

  • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
  • Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card

For a Limited Time Only! Earn 125,000 Bonus Points and 1 Free Night Award (value up to 50,000 points) after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

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The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card’s welcome bonus was just increased to 125,000 bonus points plus a free night award up to 50,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first three months.

You’re ineligible to open a new account and receive a welcome bonus if you have or have had the following cards open in the past 30 days:

You’re also ineligible for a welcome bonus on the Marriott Bonvoy Bold if you’ve opened any of the following cards in the past 90 days or received a bonus on any of the following cards in the last 24 months:

Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card

Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card

Limited Time Offer: Earn 125,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points & 2 bonus Free Night Awards after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months. Each bonus Free Night Award has a redemption level up to 50K points.

Resort fees may apply. Terms apply. Offer expires 11/3/2021.

LEARN MORE 

The Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card’s welcome bonus was just increased to 125,000 bonus points plus two free night awards up to 50,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first three months (Rates & Feesoffer ends 11/3/2021).

You’re ineligible to open a new account and receive a welcome bonus if you have or have had the following cards open in the past 30 days:

  • Marriott Bonvoy Business Card from Chase (unavailable to new applicants)
  • Marriott Bonvoy Premier Plus Business Card from Chase (unavailable to new applicants)

You’re also ineligible for a welcome bonus on the Marriott Bonvoy Bold if you’ve opened any of the following cards in the past 90 days or received a bonus on any of the following cards in the last 24 months:

This or That: Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex or Marriott Bonvoy Boundless from Chase

If you’re looking at the high punching bonuses of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant or the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless you’ll have to choose one.

There’s a clear winner here, and that’s the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant. The bonus of 150,000 points is great, and obviously, 150,000 points is more than the 125,000 offered on the boundless, but the real standout is the bonus free night.

The Brilliant’s free night is good for nights up to 85,000 points whereas the Boundless is limited to nights that cost 50,000 points. A free night up to 85,000 points means you can use it up through standard nights at a category 8 property – Marriott’s highest tier. The only exclusions are for peak nights at category 8 properties.

If you’re looking at booking an aspirational Marriott property, like Al Maha or the St Regis Maldives, that 85,000 point certificate can be worth a free night that would normally cost $1,000 or more. While you won’t always get that value, the potential value more than makes up for the higher annual fee of $450 on the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant (Rates & Fees) vs $95 on the Boundless.

Winner: Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

Limited Time Offer: Earn 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points and a bonus Free Night Award after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

Resort fees may apply. Terms apply. Offer expires 11/3/2021.

LEARN MORE 

This or That: Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card or Marriott Bonvoy Bold from Chase

Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card

Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card

Limited Time Offer: Earn 125,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points & 2 bonus Free Night Awards after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months. Each bonus Free Night Award has a redemption level up to 50K points.

Resort fees may apply. Terms apply. Offer expires 11/3/2021.

LEARN MORE 

The next head to head in the Marriott cards is the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card and the Marriott Bonvoy Bold from Chase. While the bold has no annual fee and a 60,000 points bonus the real winner here is the Marriott Business Amex Card. It comes with more than double the points of the Bold, plus two free night certificates good for stays up to 50,000 points.

Winner: Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card

Picking Two Marriott Cards

With the rules in place, you basically have to choose one of the boundless, the bold or the brilliant. But, by choosing our two winners, the Bonvoy Business Amex and the Bonvoy Brilliant, the rules let you pick both of these cards, and that’s a powerful combination.

If you open both cards, you’ll earn a total of 275,000 Bonvoy points form the welcome bonus, two free night certificates good for nights up to 50,000 points, and one free night certificate good for nights up to 85,000. If you can get the full value from the free night certificates, that’s the equivalent of 460,000 points from two cards.

Let’s take this a little bit further though, to show you why these two cards are so powerful together.

Both cards require you to spend $5,000 in three months to earn the bonus. Each card earns 2X points per dollar spent on all non-bonus spend. That’s an additional 20,000 points bringing your total up to 480,000 points.

Take the certificates out again for a moment, and you’re left with 295,000 points. Remember, if you book an award stay of five nights the fifth night is free with Marriott. How does the math play out? With 295,000 points you could stay five nights at the highest category hotel, a category 8, if four available nights are off-peak and one night is a standard night. Add in your extra free night certificate for 85,000 points and you can stay 6 nights at one of Marriott’s highest category hotels from the two card bonus.booking with hotel points

Use the bonus to stay six nights at the St. Regis Maldives

While it may take a bit of digging, you can find some great redemption options. Above is an examples where you could use the bonus from two cards to stay six nights at the St. Regis Maldives.

A cash rate for the same dates would run you over $10,000.

It’s not often that you can get a $10,000 hotel stay from just two cards, but this is a great opportunity to really stack some points and certificates for a trip of a lifetime. Plus, you’ll still have an additional two free night certificates for rooms up to 50,000 points for another weekend getaway.

Final Thoughts

Knowing the rules on the Marriott cards is… less than intuitive. But by stacking the right opportunities and choosing the right cards you can get a tremendous amount of points and free night certificates. When it comes to the United cards, the United Business card is the best choice right now.

If you’ve had your eye on a Bonvoy or United card, now is the time to go for it.