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Continuing the trend of issuers adding temporary features to their travel credit cards during the coronavirus pandemic, on Monday, American Express increased the earning rates for several popular spending categories on its Marriott credit cards.
Now through October 31, eligible Marriott Bonvoy Amex cards will earn 10 points for every dollar spent at US gas stations, US restaurants (including takeout and delivery) and participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels. The bonus points are capped at $7,500 in purchases for each of the three categories.
Marriott credit cards issued by American Express that are eligible for this promotion include the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card and the Marriott Bonvoy Card from American Express (previously known as the Starwood Preferred Guest Amex credit card, and no longer available to new applicants).
The Marriott Brilliant Amex card normally earns 6 points per dollar at Marriott properties, 3 points per dollar at US restaurants and 2 points per dollar on all other purchases, including gas stations. That makes 10 points per dollar a significant improvement in all three categories.
On the small business side, the Marriott Business Amex card also normally earns 6 points per dollar at Marriott hotels and 4 points per dollar at both US restaurants and US gas stations, so while the boost is slightly less than the Marriott Brilliant card, it’s still an impressive increase.
And legacy card members with the Marriott Bonvoy Amex card normally only earn the standard 2 points for every dollar spent on all purchases, which includes US restaurants and US gas stations. That makes this a big bump in both categories.
Marriott American Express card members can enroll in these limited-time offers via the Amex Offers section of their online account or the Amex Mobile app. Enrollment will remain open through Oct. 31, but you must enroll in the offer before making any purchases in the bonus categories in order to earn the bonus points
CNN Underscored’s partner The Points Guy values Marriott Bonvoy points at 0.8 cents apiece, which means Marriott card holders can effectively earn a return of 8 cents for every dollar spent in these bonus categories during the promotion period. That’s an impressive return and likely rivals or bests any other credit cards you may have in your purse or wallet.
However, when it comes to gas stations, one exception might be the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card, which currently earns 5 points per dollar spent at gas stations for a limited time through Sept. 30.
While at first glance, it may seem like these Marriott credit cards earn more rewards at gas stations than the Chase Sapphire Reserve, The Points Guy values Chase Ultimate Rewards points at a much higher 2 cents each, making the return at gas stations an effective 10 cents per dollar, slightly better than the Marriott cards.
Marriott credit cards are issued by both Chase and American Express, and Chase previously announced a similar set of limited-time bonus categories for its own Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card and other legacy cards. From July 15 through Sept. 15, eligible Chase Marriott card holders earn 10 points for every dollar spent at gas stations and restaurants, including eligible food delivery services such as Grubhub and DoorDash.
The bonus points for the Chase cards are capped at a lower $3,500 in purchases across the two bonus categories in total. Chase card holders must first enroll their Marriott credit card at Chase.com/mybonus with their last name, zip code and the last four digits of their card number in order to earn bonus points in these categories.
The Marriott Brilliant Amex is the hotel chain’s premium credit card. While it carries a high annual price tag of $450, it features complimentary Marriott Gold elite status, 15 annual elite night credits toward higher status levels, a Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership and up to $300 in annual statement credits for eligible purchases at Marriott properties. These statement credits can also currently be used on eligible purchases at US restaurants, including takeout and delivery, through the end of August.
The card also includes a Free Night Award every year starting with your first card anniversary (meaning when you pay your Marriott Brilliant Amex annual fee at the start of the second year). The Free Night Award can be used at any participating Marriott hotel with a redemption level of up to 50,000 points.
Both the Marriott Business Amex and the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless cards also come with several features that could be useful to Marriott loyalists when travel resumes more broadly, including complimentary Marriott Silver elite status and the same 15 annual elite night credits toward higher status levels as the Marriott Brilliant Amex.
Also, starting with your first yearly account renewal, the Marriott Business Amex and the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless cards come with an annual complimentary award certificate. The certificate can be used at any Marriott hotel for one night costing 35,000 points or less.
Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
Note: The prices above reflect the retailer’s listed price at the time of publication. While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they’re subject to change at any time and may have changed, or may no longer be available.