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On Thursday, American Express announced new benefits for its Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card. Starting July 21, new and existing card members will receive a room rate discount, additional bonus points and higher elite status. In addition, if you don’t have the card already, new applicants will have the opportunity to earn a sizable welcome bonus. And even though the card is getting new perks, the $125 annual fee is staying the same (see rates and fees).
New benefits and welcome bonus on the Marriott Business Amex credit card
The Marriott Business Amex card now has three new benefits, and our favorite is complimentary Marriott Gold elite status. Previously, card members would only get Marriott Silver status, but Marriott’s mid-tier Gold status opens up even more benefits during your next Marriott stay.
With Gold elite status, you’ll get 25% bonus points on every eligible hotel purchase, priority late checkout at 2 p.m. (subject to availability), a welcome gift of 250 or 500 bonus points depending on the brand and room upgrades upon check-in, which is subject to availability on the day of arrival and may include rooms with desirable views, rooms on high floors, corner rooms, rooms with special amenities and rooms on executive floors.
Marriott Business Amex card members will also receive a 7% discount off the standard guest room rate for reservations made on or after July 21, 2022. When booking directly with Marriott and signed into your Marriott Bonvoy account, you’ll automatically see the discount reflected in the room rate for a standard room. However, note that the discounted rate might not be available for all hotels during all dates, and card members won’t receive a retroactive discount for reservations previously booked unless the reservation is still within the cancellation window and can be cancelled and rebooked.
Additionally, Marriott Business Amex card members now earn four points for every dollar spent at restaurants worldwide — previously you’d only earn 1x points at international restaurants since the bonus category was limited to just US restaurants. For international travelers, this is a great way to accrue Marriott points, though keep in mind that Marriott points aren’t as valuable as those in some other travel loyalty programs, such as Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards.
Finally, in addition to these new benefits, right now, new Marriott Business Amex card members can earn a lucrative 125,000 bonus points when you spend $5,000 within the first three months after opening the account. This offer will be available through Aug. 31, 2022. Frequent flyer website The Points Guy values Marriott points at 0.84 cents apiece, so at that rate, those 125,000 bonus points are worth as much as $1,050 in travel.
Advantages of the Marriott Business Amex card
On top of the newly added benefits, you’ll still be able to enjoy all of the existing benefits with the Marriott Business Amex. Most importantly, you’ll earn the following when using your card for purchases.
- Earn six points for every dollar you spend at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program.
- Earn four points per dollar on purchases at restaurants worldwide (new benefit), US gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from US service providers and on US purchases for shipping.
- Earn two points per dollar on all other purchases.
In addition to the Gold elite status you’ll now have with the card, the Marriott Business Amex card gives you 15 Elite Night Credits toward Marriott elite status every calendar year, which makes it easier to earn an even higher Platinum status within the Marriott Bonvoy program. Even better, you can stack the 15 Elite Night Credits from this card with the 15 Elite Night Credits from any of the personal Marriott credit cards.
The Marriott Business Amex also comes with a surprising number of consumer benefits, including protection against damage or theft for up to 90 days on the items you buy with the card, and an extended warranty on eligible items that come with a manufacturer’s warranty of five years or less.** Card members also get a baggage insurance plan and secondary auto rental coverage as standard perks.** You’ll also have access to Amex Offers, which can help you earn additional cash back on eligible purchases.
But the best annual perk of the card starts with the second year you have the card. Each year on your account anniversary, you’ll get a Free Night Award that can be used at any Marriott property that normally costs up to 35,000 points per night, and you can now even “top off” certificates with up to 15,000 additional points to use them at properties costing as much as 50,000 points.
With Marriott’s switch to a dynamic pricing system last year, the redemption cost for a room at any Marriott hotel now varies from day to day. But depending on the date and time of year, you should be able to find thousands of Marriott properties that cost 50,000 points or less.
As long as you can utilize this certificate each year at a property that would otherwise cost $125 per night or more, you’ve covered the annual cost of the card just with the Free Night Award. And you can earn a second Free Night Award each year when you spend $60,000 on the card in a calendar year.
Finally, the Marriott Business Amex is also free of foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees), so you won’t have to pay additional charges on purchases you make when you travel for business abroad, and it also doesn’t charge any fees for employee cards, so you can give cards to your employees and earn rewards on their business purchases as well as your own.
Disadvantages of the Marriott Business Amex card
The biggest downside of the Marriott Business Amex card is its $125 annual fee. The welcome bonus of 125,000 points can more than make up for this fee in the first year, but you may have to reassess its value after that if you don’t stay at Marriott hotels very often.
And while the card offers an annual Free Night Award starting with the first anniversary year, the certificate expires a year after it’s received — you must actually use it by this date, not just book your stay. If you don’t think you’ll be able to utilize the award on a yearly basis, the annual fee can be harder to swallow. The $60,000 threshold to earn a second Free Night Award each year is also extremely high.
Finally, this definitely isn’t a credit card that you’ll want to carry a balance with. The card’s high APR can be crushing if you’re a business owner who doesn’t pay their credit card balance in full every month. If you’re looking to carry some debt on a credit card, you’ll be better off with one that offers an introductory interest rate on purchases.
Stacking up the Marriott Business Amex credit card against our benchmark
CNN Underscored uses the Citi® Double Cash Card as our “benchmark” credit card. That doesn’t mean it’s the best credit card on the market — rather, it means we use it as a basic standard to compare other credit cards and see where they score better, and where they’re worse.
Here’s how the Marriott Business Amex scores against our benchmark. The features of each card in the below chart are colored in green, red or white. Green indicates a card feature that’s better than our benchmark, red indicates the feature is worse than our benchmark and white indicates the feature is either equivalent or cannot be directly compared to our benchmark.
When you compare credit cards, you’ll come across many different types of rewards programs. While the Marriott Business Amex is a good option for people who want to earn hotel loyalty points on all their business expenses, hotel credit cards in general don’t make sense for everyone.
For instance, The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express could be a better option for people who prefer to earn flexible travel points on all their purchases, as well as those who need some time to pay off large purchases when they first get the card, thanks to the card’s introductory interest rate on purchases.
Before you sign up for a new credit card, it makes sense to compare all the best business credit cards, including cards that earn hotel points, travel rewards and even cash back. You can also consider pairing more than one type of credit card so you get the best of all worlds.
Other credit cards similar to the Marriott Business Amex credit card
There’s only one business credit card currently available that exclusively earns Marriott points, but if you’re looking at Marriott credit cards in particular, there are quite a few options on the personal side of the ledger, ranging from no-fee to luxury, and you can have both a personal Marriott credit card and a business version at the same time.
The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card is the chain’s mid-tier card and has perks that are similar to the Marriott Business Amex card. However, if you’d prefer to not pay for a credit card each year, the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card earns Marriott points and has no annual fee, though it has very few perks beyond the basics.
For those looking to be treated like a VIP when you’re staying at Marriott hotels, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card is a premium option. It’s not cheap at $450 each year (see rates and fees), but you’ll get a ton of perks, including up to $300 in annual Marriott credits (through Sept. 21, 2022), complimentary Marriott Gold elite status, a Priority Pass airport lounge membership and more. And starting Sept. 22, 2022, you’ll receive up to $300 in statement credit per calendar year (up to $25 per month) for eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide.
Also, the Marriott Bonvoy program is a transfer partner of both Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards. This means you can rack up points in either program and transfer them to your Marriott account later on, or to any of dozens of other programs. If you’re curious about cards that let you transfer points to Marriott, check out the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, The Platinum Card® from American Express and the American Express® Gold Card.
Should you get the Marriott Business Amex card?
It never hurts to take your time when comparing credit cards to find the right fit. Take the time to see how other business credit cards stack up, and only apply for the card that suits your needs and rewards goals.
With that said, business owners who want to earn more Marriott hotel points on their business-related travel and spending should consider the Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card — especially right now with the current welcome offer. It’s a good choice for Marriott fans looking for a sizable haul of Marriott points, some nice perks, automatic Gold elite and a free night each year.
Find out which cards CNN Underscored chose as our best credit cards available right now.
**Purchase protection, extended warranty, baggage insurance and car rental loss or damage coverage eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company. Car rental loss and damage coverage is offered through American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc.