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Three New Marriott Bonvoy Credit Cards: Everything You Need To Know

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Boundless and Brilliant? New Marriott’s Bonvoy Credit Cards Leave a Lot to Be Desired

Starwood has integrated its Starwood Preferred Guest rewards program with Marriott Rewards and Ritz-Carlton Rewards programs and launched the combined brands under a single, unified name: Marriott Bonvoy credit card.

Which means all the existing Starwood Preferred and Marriott Reward credit cards are getting a makeover. As part of the process, the five existing cards (3 Starwood American Express Cards and 2 Marriott Chase Visa cards) are shrinking into just three cards.

This Article Will Cover

But you have to act fast. The huge bonus offers go away soon.

So, to help you decide, here’s what you need to know to pick the Bonvoy credit card that’s right for you.

The Three Reasons You Might Want a Marriott Bonvoy Credit Card

First, let’s look at why a Marriott credit card might be a good choice.

1. You’re a Marriott loyalist. These cards come with some pretty nice perks, and a substantial sign-up bonus (think: 100,000 Marriott reward points) all tied to Marriott, of course. So if you regularly retire to Marriott properties when you’re traveling, then Marriott credit card is a wise choice.

2. You Like the Idea of Earning a Free Hotel Night Annually. Each year, on the anniversary of your Marriott Bonvoy card, Marriott awards you a free hotel night. Which card you sign up for determines the value of the room you can claim. Still, a free night every year, regardless of level, can be a good value.

3. Status Within a Hotel Chain is Important to You. Each of the Marriott Bonvoy credit cards comes with Marriott Elite Status attached to it. As with the hotel night, your status level depends on the card you sign up for.

So, let’s look at the three Bonvoy credit cards and what they each offer:

First, let me say that we won’t be discussing the new Marriott Bonvoy Card from American Express or the Marriott Bonvoy Premier Plus Business Visa Signature card. Both of those were closed to applicants back in February.

Instead, we’re focused on:

Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Visa

The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Visa is an excellent card for Marriott fans – but the bonuses I’m about to mention go away on May 2, so you have to act quickly.

Among the many benefits of the Bonvoy Boundless are:

  • A 75,000 -point sign-up bonus after spending $3,000 on the card in the first months.
  • 6x points for every $1 spent at more than 6,700 Marriott Bonvoy hotels worldwide.
  • 2x points for every $1 spent on every purchase. The points never expire, so long as you make a purchase on your card every 24 months.
  • Free hotel night awarded annually on the anniversary of your card. Award night is valid at a hotel with a redemption level up to 35,000 points.
  • Automatic Silver Elite status each anniversary year. You can upgrade to Gold by spending $35,000 a year on your card.
  • Earn 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year.
  •  No foreign transaction fees.
  • $95 annual fee.

Note: The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card is subject to Chases 5/24 Rule, which basically means that your application will be rejected if you’ve opened five or more personal credit cards across all banks in the past 24 months.

American Express Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant

As with Marriott Bonvoy Boundless, the Bonvoy Brilliant card by American Express offer a load of perks, that might be a better deal, if you don’t mind the large annual fee. The AmEx bonus offer ends Apr. 24.

  • A 75,000 -point sign-up bonus after spending $3,000 on the card in the first months.
  • 6x points for every $1 spent at more than 6,700 Marriott Bonvoy hotels worldwide.
  • 3x points for every $1 spent at US restaurants and on flights booked directly with an airline.
  • 2x points for every $1 on everything else.
  •  Free hotel night awarded annually on the anniversary of your card. Award night is valid at a hotel with a redemption level up to 50,000 points.
  • Automatic Gold Elite status each anniversary year. You can upgrade to Platinum by spending $75,000 a year on your card.
  •  Earn 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year.
  • $300 annual Marriott statement credit, valid on room rates and hotel charges.
  •  No foreign transaction fees.
  •  $450 annual fee.

American Express Marriott Bonvoy Business

If you’re looking for a Bonvoy card for business purposes, the American Express Marriott Bonvoy Business card is your only option. But it’s not a bad option.

  • A 75 000-point sign-up bonus after spending $3,000 on the card in the first 3 months.
  • 6x points for every $1 spent at more than 6,700 Marriott Bonvoy hotels worldwide.
  • 4x points for every $1 spent at US restaurants, gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from US-based wireless providers, and on purchases for US shipping.
  • 2x points for every $1 on everything else.
  • Free hotel night awarded annually on the anniversary of your card. Plus, earn an additional free night after spending $60,000 in purchases in a calendar year. Award night is valid at a hotel with a redemption level-up to 35,000 points.
  • Automatic Silver Elite status each anniversary year. You can upgrade to Gold by spending $35,000 a year on your card.
  • Earn 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • $125 annual fee.

Is A Marriott Bonvoy Credit Card Right For You?

As I stated earlier, if you’re a Marriott loyalist, then the Bonvoy Boundless from Chase or the Bonvoy Brilliant from American Express can be appealing. The AmEx looks to be the better deal because of the $300 statement credit which essentially pays for the card. (You have to shell out $95 for the Bonvoy Boundless, so the Bonvoy Brilliant needs to generate $355 in added value to make the annual fee worthy of the cost).

Is A Marriott Bonvoy Credit Card Right For You?

And though I keep mentioning Marriott specifically, the Marriott Bonvoy credit cards earn points at 30 brands under the parent company – including Sheraton, Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis, W Hotels, Le Meridien, Westin, and many others.

You can also transfer Marriott Points to more than 40 airlines. Generally speaking, 60,000 Marriott points equals 20,000 airline miles, plus a 5,000-mile bonus that Marriott offers when you transfer.

In terms of the overall quality of the Marriott loyalty program, however, it’s a mixed bag.

The chain is widely viewed as offering fewer benefits at comparable levels. For instance, Silver Elite is pretty much meaningless: 10% bonus points from each stay and priority-lane checkout. For anyone who travels more than once a year, those benefits are yawners.

Other Options For Hotel Credit Cards

If you’re not partial to any particular hotel brand, then there are several other credit cards you should consider, such as Capital One Venture Rewards or Capital One VentureOne Rewards.

The Capital One Venture card offers 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months, and you get 2x miles on every purchase, plus 10x miles at thousands of hotels (far superior to Marriott’s 6x). That 10x bonus is slated to go away at the end of January 2020, but as I’ve written before, given the level of competition in the credit-card industry these days, I wouldn’t be surprised if Capital One Venture keeps that bonus in place. Annual fee: $0 intro for first year; $95 after that thereafter.

As for Capital One VentureOne Rewards, it’s a fine card if you want a credit card with no annual fee. You’ll get a 20,000-mile bonus after you spend just $1,000 in 3 months, and unlimited 1.25x miles on all your purchases.

If you’re looking for a business credit card with a valuable sign-up bonus, look at the Ink Business Preferred card from Chase.

It comes with an 80,000 -point sign-up bonus after spending $5,000 in the first months. You’ll also earn 3x miles on the first $150,000 in combined spending each year for travel; shipping; Internet, cable and phone; and on advertising purchases on social media sites and search engines. Plus, the points you redeem are worth 25% more when you redeem them for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. And there’s no foreign transaction fee.

The Wrap Up

No question: 100,000 bonus points is a big deal. Marriott’s free-night structure starts at 7,500 points, depending on the hotel, so 100,000 points could go a long way toward covering lodging on your next vacation.

And the free night each anniversary is a nice perk as well for both the Bonvoy Boundless and the Bonvoy Brilliant cards.

But the minimal elite status isn’t particularly noteworthy with Bonvoy Boundless. Bonvoy Brilliant, with Gold Elite status, is a bit better with room upgrades and such, and the $300 statement credit clearly has value.

That said, there are plenty of better credit-card options if hotel stays are your primary focus.

But we want to know: What’s your take on the new Marriott Bonvoy Cards – is the super-sized 100,000-point bonus enough to get you to sign up?

Let us know in the comments below.

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

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