The Marriott Bonvoy AMEX card starts off with an annual fee of $120. If you’re applying with the Great Canadian Rebates referral link (until March 27) you’ll receive a $50 cash back credit, making the card $70. Additional cards are free of charge so you can issue authorized cards to increase that earning power.
Bonuses and Benefits
As part of Marriott’s acquisition of SPG, they’ve realigned and consolidated their card products. The card now comes with a free night award after the card’s yearly anniversary, as well as complementary Silver Status, good for late checkout.
The 60,000 points bonus is the latest sign-up offer out there. New cardholders must spend a net $1,500 in 3 months to obtain the sign-up bonus. For those willing to use a referral link, you’ll end up with 61,000 points but will have to spend $3,000 in 3 months.
It also comes with 15 elite nights towards the Bonvoy Program – great for anyone short a dozen nights (+3) from making the next tier in status. Realistically, this will help all you Gold Elites to make Platinum, unlocking those suite upgrades, Suite Night Awards, lounge access, and guaranteed 4pm check out. Card holders also receive automatic Gold Elite status when spending $30,000 on the card.
Points Earn Rate (PER)
The Points Earn Rate (PER for short), as I like to call, gives you 5x points on every $1 spent at Marriott Bonvoy properties. This includes room service, parking, and other charges.
All other charges have 2x earn rate for every $1 spent. If you’re a Canadian Marriott loyalist, earning 2x per dollar isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The points do add up eventually, and with most minimum redemption nights being 25,000-35,000 points, on top of the free night upon card anniversary, it makes the card attractive enough to keep in your wallet.
Travel Accident Insurance: Up to $500,000 of Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance covers you, your spouse and dependent children under the age of 23.
Car Rental Theft and Damage Insurance: You’ll be covered for damage and theft up to $85,000 when charging the car reservation onto your card at no additional cost. All you need to do is decline the additional insurance coverage provided by the car rental company (usually $15-25 per day).
Flight Delay Insurance: Up to $500 coverage for hotel, motel, restaurant expenses and other sundry items.
Baggage Delay Insurance: Up to $500 for for reasonable and necessary emergency purchases.
Lost or Stolen Baggage Insurance: Up to $500 for loss or damage to your luggage or personal effects while in transit.
Hotel/Motel Burglary Insurance: Up to $500 against the loss of most personal items if your hotel/motel is burglarized.
Personally, I think the Marriott Bonvoy AMEX presents good value if you travel both for work and leisure. The ability to earn 5x the points is a key factor, as you’ll easily rake up a nice stash of points if travel is part of your job.
On the other hand, if you’re someone who doesn’t travel often, the card is still valuable because of the free night award (up to 35,000 points). You’ll find an assortment of hotel brands like Courtyard, Four Points, Westin, Delta, Sheraton, and Marriott that fall under the 35,000-point threshold (depending on location), with their average nightly rate between $175-$250 making the card a winner even with the annual $120 fee.
I personally have the card and have benefitted from holding it, making redemption stays at The Ritz-Carlton Tokyo, and The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong.