Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone. See our Advertising Policy

There are more than 7,000 Marriott hotels worldwide across 30 brands from the basic to the Ritz-Carlton, but Bonvoy points earned from credit card spend are perhaps even more valuable when spent on things other than hotel stays. 

[lwptoc]

Marriott Has Properties Nearly Everywhere

Marriott International is the largest hotel chain in the world. The hotel and resort chain consists of 30 brands in 131 countries on every continent (except Antarctica) with more than 7,000 properties and 1.32 million rooms. That kind of breadth, brand diversity and number of properties means that there is a Marriott just about everywhere for everyone at every price point and amenity level. 

The Value of Marriott Bonvoy Points

Many experts in the travel and credit card industry value Marriott Bonvoy points at 0.7¢-0.8¢/point. I think there should be a distinction however and will make this slightly more complicated.  There are two ways to look at Marriott Bonvoy points, 1) Used for staying at Marriott hotels and offsetting accommodation costs; 2) As a points currency for airline mile transfers. Suites and Lobbies valuation under these two classifications are 0.5¢/Bonvoy point when spent on hotels but 2.2¢/Bonvoy point when spent only on airline mile transfers.

As stated in another post “Everything You Wanted to Know About Marriott Bonvoy”, points value is personal. Point values can range from 0.2¢/point when spent on merchandise but up to more than 3¢/point when redeemed for high value, difficult to earn airline points. Redemption rates change from time-to-time and cash rates for hotel nights are variably-priced (they change based on occupancy, time of the year, and for special events) so value on a per point basis changes with the same frequency.

The best way for any member to determine Bonvoy point value is to shop for a future redemption. Pick a hotel at your destination and determine the cost per night in points as well as for cash then divide the cash price by the number of points required. The same can be true if transferring into an airline program. Find the flight you want, determine the required number of points needed in the airline’s program, the cash price of the ticket, and how many points would be required when transferring from the Marriott Bonvoy program. Then divide the cost of the ticket by the Marriott Bonvoy points to determine value.

Try this for a few potential redemptions so that your personal valuation is accurate.

 

Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card

Marriott splits its banking relationship between JP Morgan Chase and American Express; the Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card is offered by Chase. This is the hotel chain’s only card without an annual fee but offers a key advantage for those who do not travel regularly. 

The biggest benefit of the card is that purely for holding this card, guests will receive Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status as this card comes with 15 free elite status nights. For those seeking Gold or even Platinum, it greatly reduces the number of nights needed to obtain status without adding an annual fee. The card also waived any foreign transaction fees, an added value and worth keeping the for this alone. 

  • 3x Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a participating hotel or resort with the Marriott portfolio.
  • 2x Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card at for other travel-related expenses such as taxis, flights, and cruises.
  • 1x Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar spent on all other eligible purchases on your Card.

Considering a scenario in which a cardholder spent $500 at Marriott hotels, $300 on flights and $200 on other items in the first 90 days, the cardholder would receive:

  • 30,000 Marriott Bonvoy points with their new Card (once cardholders achieve $1,000 charged to the card within the first 90 days.)
  • 1,500 total Marriott Bonvoy points for their Marriott hotel stay (3x 500)
  • 600 total Marriott Bonvoy points for booked flights (2x 300), and;
  • 200 Marriott Bonvoy points for their other purchases.

That comes to 32,300 Hilton Honors points or enough to offset four nights at the Courtyard Pilsen in the Czech Republic. It’s difficult to find a more generous Card without a hefty annual fee. Click here to apply today.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card

Another Chase credit card product, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card adds a lot more value to offset the $95 annual fee. In addition to no foreign transaction fees and 15 status nights toward status, the card also adds the following features:

  • 6x Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a participating hotel or resort with the Marriott portfolio.
  • 2x Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar spent on all other eligible purchases on your Card.
  • (1) Free Night certificate every year after your account anniversary, valid for a one-night hotel stay at a property with a redemption value up to 35,000 points.
  • Status upgrade to Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite once $35,000 has been spent on the card each account year.

Assuming a scenario in which a cardholder spent $1,000 at Marriott hotels, $700 on airline tickets, and $1,300 on everything else within 90 days of opening the card, the cardholder would receive:

  • 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points with their new Card (after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days)
  • 6,000 total Marriott Bonvoy points for their Marriott hotel stay (6x 1,000)
  • 4,000 total Marriott Bonvoy points for all other purchases (2x 2,000)

That comes to 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy points or enough to offset a night at the ultra-luxurious W Maldives – with nightly rates starting at more than $1,000. That’s a tremendous value for any traveler! Click here to apply today.

Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card

Business owners (whether you manage a factory or run an eBay business) can the perks of being both a Marriott Bonvoy credit card holder and an American Express member. Similarly to the Boundless product from Chase, the card has many of the same benefits but offers business owners and managers a convenient way to separate their expenses and still earn some of the most valuable points and benefits available on the market. This card, like the others, waives foreign transaction fees and gives guests 15 status nights toward status (including Marriott Bonvoy Silver elite status automatically. Spending bonus categories with the card are slightly different than the others:

  • 6x Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a participating hotel or resort with the Marriott portfolio.
  • 4x Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar spent at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar spent on all other eligible purchases on your Card.
  • (1) Free Night certificate every year after your account anniversary, valid for a one-night hotel stay at a property with a redemption value up to 35,000 points. After $60,000 in a calendar year, a second certificate can be earned.

Assuming a scenario in which a cardholder spent $2,000 at Marriott hotels, $100 on cell phone access, $400 on restaurants, and $500 on everything else within 90 days of opening the card, the cardholder would receive:

  • 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points with their new Card (after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days)
  • 12,000 total Marriott Bonvoy points for their Marriott hotel stay (6x 2,000)
  • 2,000 total Marriott Bonvoy points for cell phone and restaurant purchases (4x 500) and;
  • 1,000 total Marriott Bonvoy points for all other eligible purchases on your Card (2x 500)

That comes to 90,000 Marriott Bonvoy points or enough to transfer 60,000 to an airline mileage program of your choice (at a 3:1 ratio) and receive a 5,000-mile bonus for a total of 25,000 – usually enough for a roundtrip coach ticket. You’d still have enough points left over (and a certificate) for a two-night stay at the luxurious JW Marriott Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic.  Click here to apply today.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card

For the Marriott loyalist, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card is the pinnacle card to put in your wallet. This premium card ($450) offers a ton of benefits that make it a no-brainer for those who enjoy staying in Marriott properties throughout the year. 

As a premium American Express cardholder, additional purchase benefits apply that cannot be matched by the other cards the hotel chain offers. 

  • 6x Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a participating hotel or resort with the Marriott portfolio.
  • 3x Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar spent at U.S. restaurants and flights booked directly with any airline.
  • 2x Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar spent on all other eligible purchases on your Card.
  • (1) Free Night certificate every year after your account anniversary, valid for a one-night hotel stay at a property with a redemption value up to 50,000 points. After $60,000 in a calendar year, a second certificate can be earned.
  • $300 in statement credits each year of Card Membership for eligible purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold elite status with an opportunity to upgrade to Marriott Bonvoy Platinum elite status after making $75,000 in eligible charges in a calendar year.

Assuming a scenario in which a cardholder spent $2,300 at Marriott hotels, $500 on restaurants, and $750 on everything else within 90 days of opening the card, the cardholder would receive:

  • 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points with their new Card (after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days)
  • $300 statement credit for the first $300 spent at Marriott properties
  • 12,000 total Marriott Bonvoy points for their Marriott hotel stay after the credited amount (6x 2,000)
  • 1,500 total Marriott Bonvoy points for cell phone and restaurant purchases (3x 500) and;
  • 1,500 total Marriott Bonvoy points for all other eligible purchases on your Card (2x 750)

That comes to 90,000 Marriott Bonvoy points or enough to spend (3) peak nights or (4) off-peak nights at luxurious and exotic JW Marriott Hotel Hanoi in Vietnam. Click here to apply today.

Advantages of American Express Membership

American Express is an excellent banking partner for Marriott Bonvoy cards. That alone offers advantages over other banks. American Express is well-regarded in the industry for its excellent customer service centers, and customer protection. American Express service centers often have low hold times for customers and offer exceptional “member experience.”

Customer protections are among the best in the industry. Should an American Express cardholder choose to add another card to their portfolio, American Express will not run a “hard pull” of their credit. This allows customers to update their wallet with American Express products that make sense while avoiding interference with other aspects of a customer’s credit report. For example, should an American Express customer choose to add another card to their account while they are refinancing their mortgage, the mortgage will be unaffected by the change because the “hard pull” of the customer’s credit is never taken. 

American Express also offers Marriott Bonvoy benefits for its Platinum credit cardholders. Cardholders for that product will receive Marriott Bonvoy Gold elite status while retaining the ability to transfer points into their Marriott Bonvoy accounts at a 1:1 ratio though that is not the best value for those points, it may add flexibility to Marriott Bonvoy loyalists. 

What Card Do I Recommend?

Unlike other programs where a single card strategy is best, I suggest one of two strategies for the best possible outcome for Marriott Bonvoy members. For those with small home-based businesses that travel infrequently, carrying both the Marriott Bonvoy Bold (no annual fee) credit card from Chase and the Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express would be the best way to go. The combined annual fees would reach just $125 per year but add 30 elite status nights to Marriott Bonvoy cardholder accounts.

For the more frequent traveler, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express card grants Gold elite status, offsets the $450 annual fee with the included $300 statement credit when spent on Marriott hotels and resorts. Add to that the free night certificate that can be spent at hotels and resorts up to 50,000 points per year and the card pays for itself forever while adding benefits above all other Marriott Bonvoy cards. 

Why Every Traveler Should Have A Marriott Bonvoy Credit Card

As mentioned in another post (Everything You Wanted to Know About Marriott Bonvoy) the value of earning and transferring Marriott Bonvoy points with a bonus to 43 airlines is unparalleled by any other loyalty program in existence. Add to that the 3:1 ratio with a 5,000 airline mile bonus per 60,000 transferred and not only can Marriott Bonvoy members transfer to more programs, but they also receive an excellent bonus value for their transferred points. 

Conclusion

There really is something for everyone with Marriott Bonvoy’s collection of credit cards. Even the free Marriott Bonvoy Bold Card offers great value for casual travelers while the top of the market Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card adds real value for loyal Bonvoy members.

If you are thinking about having another travel credit card for non-Marriott hotels be sure to read – Why Every Traveler Should Have A Hilton Honors Credit Card.

What do you think? Do you hold any Marriott Bonvoy credit cards? Which one did you choose and why?