Three Reasons The Marriott Bonvoy™ Business American Express® Card Is A Great Long-Term Choice

February 19, 2021
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This post was sponsored by Amex Bank of Canada. The views and opinions expressed in this blog, however, are my own. American Express is not responsible for maintaining or monitoring the accuracy of the information on this website.

The Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card is the perfect card for business owners who travel at least once a year. The card comes with a 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points welcome bonus, though it’s in Year 2 and beyond, when the annual Free Night Award kicks in, that the real magic begins.

Add in Marriott Bonvoy™ Gold Elite status and the card’s comprehensive insurance package, and you’ll want to keep your Marriott Bonvoy Business Card for years.

Released in early 2019, the Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card has made a splash amongst Canadian business owners as a card that offers a fantastic ROI.

In this post, I’ll let you in on all the numbers that show why the card is such a great a long-term investment, and why you’ll want to keep it in your wallet for years to come.

To make things easier to follow, I’ve broken the post down into the following sections:

The Marriott Bonvoy Business Card’s Main Features & Benefits

Welcome Bonus 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points
Annual Fee $150
Additional Card Annual Fee $50
Travel Benefits Annual Free Night Award: 1 free night at a participating property with a room rate of up to 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy points
Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status every year you charge $30,000 to your card
15 Elite Night Credits every calendar year
Points Earning Rate • 5 Marriott Bonvoy points per $1 spent on eligible Marriott Bonvoy properties
• 3 Marriott Bonvoy points per $1 spent at stand-alone gas stations
• 3 Marriott Bonvoy points per $1 spent at restaurants, quick service restaurants, coffee shops and drinking establishments in Canada
• 3 Marriott Bonvoy points per $1 spent on travel services and travel bookings, including air, water, rail and road transport, but not including local and commuter transportation
• 2 Marriott Bonvoy points per $1 spent on any other purchase
• 15,000 bonus points when transferring 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points to frequent flyer programs like British Airways Avios or Air Canada Aeroplan
• 10,000 bonus points per every approved referral
Business Benefits • Business and Expense Management Tools
• Business Insurance Coverage
• The annual fee for main and supplementary cards may be tax deductible
• Payment flexibility (pay in full or carry a balance)
• Up to 99 supplementary cards for employees
American Express Invites
Travel Coverage • Travel Emergency Assistance
• Travel Accident Insurance up to $500,000
• Car Rental Theft and Damage Insurance
• Lost or Stolen Baggage Insurance
• Baggage Delay Insurance
• Flight Delay Insurance
• Hotel/Motel Burglary Insurance
Purchase Coverage • Purchase Protection® Plan
• Buyer’s Assurance® Protection Plan
Business Coverage • Employee Card Misuse Protection
Eligibility 1. You are a Canadian resident and have a Canadian credit file.
2. You are the age of majority in the province or territory where you live.
Type of Card • Credit Card
Applied interest rate • 19.99% on purchases
• 21.99% on cash advances

Looking Beyond The Welcome Bonus

We value Marriott Bonvoy points at 0.8 cents apiece, since they can be transferred to airline programs like British Airways Avios or Air Canada Aeroplan at a rate of 3:1, and those programs’ points are worth 2-3 cents apiece when used on flights to Asia or Europe.

Related: The American Express Business Edge™ Card

That means that the 50,000 points welcome bonus that comes with the Marriott Bonvoy Business Card has a value of about $400, making it clearly worth the card’s $150 annual fee. But what about after the first year?

This post will explain why the Marriott Bonvoy Business Card offers excellent value to Canadians, both in the first year and for many years beyond that.

3 Reasons The Marriott Bonvoy Business Card Is A Great Long-Term Choice

Benefit #1: Annual Free Night Award

Every year after your first anniversary, you’re eligible for a free night at a participating Marriott Bonvoy property worth 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy points or less. In our opinion, this is the single most valuable benefit that comes with the Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card.

It’s a long-term benefit that you get every year, as long as your account is in good standing and hasn’t been canceled before the award is issued. There are no minimum purchase requirements, no minimum number of nights booked in a Marriott Bonvoy property during the year… nothing! Your biggest concern for this annual free night award will be deciding in which of the thousands of Marriott Bonvoy properties across the globe to use it.

Understanding Marriott Categories

Finding out which hotels offer the right room rate is simple enough, though, because as I explain in my post on the personal Marriott Bonvoy Card, Marriott classifies its hotels and properties into 8 categories, depending on the number of points you have to trade in to stay for a night.

The total number of points needed depends on several factors: the price of the hotel, whether you’re traveling in low season or high season, and whether or not the hotel participates in the PointSavers program. Here’s the complete list of categories, with the PointSavers rates in brackets:

Hotel Category Off Peak Standard Peak
1 5,000 (4,000) 7,500 (6,000) 10,000 (8,500)
2 10,000 (8,000) 12,500 (11,000) 15,000 (13,000)
3 15,000 (12,000) 17,500 (16,000) 20,000 (18,000)
4 20,000 (17,500) 25,000 (22,500) 30,000 (27,500)
5 30,000 (27,500) 35,000 (32,500) 40,000 (37,500)
6 40,000 (35,000) 50,000 (45,000) 60,000 (55,000)
7 50,000 (45,000) 60,000 (55,000) 70,000 (65,000)
8 70,000 (65,000) 85,000 (80,000) 100,000 (90,000)

As you can see, the 35,000 points limit for the free night award could get you a room in a hotel anywhere from Category 1 – 6.

Category 5 Case Study: Booking A Free Night At The St. Kitts Marriott Resort & The Royal Beach Casino

An example of a great redemption is a room at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort & The Royal Beach Casino.

Marriott Bonvoy Business card free night award at the St Kitts Marriott Resort
St. Kitts Marriott Resort & The Royal Beach Casino

In this case, you could use your free night award to book a room for up to 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy points and save, depending on the season, about $270 USD, as shown below. This particular room has a king bed and a spacious balcony, perfect for your St. Kitts vacation.

Category 5 hotel booking through Trip-Advisor
Actual room rate you would have to pay if you were to book with cash instead of using the free night award

There is an incredibly large number of hotels where you can redeem your Free Night Award, and the value of the benefit is how much you’ll save on the room ($269, in this case). In any case, it’s very easy to see that this benefit alone outweighs the $150 annual fee, and will for as long as you keep the card in your wallet.

And we’re just getting started…

Benefit #2: Gold Elite Status + 15 Annual Elite Night Credits

These are actually two long-term benefits that work in conjunction to improve your experience when staying at a Marriott Bonvoy hotel. To understand the value of these benefits, you first need to understand what “Gold Elite status” and “Elite Night Credits” mean.

The Elite Night Credits program is divided into different levels or tiers that you progressively reach the more you stay at Marriott Bonvoy properties.

After signing up to the program, you initially start off as a regular member who earns an Elite Night Credit for every night stayed at a Marriott Bonvoy property.

Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status

Every night you stay in a Marriott Bonvoy property you receive one Elite Night Credit, which determines the status you’ll have the following year. Here are the number of Elite Night Credits you need to earn within one year to reach each status level:

  • Silver Elite Status: 10 Elite Night Credits
  • Gold Elite Status: 25 Elite Night Credits
  • Platinum Elite Status: 50 Elite Night Credits
  • Titanium Elite Status: 75 Elite Night Credits
  • Ambassador Elite Status: 100 Elite Night Credits

When you charge $30,000 to your Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card in one year, you’ll bypass the regular membership structure and receive Gold Elite status, whether you’ve stayed in Marriott Bonvoy properties or not. You’ll also receive 15 Elite Night Credits every year, giving you a significant head start on the higher tiers.

Benefits Of Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status

Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status comes with plenty of great perks you can capitalize on every time you stay at a Marriott Bonvoy hotel. Here are some of our favourites:

  • Earn 25% more Marriott Bonvoy points from the loyalty program for eligible purchases
  • 250 or 500 Marriott Bonvoy points gift upon check-in at participating hotels
  • Enhanced Room Upgrade
  • Complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi
  • 2 PM late checkout

How Much Is Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status Worth?

The following table shows my estimated value for each of these benefits. The numbers correspond to a single 2-day stay at a full service Marriott Bonvoy property. To make things easier to follow, I’ll assume an average room rate of $200 per night ($400 for the two nights) and an average value of 0.8 cents per Marriott Bonvoy point, as mentioned above.

Benefit Value (For a single 2-night stay)
25% bonus Marriott Bonvoy points $6
250 or 500 Marriott Bonvoy points check-in bonus $2 – $4
Complimentary Room Upgrade (subject to availability) $20 – $100
Complimentary enhanced internet access (estimated at $1 per day) $2
TOTAL $30 – $112

This is a good estimate of the value of the Gold Elite status for a single 2-night stay at an average Category 4 or 5 hotel. If you stay at a higher category hotel, spend more nights or, better yet, if you stay at a hotel more than once during the year (to get the check-in bonus several times), the final value of the Gold Elite status multiplies.

Reaching Platinum Elite Status With The Marriott Bonvoy Business Card

After achieving Gold Elite status, the 15 Elite Night credits that the card includes will get you that much closer to the threshold you need in order to upgrade to Platinum Elite status. Platinum Elite status gives you really great benefits at Marriott Bonvoy properties like:

  • 50% bonus points on hotel stays at participating properties
  • Enhanced Room Upgrades that include special suites
  • Welcome gift of your choice upon check-in. Whenever you check into a participating property, you can choose a gift between complimentary breakfast, special amenities or points (either 500 or 250 Marriott Bonvoy points, depending on the property)
  • Annual gift choice award. Apart from the check-in gift, once a year you can choose one of five different gifts: 5 nights of suite upgrades (Marriott calls them “Suite Night Awards”), Silver Elite status awarded to a friend, 5 Elite Night credits, a 40% discount on your favourite mattress, or a donation of $100 USD to charity.

Benefit #3: Comprehensive Insurance Coverage

The Marriott Bonvoy Business Card comes with extensive travel, business and purchase insurance policies. The generous coverage in health insurance, life insurance, personal effects protection, trip delay, trip interruption and more, stacked on top of all the other benefits of the card, make it an even sweeter deal.

But just like the Business Platinum Card, the Marriott Bonvoy Business Card also offers special insurance policies geared toward protecting small businesses. In particular, the Employee Card Misuse Protection may cover small businesses against unauthorized charges made to the Marriott Bonvoy Business Card if you terminate the Supplementary Cardmember and cancel their Card within 2 business days.

If you want to learn more about all the embedded insurance policies that come with every Amex card, as well as other stand-alone insurance plans that American Express offers, you can read our dedicated post on American Express Travel Insurance. That’s where you’ll learn all the details about coverage, making claims, and what all the footnotes and fine print means.

How Much Is The Marriott Bonvoy Business Card’s Insurance Coverage Worth?

As with so many other perks, this one is very tough to put a price on. However, if you were to choose an insurance plan as extensive as the one that comes with your Marriott Bonvoy Business Card, it would cost much more than the $150 annual fee on this card.

The Bottom Line

The long-term benefits of the Marriott Bonvoy Business Card are fantastic. You’ll save hundreds of dollars per year using your Annual Free Night Award, potentially hundreds more with your Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status, and be safe and secure thanks to an impressively comprehensive insurance plan that covers both you and your business.

If you’re a Canadian business owner who stays in a hotel at least once per year, this card will boost your travels and give you an excellent return on your investment at the same time.

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