The Marriott Bonvoy™ Business Amex Card is one of the best travel cards available in Canada today. With its extremely generous 50,000 welcome bonus (required spend: $1,500, conditions apply) , annual Free Night Award, and comprehensive travel insurance policy, it’s got everything you need.
The card’s $150 annual fee pays for itself many times over in the first year of having the card, and still makes sense in subsequent years. If you plan to spend at least one night in a hotel in the next 12 months, you’d be wise to pick up the Marriott Bonvoy™ Business Amex Card.
There’s a lot of hype around the new Marriott Bonvoy™ American Express Business Card right now.
50,000 points is a pretty amazing signup bonus, after all.
But choosing the right credit card is about finding lasting value, not just value in the first year.
So we dug deep into the intricacies of the Marriott Bonvoy™ Business Amex Card to see whether it would stand the test of time.
It did. And you’re about to learn why.
This Marriott Bonvoy™ Business Amex review is broken down into the following 9 sections:
Table of Contents
#1 The Basics & Benefits
|Welcome Bonus Points||50,000|
|Marriott Bonvoy™ Points Earned Per $1 Spent At Marriott Properties||5|
|Marriott Bonvoy™ Points Earned Per $1 Spent On All Gas, Dining & Travel Purchases||3|
|Marriott Bonvoy™ Points Earned Per $1 Spent On All Other Card Purchases||2|
|Free Night Award||✔|
|Employee Card Misuse Protection||✔|
|15 Elite Night Credits Per Calendar Year||✔|
The card also comes with additional American Express benefits that come with all of their cards. These include Front Of The Line, which offers cardholders advanced access/tickets to concerts, sporting events and shows across Canada.
#2 Two More Special Benefits
Special Benefit #1: The Marriott Bonvoy™ Amex Card Free Night Award
On top of the 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy™ points that come with your Marriott Bonvoy™ Business Amex Card, you also receive one free hotel night every year after the first year. There’s no spending requirement for this free night—you’ll get it every year after your first card anniversary regardless of how often you use your card—making it an exceptional value.
What can you use this award on? How about a night at the swanky Avalon Hotel Beverly Hills, a member of Design Hotels?
Or how about the Moxy Amsterdam, a new design hotel in one of Amsterdam’s hippest districts?
Or the Sheraton in Bali, with its infinity pool overlooking the ocean? Where will you choose?
As you can see, the opportunities are truly endless for this annual Free Night Award.
Are you starting to see why Canadians love the Marriott Bonvoy™ Business Amex Card so much?
Special Benefit #3: 5th Night Free
This technically isn’t a benefit exclusive to the Marriott Bonvoy™ Business Amex Card, but it’s so good that it’s worth pointing out here, anyway. It goes like this:
Every time you book a Marriott hotel for 4 nights, they give you a 5th night for free!
There’s nothing more to explain than that, though I don’t need to tell you how amazing of a benefit this is. As you’ll see below, we’ll use this to our full advantage to get as many as 16 nights in a 5-star hotel with your card.
#3 Three Ways To Use Your Marriott Bonvoy™ Points
#1 Using Marriott Bonvoy™ Points For Hotel Stays
The best way to use your Marriott Bonvoy™ points—hands-down—is on hotel stays. We cover this at length in our Marriott Bonvoy™ Amex Card review, so we won’t cover it again here.
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The summary is that if you use your points wisely, you can get anywhere between 2 and 16 nights in 5-star hotels completely free with the 50,000 points that come with your card. Getting 2 free nights is extremely easy, and getting 16 nights is more difficult, but both are possible, and we show you how.
#2 Using Your Marriott Bonvoy™ Points For Flights
Your 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy™ points can also be transferred to 45 different airline partners. Most, but not all, of the airline partners accept Marriott Bonvoy™ points at a value of 3:1 (eg. 30,000 Marriott Bonvoy™ points = 10,000 Aeroplan Miles). If you transfer 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy™ points to any airline partner, you’ll also receive an additional 15,000 points (worth 5,000 Aeroplan miles) for free, meaning that 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy™ points turns into 25,000 Air Canada Aeroplan miles, British Airways Avios points or American Airlines AAdvantage miles.
(Note: We recommend that you use your Marriott Bonvoy™ points for hotel redemptions, since they’re much more valuable that way. If you’re looking for a card for maximizing flight rewards, we recommend the American Express Platinum Card and the American Express Business Platinum.)
If you follow our advice on how to redeem your airline points, you’ll find that they’re worth about 2-3 cents apiece, putting the value of 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy™ points at about $600-$900 when you use them on flights.
Our Marriott Bonvoy™ Amex Card review has a full list of airline partners (with transfer ratios) that you can transfer your points to.
#3 Using Your Marriott Bonvoy™ Points For Marriott Bonvoy™ Moments
We won’t talk about Marriott Bonvoy™ Moments in-depth here, since most people like to use their points on hotels and flights, but you can expect things like VIP Super Bowl parties, private dining with celebrity chefs and more. Here’s the full list of Marriott Bonvoy™ Moments that you can choose from.
#4 Is The Marriott Bonvoy™ Business Amex Card Right For Me?
The Marriott Bonvoy™ Amex Card is a no-brainer for anyone who plans to spend at least 1 night in a hotel per year.
This sounds oversimplified, but it’s actually not at all.
Think about it.
The annual Free Hotel Night benefit—which gives you a free night in a 5-star hotel—is worth more than the $150 annual fee on its own.
And when you add on everything else—the 50,000 points welcome bonus, the travel insurance, and all of the other extras that come with the Marriott Bonvoy™ Business Amex Card—the value of this card becomes overwhelmingly good.
Every Canadian should have this card in their wallet for the next 10+ years.
#5 Three Alternative Cards
If you’re not quite sure whether the Marriott Bonvoy™ Business Amex Card is right for you, there are plenty of other great credit cards out there.
Here are the three best offers available in Canada right now:
#1 The Amex Platinum Card
Alongside the Marriott Bonvoy™ Card, the Platinum Card is an one of the best travel credit cards in Canada in 2019. Its 50,000 points welcome bonus, $200 annual travel credit, worldwide airport lounge access, travel insurance and a wide array of other benefits makes the Canadian Amex Platinum an excellent value. We recommend that every Canadian sign up for this card while this incredible offer still lasts.
#2 The American Express Business Platinum Card
If you’re set on getting a business credit card, the American Express Business Platinum Card has been our card of choice for years. If you’re a frequent traveler, the airport lounge access that comes with the Business Platinum Card will upgrade your travels in a pretty serious way.
The Business Gold Rewards Card offers good value as well, though we feel that the 10,000 extra welcome bonus points (which we value at $200-$300), the airport lounge access that comes with the Business Platinum card, and the better referral structure (25,000 points per Business Platinum referral vs. only 5,000 points per Business Gold Rewards referral) more than make up for the additional $250 annual fee.
#3 The Cobalt Card
The Amex Cobalt Card is the best everyday spending card available right now, and one of our favorite cards overall. Why? Because you can get up to 10% cashback on your spending when you use the Cobalt Card on at coffee shops, restaurants, bars and grocery stores coffee anywhere in Canada.
#6 Travel Insurance
The Marriott Bonvoy™ Business Amex Card also comes with an impressive travel insurance policy. Here’s what it includes:
|Travel Accident Insurance||You, your spouse and your children are covered in the case of accidental death or dismemberment while traveling||$500,000|
|Car Rental Theft and Damage Insurance||Damage or theft of your rental car||$85,000|
|Flight Delay Insurance||Hotel, motel, restaurant expenses and other sundry items when your flight is delayed||$500|
|Baggage Delay Insurance||Reasonable and necessary emergency purchases when your baggage is delayed||$500|
|Lost or Stolen Baggage Insurance||Loss or damage to your luggage or personal effects while in transit.||$500|
|Hotel/Motel Burglary Insurance||Loss of most personal items if your hotel/ motel is burglarized.||$500|
|Travel Emergency Assistance||Medical & legal referrals by phone 24/7||N/A|
Every American Express card also comes with two other insurance benefits:
- Buyer’s Assurance Protection Plan doubles the manufacturer’s warranty on your purchases and will repair/replace faulty or damaged items up to $10,000.
- Purchase Protection Plan insures your purchases against accidental physical damage and theft for the 90 days after purchase, up to $1,000.
Fraud protection, global emergency card replacement and 24/7 express customer service are included with every American Express card, too.
If you want more information on these policies, you can read our post on American Express Travel Insurance where you’ll learn all the details regarding insurance coverage, options, claims and more.
#7 The Marriott Bonvoy™ Personal Amex Card
This entire review has been about the Marriott Bonvoy™ Business Amex card, though there’s also a personal Marriott Bonvoy™ American Express Card for Canadians, too. There are a few minor differences between the two cards:
- The business card earns 3 points per $1 spent on gas, dining and travel, and 2 point per $1 on all other card purchases. The personal card does not offer a bonus for gas, dining and travel spending (it earns 2 points per $1 on all spending).
- The personal card receives complimentary Marriott Bonvoy™ Silver Elite Status, while the business card does not.
- Supplementary business cards cost $50 vs. free for the personal card.
- Annual fee of $150 vs. $120 for the personal card.
- Includes Employee Card Misuse Protection, which is also included with the American Express Business Platinum Card.
Which card you should choose is entirely dependent on how you plan to use it. If the Employee Card Misuse Protection is valuable for your business, go for the business card. If not, we recommend taking advantage of the lower annual fee and the complimentary Marriott Bonvoy™ Silver Elite Status by getting the personal card.
Comparing The Marriott Bonvoy™ & Business Marriott Bonvoy™ Cards
|Marriott Bonvoy™ American Express Card||Marriott Bonvoy™ American Express Business Card|
|Welcome Bonus||50,000 points||50,000 points|
|Marriott Bonvoy™ Points Earned Per $1 Spent At Marriott Properties||5||5|
|Marriott Bonvoy™ Points Earned Per $1 Spent On All Gas, Dining & Travel Purchases||2||3|
|Marriott Bonvoy™ Points Earned Per $1 Spent On All Other Card Purchases||2||2|
|Marriott Bonvoy™ Silver Elite Status||✔|
|Annual Free Night Award||✔||✔|
|15 Elite Night Credits Per Calendar Year||✔||✔|
|Employee Card Misuse Protection||✔<|
|Application Link||APPLY HERE||APPLY HERE|
#8 Is The Marriott Bonvoy™ Business Amex Worth It?
As we showed above, the annual Free Night Award benefit alone makes this card worth its annual fee. And when you add on everything else you get with it, including the extremely generous 50,000 points welcome bonus, the Marriott Bonvoy™ Business Amex Card is a steal.
How Do Marriott Bonvoy™ Card Referrals Work?
Once you’ve activated your Marriott Bonvoy™ Amex Card, you can refer friends to the card. You’ll receive a bonus of 10,000 points for every friend who signs up using your unique referral link.
When Do My Marriott Bonvoy™ Points Expire?
Marriott Bonvoy™ points expire after one year of inactivity. Since you earn Marriott Bonvoy™ points every time you stay at a Marriott property, or even just eat at one of their restaurants, it’s very easy to keep your Marriott Bonvoy™ points balance active. See our section “How Do I Earn Marriott Bonvoy™ points” above to see just how easy it is to keep your account active.
How Do Marriott Bonvoy™ Points Compare With American Express Membership Reward Points?
Still, it’s hard to say which are more valuable. One thing we can say is that you should not transfer your Amex MR points to Marriott Bonvoy™ points. American Express offers a rate of 1,000 MR = 1,200 Marriott Bonvoy™ points, which is a very poor valuation. This is only a decision you’ll face with your other cards, since the Marriott Bonvoy™ Amex Card earns Marriott Bonvoy™ points on its own.
All things considered, we recommend keeping your Marriott Bonvoy™ points as Marriott Bonvoy™ points so you can use them on amazing hotel redemptions (see the Case Studies above), and transferring your Amex MR points from your Platinum Card to airlines for flights.
How Do Marriott’s Redemption Categories Work?
Marriott has its properties separated into different “Categories,” with each property falling into a category from 1-8. Put simply, lower Categories correspond to cheaper hotels, but as we’ll see, some creativity enables you to find some truly exceptional properties at the low end of the redemption chart, making your points go much, much further. For a full understanding of Marriott’ redemption categories, read our post on the Marriott Bonvoy™ personal Amex Card.
#5 How Do I Earn Marriott Bonvoy™ Points?
There are several distinct ways to earn Marriott Bonvoy™ points:
#1: Card Spending
You’ll earn 5 Marriott Bonvoy™ points per $1 spent at Marriott properties, which includes the cost of your stay, food and drinks, and some hotel incidentals like spa treatments. Normally you’d only earn 5 Marriott Bonvoy™ points per $1 spent, but since Marriott Bonvoy™ Silver Elite membership also comes complimentary with your Marriott Bonvoy™ Amex Card, you earn an extra 10% on Marriott properties, bringing you to 5 Marriott Bonvoy™ points per $1 spent. You also earn 2 Marriott Bonvoy™ points per $1 spent on all other purchases.
#2: Work Purchases & Events
If you’re planning a work event, such as a conference or large meeting, you can also earn points on spending done by your guests. As a Silver Elite member, you can earn up to 66,000 points per event (earned at 2 Marriott Bonvoy™ points per $1 spent by you or your guests). You also earn 10 Elite Qualifying Nights for your first meeting, and 1 Elite Qualifying Night for every 20 room nights booked by you or your guests. Even if you’re planning a small event, these can accumulate very quickly.
This all adds up to one thing: if you’re an event planner, admin assistant or anyone planning a gathering, you need the Marriott Bonvoy™ Business Amex Card.
#3: Special Purchases
Some purchases grant you additional Marriott Bonvoy™ points when you charge them to your card. For example, you’ll receive 500 Marriott Bonvoy™ points per day when you rent a rental card with Hertz, up to 2,000 points per rental. You also earn additional points on travel expenditures like cruises and long-distance telephone cards. These bonuses are provided by Marriott, not by American Express, so we recommend calling Marriott after you get your card to learn more about all the unique ways you can earn points.
Booking a hotel in a given category is as simple as consulting Marriott’s redemption chart below. In brackets we’ve included the PointSavers rates, which are promotional prices 10-20% lower than the regular price that you can sometimes take advantage of. Marriott hasn’t released their peak and off-peak season dates yet, since this is a new setup for them. Sign up for our email list at the bottom of this post if you want our tips for how to book off-peak dates.
|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)||50,000 (55,000)|
|7||50,000 (45,000)||50,000 (55,000)||70,000 (65,000)|
|8||70,000 (65,000)||85,000 (80,000)||100,000 (90,000)|
When Are The Peak Season & Off-Peak Season For Hotel Redemptions?
The peak/off-peak system is brand new to Marriott, so they actually haven’t listed which dates will be priced in which way. For now, every date is listed at the standard price, though this will change in the coming months. Join our email list at the bottom of this post so we can update you when that happens and help you maximize your points by planning your travel during off-peak dates.
What About Marriott’s Points + Cash Program?
If you prefer to save some of your Marriott Bonvoy™ points, or if you don’t have enough for a particular booking, you can take advantage of the points + cash option. Generally we recommend against this, since this setup values points lower than what they’re worth if you apply them smartly (see our Case Studies above), but it’s not terrible either. If you don’t have enough points for your hotel stay, use points + cash, but if you do, just use your points. Here’s the points + cash breakdown for each hotel category:
|Hotel Category||Off Peak||Standard||Peak|
|1||50 USD + 2,500 points||55 USD + 3,500 points||60 USD + 4,500 points|
|2||60 USD + 5,000 points||65 USD + 6,000 points||70 USD + 6,500 points|
|3||70 USD + 7,500 points||80 USD + 8,500 points||90 USD + 9,000 points|
|4||90 USD + 10,000 points||105 USD + 12,000 points||120 USD + 13,500 points|
|5||120 USD + 16,000 points||140 USD + 17,000 points||165 USD + 19,000 points|
|6||165 USD + 22,000 points||190 USD + 25,000 points||225 USD + 27,500 points|
|7||225 USD + 27,500 points||250 USD + 30,000 points||325 USD + 35,000 points|
|8||325 USD + 35,000 points||440 USD + 42,500 points||635 USD + 50,000 points|
You also have another option if you don’t have enough points for a booking: you can book your stay with points and then earn the points later from other hotel stays or credit card spending later. As long as the points reach your account 14 days before your stay, you’re fine. If they don’t, though, your stay will be canceled and you won’t be refunded, so use this strategy with caution.
Where Can I Search For Marriott Hotels?
You can search for hotels using the Marriott search platform here.
We recommend searching on two parameters: the city you’re visiting and the redemption category you’d like to redeem with, which you can find by clicking “All Filters” in the top-right and then selecting “Rewards Category.” If you’re using your annual free night benefit, go for a Category 5, which will show you the best hotels you can get for the 35,000 annual free night points limit. If you’re using your 50,000 welcome points bonus, you can use them however you’d like (see the Case Studies above for ideas of high-value redemptions).
You can redeem your Marriott Bonvoy™ points (with zero blackout dates) at any of these hotel brands, anywhere in the world:
- The Ritz-Carlton
- St. Regis
- JW Marriott
- The Luxury Collection
- W Hotels
- Marriott Hotels
- Marriott Vacation Club
- Delta Hotels by Marriott
- Le Méridien
- Autograph Collection
- Renaissance Hotels
- Tribute Portfolio
- Gaylord Hotels
- Courtyard by Marriott
- Four Points by Sheraton
- SpringHill Suites by Marriott
- Protea Hotels by Marriott
- Fairfield by Marriott
- AC Hotels by Marriott
- Moxy Hotels