A Review of the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Credit Card – the Secret $95 Annual Fee Marriott Credit Card
¿Como asi that I can’t apply for this credit card? How did we get this credit card? ¿Esta buena para tener? Bueno mi gente let us explain how we got this credit card, its benefits, and whether we recommend this credit card.
How to Get the Card: The only way you can get the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Credit Card is by downgrading your Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express card (the $450 annual fee card) to the “regular” Marriott Bonvoy American Express card. Now, why did we downgrade? Since Laurie applied for the Capital One Venture X card, there was no need to have two “premium” cards in our wallet. We wanted to have Laurie’s spend be redirected towards earning the more valuable Venture X miles (because they are transferable to airlines such as Emirates) than earn the soon-to-be devalued Marriott points. So, we will only be using this credit card for whenever we stay at Marriott hotels and when any valuable Amex Offers come around.
Benefits: The Marriott Bonvoy Amex earns 6x Marriott points when used at Marriott properties, Marriott branded online stores, and for the purchase of Marriott branded gift cards. The card earns 2x Marriott points on all other eligible purchases. The card offers 1 Free Night Award valued at 35,000 points (which you can now add 15,000 additional points to redeem a 50,000 point room), complimentary Marriott Silver Elite Status, and 15 Elite Night credits towards the next level of Marriott Elite Status. The card also has access to Amex Offers, which provides cash back on eligible purchases. The 1 Free Night Award and Amex Offers alone are worth more than the $95 annual fee itself, so you do come ahead. You can also transfer your Marriott points to one of its many airline partners, which is now a very good use of those points considering the incoming devaluation. One final benefit that occurs upon downgrade – you can receive a partial credit on your annual fee from the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex card (if you had the Bonvoy Brilliant for more than 1 year). In our situation, Laurie’s anniversary occurs in April. Since we downgraded the card in December, we received a $135 credit back to our new Bonvoy Amex AND had our $95 fee covered for the first year.
¿La recomendamos?: If you CURRENTLY HAVE the $450 Bonvoy Brilliant Amex, our advice would be to downgrade to the $95 Bonvoy Amex because there are better premium cards which you should be redirecting your spending (such as the Chase Sapphire Reserved, Amex Platinum, or Capital One Venture X). The $95 Bonvoy Amex would then only be used to pay for your Marriott stays, and whenever a valuable Amex Offer comes through that you can use. Don’t use the card for your everyday expenses.
If you DON’T HAVE the $450 Bonvoy Brilliant Amex, but want to have the $95 Bonvoy Amex card because you still want to have access to earning Marriot points from your stays, you would need to apply to the $450 Bonvoy Brilliant Amex, keep the card for more than one year, and then downgrade. We would only recommend this strategy if you have your other travel credit cards in hand, especially those that have transferrable points.
What about the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless by Chase?: The Chase Bonvoy Boundless credit card offers most of the same perks as the Amex Bonvoy credit card. The advantage of getting the Boundless is that you can apply for the credit card directly and you can earn a sizeable intro bonus. Pero, the main disadvantage is that you would be applying for a Chase card, which will take up one of your 5/24 slots. Also, with the Marriott devaluations, it might not make sense to pursue either credit card.
Bueno pues, we hope this breakdown of the Marriott Bonvoy American Express is helpful in determining your Marriott strategy for 2022 and 2023. We will continue to share how we use the Marriott Amex in our day-to-day on our Instagram. Leave us with any questions in the comments!
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