Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

American Express is cutting the sign-up bonus on the new Marriott Bonvoy Amex credit card

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On Tuesday we covered the unveiling of the Marriott Bonvoy American Express card.

Unfortunately this is not a brand new product.  It is a rebranding of the existing Starwood Preferred Guest American Express card, with a few tweeks.

From 26th February:

The name of the card will be changed to the Marriott Bonvoy American Express card

The earning rate will be slashed by 33%, from 3 Marriott Bonvoy points per £1 to 2 Marriott Bonvoy points per £1

The earning rate at Marriott Bonvoy hotels will remain 6 Marriott Bonvoy points per £1

Instead of giving all cardholders Silver Elite status, you will receive 15 elite night credits per year.  This will trigger Silver Elite status anyway, but also means that you are 15 nights closer to Gold Elite, Platinum Elite or Titanium Elite status.  This is a genuine improvement.

The annual fee remains at £75

Here is the new design:

Marriott Bonvoy American Express card

What we didn’t know is what would happen to the sign-up bonus.  Business Traveller has received a briefing from Marriott on this which, whilst it has not been verified by American Express, we can safely assume is accurate.

This is what happens on 26th February:

The sign-up bonus is cut from 30,000 Marriott Bonvoy points to 20,000 points

The qualifying spend required to hit the bonus increases from £1,000 in 90 days to £3,000 in 90 days

This is rubbish, to put it mildly.  Add in the 33% cut in the earning rate per £1 and the refusal to cut the £75 annual fee and the package does not look good.

There was one other nugget of information in the Business Traveller article:

You will receive your 15 nights elite credit in April 2020, and thereafter in January

How does the Marriott Bonvoy American Express compare?

Whilst weaker than it was, the new card is on a par in some ways with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold when you get beyond the first year:

First year:

Amex Gold – no fee, 10000 Membership Rewards points bonus for spending £3000 in 90 days, points transfer to 15000 Bonvoy points or to many other airline and hotel schemes, two free airport passes

Bonvoy Amex – £75 fee, 20000 Bonvoy points bonus for spending £3000 in 90 days, Silver Elite status in Marriott Bonvoy

Amex Gold is the winner here.

Second and subsequent years:

Amex Gold – £140 fee, 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent (worth 1.5 Bonvoy points or transfer to other airline or hotel schemes), double points on airline spend, 10000 bonus points (worth 15,000 Bonvoy points) for spending £15000, two additional airport lounge passes

Bonvoy Amex – £75 fee, 2 Bonvoy points per £1 spent, 6 points per £1 spent at Marriott hotels, Gold Elite status for spending £15000, a free night worth 25,000 Bonvoy points (circa 3-star level) for spending £25000

The Marriott Bonvoy Amex probably edges it here.  In reality, however, you may do better cancelling both cards after the first year and moving onto, say, the American Express Rewards Credit Card (below) which is free for life and earns 1 Membership Rewards point per £1.

American Express Rewards Credit Card

But does it really matter?

In truth, the cut in the sign-up bonus won’t impact many Head for Points readers.

It is VERY tricky to qualify for the bonus.  You need to have had NO personal American Express cards, of any sort (except supplementary cards or Lloyds / MBNA cards) in the past 24 months.  There are not many readers who can manage that.

Oddly enough, I will keep recommending the Bonvoy card to some people.  The best way to maximise your American Express bonuses under the current rules remains:

1st card – SPG Amex / Bonvoy Amex

2nd card – The Platinum Card or British Airways Premium Plus

3rd card – The Platinum Card or British Airways Premium Plus

If you apply in this order you will receive three bonuses if you have had no personal Amex cards in the last two years.  My full article outlining how the sign-up bonus rules now work is here.


Want to earn more points from credit cards? – May 2022 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our top recommendations based on the current sign-up bonuses.

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards. You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the best of the other deals currently available.

The Platinum Card has doubled its sign-up bonus to 60,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert to 60,000 Avios or other airline miles, if you apply by 1st June 2022.

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

American Express Amex Gold

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points (SPECIAL OFFER) and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

30,000 points bonus (SPECIAL OFFER) and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review

Earning miles and points from small business cards

If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these offers:

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

Capital on Tap Visa card

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company Read our full review

For a non-American Express option, we also recommend the Barclaycard Select Cashback card for sole traders and small businesses. It is FREE and you receive 1% cashback on your spending.

Barclaycard Select Cashback credit card

1% cashback (3% on business travel for four months) and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (104)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • SultanOfCroydon says:

    The free night incentive is incredibly miserable in comparison to what Creation offers with the IHG Rewards card. I’d rather put £25000 through the ARCC and pay for a hotel stay with cash. The cheapest guest room for tonight at the MOXY London Excel is only £70 afterall…

    • Andrew says:

      It’s still a Creation Card though. I simply wouldn’t touch one.

      Besides, and this is the big one, if I had an IHG Card – I wouldn’t have used it for any of my IHG bookings last year. Perhaps by sheer luck, every single personal IHG booking I made last year coincided with fundreturn offers from LBG and First Direct.

      I’d take a £25 recredit over a 500 IHG points any day.

      • Rooster says:

        If you know what your doing then IHG is a great card, its no good if you don’t spend much money on the card though

      • guesswho2000 says:

        I think everyone would take £25 over 500 IHG points, which are worth around £2.50!

  • Jonathan says:

    Do you think the MR conversion rate to Marriot is going to drop next?

    • Rob says:

      No. It is not overwhelming as it is – the Radisson rate is better.

      • Rooster says:

        Raddison redemption rates seems out of whack though when I’ve checked anyway it would have cost a fortune in MR points converted

        • Rob says:

          No – 70k for a 5-star = 23k MR points converted. An 80k Hilton 5-star needs 40k MR. A 60k (and that is being generous) Bonvoy 5-star needs 40k MR.

  • Bentoni says:

    Applied the SPG card on Sunday and the card arrived today. Still the old design, and no mention of the upcoming change in February.

    • Bentoni says:

      Just phoned Amex, I was told the card members who applied from November 2019 to the end of Feb this year are excluded from this migration phase.

      Maybe @Rob can verify this?

      • C Meyer says:

        What do you mean by these members being “excluded from the migration phase”? I have also just applied and been approved for the SPG Amex hoping that I will get my 15 nights credited in April. Is that in doubt?

        • Alex W says:

          Unless amex has told you otherwise the T&C’s will be as per the T&C’s when you applied for the card.

          • Lady London says:

            ….and unless they have not only told you / revised the terms and conditions, but also communicated this with enough notice. A 60 day notice requirement would be typical before such changes could take effect.

        • Bentoni says:

          That is what I have been told this morning. So assuming they are migrating customers in batches?

          I mean .. feel free to phone them, since it was a comment made by one customer service rep.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      The new design isn’t launched until Feb so makes sense you received the old card.

      If you haven’t had the letter keep expecting 3/£1 I wouldn’t take the CS word for anything though. Your letter might just be delayed and they only have to get it to you by 26th Jan.

      • David says:

        My expectation would be this was a reference to not changing the T&C on new people until various notice periods have expired.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          The notice period is 1 month which is why I said they have until 26th to get you a letter.

          I’m not aware of there being any minimum period your current T&C’s should apply for.

  • Fraser says:

    I wonder if the 15 nights elite credit counts towards a Platinum status match challenge. Too much to hope for?

  • Anup says:

    O/T: Amex Gold Corporate card – do you have to apply for Lounge Club passes every year or are they automatically added? Also, do they expire every year?

    • Rob says:

      Automatically added, automatically expire.

    • SteveD says:

      My understanding is that you don’t actually receive any ‘passes’, it’s just that the first 2 times you use a lounge in a year, Amex picks up the bill.

      Your entitlement to the 2 free passes rolls over automatically each year.

  • Freddy says:

    Has anyone received the 50% bonus for transferring from amex MR to Marriott bonvoy. Just double checked and I did it on the 8th Nov but have only received the base points

    • Andy says:

      No I’m in the same boat. I contacted Amex on the 2nd Jan (8 weeks after the transfer) and they said they’d raise it and it would be resolved in 7 working days.
      Contacted them again yesterday and said it he points would be in my account “soon.”.
      Although I have seen elsewhere people say it’s 8 weeks from the end of the promo rather than when you did the transfer.

    • Harry T says:

      Haven’t received them yet. I assume it’s similar to the Hilton bonus transfer where the bonus points were given eight weeks after the promotion ended.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      The T&C’s said 8 weeks after the Promo ended not after you transferred. Expected first week of March.

  • N says:

    Poor poor poor

  • Mark says:

    Is the card metal? It looks it?

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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