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:
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:
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.
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.
Learn more about the credit cards mentioned above
Here is the legally required interest rate information on the credit cards mentioned above, together with links to our detailed reviews:
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold – sign-up bonus of 10,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend £3,000 in three months – apply here – our American Express Gold review is here – representative APR 57.6% variable including fee (free in year 1) based on a notional £1200 credit limit, interest rate on purchases 22.9% variable
The Platinum Card from American Express – sign-up bonus of 30,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend £4,000 in three months – apply here – our American Express Platinum review is here – this is a charge card which must be repaid in full each month
Starwood Preferred Guest American Express – sign-up bonus of 30,000 Marriott Bonvoy points when you spend £1,000 in three months – apply here – our Starwood Amex review is here – representative APR 39.7% variable including fee based on a notional £1200 credit limit, interest rate on purchases 22.9% variable
Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points and do not consider interest rates, service levels or any impact on your credit history. By recommending credit cards on this site, I am – technically – acting as a credit broker. Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a credit broker.
(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards? Click here to visit our dedicated airline and hotel travel credit cards page or use the ‘Credit Cards Update’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)