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.

  • Andy says:

    Does this mean that the Marriott credit card that was supposed to be out when Bonvoy launched (By Creation?) is never coming due to the Amex deal?

    • Rob says:

      The Marriott people never talk about Creation any longer but genuinely no idea what happened there.

  • Nori says:

    OT re IHG Accelerate – is there one coming in 2020 or I missed it?

  • Mr Matt Wearmouth says:

    Hi all. If I was to apply before 26th Feb would instill get the 30,000 points or the reduce 20,000 sign up marriot points? When is the cut off?

  • Matt says:

    I have an ENBD Bonvoy CC in Dubai, as a comparison:
    £300 Fee
    150,000 point sign-on bonus (75,000 instant, 75,000 after US$10k spend)
    3 points per US$1 (6 at Bonvoy properties)
    Unlimited Loungekey
    Very nice metal card.

    Shows just how bad the UK CC market is since the Interchange cap came in!

    • Alex W says:

      Any status benefits? Good sign up bonus, not sure lounge key is worth £300 per year though.

    • Pangolin says:

      It also gives 5 elite night credits each year and an annual free night cert (redeemable up to 35,000 points).

  • jbloggs says:

    15 nights in Apr, and then jan thereafter.

    does the marriott bonvoy year run Jan-Jan ?

  • Rahaney says:

    Can we run some numbers through the comparison between the Year 2 PRGC and this new MRC?

  • Anna says:

    With these changes I think my strategy would be apply prior to 10 nights of Marriott stays which would give gold with the 15 night credit (AFAIK), for referral points, 6 points per £1 at Marriott hotels then cancel asap.

    • Lady London says:

      Maybe hoover up the January Elite nights credit first if you have any remaining interest in giving preference to staying in Marriott hotels after this.

      These changes kind of make it a once in a lifetime card? Its almost as though Marriott is planning to shut the card completely within 2-3 years as they’ve deliberately made it uncompetitive as a neutrally evaluated card.

  • James says:

    OT: Do you get referral bonus for the AMEX Rewards Credit Card from platinum charge card? The rewards credit card is no fees but shows as an alternative card with referral link?

    • guesswho2000 says:

      Yes, this was intro’d a few months ago.

      • FlyingChris says:

        Is there a bonus for adding a supplementary cardholder to the American Express Rewards Credit Card (ARCC)? Not one advertised, but wondered if real world experience was different.

          • FlyingChris says:

            Yes… I know… The American Express Rewards Credit Card (ARCC) isn’t on that page and thus not advertised as getting a supp bonus – but as we all know real-world experience can sometimes differ from what is advertised.

        • guesswho2000 says:

          I have the card but I’ve never added a supplementary, because of the lack of an advertised bonus for doing so! Amex occasionally target these things, but I’ve never had an offer for this card, and have had it for years now.

          • FlyingChris says:

            I’ll give it a go in the next few days and report back if there is anything…

    • jc says:

      Yes 12k

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

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