On Wednesday, the Marriott Bonvoy American Express credit card launched.
This is a rebranding of the old Starwood Preferred Guest American Express credit card.
As we covered in our master article (click here) on the Marriott Bonvoy American Express card, there are two groups of people who should think about getting this card:
people who can benefit from the 15 free elite night credits that come as a card benefit, putting you 15 nights closer to Bonvoy elite status
people who collect miles in obscure (from a UK perspective) frequent flyer schemes
I wanted to look at the second point today. If you want to learn more about how the 15 free elite night credits works, click the link above for the article we ran last week.
The Marriott Bonvoy Amex lets you earn miles with 44 different frequent flyer schemes.
For many of these schemes, the Marriott Bonvoy American Express card is the ONLY way of earning their miles via a UK credit card.
Here is the full list of Marriott Bonvoy airline partners now (you can also see it online here) and the transfer rate:
Aegean Airlines 3:1
Aeroflot Bonus 3:1
AeroMexico ClubPremier 3:1
Air Canada Aeroplan 3:1
Air China Phoenix Miles 3:1
Air France/KLM Flying Blue 3:1
Air New Zealand Airpoints 200:1
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan 3:1
Alitalia MilleMiglia 3:1
ANA Mileage Club 3:1
American Airlines AAdvantage 3:1
Asiana Airlines Asiana Club 3:1
Avianca LifeMiles 3:1
British Airways Executive Club 3:1
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles 3:1
China Eastern Airlines Eastern Miles 3:1
China Southern Airlines 3:1
Copa Airlines ConnectMiles 3:1
Delta SkyMiles 3:1
Emirates Skywards 3:1
Etihad Guest 3:1
Frontier Airlines EarlyReturns 3:1
Hainan Airlines 3:1
Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles 3:1
Iberia Plus 3:1
Japan Airlines JAL Mileage Bank 3:1
JetBlue TrueBlue 6:1
Korean Air SKYPASS 3:1
LATAM Airlines LATAMPASS 3:1
Lufthansa Miles & More 3:1
Multiplus Fidelidade 3:1
Qantas Frequent Flyer 3:1
Qatar Privilege Club 3:1
Saudia Airlines 3:1
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer 3:1
South African Airways Voyager 3:1
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards 3:1
TAP Air Portugal 3:1
THAI Airways 3:1
Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles 3:1
United MileagePlus 3:1.1
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club 3:1
Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer 3:1
As far as I know, for the 34 airlines in bold, the Marriott Bonvoy American Express is the ONLY UK credit card partner. The others either have their own card or are an American Express Membership Rewards or HSBC Premier transfer partner.
You could earn miles in some of these airlines via obscure routes, such as the IHG credit cards or moving American Express points to Radisson Rewards and then on to an airline, but the rate would be very poor and not worth it.
Using the Marriott Bonvoy Amex to prevent miles expiry
We tend not to feature non-UK frequent flyer schemes heavily on Head for Points. When we do, it is usually airlines which are American Express Membership Rewards partners. One example is the incredible 29,000 mile one-way Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer business class flights from the UK to the Middle East which I covered here (when they were even cheaper at 25,000 miles), flying on Lufthansa, SWISS, Turkish or Egyptian.
You may have balances in other programmes however. If you do, the Marriott Amex is a good way – perhaps the only way in the UK – of topping up your balance so you can empty it out for a redemption.
Many schemes also require regular activity on your account to stop miles expiring. Moving points across from Marriott Bonvoy, earned with the Marriott Bonvoy Amex card, is an easy way of doing this.
What does the Marriott Bonvoy American Express earn?
I am obliged to remind you at this point that the representative APR on this card is 39.7% variable, including the £75 annual fee, based on a notional £1,200 credit limit. The interest rate on purchases is 22.9% variable.
The earning rate is, unfortunately, worse than it was when the card was Starwood-branded.
You earn 2 Marriott Bonvoy points for every £1 you spend, with TRIPLE points for spending in Marriott hotels.
These transfer to airline miles at 3:1, as the list above shows, so you are getting 0.66 miles per £1 spent.
If you move 60,000 Bonvoy points at once you get a 5,000 miles bonus. 60,000 Marriott points will therefore get you 25,000 airline miles. This is 0.812 airline miles per £1 spent.
For someone collecting American Airlines miles, Air Canada miles, Qatar Airways miles etc this is a straightforward way of picking them up.
Is there a sign-up bonus?
Yes. The sign-up bonus is 20,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. This converts to 6,666 airline miles.
You must spend £3,000 within three months to receive the bonus.
Of course, you can also use them for Marriott hotels where 20,000 points should get you at least £100 of value.
Can I get the sign-up bonus if I have a British Airways / Amex Gold / The Platinum Card / Nectar American Express?
The bonus is now very restricted. You only qualify if you have not held ANY personal American Express cards in the previous 24 months.
Amex cards issued by Lloyds Bank or MBNA do not count – only cards issued directly by American Express in the UK.
You CAN still apply for the card, of course. You will receive all of the other benefits, including the 15 free elite night credits, but not the initial sign-up bonus.
Are there any other card benefits?
Yes, but I don’t rate them highly.
Spend £15,000 in a membership year and you will receive Gold Elite status in Marriott Bonovy. The benefits of Gold status are not great, however – no free breakfast, no lounge access.
Spend £25,000 in a membership year and you earn a free night at any Marriott / Starwood hotel costing up to 25,000 points per night. The snag here is that there are not many impressive hotels in that price range – remember that the best hotels now cost 100,000 points per night on peak dates.
The Marriott Bonvoy American Express card is well worth a look if you have any niche frequent flyer miles which you want to top up or stop expiring.
I also recommend it if the 15 free elite night credits – which is an annual benefit – are useful to you.
My full review of the Marriott Bonvoy Amex credit card is here. You can apply for the card here
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.