This article is sponsored by Marriott Bonvoy
For the first time since it was launched 18 months ago, you can get an increased sign-up bonus on the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Credit Card®.
From today until 31st August 2021, the sign-up bonus is doubled from 20,000 Marriott Bonvoy points to 40,000 points.
This is worth roughly £200 of free Marriott stays, based on our 0.5p per point valuation, or 13,333 Avios based on the 3:1 conversion rate.
Marriott Bonvoy will also give you Gold Elite status until February 2023.
You can apply here.
The Card has a representative example APR of 38.8% variable including the fee based on a notional £1200 credit limit. The interest rate on purchases is 22.2% variable.
There is an annual fee of £75 per year.
What is the sign-up bonus?
Until 31st August 2021, the sign-up bonus on the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card is doubled from 20,000 points to 40,000 points.
You need to spend £3,000 within three months of Cardmembership to receive the bonus.
Do I qualify for the sign-up bonus?
To receive the bonus, you cannot have had a personal American Express Card in the previous 24 months.
You CAN apply if:
- you currently have, or have had in the past 24 months, an American Express Business Card
- you currently have, or have had in the past 24 months, a supplementary card on your partner’s American Express account
- you currently have, or have had in the past 24 months, an American Express Card issued by MBNA or Lloyds Bank
None of these three scenarios count as ‘having had a personal American Express Card’.
The Bonvoy Card is a good place to (re)start if you are coming to the end of your Amex ‘fallow’ period.
If you get the Marriott Bonvoy American Express, you would still qualify for the British Airways American Express Premium Plus bonus AND The Platinum Card bonus at a later date.
You also get Gold Elite status in Marriott Bonvoy until early 2023
You usually receive 15 elite night credits in Marriott Bonvoy each year when you hold the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card. This gets you Silver Elite status and puts you well on the way to getting a higher level of status.
We look at this again in a minute.
However, until 31st August 2021, Marriott Bonvoy will also give you Gold Elite status in Marriott Bonvoy.
Your Gold Elite status will last for the rest of 2021, all of 2022 and until the end of February 2023. This means at least 18 months of Gold Elite status.
For clarity …. even if you do not qualify for the 40,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points for signing up, because you currently have or recently had another personal American Express Card, you WILL receive the benefit of Gold Elite status.
Even if none of the other card benefits appeal to you, you are basically buying Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status for 18 months for £75.
What are the benefits of Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status?
The key benefits are:
- 25% bonus on base points on all Marriott stays
- 200-500 bonus points per stay as a welcome gift
- ‘enhanced’ room upgrade, based on availability
- 2pm late check-out, based on availability
- free high-speed internet, if the hotel offers a ‘free but slow’ and ‘fast but paid’ packages
Gold also unlocks the ‘Your World Rewards’ partnership with Emirates
Marriott Bonvoy and Emirates Skywards have a low profile partnership called ‘Your World Rewards’. It allows you to double dip with Emirates Skywards miles and Marriott Bonvoy points in the same transaction.
‘Your World Rewards’ is designed to encourage Emirates flyers to stay at Marriott Bonvoy hotels and vice versa. The bottom line is that registering is a no-brainer if you have Gold Elite status with Marriott.
Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite, Platinum Elite, Titanium Elite or Ambassador Elite members will receive 3 Marriott Bonvoy points per $1 spent on Emirates flights. All Emirates flights count as long as your ticket is under an EK flight code.
This is a very generous deal in my view. I value Marriott Bonvoy points at 0.5p each. A £3,000 ($3,750) Emirates business class flight would therefore earn you £55+ of free hotel stays. This is on top of your usual Skywards miles.
What is the day to day earning rate on the Card?
You will earn 2 Marriott Bonvoy points for every £1 you spend on the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card.
Based on our average value of 0.5p per point per Marriott Bonvoy point, you are getting a 1% return on your spending. If you are smart in redeeming, however, you can do far better than this. I got 1.2p per point when I redeemed at The Ritz Carlton Al Wadi Desert resort in Ras Al-Khaimah last December, for example, with cash rates at over £1,000 per night.
The earning rate at Marriott Bonvoy hotels is 6 Marriott Bonvoy points per £1. This is an excellent card to have if you spend a lot with Marriott.
What other benefits does the Card have?
The card benefits are outlined on the application page here.
15 elite night credits per year
You will receive 15 elite night credits in Marriott Bonvoy per year. The first batch of 15 nights should appear within a couple of weeks, with nights posting in January in subsequent years.
You may find it worthwhile paying the £75 annual fee purely to get the 15 elite nights.
Let’s take a look at the elite night credit in more detail. These are the ‘nights’ requirements for different levels of Marriott Bonvoy status:
- Basic Member: 0-9 nights
- Silver Elite: 10-24 nights
- Gold Elite: 25-49 nights
- Platinum Elite: 50-74 nights
- Titanium Elite: 75-99 nights
Because the Marriott Bonvoy American Express comes with 15 elite night credits, you would normally receive Silver Elite status immediately. However, under this special offer, you will be upgraded to Gold Elite status until February 2023.
If you want to keep Gold Elite status beyond February 2023, you would only need to complete 10 nights at Marriott Bonvoy hotel in 2022. This is because you will receive a further 15 elite night credits next January (and every January thereafter) and the qualification level for Gole Elite is 25 nights.
15 elite night credits also makes it a lot easier to push on to Platinum Elite or Titanium Elite.
To progress, you will only need:
- 35 additional nights for Platinum Elite (as you get 15 nights for free)
- 60 additional nights for Titanium Elite (as you get 15 nights for free)
Platinum Elite is where it gets interesting. You can see the list of Platinum Elite benefits on the Marriott website here but to summarise the relevant ones:
- You get Executive Lounge access when the hotel has a lounge
- You get a 50% bonus on your base points on every stay
- You get a room upgrade, including suites, if available
- You get a welcome amenity – which can include restaurant breakfast if the hotel has no lounge or you would prefer to use the restaurant (this article explains the Bonvoy breakfast benefit by brand)
- You get a GUARANTEED 4pm check-out except at convention and resort hotels
However you look at it, Platinum Elite is a good package.
50 nights is a stretch unless you are travelling heavily each week. 35 nights, on the other hand, is manageable for a lot of people.
If you believe that you could comfortably do 35 Marriott Bonvoy nights per year then it is worth paying £75 for the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card in order to secure Platinum Elite status.
The 15 elite nights per year also count towards lifetime status.
You receive Silver Elite status in Marriott Bonvoy from 2023
Under this special promotion you will receive Gold Elite status in Marriott Bonvoy until February 2023.
Even if you don’t do 10 nights at Marriott Hotels in 2022 to retain Gold Elite, you are guaranteed to keep Silver Elite status for as long as you hold the Card.
This is because Silver Elite is triggered at 10 nights per year and Marriott will give you 15 elite nights per year just for being a Cardmember.
The benefits of Silver Elite are not huge, of course. You can see the different Marriott tier levels here.
The key benefits of Silver Elite status are:
- 10% bonus on base points earned
- ‘Priority’ for late check-out requests
…. and that’s it, at least in terms of stuff you will find genuinely useful. It isn’t a lot but it should stop you getting the room overlooking the bins.
You get Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status for spending £15,000 in a card year
There is a second way of keeping Gold Elite status beyond February 2023.
Instead of doing 10 elite nights per year, you will also be promoted to Gold Elite by spending £15,000 per membership year on the Marriott Amex.
You get a free night voucher you get when you spend £25,000 in a year
This sounds great, given some of the luxury properties in the Marriott portfolio. However it can only be used at hotels which costs up to 25,000 points per night.
This isn’t much. For comparison, the top Bonvoy redemptions now cost 100,000 points per night.
There are some interesting hotels which can be booked for 25,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night on a standard day. These include:
- Abbey Hotel Bath which we reviewed here
- University Arms Cambridge which we reviewed here
- A trio of Amsterdam properties (Moxy, Courtyard, Element – Element reviewed here)
- AC Hotel Barcelona Forum
- Renaissance Tuscany (see here – looks interesting)
- Grand Universe Lucca (also looks very interesting if you like Tuscanys, see here – it just opened)
- Moxy Bordeaux
- Moxy Dublin
- Moxy Lisbon which Rhys reviewed last month
- Sheraton Porto
- Sheraton Rhodes Resort
- Denia Marriott Golf Resort
- Sheraton Fuerteventura
- W Istanbul
…… amongst others.
The sign-up bonus can be converted into 13,333 Avios or other airline miles
If you do meet the criteria to qualify for it, you will receive a sign-up bonus of 40,000 Bonvoy points if you apply for the Card by 31st August.
40,000 points is good for around £200 of free hotel nights or will convert into 13,333 miles with over 40 airlines including Avios and Virgin Flying Club.
Now that Emirates, Etihad, American and United no longer have UK credit cards, the Marriott Bonvoy Amex is the best way to earn miles in these programmes. There are also 30+ other airlines who never had a UK credit card, such as Air Canada and Qatar Airways, where this credit card is the best way to earn miles in the UK from day to day spend.
We will do a separate article in a few days looking at the airlines which partner with Marriott Bonvoy.
For the first time since the Card launched, you can get an improved sign-up bonus if you sign up for the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Credit Card.
If you qualify, 40,000 Marriott Bonvoy points is well worth a look. It would, for example, get you a free night at any of the following hotels (this is based on off-peak pricing):
- Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa, Edinburgh
- St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, London
- Pine Cliffs Hotel, Algarve, Portugal (review here)
- Domes of Corfu, Greece
- The Ritz-Carlton, Abama, Tenerife
- W Abu Dhabi – Yas Island
- Grosvenor House, Dubai
- Le Méridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Waterpark, Dubai
You will get at least 18 months of Gold Elite status in Marriott Bonvoy. If you apply today you should get around 20 months, as it will run to the end of February 2023.
Irrespective of the bonus, for anyone who can easily do 35 Marriott nights per year, the ability to receive 15 elite night credits will make the Marriott Bonvoy American Express worth getting. It makes Platinum Elite status – the sweet spot – achievable.
You can apply for the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Credit Card here.