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Review: the Marriott Bonvoy American Express credit card

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This is our review of the Marriott Bonvoy American Express credit card issued in the UK.

It is part of our series of articles looking at the major UK loyalty credit cards and discussing whether of not they are worth applying for.  These posts are linked to the relevant sections of the ‘Credit Cards‘ area in the menu bar. Our other UK airline and hotel credit card reviews can be found here.

Key link: Marriott Bonvoy American Express application form

Mariott Bonvoy American Express credit card review

Key facts: £75 annual fee

The representative APR is 48.9% variable, including the annual fee.  The representative APR on purchases is 30.7% variable.

Reward credit cards generally have high interest rates and are not suitable for anyone who does not pay off their full balance each month. If you do not clear your balance, you should look for a non-rewards credit card with a low interest rate.

This article was updated on 1st September 2023, and all of the information is correct as of that date. Ignore the original publication date shown.

About the Marriott Bonvoy American Express card

The Marriott Bonvoy American Express card is issued directly by American Express.  The Marriott Bonvoy loyalty scheme covers 30 hotel brands including Marriott, Renaissance, Sheraton, Westin, W, Aloft, Luxury Collection etc.

What is the Marriott Amex sign-up bonus?

The sign-up bonus on the card is 20,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. This is worth 6,667 Avios or other airline miles if converted.

The points are also good for one free night in many mid-market and budget Marriott hotels.

Bonvoy points convert 3:1 into 40+ different airline schemes.

What are the rules for qualifying for the sign-up bonus?

The bonus is only available to customers who have not held a personal American Express card in the previous 24 months.

You WILL receive the sign-up bonus if you have a Corporate or Business American Express card via your job.  Amex is only interested in any personal cards you have had.

You will definitely receive the bonus if you are only a supplementary cardholder on someone else’s American Express card. As far as Amex is concerned, that card belongs to the primarily cardholder and does not make you an ‘existing cardholder’.

If you do not qualify for the bonus, you can still apply.  You still receive the other card benefits outlined below including, importantly, the 15 elite night credits.

Mariott Bonvoy American Express credit card review

What are the benefits of the Marriott Bonvoy Amex?

Get 15 elite night credits:

All cardholders get 15 elite nights credits, annually, in Marriott Bonvoy.  This will automatically get you free Silver Elite status.  This has few real benefits except for a 10% bonus on base points earned from Marriott hotel stays.

Much more interestingly, it means that you are 15 nights closer to earning Gold Elite, Platinum Elite or Titanium Elite status.  This is where the card has real value. If you were currently doing, say, 35 nights at Marriott hotels per year, you would be crazy not to get this card in order to hit the 50 nights required for Platinum Elite.

Officially, new cardmembers will receive their 15 elite night credits within 60 days of applying.  In subsequent years, the 15 elite nights will be credited by 1st March.

Unofficially, new cardmembers are receiving their 15 elite night credits within a few days of signing up. As an existing cardholder, I received my 15 nights for 2023 in the first week of January.

Get Gold Elite status for spending £15,000:

Spend £15,000 per year on the card and you will receive Gold Elite status in Marriott Bonvoy. The benefits of this are modest, though, and you can get Gold Elite for free simply by taking out an American Express Platinum card. 

You would also receive Gold Elite status by staying just 10 nights, once you add in the 15 elite night credits that come with the card.

Get a free night for spending £25,000:

Spend £25,000 per year and you receive a voucher for a free hotel night. However, this can only be used at hotels costing up to 25,000 points which basically knocks out any expensive and / or aspirational hotels. Given the huge amount of spending required to trigger the free night, this restriction makes little sense.

(If the free night was valid anywhere, I might be prepared to go for it. A free night a year at the Gritti Palace in Venice is not a bad way to spend your time and is not a bad return on £25,000 of spend. You won’t find anything too luxurious up to 25,000 points.)

You will be allowed to top up the 25,000 points free night voucher with up to 15,000 points from your Bonvoy account allowing you to book a room costing up to 40,000 Marriott Bonvoy points.

Mariott Bonvoy American Express credit card review

What is the Marriott Bonvoy Amex annual fee?

There is a £75 annual fee.

Until 2nd October 2023, you receive a pro-rata refund if you cancel. This benefit will be removed on that date.

What do I earn per £1 spent on the card?

The earnings rate on the card is 2 Marriott Bonvoy points per £1.

You will receive triple points (6 per £1) when using the card at any Marriott hotel.

What is a Marriott Bonvoy point worth?

Based on my recent hotel redemptions, I am happy to say that you should be able to get 0.5p per point without much trouble and, on an expensive night, far more – click for a longer article on this topic.

This means that you should be able to get £100 of value from the 20,000 Marriott Bonvoy points you will receive as a sign-up bonus.

The airline conversion rate is also generous. 60,000 points is worth 25,000 miles with most of their airline partners, including Avios and Virgin Flying Club. This puts a floor under their value – if you assume airline miles are worth 1p then this gives you a floor value of 0.42p per Bonvoy point given the conversion ratio above.

If you live in London, Marriott Bonvoy has a private suite at the O2 Arena and makes seats with full hospitality available for points redemption for many concerts.  The Marriott Moments site shows you some of the other great experiences you can bid for with points.

How does the Marriott Bonvoy Amex compare to a cashback credit card?

The majority of UK credit cards offering ‘retail rewards’ – those from Marks & Spencer, Tesco, Sainsburys, John Lewis etc – give you 0.1% to 0.25% back on what you spend.

For an average spender, the Marriott Bonvoy American Express credit card offers only average value.  If you manage to redeem for free hotel nights at 0.5p+ per point of value, you are getting 1.0% of your spending in rewards BUT you are paying a £75 annual fee.

The real value comes if:

  • you are happy to pay the £75 fee primarily to get the 15 elite night credits and the 2 points per £1 is just the icing on top
  • you are a high spender, so the £75 annual fee doesn’t make a big difference to your return
  • you spend a lot at Marriott hotels to benefit from 6 points per £1
Mariott Bonvoy American Express credit card review

Is the Marriott Bonvoy Amex a good card to use when travelling?

Not really.  As American Express adds a 3% foreign exchange fee, you might want to get a separate free credit card to use abroad.

Unfortunately there are no credit cards with 0% foreign exchange fees worldwide which earn airline or hotel points. (The Virgin Atlantic credit cards have 0% FX fees in the Eurozone.)  One option is to get a free card from Currensea. Currensea is a simple but clever idea. You pay abroad with your Currensea Mastercard debit card. Currensea translates the cost to Sterling with just a 0.5% fee (83% less than Amex charges) and withdraws the money from your bank account. You can find out more by clicking here. Currensea is free so there is no risk in giving it a try.

If someone else is refunding your expenses – which means you don’t care about the 3% FX fee – it is certainly a good card to use at Marriott Bonvoy hotels.  You will earn 6 points per £1 spent.

It is a GREAT card to use at Marriott hotels in the UK. You will earn 6 points per £1 which is effectively a 3% return on your spending.

Other points to note

It is worth remembering that Marriott Bonvoy offers transfers to 40+ different airlines. For many of these airlines, the Marriott Bonvoy credit card is the only way for a UK resident to earn in that programme via card spend.

You can apply for the card with a minimum personal income of just £20,000.

American Express has been running regular cashback promotions with Marriott across its UK credit cards. The offers to holders of the Marriott Bonvoy American Express card are usually better than those offered on other cards, and could on their own justify the £75 annual card fee.

How else can you earn Marriott Bonvoy points from a credit card?

There are two interesting options, one of which is initially free.

The American Express Preferred Rewards Gold credit card offers 20,000 Membership Rewards points for signing up and is free for the first year. These convert to 30,000 Marriott Bonvoy points.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

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

The American Express Platinum credit card usually offers 30,000 Membership Rewards points for signing up. These convert to 45,000 Marriott Bonvoy points.

You also receive Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status with The Platinum Card. It has a £575 fee, refunded pro-rata if you cancel.

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review


The sign-up bonus on the Marriott Bonvoy American Express is good. You will receive 20,000 points, which also converts to 6,667 airline miles or roughly £100 of free hotel rooms.

Whilst this sounds OK, the £75 annual fee reduces the value. You can, of course, cancel the card after earning the bonus for a pro-rata refund of the annual fee.  Cancelling after two months, for example, would mean a £62.50 fee refund and a net cost for your bonus miles of only £12.50.

The on-going earning rate is average.  If you are committed to transferring to a specific airline then you may be better off with a dedicated airline card.  However, if you transfer to qualifying airlines in batches of 60,000 to generate the 5,000 bonus miles then you are getting 0.825 airline miles per £1. The Marriott Bonvoy American Express also gives you flexibility to transfer to many different airlines or to redeem for hotel rooms.

If you are seeking airline miles with an airline which does not otherwise have a UK card partner, this card could be a good choice. For many airlines, eg Air Canada Aeroplan, the Marriott Bonvoy Amex is the only way to earn miles via a credit card at a respectable rate.

For anyone keen to earn or retain Marriott Bonvoy elite status, you should get the card. You receive an easy 15 elite night credits each year.

The application form for the Marriott Bonvoy American Express card can be found here.

(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’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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. The site discusses products offered by lenders but is not a lender itself. Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as an independent credit broker.

Comments (19)

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

  • Polly says:

    They certainly do offer good point earning promos, for those holding the card continuously. We aim for the W in Singapore every year, a 5n stay. So those current restaurant offers help to accumulate the points.
    The MHV offers are good also. 3n in KL with that offer, got us an extra 10.5k points.
    OTOH they took from July to March to apply a £75 credit owed from the 200/75 offer last summer. A Paris stay, the day before the offer ended. They tried not to include the fx fee. Finally, Amex saw sense.

  • Kevin says:

    Apparently not every Marriott Amex will receives 200/75 offer just to be aware.

  • Jared says:

    How would this card play into an established Marriot account that was started in the US? I am an expat in the UK and am wondering if this card would be a way to continue boosting my Marriot elite level while I am converting my life to GBP, thoughts?

    • Rob says:

      No idea if your Marriott account must have a UK address to receive the night credits.

    • Sharka says:

      You are better off getting the US cards: the earning is better and you can get Plat status from one of the cards alone (plus 30 elite nights per year) and offset the fee with $25 a month restaurant credit (works internationally). You do not get elite nights for both US and UK cards if you hold them both: it caps out, but you could get an additional 15 from the US business card (so, 30 in total with the cheap personal + business or 45 with the Brilliant card + business).

    • Joey says:

      It doesn’t seem to matter where your Bonvoy account is registered. And I’ve heard lots of people getting cobranded cards in more than just one country for the same account. Also you can change your account address anytime.

  • Freddy says:

    Ahh the card which had a great earn rate and was trashed with a added bonus of devaluation shortly afterwards

  • Sean says:

    If I’ve received 15 elite night credits this year through a US Marriott card, and then applied to this, would I get an additional 15 elite night credits?

  • m says:

    For me, the most underwhelming and uninspiring card in the American Express portfolio.

    • Harry T says:

      This is only really a good card if you stay at Marriott hotels fairly frequently. It make achieving Platinum or Titanium status easier for me, and I save a few hundred quid a year with the enhanced Marriott rebate offers.

      • tw33ty says:

        I use this card for stays at Marriott, if you spend more than £3300 in Marriott hotels over the year, then it pays for the £75 card fee from getting the extra points vs paying on another Amex card and transferring the points.
        Plus, you get more Amex spend offers and if you get a sup card, then you get them doubled

  • Jonathan says:

    For the purpose of collecting for airline programs that can only be collected via UK credit card spend using Marriott like Air Canada Aeroplan / ANA Mileage Club etc., how does this card’s earning rates stack up against Amex Gold ?
    (Assuming you never go near Marriott hotels)

    Rob has mentioned above that this is the only card with a decent earning rate if that’s the primary goal, although Amex Gold can earn up to 1.5 MR points per pound, and double points when you spend directly with an airline, as well as the bulk of the annual fee refunded if you order a fair amount of Deliveroo, along with 4x airport lounge passes

    • Rob says:

      Up to £25k, Gold is giving you 1.5 points per £1 (assuming your annual spend is an exact multiple of £5k). This is 2.25 Bonvoy points per £1 so, yes, a higher earning rate into Aeroplan etc.

      Whether this justifies the higher Gold free (and of course, as you say, Deliveroo, airline bonus, lounge access etc are all factors) is a personal thing I think.

  • Robert says:

    Thanks for these card reviews. I’ll be close to 35 nights this year so makes sense for me to apply for it. Does having the BAPP AmEx card effect my eligibility?

    • Chas says:

      I don’t think you’ll get the SUB if that’s what you mean (Rob’s articles on maximising those always state to get this card, or the Nectar one first)?

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

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