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Which Marriott credit card is best for you?

Marriott has added new co-branded credit cards, offering more earning categories and more options for introductory bonuses

Summary

We give an overview of cards that earn Marriott points to help you figure out which card is best for you.

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Since the merger between Marriott Rewards, Ritz Carlton and Starwood Preferred Guest concluded in August of 2018, hotel loyalists with these brands have more ways to earn and use points than ever before.

One major benefit of the merger is the fact that you have a choice of co-branded hotel credit cards from both Chase and American Express, each of which comes with a generous introductory bonus.

There are three personal credit cards to consider alongside a business credit card that can make earning rewards on your business-related expenses a profitable endeavor. The benefits, rewards and fees for these cards vary, however, which is why it’s important to explore and compare all your options.

Here’s a rundown of the Marriott Bonvoy credit cards to consider this year:

Best Marriott Rewards credit cards

CardRewards rateIntroductory bonusAnnual fee

Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card

  • 3 points per dollar at Marriott Bonvoy properties
  • 2 points per dollar on travel purchases
  • 1 point per dollar on other purchases
30,000 points if you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months$0

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card

  • 6 points per dollar on Marriott Bonvoy properties
  • 2 points per dollar on other purchases
75,000 points if you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months$95

Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express Card®

  • 6 points per dollar on Marriott Bonvoy properties
  • 4 points per dollar at U.S. gas stations, U.S. restaurants, U.S. shipping, internet, and U.S. wireless phone spending
  • 2 points per dollar on other purchases
75,000 points if you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months$125

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card

  • 6 points per dollar on Marriott Bonvoy properties
  • 3 points per dollar at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines
  • 2 points per dollar on other purchases
75,000 points if you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months$450

No-annual-fee card

For Marriott loyalists looking to earn more loyalty points – without shelling out an annual fee – the new Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card is a great introduction to a co-branded card. The card offers:

  • Three points per dollar on purchases within the hotel brand
  • Two points per dollar on travel purchases
  • One point per dollar on other purchases

The Bold card does come with a much lower sign-up bonus than other Marriott cards, so you won’t be able to score as many free nights.

Entry-level annual-fee card

If you’re just jumping into to the hotel rewards game, but don’t mind paying a small annual fee to unlock plush benefits, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card is a good entry point into the Marriott Bonvoy program. The card offers:

  • Six points per dollar on purchases within the hotel brand
  • Two points per dollar on all other purchases
  • A free night each year on your cardmember anniversary, bookable at properties that cost 35,000 points or less

For a limited time, the card also offers a higher introductory bonus than Marriott’s luxury-level card for a much lower annual fee. If you’re looking to collect a large amount of points all at once, the Boundless card is your best option.

Business credit card

The Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card  offers the same earning rate on Marriott purchases as the personal card on purchases, plus a generous bonus on business-related purchases:

  • Six points per dollar on purchases within the hotel brand
  • Four points per dollar spent on a handful of business-related categories
  • Two points per dollar on all other purchases

The business card offers a slightly smaller introductory bonus than the Bonvoy Boundless card, but it comes with a higher $125 fee. It does come with other business-focused benefits – including the ability to issue employee cards with individual limits, not to mention the bonus points on certain business purchases  – making it a good option for small employers who want to earn points off of their employees’ business purchases.

Luxury credit card

If you’re in the market for a luxury hotel credit card, you’ll also want to consider the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card. This unique card offering boasts an array of benefits, including:

  • A $300 hotel credit each year
  • Priority Pass Select membership
  • Up to a $100 credit for TSA Precheck or Global Entry
  • A free night worth up to 50,000 points on your cardmember anniversary

While these perks are worth considering, you should also note this card’s $450 annual fee. This fee can be offset with the $300 annual hotel credit but only if you stay in Marriott and Starwood hotels. If you’re not planning any hotel stays within a year, the annual fee may eclipse the value of the card’s other benefits.

Earning elite status

The Marriott cards can help you climb the ladder toward elite status much faster. While this may not matter to you if you’re not a hotel loyalist, the little boosts you get toward status with a hotel card can make a huge difference if you’re a frequent traveler or a business traveler who loves the perks that status brings.

  • The Bonvoy Bold card offers 15 elite night credits each calendar year – enough to qualify for Silver status.
  • The Bonvoy Boundless card and Bonvoy Business card offer automatic Silver status to cardholders. Cardholders can also get an upgrade to Gold status by spending $35,000 on one of these cards in a year. The Bonvoy Boundless card also offers 15 Elite night credits, bringing you closer to Gold status.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant cardholders are granted Gold Elite status when they sign up. Card members can earn Platinum status by spending $75,000 on the card in a year.

Restrictions on introductory bonuses

Note that Marriott has placed restrictions on its introductory offers to prevent cardholders from opening and earning the bonus on more than one Marriott card at a time. If you currently own a Marriott card, you probably won’t be able to earn the introductory bonus on another Marriott card without closing your current card and waiting a few months to apply for the new card. Also, if you’ve recently earned a bonus on one of these cards, you’ll probably need to wait 24 months to be eligible to earn the bonus on another Marriott card.

You’ll need to check the terms and conditions for each offer to see which cards are included in the list of restricted cards for a particular card.

Which Marriott credit card is best for you?

Each of the Marriott card offerings has benefits, but the right card for you is the one that helps you earn the most benefits for the least out-of-pocket cost. Compare the cards and options above before you dive in, and you can start earning points and booking free hotel stays in no time.

Before you rush out to sign up for a hotel credit card, also make sure to compare all your options. The merger between Starwood Preferred Guest and Marriott Rewards made this hotel brand stronger and larger than ever before, but you should also explore credit cards that co-brand with Hilton, IHG Rewards and other hotel programs.

See Related: What are Marriott points worth?, How to earn the most Marriott points, Best ways to redeem Marriott points, Marriott elite benefits, Transferring Marriott points

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Published: June 11, 2019

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