We give an overview of co-branded credit cards that earn Marriott points to help you figure out which card is best for you.
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.
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
|Card||Rewards rate||Introductory bonus||Annual fee|
|Limited Time Offer: Earn 60,000 Bonus Points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening||$0|
|Limited Time Offer: 125,000 Bonus Points and 1 Free Night Award (value up to 50,000 points) after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening||$95|
|Limited Time Offer: Earn 125,000 points and 2 bonus Free Night Awards (redemption of up to 50,000 points per night) if you spend $5,000 in eligible purchases in the first 3 months (offer ends 11/3/2021)||$125|
|Limited Time Offer: 150,000 points and a bonus Free Night Award after you make $5,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of card membership. Resort fees may apply. Terms apply. Offer expires 11/3/2021||$450|
What is the best Marriott credit card?
Since there are quite a few options when it comes to credit cards that earn Marriott loyalty points, which card will work best for you depends on your specific situation.
Here’s a breakdown of what each Marriott Bonvoy card is best for.
For Marriott loyalists looking to earn more loyalty points – without shelling out an annual fee – the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card is a great introduction to a co-branded card. The card offers:
- 3 points per dollar on eligible purchases at participating hotels
- 2 points per dollar on travel purchases
- 1 point per dollar on other purchases
The Bold card does come with a relatively low sign-up bonus compared to other Marriott cards, so you won’t be able to score as many free nights.
See related: How much are Marriott points worth?
Entry-level annual-fee card
If you’re just jumping into 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:
- 6 points per dollar on eligible purchases at participating hotels
- 2 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
The card’s unique introductory bonus also offers a lot of potential value. Earn 125,000 bonus points and 1 Free Night Award (value up to 50,000 points) after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. If you’re looking to collect free stays, 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:
- 6 points per dollar on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
- 4 points per dollar spent on a handful of business-related categories
- 2 points per dollar on all other purchases
The business card currently has a limited time offer of 125,000 points plus 2 bonus Free Night Awards (redemption of up to 50,000 points per night) after spending $5,000 on purchases within your first three months (offer ends 11/3/2021)
It also comes with other business-focused benefits – including the ability to issue employee cards with individual limits – 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:
- Up to a $300 hotel statement credit each year at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
- Priority Pass Select membership
- Up to a $100 credit for TSA Precheck or Global Entry
- A free night award worth up to 50,000 points on your cardmember anniversary (certain hotels have resort fees)
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 statement credit – but only if you stay in hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program. 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 offers 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.
Rewards extensions due to COVID-19
To make up for the situation regarding the coronavirus, Marriott plans to compensate its Marriott Bonvoy members, although benefits may vary depending on members’ location.
Bonvoy members who earned elite status for 2020 can enjoy their benefits extended through February 2022.
Points set to expire by February 2021 will be paused, and no points will expire until after that time period.
Other Marriott Bonvoy rewards
Any active free night awards (as part of Marriott credit cards or packages) that are set to expire on March 1, 2020, will be extended through Aug. 1, 2021. In addition, more recent certificates set to expire before July 31, 2021, also will be extended through that date. Suite night awards set to expire by Dec. 31, 2020, will be valid through Dec. 31, 2021.
Bonvoy members can get more information on Marriott’s COVID-19 page.
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.
Is a Marriott credit card hard to get?
Marriott Bonvoy credit cards are premium travel credit cards, and as such, they generally require good or excellent credit for approval. Still, it might be possible to get approved with a lower score, but your APR will likely be higher.
Note that Marriott Bonvoy Bold and Boundless are Chase credit cards, which makes them subject to the 5/24 rule. This unofficial rule may prevent you from being approved for a Chase credit card if you have opened five or more credit cards in the last 24 months (excluding most business cards).
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 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.