Improvements To The Marriott Business Credit Card

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The Chase Marriott consumer cards got a refresh in February. We learned about (not great) changes to the premium Marriott consumer card coming in September, with the $300 Marriott credit being swapped out for a $25 per month dining credit.

However there’s still been strategizing around the Marriott business cards until now.

  • American Express is the exclusive issuer of new Marriott small business co-brands – Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card
  • Chase still services legacy small business cards they issued prior to the launch of Bonvoy and the integration of the Marriott, Starwood, and Ritz-Carlton programs
  • These changes apply to both American Express and to Chase’s Marriott Bonvoy Premier Plus Business Credit Card

Cardmembers are going to receive several new benefits, which are all improvements over the current versions of the card.

  • Room booking discount. Cardmembers can book a 7% Marriott Bonvoy Room Rate Discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms when booking Bonvoy-participating properties through direct channels.

  • Improved earning on restaurant spend. 4x earning on restaurant spend will no longer be limited to the U.S.

  • Better elite status. The card will confer Gold status instead of Silver.

    American Express and Marriott have a bigger bonus offer to promote the refresh of the Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card with 125,000 Marriott Bonvoy points after $5,000 in eligible purchases in the first three months, available through August 31, 2022.

    7% Discount Has Some Use Cases

    A 7% discount is going to be better than the ‘member rate’ which I find to generally be just a 2% discount, but for U.S. hotels it isn’t going to beat the AAA rate (which on a capacity-controlled basis sometimes gives me 14% off).

    The nice thing about the 7% off rate is that Marriott tells me it will usually be available,

    The 7% discount rate will have a high level of availability when standard rooms are available. There may be times when demand is very high, such as special events, and the rate is unavailable even if standard rooms are available.

    Note that it only lets you discount a standard room, and not premium inventory.

    Gold Status

    They should give this to all cardholders to begin with. Having the card gets you 15 nights towards status. Having a personal card and small business card gets you 30 nights. “Automatic silver” is basically meaningless since it only requires 10 nights anyway. Gold requires 25, two credit cards gets you Gold without a single stay. And the only benefit of Gold I consider meaningful is 2 p.m. late check-out .. plus, in theory, it should help you avoid the room over the HVAC.

    Benefits start in earnest at Platinum, though even there don’t expect a lot beyond breakfast or club access, and research hotels in advance to see how compliant they are with the program.

    Slightly Improved Earn

    It’s not much of a change, the card bonuses spend at restaurants abroad, which largely means consumers don’t feel the need to stop spending on the card when traveling overseas (or won’t be disappointed later if they didn’t realize they weren’t earning at an accelerated rate until actually doing the spend). Either way, it’s a win for American Express because it either avoids unhappy customers or avoids having customers stop using their card for a trip and then potentially not start using it again.

    Think of 4 Marriott points as being worth 1.8 to 2 cents, so this isn’t a strong earn card for dining anyway or for its other 4x earning categories of U.S. gas station purchases, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers, and U.S. shipping purchases.

    Similarly you’ll do better on other cards with 3x transferable points earning even on your Marriott spend than putting your stays on the card.

    Changes Are A Plus For Cardmembers

    Ultimately Marriott and its card issuers are not taking anything away here, and they’re making the card somewhat better. That’s good for those who have or will get the card. But it’s not anything revolutionary.

    Why I Remain A Cardmember

    Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card gives 15 annual elite nights, which can be stacked with the 15 nights from a Marriott consumer card. It also provides an Annual Free Night Award after card renewal month which I consider to be worth more than the card’s annual fee. (See rates and fees)

    Get the card spurred on by the initial bonus, keep the card for the elite nights and free night award, but it’s not a card for ongoing spend.

    Notably for those who do spend on the card though it earns an additional Free Night Award upon spending $60,000 in purchases on the card in a calendar year. These free night awards can be used for nights costing 35,000 points or less, or topped off with up to 15,000 additional Bonvoy points Of course destination and resort fees apply on Marriott redemptions (unlike Hilton or Hyatt).

    For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card, click here.

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