Marriott Revamps Premium Credit Card, Launches Two New Mid-Tier Cards

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Marriott is introducing two new mid-tier cards – Marriott Bonvoy Bevy American Express® Card and the Marriott Bonvoy Bountiful™ Card from Chase – and the premium Marriott Bonvoy BrilliantTM American Express® Card is getting a new slate of benefits.

I don’t quite see the argument for the mid-tier cards, but the premium card product is going to appeal to a lot of customers that stay with Marriott but don’t earn Platinum status or above on their own.

New Mid-Tier Cards

The Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express Card and the Marriott Bonvoy Bountiful™ Card from Chase are $250 annual fee products which offer:

  • Initial bonus: Earn 125,000 Marriott Bonvoy points after they spend $4,000 in eligible purchases on the card in the first three months. The offer for the Amex co-brand is available through January 11, 2023 while the Chase product offer is available “into January 2023.”

  • Earning: 6X at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy; 4X on up to $15,000 in combined purchases per year at restaurants worldwide and at U.S. supermarkets; 2X on all other eligible purchases

  • Benefits: Complimentary Gold Elite status; 1,000 Marriott Bonvoy Bonus Points with each qualifying paid stay; annual Free Night Award (redemption level at or under 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy Points) after making $15,000 in purchases per year; 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year toward higher Elite status.

Spending on this card makes little sense, except perhaps at Marriott properties, though I believe earning 3X with either the Citi Premier® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve® is the better play, and the Marriott spend accelerator isn’t a real differentiator from the primary consumer card.

Meanwhile capping 4X earn at restaurants and supermarkets limits the upside there, and it’s only limited upside considering it represents a value of about 2% in these categories at $0.0065 per Marriott point to begin with.

The annual free night award is worth up to 50,000 points, but the primary and less expensive consumer card has offered a 35,000 point value free night without a spending requirement to get there. And complimentary Gold status doesn’t get you much value, in my view, beyond 2 p.m. late check-out. And most people with a Marriott credit card and a 15-night head start to status should earn Gold anyway, or else the focus on a Marriott co-brand seems inapposite.

What’s potentially interesting is 1000 bonus points (which I value at $6.50) per paid stay. Unfortunately it doesn’t apply to redemption stays, and isn’t awarded per-night. I just don’t see how this card is worth the annual fee increment over the base consumer card.

A Boost To The Annual Fee And Benefits Of The Premium Marriott Amex

The Marriott Bonvoy BrilliantTM American Express® Card is getting new benefits, and will come at a higher cost. Most important, the card will come with Platinum status (instead of requiring annual spend for status) and its annual free night becomes more valuable.

  • Initial bonus: earn 150,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after they spend $5,000 in eligible purchases on the Card in the first three months. The offer is available through January 11, 2023.

  • Earning: 6X on purchases at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy; 3X points at restaurants worldwide and on flights booked directly with airlines; and 2X points on all other eligible purchases. (Strikingly the bonus on restaurant spend is lower than with the mid-tier product.)

  • Elite status: Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite Status plus 25 Elite Night Credits each calendar year (instead of the former 15)

  • Annual free night: One Free Night Award each year after card renewal month that can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy. This is up from a 50,000 point free night certificate.

  • Credits: $300 per calendar year (up to $25 back per month) for dining purchases at restaurants worldwide (recently announced, replaces the $300 Marriott credit); Up to a $100 property credit for qualifying charges at Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis properties (requires booking direct with applicable rate for a 2+ night stay, and is based on the member rate); Application fee credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry

  • Spend threshold award: Starting in 2023, each calendar year cardmembers make $60,000 in purchases they’ll earn a choice awrd: an 85,000 point value free night award; 5 suite night awards; or $750 off a bed offered on Marriott Bonvoy Boutiques. [The free night seems clearly the most valuable.]

  • Additional benefit: Priority Pass Select Membership (enrollment required, excludes non-lounge experiences offered by Priority Pass)

The Marriott Bonvoy BrilliantTM American Express® Card annual fee will increase from $450 to $650. Existing cardmembers who opened accounts prior to September 22, 2022 will see the new fee on annual renewal dates beginning January 1, 2023.

Like the premium Hilton American Express which offers Diamond status, it’s now possible to receive a higher tier of Marriott status just with a premium American Express card. Whether or not the card otherwise ‘pays for itself’ depends on how you use the annual free night, in my view, unless of course you don’t already have a Priority Pass and place a value on that.

Personally I see real value in this card to make Marriott your backup program. I prefer Marriott over Hilton in this regard, and Marriott Platinum status offers a better published late check out benefit than Hilton’s Diamond status does. I’d use the free night, and make a dining charge each month to utilize the statement credit, and cover my fee – while giving myself a status that makes walking into a Marriott property better… without having to spend the nights to get to Platinum.

Of course Platinum isn’t that hard. The base Marriott co-brand and small business American Express cards each offer 15 free nights, so Platinum is just an incremental 20 nights if you have both of those.

On the other hand if you’re aiming for Titanium status, which gets Ritz-Carlton upgrades beyond what’s offered to Platinums, then the 25 nights which come with this card is better than 15 nights with lower fee products. It would be tough to mattress run those incremental nights for the additional cost of this card.

Sadly, spend on the card won’t help towards Ambassador status, since that’s based on spend with the chain alone. I would have liked to see an Ambassador spend waiver come with the changes to this card. Still, I’m an existing cardmember and I expect to keep the card for the year ahead.

New Benefit For Legacy Ritz-Carlton Card Customers

Those who have The Ritz-Carlton Rewards™ Card from Chase, which is no longer available for new applicants, will receive the new 85K Anniversary Free Night Award offered to customers of the premium American Express product. That card won’t see a higher annual fee.

Information about the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express Card and the Marriott Bonvoy Bountiful™ Card was not provided by their issuers. Neither Chase nor American Express are responsible for content about those products.

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

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