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Our quick take: The Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card makes it easy to earn Marriott Bonvoy points on business travel and other business spending. You can easily recoup the annual fee in the first year with the card’s welcome bonus, and perks like automatic elite status and purchase protections bring even more value to the table.
- Earn 6 points for every dollar you spend at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program.
- Earn 4 points per dollar on purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
- Earn 2 points per dollar on all other purchases.
- Complimentary Marriott Silver elite status.
- Receive a Free Night Award on your card member anniversary that can be used at any Marriott costing up to 35,000 points.
- No foreign transaction fees or fees for employee cards (see rates and fees).
- Marriott Bonvoy points aren’t as valuable as some other hotel points.
- High APR for purchases.
- $125 annual fee (see rates and fees).
Current welcome bonus: Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months after opening the account, plus up to $150 back in statement credits on eligible purchases made on your new card within the first three months.
Best for: Business travelers who want to earn hotel rewards for stays at Marriott as well as getting a boost when earning elite status with Marriott.
Introducing the Marriott Business Amex card
If you’re looking for a business credit card that earns hotel rewards, the Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card is worth considering. Not only will you earn extra points for every dollar you spend on Marriott hotel stays, as well as several other popular business categories, you’ll find a number of perks that can make the card pay for itself every year.
It all starts with the card’s welcome bonus. Right now, new Marriott Business Amex card members can earn 75,000 bonus points when you spend $5,000 within the first three months after opening the account, plus up to $150 back in statement credits on eligible purchases made on your new card within the first three months.
Frequent flyer website The Points Guy values Marriott points at 0.6 cents apiece, so at that rate, those 75,000 bonus points are worth $450 in travel. Add in the $150 in statement credits and you’re looking at a total bonus of $600.
Earning 6 points per dollar on Marriott purchases is great if you stay at Marriott hotels on a regular basis, but even when you’re at home, you should be able to rack up rewards quickly with 4 points per dollar at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping, and 2x points on other purchases.
The Marriott Business Amex card comes with complimentary Marriott Silver elite status, which isn’t the best elite status and is primarily useful for late checkout. However, separately, the card gives you 15 Elite Night Credits toward Marriott elite status every calendar year, which makes it easier to climb to higher levels of status within the Marriott Bonvoy program. Even better, you can stack the 15 Elite Night Credits from this card with the 15 Elite Night Credits from any of the personal Marriott credit cards.
Advantages of the Marriott Business Amex card
If your goal is earning Marriott points on your business expenses, the Marriott Business Amex card offers a big advantage with its relatively long list of bonus categories, automatic Silver Elite status and several perks to boot. By having the card, you’ll get premium internet access when you stay at Marriott hotels and access to Amex Offers, which can help you earn additional cash back on eligible purchases.
The Marriott Business Amex also comes with a surprising number of consumer benefits, including protection against damage or theft for up to 90 days on the items you buy with the card, and an extended warranty on eligible items that come with a manufacturer’s warranty of five years or less. Card members also get a baggage insurance plan and secondary auto rental coverage as standard perks.
But the best annual perk of the card starts with the second year you have the card. Each year on your account anniversary, you’ll get a Free Night Award that can be used at any Marriott property that normally costs up to 35,000 points per night on the Marriott award chart. That means you can use it at any Category 1-5 property at any time of year, Category 6 hotels during standard and off-peak dates and Category 7 properties during off-peak dates.
If you can utilize this certificate each year at a property that would otherwise cost $125 per night or more, you’ve covered the annual cost of the card just with the Free Night Award. And you can earn a second Free Night Award each year when you spend $60,000 on the card in a calendar year.
Finally, the Marriott Business Amex is also free of foreign transaction fees, so you won’t have to pay additional charges on purchases you make when you travel for business abroad, and it also doesn’t charge any fees for employee cards, so you can give cards to your employees and earn rewards on their business purchases as well as your own.
Disadvantages of the Marriott Business Amex card
The biggest downside of the Marriott Business Amex card is its $125 annual fee. The welcome bonus of 75,000 points can more than make up for this fee in the first year, but you may have to reassess its value after that if you don’t stay at Marriott hotels very often.
Unfortunately, the card also doesn’t have a huge swath of perks. Complimentary Silver elite status is better than nothing, but if your aim is Marriott elite status, the 15 Elite Night Credits are probably more useful. The $60,000 threshold to earn a second Free Night Award each year after you get the welcome bonus is also extremely high.
Finally, this definitely isn’t a credit card that you’ll want to carry a balance with. The card’s high APR can be crushing if you’re a business owner who doesn’t pay their credit card balance in full every month. If you’re looking to carry some debt on a credit card, you’ll be better off with one that offers an introductory interest rate on purchases.
Stacking up the Marriott Business Amex card against our benchmark
CNN Underscored uses the Citi® Double Cash Card as our “benchmark” credit card. That doesn’t mean it’s the best credit card on the market — rather, it means we use it as a basic standard to compare other credit cards and see where they score better, and where they’re worse.
Here’s how the Marriott Business Amex scores against our benchmark. The features of each card in the below chart are colored in green, red or white. Green indicates a card feature that’s better than our benchmark, red indicates the feature is worse than our benchmark and white indicates the feature is either equivalent or cannot be directly compared to our benchmark.
When you compare credit cards, you’ll come across many different types of rewards programs. While the Marriott Business Amex is a good option for people who want to earn hotel loyalty points on all their business expenses, hotel credit cards in general don’t make sense for everyone.
For instance, The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express could be a better option for people who prefer to earn flexible travel points on all their purchases, as well as those who need some time to pay off large purchases when they first get the card, thanks to the card’s introductory interest rate on purchases.
Before you sign up for a new credit card, it makes sense to compare all the best business credit cards, including cards that earn hotel points, travel rewards and even cash back. You can also consider pairing more than one type of credit card so you get the best of all worlds.
Other credit cards similar to the Marriott Business Amex card
There’s only one business credit card that exclusively earns Marriott points, but if you’re looking at Marriott credit cards in particular, there are quite a few options on the personal side of the ledger, ranging from no-fee to luxury, and you can have both a personal Marriott credit card and a business version at the same time.
The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card is the chain’s midtier card and has perks that are similar to the Marriott Business Amex card. However, if you’d prefer to not pay for a credit card each year, the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card earns Marriott points and has no annual fee, though it has very few perks beyond the basics.
For those looking to be treated like a VIP when you’re staying at Marriott hotels, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card is a premium option. It’s not cheap at $450 each year (see rates and fees), but you’ll get a ton of perks, including up to $300 in annual Marriott credits, complimentary Marriott Gold elite status, a Priority Pass airport lounge membership and more.
Also, the Marriott Bonvoy program is a transfer partner of both Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards. This means you can rack up points in either program and transfer them to your Marriott account later on, or to any of dozens of other programs. If you’re curious about cards that let you transfer points to Marriott, check out the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, The Platinum Card® from American Express and the American Express® Gold Card.
Should you get the Marriott Business Amex card?
It never hurts to take your time when comparing credit cards to find the right fit. Take the time to see how other business credit cards stack up, and only apply for the card that suits your needs and rewards goals.
With that said, business owners who want to earn more Marriott hotel points on their business-related travel and spending should consider the Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card. It’s a good choice for Marriott fans looking for a sizable haul of Marriott points, some nice perks and a free night each year.
Find out which cards CNN Underscored chose as our best credit cards of 2021.