Best Marriott Credit Card: Which One is Right for You?
There are multiple co-branded Marriott Rewards credit cards from both Chase and American Express. Which one is right for you depends on your spending habits, but any Marriott card is a good choice for someone who regularly stays at Marriott or partner hotels.
If you’re looking for a great hotel credit card and tend to stay at Marriott hotels when you travel, you’re in luck. Marriott Rewards recently merged with Starwood Preferred Guest to create a bigger (and more flexible) loyalty program called Marriott Bonvoy.
These Marriott credit cards offer valuable rewards as part of the new Marriott Bonvoy program, including both Chase credit cards and American Express credit cards. These Marriott cards come with different annual fees, rewards points, and perks — the best one for you will depend on your specific travel and spending habits.
This roundup of the best Marriott credit cards will provide the insight you need to make an informed decision.
On this page:
Best Marriott Credit Cards
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card from Chase
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card
- Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card from Chase
on Chase’s secure website
- Annual Fee: $95
- APR: 18.24% – 25.24%
- Benefits: 100,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 in first 3 months; 6x points at Marriott Bonvoy hotels, 2x points on all other purchases
- Category: Hotel Credit Cards
The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless credit card is likely the best Marriott card for people who are just getting into the Marriott Rewards program. It’s also ideal for more casual travelers who aren’t particularly Marriott enthusiasts — the $95 is more than worth it, considering the card’s free night award and exceptional signup bonus. Further, the Bonvoy Boundless credit card offers generous rewards on Marriott hotel stays and double points on everyday purchases.
APR and Fees
The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless charges a $95 annual fee, which is not waived the first calendar year. There’s no 0% introductory interest rate for purchases, which means you will have to pay interest charges right away if you choose to not pay your statement balance in full. No intro APR on balance transfers means the card isn’t suited to those looking to transfer or consolidate existing high-interest credit card debt.
On the plus side, there are no foreign transaction fees, so travelers can use the card outside of the U.S. without incurring any additional costs.
If you want an inexpensive hotel rewards card with the flexibility to redeem points with more than 250 airlines and car rental companies, the Bonvoy Boundless is a good card for you. But if you’re a Marriott loyalist looking for more comprehensive rewards, you may wish to consider the Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card instead.
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card
- Annual Fee: $450
- APR: 17.99% – 26.99%
- Benefits: 75,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 in first 3 months; 6x points at Marriott Bonvoy hotels, 3x points at US restaurants and flights booked directly with airlines, 2x points on all other purchases
- Category: Hotel Credit Cards
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express card has a high $450 annual fee, but if you spend enough money at Marriott hotels, the fee is more than worth it. With this fee comes many additional perks, including up to $300 in annual statement credits for eligible purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels; a $100 credit for a minimum two-night stay at the Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis; and bonus rewards at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines.
APR & Fees
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant has an APR of 17.99% to 26.99%, depending on creditworthiness. There is no promotional APR for either purchases or balance transfers either, so interest starts accruing right away if you don’t pay off your bill in full. Like the Bonvoy Boundless, the card does not charge a foreign transaction fee so you can use it outside of the U.S. without incurring additional costs.
The Bonvoy Brilliant comes with a $450 annual fee, which is significantly more than the Bonvoy Boundless but on par with other premium travel cards such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
Unsurprisingly, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant and Marriott Bonvoy Boundless share many common features, including the same signup bonus, one free hotel night after your account anniversary, and travel perks like free in-room Wi-Fi, travel accident insurance, and no foreign transaction fees.
However, the Bonvoy Brilliant does provide some impressive additional benefits in exchange for its higher annual fee. For serious travelers who will definitely benefit from the added perks, the $450 can be worth paying. But if you only stay at the Marriott occasionally, the cheaper Boundless card is likely the better choice.
Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card
- Annual Fee: $125
- APR: 17.99% – 26.99%
- Benefits: 75,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 in first 3 months; 6x points at Marriott Bonvoy hotels; 4x points at US restaurants, gas stations, or wireless telephone services; 2x points on all other purchases
- Category: Business Credit Cards
The Marriott business credit card is a great option for companies that frequently purchase corporate travel at Marriott hotels. Not only do cardmembers get sixx the Marriott points for purchases at Bonvoy hotels, but they can also earn fourx the points for gas, wireless phone service, and shipping. Shipping and phone service are often big expenses for companies.
APR and Fees
The Bonvoy Business card comes with a $125 annual fee that isn’t waived in the first year. It also has a standard variable APR between 17.99% and 26.99%. Just like the other Marriott cards in this review, the Bonvoy Business card has no foreign transaction fees and does not offer a 0% intro APR for purchases or balance transfers.
The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex has a slightly higher annual fee than the Bonvoy Boundless, but that’s understandable considering this card is geared toward businesses versus employees. For this extra $30, get the chance to earn four points per dollar spent on gas, wireless phone service, or shipping, giving business cardholders the opportunity to save big on what may be significant recurring expenditures.
The extra $30 fee is worth it if your company will charge at least $60,000 on the card each year to earn the second free room or if you incur enough extra points for shipping, wireless phone service, and gas. Of course, you also need to make sure you aren’t better off with the Bonvoy Brilliant.
If you won’t hit the $60,000 spending goal and the annual fee associated with the Bonvoy Brilliant isn’t worth it for you, the Bonvoy Boundless may be a better option thanks to the slightly lower annual fee.
How Does Marriott Elite Status Work?
One of the biggest benefits of these Marriott credit cards is that you can earn elite status with one of the world’s largest hotel chains. Depending on which card you get, you’ll automatically earn either Gold Elite Status or Silver Elite Status and can move up to a higher tier if you stay a certain number of nights at Marriott hotels annually.
Elite benefits include the following:
- Silver Elite status is available to customers who stay at least 10 nights annually at Marriott hotels or who have the Bonvoy Boundless or Bonvoy Business cards. Benefits include a 10% points bonus on hotel stays, priority late checkout, a dedicated elite reservation line, an unlimited reservation guarantee, free in-room Wi-Fi, exclusive member rates, and instant point redemption with no blackout dates.
- Gold Elite status is available to customers who stay at least 25 nights annually at Marriott hotels or who are Bonvoy Brilliant cardholders. Benefits include a 25% points bonus on hotel stays, enhanced room upgrades, 2 p.m. late checkout, a welcome gift of points, free in-room Wi-Fi, exclusive member rates, a dedicated reservation line, and no blackout dates.
- Platinum Elite status is available to customers who stay at least 50 nights per year at Marriott hotels. You get a Platinum welcome gift at check-in, room upgrades (including to a Select Suite), a 50% points bonus on hotel stays, and all of the benefits of the lower tiers. You also get 4:00 p.m. checkout, lounge access, and an annual gift of your choice.
- Titanium Elite status is available if you stay at Marriott hotels for at least 75 nights per year. This comes with a 75% points bonus on hotel stays, room upgrades (including Select Suites), a Titanium welcome gift, lounge access, a 4:00 p.m. checkout time, and all of the other benefits Elite members receive.
- Ambassador Elite status is available to those who stay at least 100 nights per year and at least $20,000 on qualified Marriot hotel purchases. Benefits for this status include the flexibility to choose any 24-hour period for your stay, ambassador service to provide personal assistance with your stays, a welcome gift of your choice, a 75% points bonus on hotel stays, enhanced room upgrades, lounge access, 4:00 p.m. checkout, and all of the other benefits Elite members enjoy.
As you can see, Marriott Elite status comes with ample perks — and you can earn even more benefits by staying loyal to Marriott hotels.
Are Marriott Credit Cards Worth it?
Marriott credit cards offer pretty good perks when it comes to hotel cards. They provide more versatile options for earning bonus rewards than some competitor hotel cards, such as the Hyatt credit card. Not all hotel cards offer opportunities for an automatic free night, either, nor do they all provide the chance to redeem points for more than hotel purchases (such as partner airlines and car rental providers).
Of course, the Marriott cards aren’t as flexible as general-purpose travel credit cards that provide bonus rewards for more types of travel spending, such as airline tickets and stays at all additional hotel brands. Marriott credit cards also provide fewer options for reward redemption.
Still, the annual fee for the Boundless is typically covered by the free room, and even the Brilliant’s annual fee can be worth paying if you’re able to take advantage of all of the perks the card offers. It all comes down to whether you stay regularly at the Marriott. If you do, one of these cards may be a good one for you.
As you can see, you have several different options if you’re interested in a Marriott credit card. The Bonvoy rewards program gives you the flexibility to redeem points at many hotels and with airline partners, and each card has its own perks and benefits so there’s a card account that’s perfect for every Marriott customer.
Author: Christy Rakoczy
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