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American Express has had some amazing promotions over the last year for current cardholders, but they’ve been relatively quiet when it comes to new welcome offers. This was understandable as they wanted to focus on giving value to existing cardmembers who weren’t travelling. It also made no sense to offer big signup bonuses for cards when no one was travelling.

Well, today American Express finally upped the welcome bonus for the Marriott Bonvoy and Platinum cards. The Marriott Bonvoy card has a significant increase as the welcome bonus is now as high as 65,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. The Platinum Card isn’t looking too bad either since the welcome bonus reverts back to as high as 60,000 points.

New Marriott Bonvoy American Express welcome offer

Right now, new Marriott Bonvoy American Express cardmembers earn 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points after spending $3,000 in net purchases in the first three months of cardmembership. In addition, you’ll earn a $120 statement credit after spending $10,000 in net purchases in the first twelve months of cardmembership. 

This is a 10,000 point increase (or 20%) compared to the old offer. Although it’s not as generous as some of the US cards, this is one the largest sign up bonuses ever for the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Canada card.

That said, the largest sign up bonus for the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Canada card is also available right now when you use a referral link. You’ll get 65,000 welcome bonus points after spending $3,000 in net purchases in the first three months of cardmembership. That’s an extra 5,000 points! For reference, the old referral only gave you 51,000 points, so you’re getting 14,000 extra points this way. Again, you must use a referral link for the increased offer.

I personally value Marriott Bonvoy points at 1 cent per point. That means this offer is worth at least $650. You can increase the value if you use your points at lower or higher category hotels. E.g. the sweet spot seems to be category 1, 2, 7, and 8 hotels.

New American Express Platinum Canada welcome offer

With the American Express Platinum card, you can now earn 50,000 welcome bonus Membership Rewards points after spending $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months of cardmembership. This is significantly higher than the old offer of 25,000 points, but it really just goes back to the standard offer from a year ago. This isn’t a complaint. I’m actually quite happy about this as it signifies that American Express has confidence in travel picking up in the future.

When using a referral link, you can earn 60,000 welcome bonus Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 in purchases in the first 3 months of cardmembership. That’s 10,000 additional points compared to the standard offer, but you need to spend an additional $2,000, which is a fair tradeoff in my opinion. Again, you must use a referral link to get the increased offer.

60,000 Membership Rewards points have a base value of $600. However, if you used the fixed travel program, you can get as much $1,200 in value. You can further increase the value of your points by transferring them to Aeroplan and then using the points for business class flights. Some quick research shows business class flights with Aeroplan can have a value of 3 to 5 cents per point. That means you could get up to $1,800 -$3,000 in value which is obviously a fantastic deal.

The points game has changed

With limited travel available over the last year, credit card welcome offers have been limited. Various credit card providers have tested out different promotions to see how consumers react. Some cards have offered massive welcome bonuses while others have forced users to spread out their spending to get the welcome offer.

It’s also worth noting that some programs have devalued their points while others offered additional value. Since the game is always changing, it’s in your best interest to keep an eye out for any promotions that may benefit you. You’ll also want to redeem points as soon as you can.

Many people have switched to cash back cards during the pandemic, but I’m glad I stuck with my points cards. I haven’t flown anywhere in more than a year, but when it’s safe to do so, I’m going to book some luxury flights.

American Express Platinum and Marriott Bonvoy Cards Increase Welcome Offer

About Barry Choi

Barry Choi is a Toronto-based personal finance and travel expert who frequently makes media appearances. His blog Money We Have is one of Canada’s most trusted sources when it comes to money and travel. You can find him on Twitter:@barrychoi

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