Marriott Bonvoy Amex Card Review | 70,000 points welcome offer

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Are you looking for a Marriott Bonvoy Amex Card review? I’ve got you covered. Once known as the SPG Credit Card in Canada, the Marriott Bonvoy Amex Card is now the official credit card for Marriott in Canada. The card comes with great benefits and a welcome bonus worth up to 70,000 Marriott Bonvoy points.

To simply put it, the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card is the perfect card for people who like to stay Marriott hotels, you get a high earn rate, free annual hotel night, and more. It’s easy to see why I think it’s one of the best travel rewards cards in Canada. Keep reading my Marriot Bonvoy Amex Card review now for more details.

Marriott Bonvoy Amex Card Review

Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card features

  • $120 annual fee
  • 70,000 Bonvoy points when spending $1,500 in the first three months
  • Earn 5 Marriott Bonvoy points for every $1 on eligible card purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy properties
  • Earn 2 Marriott Bonvoy points for every $1 on all other purchases
  • Free annual night award that can be redeemed at participating Marriott Bonvoy properties worldwide, with a redemption value of up to 35,000 points
  • 15 Elite Night credits each calendar year
  • Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status
  • Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status when you spend $30,000 on your card each year
  • Complimentary in-room, premium internet access while staying at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels
  • Some travel insurance

The Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card currently has a welcome bonus of 70,000 Marriott Bonvoy points when you spend $3,000 in the first three months of cardmemberhsip. That’s enough points for 2 nights at a category 5 hotel or five free nights at a category 3 hotel during standard times when you factor in Marriott’s book 4-nights on points, get the 5th-night free deal

Since this is the official Marriott co-branded credit card in Canada, you’ll earn an amazing 5 Marriott Bonvoy points for every $1 on eligible card purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy properties. Eligible card purchases usually refer to your nightly room rate, restaurants on-site, in-room dining and even spa treatments. All other purchases made on your card earn you 2 points per $1 spent. There’s simply no quicker way to earn Marriott Bonvoy points. 

What’s nice about this card is that you start at Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status which gives you additional benefits such as 10% bonus points on stays and priority late checkout. In other words, if you pay for your stays with your Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card at participating properties, you get 5.5 points per $1 spent.

Gold status is given when you spend $30,000 on your card each year. If status is important to you, you may want to consider the American Express Platinum Card instead since you automatically get Gold status with it. 

At the start of every calendar year, you’ll also get 15 Elite Night credits which means you’ll only need 10 additional nights to reach Gold Status (if you don’t spend $30,000 before then). This is clearly handy for people who stay at Marriott hotels occasionally. 

There is an annual fee of $120, but every year on your card anniversary, you’ll get a free night certificate which is good up to 35,000 points at any participating Marriott property. The value of those points are easily worth more than the annual fee so that’s an incredible bonus.

Marriott Bonvoy Amex Card insurance

Admittedly, the Marriott Bonvoy Amex Card is not one of the best credit cards with travel insurance. While you do get some travel insurance, it doesn’t include travel medical or trip cancellation/interruption. The lack of comprehensive travel insurance doesn’t change the fact that this Marriott Bonvoy Amex Card review is positive. You do get buyer’s assurance and purchase protection which is incredibly handy if you use actually use it.

Travel insurance

  • Travel accident insurance – $500,000
  • Car rental theft and damage insurance – 48 days/$85,000
  • Flight delay insurance – $500
  • Baggage delay insurance – $500
  • Hotel/motel burglary insurance – $500

The main travel insurance you get is travel accident insurance of $500,000. That may sound good, but it’s something you never want to collect since it mainly covers loss of body parts or death. American Express does offer generous car rental theft and damage insurance since you’re covered for car rentals with an MSRP of $85,000 on trips up to 48 days. Your flight delay insurance kicks in after 4 hours while baggage delays require 6 hours. Note that the $500 in coverage for both types of insurance is an aggregate amount.

Finally, the hotel/motel burglary insurance gives you $500 in coverage. Remember, you need to charge your travel expenses to your credit card for your travel insurance to apply. One strategy I recommend is to use your Marriott Bonvoy Amex Canada Card for your hotel stays since you’ll earn extra Marriott Bonvoy points and you’ll get hotel/motel burglary insurance.

Purchase insurance

  • Purchase protection – 90 days
  • Buyer’s assurance – Double, up to one additional year

Purchase protection is often overlooked, but it can save you since you’ll be reimbursed if your purchases are lost, damaged, or stolen within 90 days from the time you make the purchase. There’s a limit of $1,000 for each claim, but that’s still a fair amount. Note that you do need to make the entire purchase with your Marriott Bonvoy Amex card for your purchase protection to be valid.

Buyer’s assurance is just a fancy way of saying extended warranty. Purchases made with your Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card get double the manufacturer’s warranty, up to one additional year. Just make sure you have a copy of the original receipt.

Marriott Bonvoy Amex pros and cons

The benefits of the Marriott Bonvoy Amex Card should be obvious, but you should always consider the pros and cons before you apply for any credit card. Here’s what I like and don’t like about the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card.

Pros

  • Lucrative sign up bonus: The welcome bonus is easily worth up to a few free nights and has a value of $500+.
  • Free annual night certificate: You only get this benefit starting on your first anniversary of card membership, but it’s good for a room worth up to 35,000 points.
  • High earn rate at Marriott hotels: 5 points per dollar spent is the highest earn rate you’ll get with any credit card in Canada at Marriott hotels.
  • Hotel perks: Instant Silver status and 15 elite qualifying nights.

Cons

  • Limited travel insurance: A lack of travel medical and trip cancellation insurance is a bit disappointing.
  • Dynamic rewards: Peak and off-peak pricing can make redemptions less lucrative.
  • Free night certificate limit: While the free night certificate is excellent, the redemption cap of 35,000 points is a bit annoying due to peak pricing. The U.S. version of this card has a cap of 50,000 points.

How Marriott Bonvoy works

Since Marriott has 7,000+ hotels in more than 120 countries, Marriott Bonvoy is the largest hotel loyalty program in the world. Fortunately, the program itself is quite good and is easily one of the best travel rewards programs available.

I’ve written a detailed Marriott Bonvoy review so you can check that out if you want the full details, but I’m going to quickly highlight a few things about the program.

As you likely know, there are different status tiers with Marriott Bonvoy. Your status goes up as you spend nights at participating Marriott properties. With every status increase, you get additional benefits such as an increased earn rate for Marriott Bonvoy points, early check-in, late check-out, room upgrades, free breakfast, and more.

The points you’ve earned can be used to redeem free nights. Depending on the season and hotel you’re trying to book, it could cost you as little as 5,000 Marriott Bonvoy points or as much as 100,000 points for a free night. As you can see, there’s also peak and off-peak pricing to consider.

CATEGORYSTANDARDOFF PEAKPEAK
17,5005,00010,000
212,50010,00015,000
317,50015,00020,000
425,00020,00030,000
535,00030,00040,000
650,00040,00060,000
760,00050,00070,000
885,00070,000100,000

How you use your Marriott Bonvoy points is up to you, but I find the best value for your points is in the low categories or the high categories. Generally speaking, if you’re getting at least .9 cents per point in value, it’s a decent deal. In other words, do some basic math before you book your room. These great redemption rates are part of the reason why my Marriott Bonvoy Amex review is positive. 

How the Marriott Bonvoy Amex compares

Admittedly, it’s not a fair comparison, but I like to stack the Marriott Bonvoy Amex up against the American Express Cobalt Card. With the Cobalt, you earn American Express Membership Reward Select (MRS) point. These MRS points can be converted to Marriott Bonvoy at a 1:1.2 or ratio. In other words, 5 MRS points get you 6 Marriott Bonvoy points.

When looking at the welcome bonus, the Marriott Bonvoy Amex Card will always come out on top. That said, the earn rate is where things get interesting. As you know, the Bonvoy Card gives you 5 points per $1 spent at Marriott Bonvoy properties at 2 points everywhere else. The Cobalt Card has an earn rate of 5 points per $1 spent on eats and drinks, 2 points on travel and transportation, and 1 point on everything else.

Anyone who stays at Marriott properties frequently is likely better off with the Bonvoy Card since you get an increased earn rate, status qualifying nights, instant status, and an annual free night certificate. However, if you spent a lot on groceries and travel in general, the Cobalt Card could be better since you can convert your points to Marriott Bonvoy as needed.

Final thoughts

My Marriott Bonvoy Amex Card review is positive. It’s still one of the best travel credit cards in Canada and one of the best American Express credit cards. It’s a must-have card for anyone who stays at Marriott properties on a regular basis.

Marriott Bonvoy Amex Card Review | 70,000 points 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

12 Comments

  1. Spunky on April 10, 2019 at 8:19 AM

    Excellent article. I had no idea that my Amex Bonvoy card had NO TRAVEL INSURANCE. I guess I won’t be holding this card as long as I thought (thank God, the lowly President’s Choice mastercard still gives me 10 days travel insurance for free).

    • Barry Choi on April 10, 2019 at 10:15 PM

      Spunky,

      The card does come with an annual free night certificate worth up to 35K points which is a good reason to keep the card.

  2. Chrissy on April 19, 2019 at 4:48 PM

    Hi Barry – just wondering if you know: if I was an SPG Amex cardholder several years ago, does this disqualify me from getting the bonus points on this new card?

    • Barry Choi on April 19, 2019 at 5:01 PM

      Technically yes, but 99% of people who had the card years ago report that they’ve been able to get the sign up bonus. That being said, Amex is within their rights to deny you them.

      • Chrissy on April 19, 2019 at 5:06 PM

        Ah, I’ve heard this too! Well I’m glad to hear from a Canadian expert. I think I’ll give it a shot. Thanks so much Barry!

  3. Jeff on October 21, 2019 at 12:02 PM

    If you have a family, this card sucks because none of the rooms we fit in are included in the points redemption. Marriott will let me acquire points by booking suites and other rooms that sleep my 5 family members, but none of those rooms are available for us when we try to use points. USELESS!!!! TERRIBLE CARD if you can’t spend the points you’ve accumulated!!!!! And there’s no flexibility, no humans who can override their inflexible computer system. It’s terrible!!

    • Barry Choi on October 21, 2019 at 3:24 PM

      Jeff,

      You could just try lowering the # of people when making a reservation.

      • Jeff on October 18, 2020 at 10:48 AM

        I have a family of five – I want a hotel room that sleeps five. Booking a room for four, while easy, wouldn’t actually provide us with five places to sleep.

    • Thomas on October 18, 2020 at 7:07 AM

      I have a family of 5 and never pay for hotel rooms, I do it all on points. You can easily book larger rooms on points by just calling in and often you will not need to because once you are platinum or titanium they will almost always upgrade you for free.

  4. Jeff on October 21, 2019 at 3:43 PM

    Well that wouldn’t help us book the type of room we need so we all have beds to sleep in. I can book rooms to fit us when I pay for the rooms, but if I want to use the points I’ve collected, I cannot book the very same type of room that we always pay for. Case in point: a 2 bedroom suite that has 2 queens and a sofa bed in Bloomington. I can pay $174/night but it’s not available AT ALL using points or even points plus cash. It’s a useless “reward” system for my family as it is currently structured.

    • Thomas on October 18, 2020 at 7:11 AM

      Have you tried calling to book, I have found many times that rates not available on the internet are available if you ask one of their reservations agents.

    • Jeff on November 2, 2020 at 1:50 AM

      You could just stay at home, Jeff. You seem upset. Maybe a warm bath with some Epsom salt would relieve some of that anger. Or perhaps, just book a room for one, and do the remaining four family members the favour of a few nights without your negativity.

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