Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card Review

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In this Amex Marriott Bonvoy Business Canada review, I will go over all the details of the Canadian card. Simply put, the Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card is one of the best travel credit cards, and you don’t necessarily need a business to be approved for the card.

What makes the card so appealing is that it’s one of the few credit cards in Canada where the annual benefits you get have more value than the annual fee that comes with the card. In other words, you’re practically being paid to hold this card. Read my Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card review now for more details.

Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card

  • $150 annual fee
  • 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy points when spending $6,000 in the first 3 months when using a referral link
  • Earn 5 points per $1 spent at participating Marriott properties
  • Earn 5 Mpoints per $1 spent on gas, dining, and travel for the first 6 months, up to 15,000 points
  • Earn 2 points for per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual free night certificate worth up to 35,000 points

Welcome bonus and earn rate

The Amex Marriott Bonvoy Business Canada Card has consistently had a welcome bonus of 50,000 – 90,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. The higher bonus is typically offered about once or twice a year, but there’s no consistency. It’s worth noting that when you use a referral link, you’ll usually get an additional 5,000 points when signing up.

I personally value one Marriott Bonvoy point at about .9 cents. That means the welcome bonus is worth much more than the $150 annual fee.

You’ll usually need to spend $3,000 – $5,000 in the first 90 days of cardmembership to get the bonus points. Generally, the minimum spend requirement also increases when there’s a higher welcome bonus.  5 Marriott Bonvoy points for every dollar spent at participating Marriott, 3 points on gas, dining, and travel purchases, and 2 points on all other purchases.

Note that this earning rate is better than the consumer version of the Marriott Bonvoy Amex Canada Card.

Benefits and perks

The most important part of this Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card review is arguably the benefits you get with this card. As a co-branded Marriott Bonvoy card, most of the perks are targeted at those who prefer to stay at Marriott hotels. This is a good thing since Marriott has 8,000+ properties in more than 140 countries.

Free night certificate

Without a doubt, the best benefit of the Amex Marriott Bonvoy Business Canada Card is the annual free night certificate. This free night can be redeemed for any participating property for a room that’s worth up to 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. In addition, you can top up your certificate with up to 15,000 points. That means you can redeem a room with a maximum value of 50,000 points. Since Marriott Bonvoy points are worth about $0.09 each, this free night certificate has a real value of about CA$315.

Elite status

When you sign up for a Marriott Bonvoy membership, you’re automatically given Silver Elite Status. With this status, you automatically get 10% more points on stays. This bonus stacks with your Amex Bonvoy Business Canada Card, so you’d earn 5.5 Marriott points per dollar spent at participating Marriott properties. In addition, you get late checkout.

Elite Night Credits

As a Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express cardholder, you get 15 status qualifying nights to start each calendar year. This is relevant since you’d only need 10 more qualifying nights to reach Gold Status. Alternatively, if you charge $30,000 to your card each year, you’re automatically upgraded to Gold Status.

These status qualifying nights are important to people who want to earn or maintain their status, but note that it does not combine with the status qualifying nights that are provided by the consumer version of this card.

Business benefits

As a business card, you get access to American Express business benefits, which include:

  • Expense management tools to track your spending
  • Employee misuse protection, where you’re covered for eligible unauthorized charges
  • Dedicated small business customer service line

Travel insurance

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

At first glance, the travel insurance that comes with the Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card looks decent, but it’s missing quite a few things. This card does not come with any travel medical insurance, arguably the most important type of travel insurance. In addition, it does not cover trip cancellation or trip interruption. Note that to qualify for your travel insurance, you must charge any relevant travel expenses to your Amex Bonvoy business Canada Card.

Purchase insurance

  • Purchase protection – 90 days
  • Buyer’s assurance – Up to one additional year

Although you’ll likely not use your purchase insurance much, you’ll be happy you have it if you ever make a claim. With purchase protection, any purchases charged to your Amex Card are covered for 90 days from loss, theft and damage. As for buyer’s assurance, it doubles your manufacturer’s warranty by up to one additional year. 

American Express experiences

One of the best benefits of being an American Express cardholder is the access you get to American Express experiences. This perk gives you a variety of benefits, including:

  • Front of the line presales – You’ll get exclusive access to concert tickets, theatre products and more by being an American Express cardholder.
  • Reserved tickets – Some venues have exclusive deals with Amex, where cardholders can buy exclusive tickets to various entertainment events.
  • Experiences – Throughout the year, you can enjoy special events such as advanced private shopping, movie screenings, dining experiences and more.
  • Offers – Amex offers you statement credits when you meet minimum spending requirements. Participating merchants are usually useful for small business owners.

How to redeem your rewards

Marriott Bonvoy is the loyalty program of Marriott International. That means you can use your points at more than 8,000 properties in 140+ countries. Simply put, no other hotel chain in the world has as many properties. This is especially relevant for Canadians because Marriott Bonvoy is the only major hotel chain with a co-branded credit card in Canada.

Redeeming your points is easy, as almost every Marriott property offers award night availability. The number of points you’ll pay depends on the class of the hotel. High-end properties such as the Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott will typically cost a lot more than a Courtyard Marriott or Residence Inn. Demand also plays a factor in pricing, so some less favourable properties can still be expensive if they’re in high demand.

To maximize your points, you want to try and get a value of at least .9 cents per point (CPP). I’m basing this value on hundreds of searches I’ve performed. To calculate your cost per point (CPP), use the following formula:

Cash value of redemption X 100 / Points required = CPP

Don’t forget to select add all fees and taxes for an accurate value.

One additional perk of Marriott Bonvoy worth mentioning is that you only pay for four nights when you book five nights on points. This would lower the average nightly cost of your booking. These five nights must be at the same hotel and be consecutive nights. 

Marriott Bonvoy American Express eligibility

It’s now time to go over eligibility requirements in this Amex Marriott Bonvoy Business Canada review. There are two main criteria to be approved for this card:

  • You must be a Canadian resident
  • You must be at least the age of majority in the province or territory in which you reside.

Technically speaking, you also need to own a business since this is a business card. That said, American Express may not verify that. I know many people with business credit cards even though they don’t own a business.

What’s also interesting is that American Express doesn’t have a formal income requirement to be approved. Plus, there’s no listed minimum credit score. That said, having a credit score of at least 700 before you apply could be beneficial, as that would be considered good.

How the Amex Marriott Bonvoy Business Canada compares

The most obvious comparison is the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card. This is the consumer version of the Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card and has a few slight differences.

The consumer card has a slightly lower annual fee of $120 but does not have an increased earning rate for gas, dining, and travel purchases. This is one of those rare situations where the business card is arguably better than the consumer version. Both cards give you a free night certificate on your card anniversary, so many people have both cards.

Another card I recommend people compare is the American Express Business Platinum Canada Card. Admittedly, it’s a bit different from the Amex Marriott Bonvoy Business Canada Card, but it has a few perks that may interest you. 

With the Platinum Business Card, you automatically get Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status. In addition, you and a guest get unlimited to the American Express Global Lounge collection. Plus, you can transfer your American Express Membership Rewards points to Marriott Bonvoy at a 1:1.2 ratio. The one downside is that the Amex Platinum Business Card has an annual fee of $499.

Final thoughts

My Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card Review is positive. The card is great for people in the following situations:

  • You stay at Marriott hotels a lot – This card allows you to earn more points at Marriott properties and gives you 10 status-qualifying nights each year.
  • You travel at least once a year – The free annual night certificate is worth more than the credit card annual fee.
  • You prefer hotel rewards over flight rewards – Since Marriott has more than 8,000 properties worldwide, you won’t have any issues using your points.

At first glance, the Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card may appear designed for those loyal to Marriott, but it’s also suitable for casual travellers. The annual free night certificate is worth more than the yearly fee, so holding this card is a no-brainer. 

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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