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Amex Bonvoy Cards: 65,000 Bonvoy Points + First Year Rebates! Ricky March 24, 2021

Amex Bonvoy Cards: 65,000 Bonvoy Points + First Year Rebates!

Simultaneously to the refreshed offer on the American Express Platinum Card, we’re also seeing two tremendous elevated offers on the American Express Marriott Bonvoy Card and American Express Marriott Bonvoy Business Card.

These are the best offers we’ve ever witnessed from a historical perspective, surpassing the launch offers on the Bonvoy cards a few years ago.

It’s also the first time we’re seeing any kind of effective First Year Free incentive from the Bonvoy cards, which is always exciting in terms of racking up a big bonus without having to pay any fees out-of-pocket (although in this case the statement credits are tied to your annual spend on the card).

How big of a bonus are we talking? Well, there’s enough points on the table to earn a night at Marriott’s top-tier Category 8 hotels with a single signup bonus, so without further ado, let’s take a look through the details.

Amex Bonvoy Card: 65,000 Marriott Bonvoy Points + $120 Statement Credit

Through the refer-a-friend channel, the American Express Marriott Bonvoy Card is offering 65,000 Marriott Bonvoy points upon spending $3,000 in the first three months.

You’ll also earn a $120 statement credit – exactly offsetting the annual fee for the first year – upon spending $10,000 in the first year.

Upon completing your $3,000 minimum spend, you’d come out with at least 6,000 Bonvoy points as a result, and therefore you’d have at least 71,000 Bonvoy points in your account as a result of this single signup bonus.

And if you chose to complete the $10,000 spending in the first year to unlock the $120 statement credit, then you would’ve acquired at least 85,000 Bonvoy points for no out-of-pocket fees.

Based on our current valuations, we’d value Bonvoy points at 0.9 cents per point (CAD) apiece, meaning that 71,000 and 85,000 Bonvoy points are worth $639 and $765, respectively. But at these quantities, they can indeed be redeemed for much higher value than that!

71,000 and 85,000 Bonvoy points would be enough for a one-night stay at one of Marriott’s top-tier Category 8 hotels (including the JW Marriott Maldives, Al Maha Desert Resort Dubai, and the St. Regis Bali) at the off-peak and standard rates, respectively.

Earn enough points to book the JW Marriott Maldives!

If you’d rather redeem your points towards more modest accommodations, they’d also be enough for two nights at a Category 5 hotel, five nights at a Category 3 hotel (with the Fifth Night Free), or 17+ nights at a Category 1 hotel!

Alternatively, you’d also be able to convert 60,000 Bonvoy points into 25,000 airline miles in the program of your choosing, including Aeroplan, Alaska Mileage Plan, and 40+ other frequent flyer programs. 

We should note, however, that the $10,000 minimum spend in the first year to unlock the $120 statement credit may not necessarily be the right move for everyone.

Indeed, by allocating the extra $7,000 in spending towards a different card, like the American Express Business Platinum Card for example, you could in fact unlock a new welcome bonus that’s worth even more than $120.

Indeed, I’d only recommend aiming for that $10,000 minimum spend threshold if you have extra spending capacity beyond what you can take on through minimum spending requirements. If that’s the case, then scoring an effective First Year Free rebate on the Bonvoy Card will make those bonus points that much sweeter.

Note that the publicly advertised offers (outside of referral links) are only 60,000 Bonvoy points with the $120 statement credit, so it’s definitely optimal to use a referral link to apply. 

Amex Bonvoy Business Card: 65,000 Marriott Bonvoy Points + $150 Statement Credit

The personal and business Marriott Bonvoy cards in Canada tend to move in tandem.

Indeed, through the refer-a-friend channel, the American Express Marriott Bonvoy Business Card is also offering 65,000 Marriott Bonvoy points upon spending $5,000 in the first three months.

You’ll also earn a $150 statement credit – exactly offsetting the annual fee for the first year – upon spending $15,000 in the first year.

Just like the personal card, upon completing your $5,000 minimum spend, you’d come out with at least 10,000 Bonvoy points as a result, and therefore you’d have at least 75,000 Bonvoy points in your account as a result of this single signup bonus.

And if you chose to complete the $15,000 spending in the first year to unlock the $150 statement credit, then you would’ve acquired at least 95,000 Bonvoy points for no out-of-pocket fees.

At our current valuations, these totals are worth $675 and $855, which are fantastic pickups for a $150 and $0 outlay, respectively.

Again, though, it’s worth recognizing that the $15,000 annual spend to earn the $150 statement credit won’t be the right fit for everyone, since that spending could go towards an even bigger credit card signup bonus on another card.

Outside of the referral channel, the Bonvoy Business Card’s publicly advertised offer is only 60,000 Bonvoy points and the $150 statement credit, so using a referral link is definitely the best way to apply. 

Two-Player Mode: Enough for Five Nights at a Category 8 Hotel!

Of course, you don’t just want to visit a Category 8 hotel for one night – you want to make a memorable trip out of it!

Thanks to the Fifth Night Free benefit, it’s possible to rack up enough Bonvoy points for up to five nights at the Maldives’ overwater villas or at the ultra-luxurious Al Maha in the Dubai desert. 

If you’re collecting points in two-player mode, applying for the personal and business Marriott Bonvoy cards as a household will net you at least 142,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per person once the $3,000–5,000 minimum spends have been completed on all four cards – even if we ignore the high annual spending thresholds to unlock the first-year rebates.

Remember, Marriott Bonvoy allows you to pool points between different accounts, up to 100,000 Bonvoy points per member every calendar year.

So over the course of 2021 and 2022, you’d be able to pool together all your earnings into a single account (preferably one that has elite status) into 284,000 Bonvoy points. That would be enough to book five nights at a Category 8 hotel on off-peak dates, for 70,000 points per night with the Fifth Night Free!

Earn a five-night stay at the Al Maha Desert Resort Dubai in two-player mode

We’ll be updating our American Express Credit Card Flowchart very shortly to reflect this new optimal strategy.

Needless to say, there’s never been a better time than now to rack up the Bonvoy points through the Canadian-issued co-branded credit cards in order to book some truly memorable experiences once the world opens up again.

Amex Bonvoy Cards: 15 Elite Qualifying Nights + Anniversary Free Night Award

In terms of the cards’ earning rates, you’ll earn the following:

  • 5 points per dollar spent at Marriott hotels
  • Bonvoy Business Card only: 3 points per dollar spent on gas, dining, and travel
  • 2 points per dollar spent on all other purchases

Personally, I tend to use my Bonvoy cards purely for spending at Canadian Marriott hotels, as the 5x earnings are unbeatable there. However, I’d prioritize other cards with higher earning rates for my general purchases.

(Marriott hotels outside of Canada are also not ideal, thanks to the card’s 2.5% foreign transaction fee. I prefer to use my US-issued Bonvoy cards for my foreign hotel bills, where I don’t get dinged on the FX fee.)

Both the personal and business Marriott Bonvoy cards offer 15 elite qualifying nights towards your Marriott Bonvoy status every year. By holding onto one of them, you’d only need to complete 35 elite qualifying nights to reach a total of 50, where Platinum Elite status and all of its associated perks start to pay off.

Unfortunately, the two sets of 15 elite qualifying nights cannot be stacked into 30 – that’s only possible with the US-issued personal and business cards, not the Canadian ones.

If you hold the following combination of Marriott Bonvoy co-branded credit cards...

You will receive...

Canadian personal + Canadian business

15 elite qualifying nights

Canadian personal + US personal

15 elite qualifying nights

Canadian personal + US business

15 elite qualifying nights

Canadian business + US personal

15 elite qualifying nights

Canadian business + US business

15 elite qualifying nights

US personal + US business

30 elite qualifying nights

In my opinion, the most meaningful perk on the Bonvoy cards is the anniversary Free Night Award, which you’ll earn upon renewing the cards for a second year.

These are worth up to 35,000 Bonvoy points each, so a smart redemption here (either at a Category 5 hotel at the standard rate or a Category 6 hotel at the off-peak PointSavers rate) would easily outweigh the cards’ $120 and $150 annual fees.

Redeem your Free Night Award at the JW Marriott Parq Vancouver on an off-peak PointSavers rate.

Until a few years ago, points enthusiasts largely preferred to cancel their Bonvoy cards before the second-year annual fee comes due, with a view of reapplying in the future and trying to get the bonus again.

But with data points around this practice becoming more and more uncertain over time, many cardholders are choosing to keep their Bonvoy cards on an ongoing basis to maximize those Free Night Awards every year.

Conclusion

We’ve been jealously peering down at the impressive American Express credit card bonuses in the US for a while now, so it’s awesome to see some higher bonuses finally making their way to Canada. 

The American Express Marriott Bonvoy Card and American Express Marriott Bonvoy Business Card are each offering 65,000 Bonvoy points when you apply through a refer-a-friend link. There’s no published end date on these offers, so they’re subject to change at any time.

You also have the opportunity to offset the first-year annual fee through a spend-based statement credit on both cards, although the value proposition perhaps isn’t as strong as allocating the $10,000 or $15,000 spend towards a better use. 

Either way, the new bonuses allow a single household to rack up enough points for a five-night stay at some of the world’s best hotels – so what are you waiting for?

Top Offers

American Express Marriott Bonvoy Card

65,000 Marriott Bonvoy points
upon spending $3,000 in the first three months
+ $120 statement credit upon spending $10,000 in the first year

  • Enough points for up a top-tier Category 8 hotel stay
  • 5x points at Marriott hotels
  • 15 elite qualifying nights
  • Anniversary free night certificate worth up to 35,000 points
Signup bonus
65,000 Marriott Bonvoy points
Annual fee
$120
21 Comments
  1. Avatar
    Alison

    I cancelled my Amex Bonvoy card late 2020. Is there a waiting period before I should apply again? Would like to take advantage of this offer. Thanks

  2. Avatar
    Dan

    Ricky, Do you know of any Canadian credit cards that don’t charge foreign exchane?

    Good luck with your move!

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      Here’s an article that I wrote a while back: https://princeoftravel.com/blog/best-credit-cards-no-foreign-transaction-fees/

      The HSBC World Elite, Scotia Gold Amex, and Scotia Passport are generally seen as the best options with no FX fees.

      We’ll also be making a more comprehensive page to summarize No FX Fee credit cards (and other categories of cards) very shortly, so look out for that.

      1. Avatar
        Dani

        Thx so much POT. Will look at these. The Amex Bonvoy card would be much more desirable if the no foreign exchange was offered here in Canada as they do in the US. Also, I like the spend $75,000 for Platinum Elite perk as well. Wish Amex would offer a similar card in Canada even if doesnt have the stacked sign up bonus points.

  3. Avatar
    Carl

    Any advice on how to apply for Amex cards again if you got your accounts all closed last year? I heard they just close your accounts again shortly. Are we permanently banned forever?

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      My understanding is that it isn’t a permanent ban. However, most data points before the one-year mark seemed to be declined or closed again shortly like you mentioned, so hopefully we’ll see some success stories after the one-year mark (which should be coming soon).

  4. Avatar
    Boi

    Can you be referred and use global transfer at the same time?

  5. Avatar
    Joe

    How are you guys able to hit the MSR for all those cards, what’s your secret! Maybe I am too frugal? Do let me know!

    1. Avatar
      Todd

      Manufactured spending

      1. Avatar
        Joe

        Would love to know more. I know that it’s not something we want to discuss in a public forum. Is there a place where we can? Like a discord?

    2. Avatar
      Jay*

      Prepaying expenses you will have anyways later on in the year.

  6. Avatar
    JMC

    Excuse me, I’m just jumping in with my simple question after all the “advanced” discussion here at the comment section… which property is that on the article title background picture? 😂

    Also, thank you Ricky for the detailed article on these new offers!

    1. Avatar
      Jay*

      JW Marriott Maldives.

      1. Avatar
        JMC

        Thanks! 😆

  7. Avatar
    Dhiraj

    Hi Ricky,

    Thanks for such a quick response. I agree that you have highlighted that the incremental spend to earn statement credits won’t make sense for everyone – I was just referring to the overall “positive tone” of this article, which I found a bit surprising. I have probably read all articles on your blog (both yours and others’ including the one by Josh you mentioned here) over the past 2 years, so I know you do not hesitate to call “a spade a spade”.

    Re: the incremental 1.5k spend to get extra 15k points – I am still not sure how that’s a good deal. I am not arguing that you get real goods/services for those $1.5k, but I am referring to the “opportunity cost” of not spending that same money on another card for another welcome bonus (assuming you have access to one). You also mention that the new offers allows 2-player mode households to generate enough points for a week at a top Marriott property. Let’s look at math –

    To get those 280k (65k each card * 4 cards + $3k spend *2 points per $ minimum * 4 cards) points, you are spending 12k ($3k per card * 2 cards * 2 players) between two people and spending $540 (120*2 + 150*2) in fees under current offers.

    Under old offers, you’d get 212k points (50k points per card * 4 cards + $1.5k per card * 2 points per $ minimum * 4 cards) from minimum spending and same $540 out of pocket fees. The biggest difference here is 6k of available spending needed to get the balance of 68,000 Bonvoy points. There are several ways in which one can achieve this easily – for example, get Cobalt through GCR (so no out of pocket fee) and get 45k welcome bonus by spending $7.5k in first year. Add a min. of 2 MR Select points earned per $ spent on Cobalt (in reality you’ll get much more than 2 points per $ if you spend cleverly) and you’ll have 60k MR select points, giving you 72k incremental Bonvoy points at the end of the year

    Where am I going with this? I agree that the new offers make it slightly less complicated to earn the points needed for that aspirational trip, but they also require one to spend twice as much money as they had to in the past. Also keep in mind that for a 2-player household, 2 cards per year won’t be a “lot of” hard inquiries on their credit reports. Add the possibility of US cards and these households will be able to apply for (and be approved for) more cards than their spending can support.

    Apologies for the long responses here, but I wanted to provide an alternate view point on these offers. My goal isn’t to prove or disprove anything but to highlight that the new offers are not offering anything new that wasn’t previously available.

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      I do appreciate your alternate viewpoint Dhiraj. My counterpoint here would be: in the past, adding the Cobalt to the two Bonvoy cards could net you about 284,000 Bonvoy points by your calculations, but now it would net you even more at about 350,000 Bonvoy points, wouldn’t it?

      Ultimately, I think both are true: the new offers provide higher bonuses, albeit with a higher minimum spend attached. That’s something that spend-constrained points collectors may be frustrated by, although it’s not unexpected that the two would go hand-in-hand, and it aligns with the overall trend of credit card issuers making us work harder for the bonuses over the last few years.

    2. Avatar
      Sam

      >>(65k each card * 4 cards + $3k spend *2 points per $ minimum * 4 cards) points, you are spending 12k ($3k per card * 2 cards * 2 players) between two people and spending $540 (120*2 + 150*2) in fees under current offers.<<

      Both you and Ricky (in the article) have your MSR figures slightly wrong. The biz card requires a spend of 5K, not 3K.

      1. Avatar
        Dhiraj

        Wow. that makes Business card offer even less appealing.

      2. Ricky
        Ricky

        Yeah, I had this as $3K on the initial publication this morning, although it should all be fixed now.

  8. Avatar
    Dhiraj

    Ricky,

    Thanks as always for flagging these new offers as soon as they hit the market. I understand and appreciate that there may be some affiliation between your blog and AMEX, but I am a bit surprised by your “excited” tone about these offers. I don’t think anyone who is somewhat serious about the points and miles game will even consider spending 7k (incremental) to get $120 fee rebate (let alone spend $12k incremental to get $150 rebate). This is especially true since you can generate somewhat similar returns by other means and much less spending (e.g. apply for Cobalt through GCR to get $120 rebate and get ~54k Bonvoy points). I’d say that the offers are probably worse now that they were before as you now need to spend extra $1,500 to get extra 10-15k Bonvoy points (that’s like buying Bonvoy points at 10cent per point – yikes!).

    Again, if we didn’t know what was on offer in the past, we would have been happy with these offers. But, as things stand today, this to me seems like a major devaluation of Bonvoy CC offers.

    I am glad I applied for Bonvoy Business and MBNA Alaska World Elite a couple of weeks ago through GCR to rack up ~C$242 in cash back rebates to offset C$249 in fees and will only have to spend C$2,500 to get 50k Bonvoy and 30k Alaska points.

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      You’ll notice I mentioned that the incremental $7,000–10,000 over the first year won’t make sense for everyone, only for those with higher spending volumes than their minimum spends can support. So I’m in agreement with you there.

      However, I don’t think the comparison to “buying Bonvoy points at 10 cents per point” is the right way of looking at it. The $1,500 isn’t an increase in fees after all, it’s still being spent on goods and services that are worth $1,500. Ignoring the statement credits, I view the new offer as quite a fair bit stronger at 65,000 Bonvoy points compared to 51,000 for the same $120–150 in annual fees, allowing applicants to reach the upper echelon of Category 8 hotels with a single welcome bonus. Of course, if you’re constrained by spending capacity, that’s where timing the applications around larger purchases (organic or otherwise) becomes important.

      (On a related note, Josh touched upon the difference between Return on Spend and Return on Fees as different ways to measure offers in a recent post.)

Ricky

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