Amex US Bonvoy Cards: 125,000 Bonvoy Points + Statement Credits!

The signup offers from American Express US have been unrelenting in recent weeks – and they just keep coming.

Following spectacular welcome bonuses on the Amex US Gold, Hilton, and Delta cards, it’s now the turn of the Marriott Bonvoy co-branded portfolio to impress us with elevated signup offers until May 12, 2021.

Amex US Bonvoy Brilliant: Up to 125,000 Bonvoy Points + US$200 Back on Restaurants

Let’s start with the Amex US Marritt Bonvoy Brilliant Card, the premium personal co-branded credit card.

You’ll earn 125,000 Marriott Bonvoy points upon spending US$5,000 in the first three months, along with US$200 in statement credits for purchases made at US restaurants during the first six months. 

Marriott Bonvoy offer graphic

125,000 Bonvoy points would be enough for two nights at a higher-end Category 6 or 7 hotel, three or four nights at a mid-range Category 5 hotel, or up to 31 nights at a cheaper Category 1 hotel!

You could also transfer the points over to one 40+ airline partners, and the signup bonus would be enough to cover two sets of transfers at the optimal ratio of 60,000 Bonvoy points = 25,000 airline miles, meaning you’d come out with at least 50,000 airline miles of your choosing. 

In terms of earning rates, the Bonvoy Brilliant offers the following:

  • 6 Bonvoy points per US dollar spent at Marriott hotels
  • 3 Bonvoy points per US dollar spent at US restaurants and airlines
  • 2 Bonvoy points per US dollar spent on everything else

The card does come with an annual fee of US$450. If you sign up under the current offer, you can immediately offset that with US$200 in statement credits at US restaurants.

(For Canadians who aren’t visiting the US, the prevailing method for using these restaurant credits is by loading a Starbucks US gift card, as I had outlined in this post about the 2021 restaurant credits on Amex US cards.)

So your net outlay becomes US$250, which is in fact further reduced by a US$300 Marriott credit per membership year.

This US$300 credit can be spent on any Marriott purchase, whether it’s the room rate, incidentals, or even gift card purchases made at hotels that sell gift cards directly at the front desk. In essence, if you travel with Marriott to the tune at least US$300 per year, then you can think of this credit as cash back in your pocket.

Plus, the Bonvoy Brilliant also comes with the most powerful Free Night Award benefit out of any Marriott credit card in any country.

Upon renewing your card for the second year and thereafter, you’ll receive a free night certificate worth up to 50,000 Bonvoy points, which can be redeemed on Category 6 hotels at the standard rate or even Category 7 hotels at the off-peak rate!

JW Marriott pool room view

Redeem your free night certificate at the JW Marriott Singapore South Beach, a Category 6 hotel.

And as if that weren’t enough, the Bonvoy Brilliant also rewards you with a complimentary Priority Pass membership with unlimited access for yourself and two guests – a stronger guest policy than any credit card you’d find in Canada.

When you put the above perks together, you’ll see why the Bonvoy Brilliant can be such a powerful credit card to hold onto for the long term, year after year: each year, you pay only a US$150 net annual fee, and in exchange you get a very powerful free night certificate and an unlimited lounge access membership, both of which can easily recoup that US$150 in value multiple times over!

If you’ve already gotten started with US credit cards, then you can simply go ahead and apply to add the Bonvoy Brilliant Card to your portfolio.

If not, you can quite easily apply for this card via the Nova Credit service. When filling in the application, simply check the box that says “I don’t have a credit history in the US, but have had a credit card or loan in the UK, India, Mexico, Canada or Australia” on the application form, where it asks you for a Social Security Number.

checkout options for social security information

The Nova Credit service will then link to your Canadian credit file to assess your creditworthiness, although you may still be required to call or live-chat with Amex US for identity verification purposes (usually to submit a copy of your foreign passport). Be sure to review the full guide to getting US credit cards for Canadians for more information.

There are some data points that users are able to complete the Nova Credit process twice in quick succession (such as if you had already gotten the excellent offer on the Gold Card or Hilton Card recently, and were interested in the Bonvoy Brilliant Card as well). However, it does seem that “your mileage may vary” in this case, as not everyone has reported success with this route.

Amex US Bonvoy Business: 100,000 Bonvoy Points + US$150 Statement Credits

Now let’s look at the Amex US Bonvoy Business Card, which is the sole Marriott co-branded credit card geared towards small business owners in the US.

The card is offering 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy points upon spending US$5,000 in the first three months, along with US$150 in statement credits on any eligible purchase during the first three months.

As per the terms of the offer, “eligible purchases” are purchases for goods and services minus returns and other credits – so it’s basically any purchase. Essentially, the US$150 statement credit more than offsets the US$125 annual fee in the first year, making this offer better than First Year Free!

Marriott Bonvoy Bonus graphic

Now, 100,000 Bonvoy points would be enough for a couple of nights at a higher-end hotel or up to 25 nights at the cheapest Category 1 hotels.

Moreover, if you were saving up your Marriott Bonvoy points for a dream trip to the Maldives or somewhere like that, then you’ll definitely want to jump on one of, if not both of these offers, as they can certainly help you build up your balance very quickly to book an aspirational trip such as the Maldives’ overwater villas.

In terms of earning rates, the US Bonvoy Business offers the following:

  • 6 Bonvoy points per US dollar spent at Marriott hotels
  • 4 Bonvoy points per US dollar spent at US restaurants, gas stations, wireless telephone purchases, and shipping
  • 2 Bonvoy points per US dollar spent on everything else

Compared to the Bonvoy Brilliant, the US Bonvoy Business has a lower annual fee of US$125 (which, remember, is essentially more than waived in the first year). However, its accompanying perks and benefits are also weaker.

There’s no annual credit or Priority Pass membership; instead, you simply get an anniversary Free Night Award worth up to 35,000 Bonvoy points, which can be redeemed at a Category 5 hotel at the standard rate and is on par with the anniversary certificate offered by the Canadian-issued Amex Bonvoy Card.

We should also point out that both the US Bonvoy Brilliant and the US Bonvoy Business will also give you 15 elite qualifying nights just for holding the cards, which can be stacked into 30 elite qualifying nights via this particular combination of a US personal card and a US business card.

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

Therefore, if you were to pick up both of these outstanding offers before May 12, 2021, not only would you be racking up a total of 225,000 Bonvoy points, but you’d also set yourself up in a great position to re-qualify for Platinum Elite year after year: you’d have 30 elite qualifying nights under your belt already, so you’d only need to stay 20 more nights to reach the 50-night threshold for Platinum Elite organically.

Marriott breakfast area
Getting both cards is the best way to set yourself up for elevated hotel experiences for many years to come.

If you’re just starting from scratch with US credit cards and you’re indeed interested in picking up both offers, I think it’s best to start with the Bonvoy Brilliant, because business cards in the US do not contribute to your personal credit history and so will not help you build your credit history.

Apply Now

Last year, we saw the Amex US Bonvoy cards offering sky-high points bonuses along with free Platinum Elite status for the year of 2021. The current offers are equivalent in terms of the points amounts – but instead of Platinum Elite status, there’s a sizeable US$150–200 in statement credits to go along with the points. 

For the time being, it looks like the Bonvoy Brilliant offer is available only through the public channel on the American Express US website. If you’re interested in hopping on these offers before they end on May 12, 2021, you can head over to the landing page for the Bonvoy Brilliant to apply.

Meanwhile, the Bonvoy Business offer is available through either the public landing page or the refer-a-friend channel. You can always send me an email if you’re interested in using my referral link, or otherwise consider using a referral link from a friend or family member or another member of the community.