Amex US Bonvoy Cards: 125,000 Bonvoy Points + Statement Credits! Ricky March 18, 2021

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. 

Top Offers

American Express Business Platinum Card

75,000 American Express Membership Rewards points
upon spending $7,000 in the first three months

  • 1.25x MR points on all purchases
  • Points transfer to Aeroplan and British Airways Avios at a 1:1 ratio
  • Unlimited Priority Pass access
  • Marriott Gold Elite status
Signup bonus
75,000 MR points
Annual fee
  1. Avatar

    Can the US$300 credit be spent on any Marriott hotel in Canada? Can one purchase a gift card at Marriott without staying there?

  2. Avatar
    Kyrie English

    No upcoming travel plan: I wonder if I should wait for when the card offers platinum status again. Do you think it would be likely?

  3. Avatar

    Is it possible to apply both Brilliant (personal) and biz card before the offer expires? I’m worried about the 2/90. I have 1.5 yr of AMEX US history but haven’t got ITIN yet.

  4. Avatar

    Can you let us know how to apply for the business card as a Canadian ?

    1. Ricky

      Ideally you’d need an ITIN or an existing American Express US card. Without either, you could go through Global Transfer over the phone to apply for the Bonvoy Business as your first Amex US card, but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it as the business card won’t report to your personal credit file and won’t help you build a US credit history.

      1. Avatar

        Hi Ricky, if I applied the Bonvoy Brilliant via global transfer, can I apply again later for the business version via global transfer if I don’t have ITIN? Basically is global transfer a one-time thing to help you to get your first US credit card or can be repeated? Thanks a ton!

        1. Ricky

          Most anecdotes indicate the Global Transfer can’t be repeated; however, once you’ve gotten your first Amex US (personal) card, you can often apply for the second (business) one within three months on the basis of your existing Amex US relationship. In this case, though, the timeline is a bit tight to get the Bonvoy Business’s higher offer if you’re just starting out, since it’s ending on May 12.

          (On the other hand, applying through Nova Credit can be done a second time based on a few people’s experiences, but that isn’t available on business credit card applications.)

  5. Avatar

    Did you call the regular Amex new accounts line or was it global transfer team ? Thanks

  6. Avatar

    Ricky, or anybody else who successfully applied for the Bonvoy Business, what did you put for the Federal Tax ID? I’ve already successfully applied for the Bonvoy, but the application process is different for the Bonvoy Business and there doesn’t appear to be a way to use Nova Credit. Any idea?

    Here’s what it says: Note: For Partnerships and Corporations, Federal Tax ID (EIN) is required to activate an American Express business account.

  7. Avatar
    Geoff Hunt

    Hi Ricky,

    Not sure if you can answer this or not, but here goes. I am an American citizen with an SSN but I have not lived in the US for more than 22 years and therefore have no credit to speak of in that country. I do hold amex cards here in Canada and an excellent credit score. If I were to use the Nova credit route, would I still be able to put my SSN in to start building a credit file in the US? Obviously I have never played the US card game before and just want to be sure before I apply

  8. Avatar

    Hey Ricky,

    This is huge! Thank you! N00b question though. I’m a US Resident (no credit history there) but live and work in Canada. Can I still use Nova Credit to apply?


  9. Avatar

    Noob question here, how does one meet the MSR on these US cards as a Canadian?

    1. Avatar

      As a no foreign transaction fee card – you could use it everywhere AMEX is accepted in Canada.
      If you don’t see yourself spend as much in a 3mo period – you’d have to resort to MS or to tactics Ricky wrote about (such as buy something at IKEA, hold on to it as their return policy is 365 days and then, once organic spend is met – just return the IKEA item in its brand new resellable condition).

  10. Avatar

    Hey Rick, if I apply for Amex buz card, that would be part of 5/24 rule?

    1. Ricky

      Nope, Amex US business cards do not report to your personal credit file, and therefore do not count towards 5/24.

      1. Avatar

        Thank you Ricky! I don’t have a business. Can I apply US Amex buz card with Nova credit by using my personal name like how we do for Canadian US Amex? Seems like people only talk about US personal Amex not buz so wonder if there is a catch that I am not aware.

  11. Avatar

    Thanks Ricky, great info!
    Yet another example of the on going value add that you do provide to your viewers. Will gladly continue to apply for promos via your referral link. Your insight is definitely worth much more than the $50 cash bonus one would get through an outside portal such as GCR (to reference one of the recent threads this was brought up!)

    1. Ricky

      Thanks Jimmy, that’s very kind of you.

  12. Avatar

    Hey Ricky, I have a US Bonvoy Brilliant personal card, and now I want to apply for the business card. Is there a difference whether I apply online or call them? As to my chances of receiving approval. Thanks!

    1. Avatar

      I had to apply over the phone only for the business card – but had no issues whatsoever.
      I don’t have SIN or ITIN – they’ve just used my Canadian info.
      Instant approval

      1. Avatar

        Did you call the regular Amex new accounts line or was it global transfer team ?

        1. Avatar

          I have started the process on the US AMEX website. Then, at some point the website gave me a number to call to continue my application – I did. They have transferred me internally at one point to a global transfer team.

  13. Avatar

    Hey Ricky, can I connect this card to me Canadain Marriot Bonvoy account that already has a Bonvoy card to stack the free nights? Or do I have to create a seperate account for this card? Thanks!

    1. Ricky

      Yes, the points from US and Canadian credit cards will all pool into the same Marriott Bonvoy account!


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