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Amex US Bonvoy Cards: Up to 125,000 Bonvoy Points + FREE Platinum Status! Ricky October 15, 2020

Amex US Bonvoy Cards: Up to 125,000 Bonvoy Points + FREE Platinum Status!

In US credit cards, there is one enduring truth: where one goes, the other tends to follow.

When Chase came out with their record-breaking offer of five free nights worth 50,000 Bonvoy points each on the Chase Marriott Boundless Visa, the natural next question was to ask what sort of spectacular bonuses we’d see coming out on the Amex side: the Amex US Bonvoy Brilliant and the Amex US Bonvoy Business.

Well, we now have our answer: the Bonvoy Brilliant is blowing us all away with an offer of 125,000 Marriott Bonvoy points, plus you’ll get to enjoy complimentary Marriott Platinum Elite status for the 2021 status year.

Simultaneously, the Amex US Bonvoy Business Card is also smashing its previous record-high offer. The business card will offer 100,000 Bonvoy points with complimentary Platinum Elite status thrown in for the 2021 status year as well.

Yes, you read that right.

Marriott Platinum Elite, the status level that comes with free breakfast, club lounge access, suite upgrades, and late checkout. The status level for which most of us have to bend over backwards to finesse our way towards the usual 50-night threshold to qualify. Completely free for the year, simply as a perk for being a cardholder of either the US Bonvoy Brilliant or the US Bonvoy Business.

Both offers last until January 13, 2021, giving you plenty of time to take action and nab these unbelievable offers for yourself and your entourage.

Amex US Bonvoy Brilliant: Up to 125,000 Bonvoy Points + Platinum Elite Status

Let’s start with the Bonvoy Brilliant, Amex US’s premium personal Marriott Bonvoy co-branded credit card, which will grant you 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy points upon spending US$5,000 in the first three months, along with complimentary Marriott Platinum Elite status for the 2021 status year.

It must be noted that your Platinum Elite status will actually begin on February 1, 2021, and will last one full year until January 31, 2022. Platinum status is available only to the primary cardholder, and if the card is cancelled for any reason, then the elite status would be cancelled too.

Moreover, upon renewing your card for a second year (which is highly recommended, as we’ll discuss below), you’ll receive a further anniversary bonus of 25,000 Bonvoy points, effectively raising the total offer to 125,000 Bonvoy points.

To apply for this offer, you have the option of applying directly via the American Express US website, or through a refer-a-friend link by an existing cardholder. In both cases, the terms of the offer are the same, showing a published end date of January 13, 2021.

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. On its own, I’d say that’s pretty worthwhile compared to the tremendous benefits you’re getting from this special offer, but the good news is that the US$450 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 anniversary free night certificate out of any Marriott credit card. 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!

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.

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 (such as if you had already gotten the excellent offer on the Gold Card or Green Card recently, and were interested in the Bonvoy Brilliant Card as well), but 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 + Platinum Elite Status

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

Until January 13, 2021, the card is offering 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy points upon spending US$5,000 in the first three months, along with complimentary Marriott Platinum Elite status for the 2021 status year (i.e., from February 1, 2021 to January 31, 2022).

Plus, to sweeten the deal even further, you’ll get US$150 back in statement credits for eligible purchases on US advertising in select media within the first six months. As above, the same offer is available through both the public and refer-a-friend channels.

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, although 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 certificate 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.

While the free Platinum Elite status will render this moot for 2021, 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 January 13, 2021, not only would you be earning Platinum Elite status for next year, 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.

And indeed, it’s far more enjoyable to stay 20 nights at Marriott hotels when you already have Platinum Elite status for the year! 😉

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.

If you can successfully get the Bonvoy Brilliant via Nova Credit sometime soon, then by the time early January rolls around and your relationship with Amex US has aged to about three months, I’d say you have a good shot of trying to get approved for the Bonvoy Business as well!

Apply Now

You know what time it is. It’s time to spread the love.

Since these best-ever offers are available through both the public channel and the refer-a-friend channel, we may as well apply via refer-a-friend links to maximize the net benefit to the community.

Feel free to reach out via the contact form if you’re interested in receiving a refer-a-friend link from me. Otherwise, anyone who currently holds an Amex US Bonvoy Brilliant Card or Amex US Bonvoy Business Card may feel free to share their referral link in the comments below, so that other Prince of Travel readers may take advantage of this offer by choosing one of the links in the comments, and we can all win.

Top Offers

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Offer lasts until December 28, 2020. Offer for non-Quebec residents only; Quebec residents are eligible for a different offer.

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76 Comments
  1. Avatar
    Pat

    Hi Ricky — does Platinum status come with card approval or only once the MSR is met? And is it something you have to register for, or is it automatically granted once the condition is met? Thanks!

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      As I understand it, it’ll be granted in January 2021 as long as you’re approved for the card – automatically with no need to register.

  2. Avatar
    Avee

    Thanks Ricky, I signed up and here is my referral if someone needs it.

    Apply for an American Express Card with this link. We can both get rewarded if you’re approved! http://refer.amex.us/AaMIRVromv?XLINK=MYCP

  3. Avatar
    J Wong

    Thanks so much Ricky. My first time signing up for a US credit card and 2 days after it arrived at my US address!

    I used a link from a fellow poster and I hope they got their points. Please consider signing up with my link below:

    Amex US Bonvoy Brilliant: 125,000 Bonvoy Points + Platinum Elite Status
    http://refer.amex.us/JESUSWBAXv?XLINK=MYCP

  4. Avatar
    Kevin

    Is there a list of merchants of where the $150 in advertising fees can be used? I actually have a business in Canada that I wonder can be legitimately be used for

  5. Avatar
    JL

    Ricky, you need to stop allowing people to post referral links in your main articles, or have a separate dedicated post where people can leave referral links.
    What a nightmare navigating through the comments section for actual helpful comments…

  6. 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

  7. Avatar
    Moof

    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?

    Thanks!

  8. Avatar
    Jay

    Ricky, thanks for this great tip! I’ve a question about this term and condition: “the Platinum status is available only to the primary cardholder.” If I travel with my spouse or family, does that mean I’m the only one who can enjoy the executive lounge, and the complimentary breakfast?

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      Nope, it means that only the primary cardholders *earns* Platinum status on their account, but usually you’ll get breakfast and lounge access for at least two guests, and most hotels are happy to extend it to the entire family too.

  9. Avatar
    Ed

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

    1. Avatar
      Alex

      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
    Justin Trdeau

    Referral link to the Bonvoy Business – only $125 annual fee for 100,000 bonvoy points and a Platinum Elite status!
    Apply for an American Express Card with this link. We can both get rewarded if you’re approved! http://refer.amex.us/ALEXaK8Jav?XLINK=MYCP
    ,

  11. Avatar
    Michael Nash

    I tried to book 10 nights at a hotel at the off-peak rate under the recent promo but due to technical issues, couldn’t book and now the promo is over (ended Oct 15). Prices have gone up 20k for my stay.

    If anyone is kind enough to use my referral it would certainly help me make up for the points difference. Thanks so much!

    http://refer.amex.us/MIKENrLSK?XLINK=MYCP

  12. Avatar
    Wrubel

    Used Nova Credit successfully again – my second time – quicker than the first time. I don’t have an ITIN yet.

  13. Avatar
    Dave

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

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

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

      1. Avatar
        Dave

        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.

  14. Avatar
    Mark

    Wait: wasn’t using referral links one of the red flags for getting shut down?

  15. Avatar
    Ishan

    Didn’t Bonvoy Brilliant credit card always come with Platinum status?

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      Nope, only when spending US$75,000 on the card.

  16. Avatar
    Alina

    The limitations on receiving Bonvoy bonuses for existing cardholders of other Bonvoy cards are sure putting a brake on my desire to apply for these. I’m holding out for my 24 month period to expire so that I can sign up for the Chase card and get the 5 50k certs.

    That said, if Marriott is going to start throwing the status around, I wonder how much use that would really be. Especially if hotels keep offering lame breakfast options because of the coronavirus.

    I’m seriously looking into Hilton cards instead. At least I don’t have to stagger the the applications for them over quite as long of a period of time, and the point value appears to remain steady. As the cash prices went down, so did the point prices, which cannot be said about Marriott. I stayed in San Diego recently for a week and one would be a full to pay 35K points for a hotel that cost only $160 a night cash.

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      I think Marriott hotels with lame COVID breakfast options are more the exception than the rule. I’ve had great experiences with breakfast during my recent stays, and in some cases even better free breakfasts than would otherwise be possible (such as room service instead of going downstairs, à la carte choices in the restaurant instead of a smaller buffet in the lounge, etc.)

      For frequent travellers, there’s no reason not to dip your toes in both worlds, in my view. The Aspire Card was an easy route to meaningful top-tier status with Hilton, and now we have a similar (albeit temporary) route with Marriott as well.

      1. Avatar
        Alina

        Perhaps that’s the upside of staying in Canada, I’m currently in the US and we are not handling it quite as well as folks up north.

        In the past I have been able to get a consistent 1+ US penny per point value out of Marriott by staying in cat 1-3 hotels, where luxury is not as important to me as the ability to get more nights. It’s not looking likely nowadays.

  17. Avatar
    Patricia

    thanks Ricky.

    I used a referral link from these comments today, was approved, and now have my own referral link to offer:
    Apply for an American Express Card with this link. We can both get rewarded if you’re approved! http://refer.amex.us/GREgON13dE?XLINK=MYCP

  18. Avatar
    Adam

    Hey Everyone, Thanks for the great info Ricky!

    Please find attached my referral link. Thanks in advance to anyone who uses it. I am going to apply for the business card if anyone wants to share with me their link.

    http://refer.amex.us/ADaMGsl3X?XLINK=MYCP

  19. Avatar
    Jimmy

    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
      Ricky

      Thanks Jimmy, that’s very kind of you.

  20. Avatar
    Josh

    Bonvoy Brilliant: https://amex.co/33ZsUZi
    Bonvoy Business: https://amex.co/31b99Mw

    Many thanks to anyone who uses my referral! Fingers crossed we all avoid the pop-up 🙂

    If you’re planning on getting both offers, remember that US AMEX imposes a limit of 1 new credit card every 30 days, and 2 every 90 days. So start ASAP!

  21. Avatar
    Alex

    To ALL:
    Please stop posting here your referral links – it makes the comments section bloat and be way less informative (have to scroll through all those rubbish links to see some meaningful info).
    Also – I think it is fair to say that Ricky should have the preference to get the referral bonuses – unless he says he has reached his annual maximum.

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      Thanks for looking out Alex, in this case I’ll hit my maximum pretty soon, so I’ve invited folks who are interested to reach out for a referral or otherwise use one of the links of other members of the community.

      That means you may have to sort through all the love to find the meaningful info, but I think it’s a net positive. 😉

      1. Avatar
        Alex

        Oh well..
        As long as your interests are being looked after! 😉
        Anyway, maybe it would be wise to have a system, where people submit their referral lijnks and those are being stored in your website.
        Then, when somebody needs a link – there would be a button “generate link” – and a a random referral link would come up.
        This way – many people might benefit equally – and the comments section won’t bloat.
        Just a technical advise to improve things.

  22. Avatar
    Vince

    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
      Alex

      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

  23. Avatar
    Alex

    Applied a week ago for the business Bonvoy in the US. The offer was 75000 points for a $3000 spend.
    Called their customer service to amend my sign up bonus (I’ve just started to use the card a week ago) – they could just open a formal case, without promising me a result.
    Damn!

    1. Avatar
      Alvin

      Any update on this situation Alex? I’m in the same situation having been approved in early September.

      1. Avatar
        Alex

        Got a firm decline.
        No appealing – reached all the way to the supreme court of AMEX LOL!
        Anyway – I bite it this time.

      2. Avatar
        Alex

        Nope. Biting my tongue…
        They’ve told me to wait a week and contact them if no one tells me nothing..

        1. Avatar
          Alvin Lip

          Thanks Alex. Unlucky for both of us but there are worse things 😉

  24. Avatar
    Jules

    It’s getting ridiculous how easy it is to obtain Platinum status via these new AMEX CC offers and Marriott depositing elite nights into everyone’s Bonvoy account based on status earned last year.
    This pretty much guarantes that suite upgrades will be very rare for properties in North America in 2021.

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      I’d expect that to be balanced out by the fact that fewer people are travelling – at least, I imagine this is what Marriott must’ve been thinking.

  25. Avatar
    Anh

    Here my link to the new offers! You can choose the brilliant card from his links as well.
    https://bit.ly/3nOsywF

  26. Avatar
    Timbo2

    Anything in either of the T&C’s to confirm that existing holders are not eligible ?

  27. Avatar
    Jerry

    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
      Ricky

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

  28. Avatar
    Manu

    “Moreover, upon renewing your card for a second year (which is highly recommended, as we’ll discuss below), you’ll receive a further anniversary bonus of 25,000 Bonvoy points, effectively raising the total offer to 150,000 Bonvoy points.”

    Edit this – its Net 125K, 100K on MSR + 25K on anniversary; not 125+ 25K 🙂

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      Thanks, got too excited there 😉

  29. Avatar
    Eric

    Wow I was chatting with someone on the PoT Elites group on this but I’m surprised to see these cards getting elevated so much!

Ricky

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