The Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card is the go-to credit card in Canada for those who stay in hotels, and Marriott being by far the largest chain with the most locations worldwide certainly doesn’t hurt, either. This card also consistently provides excellent value for its annual fee year after year.
Bonuses & Fees
The Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card offers 80,000 Marriott Bonvoy points when signing up via a special link distributed as follows:
- 65,000 Bonvoy points upon spending $5,000 in the first three months
- 15,000 Bonvoy points upon making a purchase between months 14 and 17
If you want to receive slightly less points for a lower minimum spend, consider the referral offer where you receive 55,000 points upon spending $3,000 in the first three months or the public offer where you receive 50,000 points upon spending $1,500 in the first three months.
However, if you can easily spend $5,000 in the first three months, the special sign-up link is by far the best way to apply especially considering that you receive a 35,000-point free night award upon renewal so being able to earn an additional 15,000 points is just icing on the cake.
The card has an annual fee of $120.
You can refer friends and family from the Marriott Bonvoy Card to the same card or the Marriott Bonvoy Business Card, earning a referral bonus of 10,000 Marriott Bonvoy points each time, up to a maximum of 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy points in a calendar year.
Finally, supplementary cards are free; as with all American Express cards, you’re allowed up to nine supplementary cards per card account.
In terms of the return on everyday spending, you’ll earn 5 Bonvoy points per dollar spent at all Marriott hotels, including room charges, food and beverages, and incidentals. You’ll earn 2 Bonvoy points per dollar spent on all other purchases.
Earning 2 Marriott points on your purchases is fine if you’re primarily looking to use your Marriott points on hotel stays; however, if you’re interested in transferring to airlines like Aeroplan, then it’d be a better idea to put the charges on the American Express Platinum Card.
As one of the only major hotel brands to offer a co-branded credit card in Canada, the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card makes Marriott the preferred brand of choice for most Canadians when booking hotels around the world.
All Marriott hotels are priced dynamically, depending on the season, and even the day of the week. That being said, there are some general ranges you can expect hotels to price at:
- Low-end hotels: 5,000 points – 15,000 points per night
- Mid-tier hotels: 20,000 points – 80,000 points per night
- High-end hotels: 80,000+ points per night
Keep in mind that the “tier” the hotel falls into is also highly dependent on the market it’s in, so you can expect the Fairfield Inn and Suites near Disneyland, California to price at mid-tier levels even though it’s a limited service brand.
With the 55,000 points you earn as a sign-up bonus, you can stay for 5+ nights at low-end hotels, a few nights at mid-tier hotels, or maybe even one night at a high-end hotel at a good rate.
Marriott’s “Stay 5, Pay for 4” policy makes one of the nights free on redemption bookings, further sweetening the deal with booking hotels on points.
Perks & Benefits
The Marriott Bonvoy cards also offer unique benefits to make your stays at Marriott hotels more memorable. Cardholders are rewarded with 15 elite qualifying nights, which gives you instant Silver Elite status, and can go a long way towards earning higher-tier status levels.
Moreover, cardholders can also enjoy an anniversary Free Night Award worth up to 35,000 points on every card anniversary date, which, if redeemed wisely, can easily outweigh the card’s $120 annual fee.
The insurance provided by the Amex Bonvoy Card is decently far-reaching, and includes coverage such as:
Travel accident insurance, up to $500,000, for you, your spouse, and any dependent children under 23
Baggage delay insurance, up to $1,000 (aggregate total with Flight Delay insurance), for items purchased within four days when your baggage is delayed
Car rental theft and damage insurance, which helps you save the daily insurance fee that most car rental companies charge
There’s a few notable omissions from the list of covered items, though. For example, there’s no emergency medical insurance, which many travellers view as a necessity.