Bonuses & Fees
The Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card offers up to 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy points as its current signup bonus:
- Earn 70,000 points upon spending $1,500 in the first three months
- Earn 5 points per dollar spent on travel and gas in the first three months, up to 15,000 bonus points
Note that the 5x points includes the base earn rate. Technically, you’ll earn 2 points per dollar spent as per usual, plus 3 bonus points per dollar spent.
Also, lodging is excluded from the welcome bonus rate on travel, although charges at Marriott properties always earn 5 points per dollar spent anyway.
The card has an annual fee of $120.
Upon meeting the main spending requirement, you’ll have earned at least 70,000 Bonvoy points. To give you an idea of what 70,000 points within the Marriott Bonvoy program can get you:
- One free night at a Category 8 hotel at the off-peak rate, or a Category 7 hotel at the peak rate (retail cost: $1,000+)
- Five free nights at a Category 3 hotel at the standard rate (retail cost: $600+)
- 18 free nights at a Category 1 hotel at the off-peak rate (retail cost: $1,800+)
- Converting 60,000 points to any of 40 airline transfer partners, netting 25,000 airline miles, and redeem for flights (retail cost: $500+)
Those are just a few examples that come to mind, and you could also mix and match the options that best suit your needs.
The point is, the ultimate value of the Marriott program derives from its flexibility, and as a result of that, it’s almost difficult not to get multiple times’ return on your $120 annual fee when signing up for this card.
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.
While this card used to be one of the most powerful cards in Canada for daily spending, nowadays the value proposition has decreased.
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 or Alaska Mileage Plan, then it’d be a better idea to put the charges on the American Express Platinum Card or the MBNA Alaska Airlines Mastercard.
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.