Marriott enthusiasts, brace for exciting changes in the realm of Marriott Bonvoy credit cards. Two brand-new cards have joined the ranks, accompanied by a remarkable upgrade to the prestigious Bonvoy Brilliant card. This article provides a comprehensive exploration of these developments, delving into the details to help you discern the strengths and weaknesses of each card, ultimately guiding you to the crown jewel of the Marriott Bonvoy credit card lineup.
Marriott Bonvoy Bevy and Bountiful
First and foremost, let’s welcome the two newcomers in the Marriott Bonvoy family: the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy from American Express and the Marriott Bonvoy Bountiful from Chase. These cards, although from different issuers, share a striking resemblance. Both offerings kickstart your journey with an enticing 125,000 points when you spend a minimum of $4,000 within the first three months.
Keep in mind that, despite being issued by Amex and Chase, these co-branded cards accrue Marriott points, not Amex or Chase points. The value of Marriott points, estimated at 0.8 cents per point by The Points Guy, translates to a $1,000 bonus in return for your $4,000 spend. That’s an impressive 25% return on your investment, which easily offsets the $250 annual fee and then some.
Earning Points: The Multipliers Unveiled
Earning points with these cards is a breeze. You’ll rake in six times the points for eligible purchases at Marriott properties, with a slight marketing quirk on the Chase side that suggests up to 18.5 times points. However, 10 of those points are accessible as a Marriott Bonvoy member for free. An additional 2.5 times points are attributed to being a Gold member, a status attainable with these cards or on your own.
In addition to the Marriott-centric benefits, you’ll earn four times the points on worldwide restaurant expenditures and U.S. grocery store purchases, up to a combined annual cap of $15,000. For all other expenses, a consistent two times points are credited. When considering the multipliers alongside a point’s value of 0.8 cents, these cards deliver an effective cashback equivalent of 4.8% at Marriott properties, 3.2% for restaurants and supermarkets, and 1.6% everywhere else. While decent, these multipliers may not outshine other options.
Beyond Points: Additional Perks
Beyond point accumulation, the new cards bring a set of enticing perks to the table. Staying at Marriott hotels earns you an additional 1,000 points, and after spending $15,000 in a year, you unlock a free night certificate for properties up to 50,000 points. Notably, you can combine this certificate with your own points, potentially affording you a stay at a 65,000-point hotel like the Royal Hawaiian Resort in Waikiki.
However, considering the substantial spending required to secure this certificate, it may not be the most efficient route. Alternatives, such as hitting the minimum spend on cards like the Freedom Flex or Unlimited, which possess lower spending thresholds, can yield a similar value.
As with most travel cards, you can count on a suite of travel coverages, including baggage delay, lost luggage, trip delay, purchase protection, and Visa concierge. On the Chase side, extended warranty adds an extra layer of protection.
Furthermore, cardholders are awarded automatic Gold Elite status, a benefit usually associated with higher-tier cards carrying more significant annual fees. This status unlocks a treasure trove of benefits, including more points, late check-out, enhanced room upgrades (including suites), lounge access, and more. In essence, these perks increase the odds of favorable room upgrades when booking your stay.
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card Upgrade
Now, let’s shift our focus to the upgraded Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card by American Express. This card elevates you to Marriott Platinum status, a notable enhancement from the previous Gold status. Achieving Platinum status usually requires a higher annual fee or extensive Marriott loyalty, making this card’s value proposition quite attractive.
With an annual fee increase from $450 to $650, you might wonder if the additional perks justify the cost. Let’s break it down.
The card currently boasts a generous sign-up bonus of 150,000 points, attainable after spending $5,000 within the first three months. Valued at 0.8 cents per point, this equates to a $1,200 bonus, effectively offsetting the annual fee.
Regarding point accumulation, this card offers six times points at Marriott properties, three times for dining, three times for flights booked directly with airlines, and two times for all other expenses. While the dining and flight multipliers differ slightly from the Bevy and Bountiful cards, there is no cap on dining expenditures, potentially appealing to foodies and frequent travelers.
Balancing the Annual Fee with Perks
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card comes with several perks to balance its higher annual fee. You’ll enjoy a $300 dining statement credit, distributed as $25 per month throughout the year, redeemable at restaurants worldwide. This user-friendly credit effectively reduces the annual fee from $650 to a more palatable $350.
Additionally, cardholders receive a free night certificate, granting access to properties up to 85,000 points. With the option to top up this certificate with 15,000 points, you could secure a stay at a luxurious hotel like the St. Regis New York, typically valued at over $760 per night. Even at more modestly priced hotels, this certificate effectively negates the annual fee.
Beyond these standout perks, the card offers a choice award once you reach a $60,000 spend. The options include five suite night award upgrades, a $750 bed credit at their boutique, or another 85,000-point certificate. While the last option may be less accessible to most cardholders, the other perks more than compensate for the annual fee.
In addition to these benefits, the card provides Global Entry or TSA Pre-check credit, Priority Pass lounge access, and a range of protections, including baggage insurance, trip insurance, return protection, purchase protection, and extended warranty. With 25 Elite nights toward the next level of elite status, which would be Titanium in this case, you can further enhance your Marriott experience.
The Ritz Carlton Card Update
For those who hold the Ritz-Carlton card, there’s an exciting update to note. The award certificate’s value has been bumped up to 85,000 points, a substantial increase from the previous 50,000 points, all while maintaining the $450 annual fee.
With these substantial changes to the Marriott Bonvoy credit card lineup, you may wonder which card is the right fit for you. The Bevy and Bountiful cards offer tempting sign-up bonuses, but their value proposition diminishes due to the annual fee and lack of major credits to offset the cost.
In contrast, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card stands out as the top choice. With its $300 dining credit and a free night certificate that can easily cover the annual fee, it offers robust value to Marriott loyalists. The added allure of Marriott Platinum status makes it an exceptional card for those who appreciate Marriott properties or aim to maximize their Marriott points.
However, it’s worth noting that the increased annual fee of $650 may give some pause. If you already have the card, rest assured that the new fee won’t apply until your renewal date after January 2023. This means you can continue to enjoy the existing benefits for an additional year while paying the original $450 annual fee.
These revamped Marriott Bonvoy credit cards cater to a wider audience, with the Brilliant card representing the top-tier choice and the Bevy and Bountiful cards occupying the mid-tier category. While Marriott loyalists or fans of their properties will find great value in these cards, others may explore alternative options that offer even more value for their spending habits. Remember to review the fine print to ensure you qualify for the enticing sign-up bonuses, especially if you’ve had previous iterations of these cards. Regardless of your choice, these Marriott Bonvoy credit cards offer exciting opportunities to enhance your travel experience and accumulate valuable points.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are the key differences between the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy and Bountiful cards?
The Marriott Bonvoy Bevy and Bountiful cards share many similarities, as they are essentially the same card issued by two different providers, American Express and Chase. The primary distinction lies in the issuer and some subtle variations in rewards structures. However, both cards offer the same sign-up bonus and annual fee. To choose between them, consider which issuer you prefer and any additional benefits that might sway your decision.
Is it worth paying the higher annual fee for the upgraded Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card?
The value of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card’s increased annual fee largely depends on your travel habits and preferences. The upgraded card offers valuable perks like Marriott Platinum status, a $300 dining credit, and a substantial free night certificate. If you frequently stay at Marriott properties or want to maximize your Marriott points, the Brilliant card can provide significant value, potentially outweighing the higher fee.
Can I earn the sign-up bonuses for both the Bevy and Bountiful cards?
Earning sign-up bonuses for both the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy and Bountiful cards is technically possible, but it depends on eligibility criteria, especially if you’ve held previous versions of these cards. Ensure you carefully review the terms and conditions for each card and verify whether you qualify for the bonuses based on your card history.
What is the best way to maximize Marriott points with these credit cards?
To maximize your Marriott points with the Bevy, Bountiful, or Brilliant cards, consider focusing your spending on Marriott properties, dining, and flights booked directly with airlines to capitalize on the card’s multipliers. Additionally, leverage the free night certificates and dining credits to offset the annual fees. Keep an eye on Marriott promotions and offers that can further enhance your point earnings.
Are there any other credit cards that offer similar benefits for travelers?
Several other credit cards offer benefits and rewards tailored to travelers. Cards like the American Express Gold card provide dining and grocery bonuses while offering flexible point redemption options. Other premium travel cards, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve and The Platinum Card from American Express, offer airport lounge access, travel credits, and a variety of travel-related perks. The best card for you depends on your specific travel preferences and spending habits.