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Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card (formerly Starwood Preferred Guest) 2021 review
As of February 2020 Amex has updated this card to reflect the merging of the Starwood (SPG) and Marriot loyalty programmes in 2019. If you like to travel in style, then you can still earn tailored rewards while you spend with this specialised offer.
You say: ★★★★★We say: ★★★★★
Doing its job: 5/5
In a nutshell:
Earn 6 points
per £1 spent with select partners
Earn 2 points
per £1 spent elsewhere
Up to 20,000 points
|Representative APR||41.6% APR (variable)|
|Annual/monthly fees||£75 per annum|
|Incentive||Earn 20,000 points bonus when you spend £3,000 in the first 3 months. Earn 2 points per £1 spent and 6 points per £1 of eligible spend at Marriott properties.|
|Additional Rewards Info||Automatic upgrade to Silver Elite status. Automatic update to Gold when you spend £15,000 in purchases on you card each year.|
|Purchases interest-free period (days)||56|
Chris Lilly is a publisher at finder.com. He's a specialist in credit-based products including business and personal loans, mortgages and credit cards, and is passionate about helping UK consumers make informed decisions about their borrowing. In his spare time Chris likes forcing his kids to exercise more.
Marriott Bonvoy is the loyalty programme for Marriott International’s rather mind-boggling 30+ hotel brands. These include Marriott, Sheraton, Westin, Delta and W hotels. You earn points for each stay which you can redeem for a wide selection of benefits. Like air miles programmes, you can use a mixture of points and cash when spending with the scheme. Also like air miles programmes, you can reach silver and gold tiers if you use the brand frequently.
For those who want to earn points even faster, this collaboration with American Express lets you collect points on your day-to-day spending too.
As of February 2020 the card has been overhauled in-line with the merging of the Starwood and Marriott loyalty programmes early last year. The welcome points bonus has been reduced from 30,000 to 20,000, but this reduction is offset by the new addition of 15 Elite Night Credits on sign-up. So what does that actually mean? Not 15 free stays, I’m afraid, but it means you enjoy the same benefits as you would if you had stayed 15 nights at Marriott properties. Having 15 Elite Night credits automatically gets you Silver Elite status, which comes with a raft of benefits including member rates, late check-out and free wi-fi.
The Marriott Bonvoy app can be used to check in and out, and – get this – you can then use your phone as your room key.
To keep you interested after claiming that welcome bonus, there are ongoing bonuses related to the amount you spend on the card annually. For example, you’ll enjoy “Gold Elite status” (which means perks like complimentary room upgrades, late checkout, enhanced in-room internet access) if you spend £15,000 on eligible purchases a calendar year. Spending £25,000 could bag you a free hotel stay. And don’t forget you can transfer your points to over 40 major airline frequent flyer programmes.
If you’re a regular guest at these hotels, try to work out whether the annual fee would be worth shouldering, by looking at how much you’d realistically spend on the card and what that would translate to in rewards.
Existing cardholders will get their hands on the fancy new-look card when their current one expires.
Pros and cons
- Generous introductory bonus and nice ongoing rewards.
- An expensive option if you carry a balance from month to month.
You can make manual repayments through American Express's app, by logging in to your online banking or over the phone . Alternatively, you may wish to set up a direct debit.
A direct debit protects you from forgetting to make a repayment and either damaging your credit score, getting hit with a penalty fee (£12) or losing any promotional rates as a result.
You can arrange a direct debit for repayments when you apply for the credit card. The table below shows the options available.
Choose from the following direct debit options for your monthly repayments:
|Minimum amount||Fixed amount||Fixed percentage||Full amount|
How to apply
First, you can use Finder's eligibility checker to find out if you'd be likely to get approved for The Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card. This won't impact your credit score. If it's good news, you can then proceed to American Express's online application, which takes 10-15 minutes to complete.
Following an overhaul in early 2020, the Marriott Bonvoy American Express credit card now offers a flexible rewards scheme for those who like to stay at Marriott International’s extensive range of hotels. While the welcome points bonus has been reduced, you’ll automatically get upgraded to Silver Elite status, which offers a range of hotel-specific perks.
However, this card might not be the best choice if you’re likely to carry an outstanding balance from month to month – you’d be likely to pay a lot more in fees and interest than you’d earn in rewards. But if you’d use the card a fair bit and generally do clear your balance in full each month, this card undoubtedly offers handsome rewards for Marriott devotees.
Frequently asked questions
What credit limit will I get with The Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card?
If American Express is able to offer you this deal, the offer will specify a personalised credit limit based on American Express's assessment of your situation. The minimum limit offered on this card is £700 and American Express does not specify a maximum. Once you've had the card for a while and shown American Express that you're reliable, you may wish to apply for a credit limit increase.
Can I withdraw cash using The Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card?
Although it's possible, withdrawing cash from a credit card account is generally not a good idea, as "cash-like transactions" (such as withdrawing cash at an ATM, getting cashback at the till, spending at a casino or buying currency) often incur steep fees and/or higher rates of interest.
The cash advance fee on The Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card is 3% (min. £3). For example, if you withdraw £50, you'll incur a fee of £3.00. Withdraw £250, and you'll incur a fee of £7.50.
The interest rate on this part of your balance will be 31.5% (chargeable from the day of the transaction – the card's usual "up to 56 days interest-free" grace period won't apply).
How much does it cost to use The Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card abroad?
Non-sterling transactions are subject to a 2.99% charge. For example, if you spend 200 euros (£168.95), it'll cost you around £5.05 in fees.
Can I request an additional The Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card?
Yes, you can request one more. There's no fee for additional cards. Plus, with additional cards, you could earn points at a faster rate. Bear in mind that card debt accrued by additional cardholders is the sole responsibility of the account holder – not the additional cardholder.