Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card (formerly Starwood Preferred Guest) 2020 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:
Yearly account fee
Up to 20,000 points
Earn 2 points
per £1 spent
|Rep. APR||38.8% (variable)|
|Annual/monthly fees||£75 per annum|
|Incentive||As a new Cardmember earn 20,000 points bonus when you spend £3,000 in the first 3 months of Cardmembership.|
|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.
When it comes to repayments, you can make manual repayments online or over the phone (), or alternatively set up a direct debit. A direct debit is a great idea because it protects you from forgetting to make a repayment and either damaging your credit score, getting hit with a penalty fee 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
If you’ve been won over by this rewarding card and want to apply, go to the Amex website and fill in an application form. This takes about 15 minutes to complete. Before you apply, check that you meet the eligibility requirements and have the information and documents you’ll need to make the process as straightforward as possible.
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.