How to Maximize AMEX Marriott Bonvoy Card Benefits
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How to Maximize AMEX Marriott Bonvoy Card Benefits

Another favourite card of many travellers' is the Canadian AMEX Marriott Bonvoy card. It is the only hotel-branded card in Canada where you can directly earn and redeem points through Marriott Bonvoy. It has excellent perks and benefits that exceed the annual fee (Hint: an annual Free Night Stay anywhere in the world. Keep reading to know more!)

AMEX Marriott Bonvoy Card

The AMEX Marriott Bonvoy cards (there are currently 2 available for Canadians; more on this later) are the only credit cards in Canada which directly earn hotel points, giving you access to free stays with the largest global hotel brand in the world.

The annual fee for AMEX Marriott Bonvoy card is $120. You can make the most out of this by earning a free night stay credit every year which you can use to book any Marriott room worldwide that is typically priced 35,000 or below. There are some excellent properties in this category, with regular cash prices exceeding $500-$1000! Whether, you frequently use your card to earn points or just keep it in your sock drawer, you will get this amazing benefit!

How to stay with Mariott Hotel for free using the AMEX Marriott card.

Earning Marriott Bonvoy Points

The key to unlocking a free hotel stay lies in understanding how to accumulate Marriott Bonvoy points effectively. Here are some strategies to consider:

Welcome Bonuses

Amex Marriott Bonvoy card offers an attractive welcome bonus of 65,000 points after spending $3,000 CAD in 3 months. Offer valid until May 6th 2024. You can get 5,000 additional points by signing up through Great Canadian Rebates, in addition to a $75 cash bonus.

Note that you can only receive the welcome bonus once in a lifetime. However the Amex Marriott Bonvoy Business card is technically a different card, which is eligible to earn a second (slightly higher) welcome bonus and a second free night stay credit. Note that you do not need any proof of business activity to sign up for the business card.

Category Spending on the AMEX Marriott

With the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card you can:

  1. Earn 5 points for every $1 in eligible card purchases at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy, plus the points you already earn as a Marriott Bonvoy Member.
  2. Earn 2 points for every $1 in all other card purchases.

Refer-a-Friend Program

If your partner, friends or family are interested in earning Marriott Bonvoy points, you can refer them to this credit card. You will receive an additional 15,000 points for each referral.

Redeeming Marriott Bonvoy Points

On top of the annual free night stay, accumulating points is just the first step; the real magic happens when you redeem them for free hotel stays. Marriott Bonvoy has an extensive portfolio of hotels, ranging from budget-friendly to ultra-luxurious. Here's how you can make the most of your points:

Flexible Redemption Options

Marriott Bonvoy allows members to redeem points for free nights, room upgrades, or even experiences. Be flexible with your options to find the value that suits your preferences.

Cash + Points:

If you find yourself with a point balance that's just shy of a free night, consider the Cash + Points option. This allows you to use a combination of points and cash to cover your stay, providing greater flexibility.

Additional Benefits and Perks

Status Upgrade

Enjoy automatic Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status, then get upgraded to Gold Elite status after spending $30,000 to your Card each year, or when you combine 10 qualifying paid nights within one calendar year with the 15 Elite Night Credit benefit of your AMEX card.

Mariott Bonvoy Benefits

As a Marriott Bonvoy Member:

  1. Redeem points for free nights with no blackout dates at over 30 hotel brands and 7,000+ of the worldโ€™s most desired hotels.
  2. Transfer points to frequent flyer miles with a wide selection of airlines.
  3. Receive 10,000 bonus points from the Marriott Bonvoy program when you transfer 60,000 points to a frequent flyer program.
  4. Get access to the world's largest collection of luxury hotels, inspired destinations, Michelin-starred dining, rejuvenating spa treatments and so much more.
  5. If you book 4 consecutive nights on points, you will get a 5th night free! This includes luxurious over-water villas in the Maldives!

Travel Coverage

With the travel uncertainties, rest assured with Amex Mariott Bonvoy's wide range of insurances including flight and baggage delay, lost or stolen baggage and hotel burglary. Our favorite coverages are the rental car insurance and travel accident insurance, which we'd otherwise have to pay for out of pocket.

American Express Experiences

Amex Mariott Bonvoy card also gives you access to premium American Express Experiences for Entertainment, Dining, Shopping, Wellness and lots more.

Annual Free Night Credit

As mentioned, the main perk of this card is that it more than pays itself off every year through the annual free night credit. We had a winter getaway in Bracebridge, Canada and stayed in a quaint Marriott on a frozen lake, with a typical nightly rate exceeding $500.

Boat on an icy lake in Canada, with a Marriott in the distance, booked through the AMEX Marriott card.

You'll receive your first free night credit after holding the card for 12 months. It can be redeemed for any stay worth up to 35,000 points. It can also be topped up with up to 15,000 points to book a stay typically worth between 35,000 and 50,000 points. Check out this excellent blog post by Prince of Travel for further details.

Long-Term Value of the AMEX Marriott card

The AMEX Marriott Bonvoy card is a great card to hold onto long-term. You get to keep AMEX happy, while saving money each year.

Of course we all love these juicy sign-up-bonuses, however finding a few cards that are worth holding long-term is an important part of the strategy, especially with American Express. You may know that AMEX is the issuer which is the most strict on users that are gaming the system (closing their card after receiving the welcome bonus). Many customers are known to be Amexiled with their accounts automatically closed with no ability to sign up for new cards. The best way to prevent this is to keep your AMEX cards for multiple years, and this card and the Cobalt card are the two which can easily pay themselves off and more each year.

Final Thoughts

By strategically using Amex Marriott Bonvoy credit cards and optimizing point accumulation and redemption, you can turn your everyday spending into extraordinary experiences. So, whether you're a frequent flyer or a casual traveller, start earning your way to a free hotel stay and plan your next adventure without breaking the bank.

If you have plenty of grocery and food spending, the Amex Cobalt Card is right for you.

If you are new to travel hacking, our post about the Best Travel Credit Card in Canada will be helpful for you.

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