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American Express has announced new spending bonuses aimed at holders of the two consumer Marriott Bonvoy cards that it curates. The bonuses on offer are already live and relate to spending made through 15 September 2021.
New Amex Bonvoy Spending Bonuses
Holders of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express Card (review) and the legacy Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card (no longer open for new applications) can now earn bonus points for spending made in 4 categories.
Between now and 15 September 2021, holders of eligible Amex Bonvoy cards can earn 6 Bonvoy Points/dollar spent on:
- Car rentals purchased from select car rental companies
- Flights booked directly with airlines
- Gas (from U.S. gas stations)
- Transit (including taxis, ridesharing services, parking, tolls, trains & buses)
For cardholders, these bonuses represent up to 4 points/dollar more than their card already offers.
Cardmembers who enroll (here) for this offer can earn up to 10,000 bonus points in each category (40,000 bonus points in total).
There are two ways to look at this new offer. You can choose to look at it in terms of how many bonus Bonvoy Points it allows you to earn, or you can choose to look at in terms of what kind of effective rebate your Bonvoy card now offers you in the four bonus categories.
Considering The Bonus Points On Offer
If you’re keen to top up your Marriott Bonvoy Points balance, the 40,000 bonus points that this offer allows you to earn will probably look tempting, and if your sole focus is on maximizing how many Bonvoy Points you’re earning, this promotion can be useful.
With 10,000 extra points available in each spending category and with the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card already offering 3 points per dollar on airfares booked directly with airlines and 2 points/dollar on spending at gas stations, on rental cars, and on transit, this is what spending is needed to max out the points on offer in this promotion:
- Airfare (booked directly with airlines) – $3,334
- Car Rentals – $2,500
- Gas (from U.S. Gas Stations) – $2,500
- Transit – $2,500
$2,500 of spending on car rentals and gas between now and 15 September may not be an issue for anyone thinking of booking a vacation, but spending $2,500 on gas in just two months is probably out of most people’s reach and unless you spend most of your time being driven around in Ubers or Lyfts, $2,500 of spending on transit is probably going to be an issue too.
As far as gas station spending goes, there’s always the option to earn bonus points from other items that gas stations sell and that may help those on a quest for Bonvoy Points to maximize the bonus in that category, but I suspect that the spending needed to maximize the points available in the transit category will be out of the reach of most people.
Before deciding to try to make the most of this offer, everyone should be evaluating just how likely they are to actually max it out.
Considering The Effective Rebates On Offer
Personally, I won’t be viewing this offer from the point of view of someone who wants to collect as many Bonvoy Points as possible. I’ll be looking at it from the perspective of someone who likes to maximize their earnings every time they use a credit card.
I value Bonvoy Points at 0.6 cents each (based on the value that I know I can get out of them without much effort), so this promotion is effectively offering me a rebate of 3.6% (6 points/dollar) in the four eligible spending categories.
That’s not great.
Not only do several credit cards that I (and a lot of people) hold offer a better return on airfare and/or travel spending, but some of the cards also offer considerably better protections (for when trips go wrong) than the Amex Marriott Bonvoy Cards.
The Platinum Card ® from American Express (review) and the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card (review) both offer considerably better returns on airfare spending than this promotion is offering, the Sapphire Reserve and the American Express Green Card are just two examples of cards that offer noticeably better returns on all other travel spending, and even though the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (review) only offers an effective rebate of 3% on rental car spending (based on my valuation of Chase Ultimate Rewards Points), the fact that it offers primary rental car cover means that it’s still probably a better card to use (for rental car spending) than either of the Bonvoy Cards eligible for this promotion.
What this all means is that if you’re properly immersed in the miles and points game, it’s more than likely that some of the other credit cards that you have in your wallet will offer you a better return on your airfare and travel spending than what the Amex Bonvoy cards are offering here and for those people, that makes this promotion a lot less useful.
The two consumer Amex Marriott Bonvoy cards are, for a limited time, offering up to 4 bonus points per dollar for spending on airfare (directly with airlines), on car rentals, on US gas station spending, and on transit spending. For anyone looking simply to earn as many Bonvoy Points as possible, this promotion may have its uses but for anyone looking to maximize their return on spending, other credit cards will almost certainly offer better value.