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Update 1 May 2020: Amex confirms spending cap and that only spending at U.S. supermarkets will earn bonus points.
With travel at a halt, with non-essential businesses closed and with social distancing measures in place, a lot of the traditional miles & points credit cards no longer offer a particularly compelling set of benefits. To combat this issue we’re starting to see credit card issuers tweaking the benefits and earnings rates that their cards offer to be more relevant to the current environment and today it’s the turn of the Marriott Bonvoy cards.
Earn Bonus Points On Groceries
Between 1 May and 31 July 2020, most Marriott Bonvoy cobranded credit cards will offer 6 points/dollar at grocery stores and supermarkets. This includes cards issued by American Express and Chase as well as Bonvoy cards that are no longer open to new applicants. Depending on the Bonvoy card(s) you hold this represents an increase of between 4 and 5 points per dollar.
Chase has a $5,000 cap on spending that will attract these bonus points while American Express has chosen to cap bonused spending at $7,500.
Qualifying Chase Cards
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card
- Marriott Bonvoy Bold Card
- The Ritz-Carlton credit Card (not open to new applicants)
- Marriott Bonvoy Card (not open to new applicants)
- Marriott Bonvoy Premier Card (not open to new applicants)
- Marriott Bonvoy Premier Plus Business Card (not open to new applicants)
- Marriott Bonvoy Business Card (not open to new applicants)
Qualifying American Express Cards
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card
- Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card (not open to new applicants)
The only Bonvoy card that is not participating in this promotion is the Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card.
No enrollment or activation is necessary – qualifying Marriott Bonvoy credit cards will automatically earn any bonus points due during the promotion period.
I value Marriott Bonvoy points at 0.6 cents each so the 6 points/dollar that most Bonvoy Cards are now offering on groceries equates to a 3.6% rebate. That’s good but it’s not great.
Back in March, I wrote a post in which I highlighted the 6 best credit cards to use at US supermarkets and most of these cards will offer a better return than any of the Marriott Bonvoy Cards…
…but that doesn’t mean that the Bonvoy cards should be ignored. Far from it.
A quick glance a the list of good credit cards to use at US supermarkets shows that American Express dominates this bonus category, so the fact that we now have some Chase cards offering bonus points at grocery stores (albeit temporarily) is a good positive step….and here’s why:
All American Express cards which offer bonuses for grocery spending limit those bonuses to spending made at “US supermarkets” and the story is the same for Amex’s Bonvoy Cards.
Chase’s terms and conditions simply say that to earn a bonus in this promotion the spending must be made in the “grocery store category” and that the merchant where the spending is made should code as a grocery store when a transaction is processed.
This should mean that…
- A number of smaller grocery stores that will not trigger the bonus with an Amex Bonvoy card (because they’re not “supermarkets”) will trigger the bonus with a Chase Bonvoy card.
- Grocery stores and supermarkets outside of the US will trigger the bonus earnings with a Chase Bonvoy card even if they won’t trigger it with an Amex Bonvoy Card.
For people who have a favorite small grocery store in their neighborhood or for cardholders who are currently outside of the United States, the Chase Bonvoy cards now offer a path to bonus points that wasn’t open before.
It’s also worth noting that a lot of people will probably manage to hit the $6,000/$25,000 bonus spending limit imposed by their Amex cards, so the ability to spend yet more at grocery stores and supermarkets while still earning bonus points will be very welcome.
If you already have a credit card that offers a strong bonus for spending on groceries there’s a good chance that this offer from the Bonvoy cards won’t change which card you use when you do your weekly shopping, but this will still be a good offer for some.
If you have reached the spending limit that your card imposes for bonus earnings on groceries (or if you think you’ll reach that limit this year), if your favorite local store doesn’t code as a supermarket in Amex’s systems or if you happen to be abroad right now, the fact that more cards now (temporarily) offer a bonus on grocery spending and the fact that not all of these cards are issued by Amex will be good news for you.
Will this promotion see you using your Marriott Bonvoy card(s) more?