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Is the 7% back at hotels with the Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card worth it? Let's find out.
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Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card members now receive a 7% room rate discount on eligible bookings at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program, 4X Marriott Bonvoy points at restaurants worldwide and complimentary Gold Elite status.
So, the Marriott Bonvoy Business Card, which was already a great card for small business owners, got even better. And the 7% room rate discount is obviously one of the most intriguing new perks.
So, let’s take a look at how this discount works and whether it’s worth it.
You Need to Book Through Marriott Bonvoy
First of all, you should understand that this discount doesn’t apply just because you booked with your Marriott Bonvoy Business Card. To receive the 7% off, you need to book directly through Marriott’s website and manually apply the special rate.
To do this, you must first log in to your Marriott Bonvoy account. Once you click on the “Find Hotels” button, you will automatically see the results for your desired dates and location with the special rate applied.
However, if you try to book your stay through a third-party booking engine, you won’t be eligible to receive the 7% discount. So, if you’re a Marriott Bonvoy Business Card holder, you should always make sure to book directly through Marriott’s website to receive this discount.
When you read the fine print in the Marriott Bonvoy Business Card agreement, you might notice that this 7% discount isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
First of all, this discount is 7% off of the standard room rate, not the Marriott member rate. However, because you’re a Marriott Bonvoy Business Card holder, you’re by definition a member of Marriott Bonvoy. Thus, your discount almost certainly will be less than 7% because you already have access to a lower rate than the standard room rate.
For instance, you can book a king bed room at the JW Marriott Miami for $302.50 with the flexible member rate. With the Amex Biz Card Member Rate discount, you’d pay $287.50 for the same room on the same nights. This is a discount of about 5% off the member flexible rate, not 7%.
To illustrate further, a king-size bed room at the Moana Surfrider, a Westin Resort & Spa, Waikiki Beach, goes for $372.19 for two nights with the flexible member rate. With the Amex Biz Card Member Rate discount, you’d pay $380. In this case, the Amex Biz Card Member Rate is actually higher and you would be better off not applying it.
In looking at different properties across random dates, we weren’t able to find a single instance in which the discount actually amounted to 7% off the flexible member rate. And, in some cases, such as the previously mentioned Moana Surfrider example, using the Amex Biz Card Member Rate could actually make your stay more expensive.
Second of all, in many cases, other special rates were far superior to the rate offered with the Marriott Bonvoy Business Card. For instance, AAA rates were often lower than the Amex Biz Card Member Rate by a substantial margin. And, whereas the annual fee for the Marriott Bonvoy Business Card is $125, you can get a AAA membership for as little as $59.99 per year.
For example, if you wanted to book a king bed room at the W London, it would cost $647.26 with the AAA rate. With the Amex Biz Card Member Rate discount, you’d pay $668.76. Obviously, in this case, it would be more beneficial to be a AAA member than a Marriott Bonvoy Business Card holder.
Finally, the 7% discount offered with the Marriott Bonvoy Business Card applies to standard rooms only and doesn’t apply to upgraded rooms, including suites or rooms with club lounge access.
The discount also can’t be applied to stays at Design Hotels, Marriott Executive Apartments, Marriott Vacation Club, Marriott Grand Residence Club, Vistana Signature Network, Vistana Residence Network, The Ritz-Carlton Destination Club, All-Inclusive by Marriott Bonvoy and Homes & Villas by Marriott International.
Is the Amex Biz Card Member Rate Worth It?
If you’re a Marriott Bonvoy Business Card holder, you were probably excited to hear about the new 7% room rate discount perk. And you still should be. However, there are three main drawbacks to consider:
- The effective discount will probably not be 7% off of the flexible member rate, which you already receive as a Marriott Bonvoy member.
- There are other special rates, such as the AAA rate or senior discount rate, which are superior to the Amex Biz Card Member Rate in many cases.
- The discount applies to standard rooms only, not upgraded rooms.
While these caveats may be slightly disappointing, that certainly doesn’t mean that you won’t receive any benefit from the new 7% discount perk that comes with the Marriott Bonvoy Business Card. In many cases, you can still save 4% or 5% off of the flexible member rate, and that can add up quickly if you frequently stay at Marriott properties.
On top of that, this room rate discount is far from the only perk that comes with the Marriott Bonvoy Business Card.
As mentioned, the Marriott Bonvoy Business Card comes with more perks than just the 7% room rate discount. It also has a lucrative rewards structure that makes it easy to rack up Marriott Bonvoy points quickly.
With this card, you’ll earn:
- 6X points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
- 4X points at restaurants worldwide, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. purchases for shipping
- 2X points on all other eligible spending
Cardholders also will receive a free night certificate worth up to 35,000 points every account anniversary and can earn a second free night certificate by spending more than $60,000 in a calendar year. With a free night certificate, you can often stay at a room that costs more than $125 per night, making up for the annual fee.
Unfortunately, Marriott removed its public award chart earlier in 2022, which means that pricing for redemptions will correlate more closely with cash prices. However, there are still ways to get great value out of your free night certificate, especially because Marriott recently added the option to top off your free night certificate with points.
Another major benefit of holding the Marriott Bonvoy Business Card is complimentary Gold Elite status in the Marriott Bonvoy program. This status tier includes perks like a 25% points bonus on paid stays, room upgrades (based on availability), premium internet and late checkout. You’ll also receive 15 elite night credits toward your next status tier, making it much easier to climb your way to Platinum Elite status.
The Bottom Line
While the 7% room rate discount offered by the Marriott Bonvoy Business Card is a little misleading (considering it will likely not save you a full 7% off the flexible member rate that’s already available to you), it may help you shave a few dollars off of your hotel bills at Marriott properties.
Still, you should always check all other available rates before booking to make sure you’re getting the best deal. In many cases, other special rates (such as the AAA rate or the senior discount rate) may be lower than the rate offered with the Marriott Bonvoy Business Card.
Don’t forget that the 7% room rate discount is just one of the many perks offered by this card. With a great spending rewards structure, a free night certificate every account anniversary and a complimentary upgrade to Gold Elite status, signing up for the Marriott Bonvoy Business Card is still definitely worth it.
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Editors Note: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.