When the Marriott Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest, and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards programs combined under the Marriott Rewards umbrella in August 2018, Marriott’s credit card partners – Chase and American Express – created new rules for welcome bonus eligibility.

This comes on top of American Express and Chase’s existing rules for new applications, resulting in a complex maze of rules that restrict your eligibility for signup bonuses.

Now, Marriott has rebranded as Marriott Bonvoy and that means new card names. We’re going to help you navigate this maze and determine the best strategy for accumulating Marriott Bonvoy points through welcome bonuses.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card

75,000 bonus points after $3,000 spend in the first 3 months

Learn more
Marriott/SPG Card Strategy

What are the credit cards?

You can currently sign up for three cards that offer Marriott Bonvoy points welcome bonuses. Two cards are issued by American Express and one is issued by Chase. The available cards are:

American Express
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Credit Card
Marriott Bonvoy Business Card

Chase
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card

Some legacy cards have been converted to equivalent products in the new program, but these are no longer available for new cardmembers.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card

75,000 bonus points after $3,000 spend in the first 3 months

Learn more by visiting our
credit cards page.

Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card

Earn 75,000 points after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. Terms apply.

Learn more

What are the rules?

Get ready for this, because there are a lot of them. And we mean A LOT OF DANG RULES. Don’t get too caught up on figuring out a strategy just yet though, because we’ll tackle that below.

  • Chase’s 5/24 rule: Chase is unlikely to approve you for most of its credit cards if your credit report indicates you have opened 5 or more new credit cards in the past 24 months. This rule applies to personal Marriott cards, but not the business card.
  • Chase’s 24-month rule: You generally can’t receive a welcome bonus for a card if you currently hold that card in your wallet, or if you received a welcome bonus for the same card in the past 24 months.
  • American Express’ credit card limit: American Express will typically only let you have 5 open credit cards at any one time. Charge cards like the American Express Platinum, Gold, or Green cards do not count against this limit. (Note, if you’re not sure of the difference between a charge card and a credit card, it’s this: a charge card has to be paid off every month while a credit card can be paid off over time with interest, of course).
  • American Express’ lifetime restriction. If you have held a particular American Express card in the past, you generally cannot receive a welcome bonus for that card again.
  • Velocity restrictions: Neither card issuer has hard-and-fast rules for how many cards you can open in a short period of time, but various reports suggest that Chase will probably approve you for one personal card and one business card in a rolling 90 day period, and American Express will usually approve no more than one credit card in a single day and at most three in a 90 day period. Your mileage may vary.

Marriott-spg card strategy

Marriott Bonvoy Card Restrictions

Marriott Bonvoy cards have a bunch of card-specific restrictions and it’s annoyingly complicated. For each of the three credit cards, there are three categories of restrictions:

  1. Cards you cannot have held in the past 30 days
  2. Cards you cannot have opened in the past 90 days
  3. Cards you cannot have received a welcome or upgrade offer for in the past 24 months.

Even more annoying, Chase and American Express have teamed up to enforce this across banks. For example, with the Boundless and Brilliant card, you can’t receive a Chase bonus if you have received the Amex bonus for the equivalent product and vice-versa.

If you’re considering one of the following cards, make sure you understand the specific restrictions that apply to it. We know this can be a bit confusing so feel free to join us in the 10xTravel Insiders Facebook group and ask any questions you might have.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card

75,000 bonus points after $3,000 spend in the first 3 months

Learn more by visiting our
credit cards page.

Amex Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Credit Card: The Welcome offer is not available to applicants who have or have had the Ritz-Carlton Credit Card from JPMorgan or the J.P. Morgan Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card in the last 30 days, have acquired the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless from Chase, the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card from Chase, the Marriott Bonvoy Premier Credit Card from Chase, the Marriott Bonvoy Premier Business from Chase, or the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Business Credit Card from Chase in the last 90 days, or received a new Card Member bonus or upgrade offer for the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless from Chase, Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card from Chase, the Marriott Bonvoy Premier from Chase, the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card from Chase, the Marriott Bonvoy Premier Plus Business from Chase, or the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Business Credit Card from Chase in the last 24 months.

Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card

Earn 75,000 points after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. Terms apply.

Learn more

Amex Marriott Bonvoy Business: The Welcome offer is not available to applicants who have or have had the Marriott Bonvoy Premier Business from Chase, the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Business Credit Card from Chase, the Marriott Bonvoy Business from Chase, or the Marriott Rewards Business Credit Card from Chase in the last 30 days, have acquired the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless from Chase, the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card from Chase, the Marriott Bonvoy Premier from Chase, or the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card from Chase in the last 90 days, or have received a new cardmember bonus in the last 24 months on the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless from Chase, the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card from Chase, the Marriott Bonvoy Premier Plus from Chase, or the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card from Chase.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card

75,000 bonus points after $3,000 spend in the first 3 months

Learn more

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card: The product is not available to either current cardmembers of the Marriott Bonvoy Premier credit card (also known as Marriott Rewards Premier), or Marriott Bonvoy Boundless credit card (also known as Marriott Rewards Premier Plus), or previous cardmembers of the Marriott Bonvoy Premier credit card or Marriott Bonvoy credit card, who received a new cardmember bonus within the last 24 months. Existing members can call to see if they are eligible to upgrade. The welcome offer is not available to you if you are a current cardmember, or were a previous cardmember within the last 30 days, of Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card (also known as The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express), are a current or previous cardmember of either Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card (also known as The Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express), or Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card (also known as the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury Card), and received a new cardmember bonus or upgrade bonus in the last 24 months, or allied and were approved for Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card or Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card within the last 90 days.

Yikes!

Marriott/SPG Card Strategy

What Should You Do?

Let’s narrow this down a bit. For the purposes of this exercise, we’re going to need to make a few assumptions:

  • You are only interested in Marriott Bonvoy credit cards, and no other Chase or American Express cards
  • You haven’t opened any Chase or American Express cards in the past three months,
  • You aren’t affected by the American Express 5-card limit or lifetime bonus restrictions.

If you’re under 5/24:

Your best move is likely to stick to just the American Express Business Bonvoy card.

If you’re over 5/24:

Apply for both of the American Express cards.

If you already have an SPG credit card that has been converted to a Marriott card:
Your best bet is the other cards from American Express. However, if it’s the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card that you already have, you can close or downgrade it and then be eligible to apply for either of the Chase cards after 30 days. If it’s the Marriott Bonvoy Business or Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card, you’ll have to wait until 24 months after you received the bonus on that card.

If you already have a Chase Marriott or the old Ritz-Carlton credit card:
Your best bet is the other Marriott cards from Chase. If you have just the Marriott Bonvoy Business card, and if you have just the Ritz-Carlton Rewards card, you can still apply for the Marriott Bonvoy Business Card. If you have the Marriott Bonvoy Credit Card, you can close or product change it and then apply for the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card 30 days later.

Another Way to Collect Marriott Bonvoy Points

Another avenue to obtaining Marriott Bonvoy points is by applying for cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points, including the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Sapphire Preferred, and Chase Ink Business Preferred. All of these cards can transfer points earned to Marriott Bonvoy at a 1:1 ratio.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points after you spend $4,000 spend in 3 months

Learn more

Chase Ink Business Preferred

80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points after you spend $5,000 in 3 months

Learn more

If you have one of those cards, you can also transfer points earned from no-fee Ultimate Rewards cards like the Chase Freedom, Chase Freedom Unlimited, Chase Ink Business Cash, and Chase Ink Business Unlimited.

Note that all of these cards are subject to the Chase 5/24 rule.

Chase Freedom

$150 cash bonus after $500 spend in 3 months

Learn more

Chase Freedom Unlimited

3% cash back on all purchases in your first year, up to $20,000 spent. Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases thereafter.

Learn more

Bottom Line

The new rules governing the Chase and American Express Marriott co-branded cards are seriously complicated, but it’s still possible to get a couple of cards that will help you earn Marriott points.

If you don’t fall into any of the categories mentioned above or would like some personal advice, leave a comment below or join the 10xTravel Insiders Facebook community!

Chase Sapphire Preferred

New to the world of points and miles? The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best card to start with. With a bonus of 60,000 points after $4,000 spend in the first 3 months and 2x points on dining and travel, this card truly cannot be beat! 

Learn more

Disclosure: 10xTravel has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. 10xTravel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. You can read our advertiser disclosure here.


About the Author

In 2011, with a four-week trip around Europe, Caroline became a true road warrior, and there’s been no stopping her since. Caroline likes to mix roughing it and luxury on her travels, sometimes staying in five-star hotels and other times in hostels. Her mantra: splurge on experiences! She enjoys traveling to new countries (and hopes to visit all 193 someday!), trying local foods, and meeting people from around the world. A few travel highlights so...

Learn More About Caroline

19 Responses to “How to Navigate the Restrictions on the Marriott Bonvoy Credit Cards”


Jessica

I am having a hard time wrapping my brain around this. I opened (and received a sign up bonus for) the Chase Marriott personal card in June of 2018. Am I eligible for either of the Marriott AMX cards?

I, too, am struggling with this explanation. I opened many years ago (3+) SPG Amex personal and SPG Amex Business and still have them open. Do I qualify for any of the Chase Marriott bonuses? Thank you!

Paul Andrews

I just opened a Chase Sapphire Preferred card less than 2 months ago. I’m under the 5/24 rule and don’t have an Amex card. Can I apply for any of the three Bonvoy cards or just Amex? Thanks.

Thanks for the post, this was on my mind. I received an email offer to upgrade my old SPG to the lux Bonvoy card with 100,000 bonus. The email had no bonus info in the fine print just the standard rules. I did receive an upgrade bonus for my Chase card last year though. Have you seen this?

Thanks for putting this together, I “think” I understand. I opened an Amex SPG in January of this year (2019) and got the welcome bonus, it has since converted to an Amex Marriott Bonvoy (personal, not business). I’m over the Chase 5/24, but it sounds like, since this is the personal card, I could cancel the Amex (say, in June so more than 3 months have elapsed since opening any card from any bank), wait 30 days, then apply for the Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card, is that right? So this is a way to circumvent the 5/24 rule with Chase? Is that right?

Bryce Conway

Not quite. 5/24 is not related to these restrictions at all. You wouldn’t be eligible for that Chase Bonvoy card until 24 months after your bonus on the SPG card.

I see the recommendation if you’re under 5/24 is to apply for both the Chase Bonvoy Boundless and the Amex Bonvoy Business. I have the Chase card and it’s been open for more than 90 days, but that also means I’ve received the bonus which, according to the fine print under the Amex Bonvoy Business card explanation, means I’m not eligible for that bonus too. Am I missing how I get the bonus for both of these cards during the same 24 month period?

Jacqueline

I had an SPG Amex that closed over a year ago. The bonus was earned back in August of 2016. I am under 5/24 and applied for the Chase Bonvoy 100k offer and a popup came up saying I am not eligible for the bonus because I have already been a previous cardmember. Nothing about 24 months or anything. It asked if I wanted to continue the application without the bonus or retract the application because they hadn’t checked my credit yet. I have never had any Chase Marriott cards, just the Amex SPG that was closed September 2017. Anyone else get this message and still receive the bonus? Based on the restrictions I should qualify.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.