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Tuesday 13 August 2019

The AMEX Marriott Bonvoy is STILL Worth Getting

While Marriott WAS giving 3x the points for SPG points earned in any way (credit card transactions with the old SPG card or for paid stays at SPG properties), until August of last year, now they're only offering double the points under the newer "Bonvoy" banner.  Be it that it's the only way to directly earn Bonvoy (previously known as SPG/Marriott points, whether it's for business or personal needs, it still comes with a 51K welcome points bonus after spending $3K in 3 months. In Canada, this is the only way to get welcome bonus miles that are worth several free nights as Chase is long gone from Canada. 

While the card may not be worth for your everyday spending (I'd put it in my "sock drawer" after hitting the spending threshold) and holding onto it until you get the annual fee hit the next year, check to be sure you have the free night certificate posted to your Marriott account before you ask for a prorated refund as you will likely have to wait and pay for the annual fee the next year before cancelling. 

ANOTHER CHOICE: If you first get the business card and then the personal card, referring yourself to the personal card from your online account with AMEX to score yourself another 10K Bonvoy points, feel free to cancel the biz card after you've hit the spending threshold and the referral bonus both post, and get a prorated refund on the $150 annual fee after hitting the spending threshold.  Then, hold onto the personal card (only $120 annual fee) until the annual fee hits the next year and the free annual night certificate posts and then get the prorated refund on the annual fee.  Before that though, you may want to reapply for the biz version using a referral from your personal card, for another 10K Bonvoy points.  This means 51K + 10K + 51K for the business bonus, then the referral to the personal, then the personal bonus--that's 112K points plus the spending needed to achieve the spending thresholds--124K Marriott points!  If you have a partner, that's 224K Bonvoy points!

The good news is that tons of properties have gone down in category numbers for using points to stay there, while the number of points for a category have gone a little bit.  For example, the Residence Inn Amherst (NY) and the Residence Inn New Rochelle (just outside NYC) both used to be a category 5 (25K points per night) and are now a category 3 (which used to mean 15K, but now is 17.5K, still 7.5 points less per night!). I've found MANY hotels in southern Florida that used to be higher categories and have moved down as well.  With an AMEX Platinum Business card, you get Gold status that makes you eligible for upgrades, including to a 2 bedroom suite with 2 bathrooms, based on availability.

It comes every year with a free certificate for one night at any Marriott property, up to a 35K (around category 5).  That's a phenomenal certificate, and better than it used to be when the Chase Marriott Canada card would offer it.
While it does charge a forex fee when using it outside Canada, it does, in a sense, give you more points than even the US version of the card.  The US version gives 2 Bonvoy point per US dollar spent, while our card gives you the same for each CDN dollar spent, about 35% better.  This is noticeable if you use the card outside Canada.
If you need ideas on how to spend $3K on an AMEX card in 3 months, see below.
  • hardware stores
  • pharmacies
  • Metro & Sobeys
  • online purchases, that include Masterpass (A mastercard pay system that accepts AMEX)
  • car rentals
  • any type of travel expense
  • groceries through (click here) Yesodei Hatorah (to credit the Lindo family towards how mich they need to spend on grocery card would be nice but YOU get them.  Either you can pick them up from the school or I've heard that for a minimum purchase, they deliver it to your home for free).

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