Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information and offers.
The credit cards world scratched its collective head when Marriott Bonvoy and Amex launched their latest card with an annual fee we’d never seen before.
While most credit cards fall into the “basic” card camp (with annual fees under $100) or the “luxury” card camp (annual fees of $400-plus), the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card launched in September 2022 with an annual fee of $250 (see rates and fees). But what do you get for this fee? Is the card sufficiently positioned above those entry-level credit cards to justify an extra $150? And what does it lack that’s included on cards with $400 or more in annual fees?
Let’s look at what you get for the $250 annual fee on the Amex Marriott Bonvoy Bevy to see if it’s worth it.
New applicants can earn 125,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after spending $5,000 on eligible purchases in the first six months; plus, earn 50,000 points after you stay six eligible nights at Marriott hotels through Jan. 31, 2024. Offer ends August 9.
This total bonus is worth $1,470, according to TPG’s latest valuations.
Great locations for using Marriott Bonvoy points include award stays at places like The Ritz-Carlton, Turks & Caicos, The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort and The West Hollywood Edition. Those who enjoy skiing or snowboarding might enjoy properties like The St. Regis Aspen Resort, The St. Regis Deer Valley or The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch.
If you’ve had Marriott credit cards from Chase or American Express in the past, there are restrictions that will limit your ability to collect a new-member bonus. Fortunately, there’s a pop-up that will tell you if you are not eligible for the bonus when you apply before Amex runs your credit — and our chart can help clarify things as well.
Elite status and related perks
Cardmembers receive automatic Gold Elite status with Marriott Bonvoy, which TPG values at $805 per year. At this level, you can expect benefits like upgrades to preferred rooms (but not suites), late checkout and a welcome gift of bonus points at check-in.
Cardholders also receive 15 elite night credits in their Marriott Bonvoy account each year. These are what you need to reach higher levels of status, and they can be stacked if you also hold a business credit card from Marriott. For instance, if you hold the Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card, this card will give you another 15 elite night credits — meaning you start the year with 30 elite night credits automatically.
To earn Platinum Elite status — where benefits like suite upgrades and free breakfast kick in — you need 50 elite night credits per year with Marriott Bonvoy, so holding these two credit cards would put you more than halfway there.
However, unlike many hotel credit cards, there’s no path to achieving elite status by spending a lot on your Marriott Bonvoy Bevy card each year. You can’t spend your way to Platinum Elite status, no matter how many purchases you make.
1,000 bonus points per stay
Cardmembers can receive 1,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points for each paid stay at a hotel or resort that participates in Marriott Bonvoy. TPG values Marriott points at 0.84 cents apiece, meaning 1,000 points are worth $8.40. The bonus points are unavailable on stays where you redeem points or free night awards.
Annual free night earning option
Cardmembers who spend $15,000 or more on their cards within a calendar year can receive a free night award worth up to 50,000 points. You can redeem these awards at properties like the JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa, St. Regis Langkawi in Malaysia, The Ritz-Carlton, Bali and the Westin Hapuna Beach Resort in Hawaii.
That said, due to Marriott Bonvoy’s dynamic pricing, you’ll want to do a calendar search for flexible dates to find nights that cost 50,000 points or less. It can be especially difficult to use your free night awards on or near holidays since award prices on those dates also tend to be higher. However, if you want to use your free night award at a pricier hotel, you can add up to 15,000 points for more redemption options.
While it’s nice to have the option to get a free night with the Bevy, many hotel cards include a free night each year as an automatic perk — often for a lower annual fee. Having to work for a free night makes it much harder to justify the card’s $250 annual fee.
Earning points on the Bevy card is similar to what you’ll see on other Marriott Bonvoy credit cards. Cardmembers earn 6 points per dollar at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy, 4 points per dollar on the first $15,000 per year in combined purchases at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (then 2 points per dollar) and 2 points per dollar on other purchases.
Bevy cardholders can also take advantage of several travel protections to help when things go wrong during a trip.
Based on TPG’s valuations, that’s essentially a return of 5.04% on Marriott purchases, 3.36% at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets and 1.68% on everyday spending. These rates aren’t jaw-dropping but aren’t bad for a cobranded card.
Cardmembers also gain access to Amex Offers, which can provide targeted discounts or bonus points on eligible purchases.
If you want Gold Elite status with Marriott Bonvoy and don’t stay enough nights annually to qualify, you’ll likely be able to justify the Bevy’s $250 annual fee. However, most will get more value from the automatic free annual night that comes with the Amex Marriott Bonvoy Business Card (plus automatic Gold status) for a $125 annual fee (see rates and fees) or the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card from Chase (plus Silver status) for a $95 annual fee.
For more information, read our full review on the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy Amex card.
Official application link: Marriott Bonvoy Bevy American Express Card with a welcome bonus of 125,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after spending $5,000 on eligible purchases in the first six months; plus, earn 50,000 points after you stay six eligible nights at Marriott hotels through Jan. 31, 2024. Offer ends August 9.
For rates and fees of the Amex Marriott Bonvoy Bevy, click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Marriott Bonvoy Business, click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card, click here.
Additional reporting by Emily Thompson.