Last week Marriott Bonvoy was unveiled, which is the name of Marriott’s new combined loyalty program. The program will launch on February 13, 2019.
In reality not a whole lot is changing. That’s because for all practical purposes Marriott created a single loyalty program in August 2018. However, between then and now they’ve continued to have inconsistent branding, as Marriott Rewards, Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest, have continued to co-exist.
Marriott credit card changes are coming
We’ve known for a long time that both American Express and Chase will be issuing credit cards for Marriott going forward (they’ll have access to different market segments), and many changes have already been made to these cards.
In light of Marriott’s new loyalty program officially being launched, American Express and Chase have both announced some changes to their Marriott card portfolios, so let’s go through the changes.
Marriott cards are being rebranded to reflect “Bonvoy”
Marriott cards issued by both American Express and Chase will be updated to reflect the new Bonvoy branding. This will happen as of February 13, 2019, for American Express, and as of February 28, 2019, for Chase. The new branding for these cards will be as follows:
- The Marriott Premier Plus Card will be called the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card
- The Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury Card will be called the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card
- The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express will be called the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card
- The Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express will be called the Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card
“Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card” and “Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card” sure are mouthfuls.
Also, while I don’t think this should really matter to anyone:
- Starting in March 2019, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card will come in a dark charcoal stainless-steel design
- Starting in May 2019, the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card will be an artist-designed card
Marriott Cards offer 15 nights towards status going forward
This is nothing new, as we’ve known this for a while, though it’s worth reiterating. As of this year, all co-brand Marriott Bonvoy cards will offer 15 elite night credits towards status annually.
You’re limited to taking advantage of this benefit on one card, so having multiple cards won’t earn you increments of 15 elite nights.
Additional opportunities to earn free night awards
As of February 13, 2019, Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card Members will be able to earn an additional free night award (valid at a property retailing for up to 35,000 points) when they spend $60,000 or more annually on the card.
As of March 28, 2019, Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card Members will be able to earn an additional free night award (valid at a property retailing for up to 35,000 points) when they spend $60,000 or more annually on the card.
In all cases these are in addition to the anniversary free night awards that the cards offer.
Clearly this is an attempt to address the fact that the SPG Amex has become less compelling for everyday spend. The card used to offer one Starpoint per dollar spent, which was the equivalent of three Marriott points. Nowadays the card offers two Marriott points on non-bonused spend, a reduction in earning by one third.
Presumably, by adding this spend incentive they’re hoping this will make people more interested in putting spend on the new cards.
New 100K welcome bonuses coming
From February 13 through April 24, 2019, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant and Marriott Bonvoy Business Cards will be offering welcome bonuses of 100,000 points after spending $5,000 within three months.
Furthermore, as of February 28, 2019, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card will also be offering a 100,000 point welcome bonus.
Stay tuned for more details on these offers.
New spend incentives
Starting February 24, 2019, existing Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card Members can register to earn 25,000 points for every $25,000 in eligible purchases on the card, up to four times for a maximum of 100,000 bonus points.
More information regarding this will soon be available.
Unfortunately the potential to earn a second free night award won’t be available on the Bonvoy Amex (just the Bonvoy Amex Business and the Chase Bonvoy Boundless), so you can’t stack the two spending bonuses.
Other card changes (annual fees, cards discontinued, etc.)
There are a few other changes happening:
- The annual fee on the Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card is increasing from $95 to $125 starting March 28, 2019
- The Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Business Card will no longer be open to new applicants as of February 13, 2019, though Chase will continue to service accounts for existing cardmembers
- The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express will no longer be open to new applicants as of February 13, 2019, though American Express will continue to service accounts for existing cardmembers
- The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Card stopped accepting applications last July, though will continue to exist and will simply be called the Ritz-Carlton Card
- This summer Chase will be introducing a no annual fee personal Marriott Card
None of this comes as a surprise. We’ve known all along that the plan was for American Express to issue the small business and ultra-premium consumer card, while Chase would issue the premium and no annual fee consumer cards.
Obviously, there’s a ton of news here, and it’s especially complicated because we’re getting news from two different credit card issuers, and the details of the changes they’re making are slightly different.
To summarize best I can:
- All Marriott Cards from both American Express and Chase will get the Bonvoy branding
- As of February 13, 2019, the SPG Personal Amex and Marriott Business Cards will no longer be open to new applicants; this is because as part of the deal, American Express got the contract for the ultra-premium personal card and business card, while Chase got the contract for the no annual fee and premium personal cards
- Marriott seems to recognize that putting everyday spend on their cards isn’t worthwhile, so they’re adding spend bonuses that could make it more interesting, both in terms of bonus points and free night awards
- The annual fee on the SPG Business Amex will be increasing by $30
What do you make of all of these changes to Marriott’s credit card portfolio?