TPG reader question: Is there value in the Marriott Bonvoy credit card?
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Editor’s note: This article is part of a weekly column to answer your credit card, points and miles and general travel questions. If you’d like to ask us a question, tweet us at @thepointsguyuk, message us on Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
American Express offers a comprehensive range of credit cards in the United Kingdom. These range from basic cards with no annual fees that don’t earn any rewards, to premium cards such as The Platinum Card from American Express that comes with a lengthy list of travel perks.
In the middle sits the Marriott Bonvoy Amex. It’s one of the few hotel-branded credit cards available in the U.K. If you’re a regular Marriott customer, it can be an easy way to rack up extra Bonvoy points.
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But how does it compare with other U.K. credit cards, especially those cards that earn points and miles that can be converted to become Marriott Bonvoy points? That brings us to this week’s TPG reader question.
After not having travelled (but still spending money) for 2 years, I logged in to Marriott to see where I could go with my points. One of my searches indicated I would need more than 1 million points, for which I have accumulated under 100k. I’m wondering if I’m on the right track and the Marriott Bonvoy program is a lot less rewarding than the old SPG was? If so, is there a better hotel rewards program to invest in?
Heather, TPG reader
Those with good memories like Heather might remember that, back in 2018, the Starwood Preferred Guest programme merged with Marriott Rewards, which was then renamed Marriott Bonvoy. This was because Marriott acquired Starwood and merged their respective loyalty programmes. SPG was a very popular loyalty programme and SPG points were very valuable.
The Bonvoy programme is different.
While different airline points and miles (such as Avios or Virgin Points) have relatively similar values in our monthly points and miles valuations, there’s a huge difference in the value of hotel points.
TPG U.K. currently values Bonvoy points at 0.7p each, which sits in the middle of the range of hotel points values. There is absolutely value in Bonvoy points, but you’ll need to be strategic about how you redeem them.
You are likely to get the most value from a truly aspirational redemption. TPG writer Chris Dong recently redeemed 70,000 Bonvoy points per night to stay at the brand-new Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands. He saved more than £1,000 per night, giving him a redemption value well above 1p per Bonvoy point — and well above our average 0.7p value.
Now that we can see value in redeeming Bonvoy points, what is the best way to earn them?
With the Marriott Bonvoy American Express card, you can earn 2 Bonvoy points per £1 spent on normal purchases, rising to 6 points per £1 for spending directly with Marriott. If you were staying in Marriott group properties regularly, you could earn plenty of Bonvoy points with this card.
You can also transfer Membership Rewards points to Bonvoy at a rate of 2 to 3. If you have a card that earns 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent on normal purchases such as The Preferred Rewards Gold Card or the Platinum Card from American Express, you could transfer 2 Membership Rewards points to become 3 Bonvoy points. This is the equivalent of earning 1.5 Bonvoy points per £1 spent, which is not quite as good as spending on the Marriott Bonvoy Amex directly.
If you enjoy using your points for luxury hotel stays, the Marriott Bonvoy Amex is a smart way to earn them. There are some amazing properties in the Bonvoy programme and it’s a good idea to pick one like an overwater villa in the Maldives where you will get extremely good value from your points.
When compared to other hotel loyalty programmes, Marriott Bonvoy generally sits right in the middle of the pack in terms of giving travellers great value for their points.
Featured image by Chris Dong / The Points Guy
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