Marriott Bonvoy is offerings its first ever significant promotion since it re-branded itself, called “Double Take”. Marriott has 30 brands reaching 130 countries with over 6,900 hotels. In Canada, there are currently 230 hotels.
The details of the offer are as follows:
- Register by May 21, 2019.
- Stay between March 19, 2019, and June 4, 2019. Note that a “stay” is defined as consecutive nights spent at the same hotel, regardless of check-in/check-out activity.
- Earn 2x the points starting with the second stay.
There is an ongoing debate on which credit card is best to earn Marriott points in Canada. There are actually multiple ways to rack up Marriott points, namely with American Express’ co-branded Marriott Bonvoy Cards (personal and business versions), along with earning American Express Membership Reward points that are transferable to Marriott.
But if I had to choose one card, it would be the American Express Cobalt Card with the following highlights.
- $10 monthly fee
- No annual fee for a supplementary cardholder (maximum of 9)
- Earn 30,000 points sign up bonus (earn 2,500 monthly bonus points after spending $500 in the first 12 months, for a total of 30,000)
- Earn 5 Membership Reward points on grocery and restaurant purchases
- Earn 2 Membership Reward points on travel and transit purchases
- Earn 1 Membership Reward point for every $1 on all other purchases
- Receive $100 USD hotel credit (each anniversary year)
By earning Membership Reward points Note that you can transfer them to Marriott Bonvoy at a 5:6 ratio, with a minimum transfer of 1,000 points. This means that 1,000 Membership Reward points gets you 1,200 Marriott Bonvoy points. What makes this card valuable is being able to earn 5 points per dollar at grocery and restaurant purchases. The trick is to buy gift cards at grocery stores, where you should be earning 5x the points that you can use at other stores that you would not earn 5x the points at. Especially since not all stores accept American Express.
That being said, I do still like the co-branded card, let’s use the personal version as the example, American Express Marriott Bonvoy Card, because it gives specific benefits with Marriott that can justify the annual fee, such as the anniversary award night.
- $120 annual fee
- No annual fee for a supplementary cardholders
- Earn 60,000 sign up bonus points (after spending $1,500 in the first 3 months)
- Earn 5 points for every $1 spent at participating Marriot and SPG hotels
- Earn 2 points for every $1 spent on all purchases
- Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after the first anniversary year (redemption of up to 35,000 points)
- Receive complimentary Silver Elite with Marriott Bonvoy status
- Receive Gold Elite status with Marriott Bonvoy (after spending $30,000 in a calendar year)
- Receive 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year with Marriott Bonvoy
The business version of the card does offer 3x the points on dining, gas and travel, but I do not find the extra $30 annual worth it ($150 annual fee), if you already have the Cobalt card in combination with this personal version of the co-branded card.
If you frequently stay at Marriott hotels, having a combination of the Cobalt and co-branded cards will help you rack up the points very quickly if you leverage the 5x multiplier bonus accordingly. At the very least, never earn less than 2x the points on any purchase.