American Express Revamps, Relaunches Marriott Cards
American Express has revamped its collection of Marriott hotel branded credit cards, and it's relaunched them under a new travel program called Marriott Bonvoy.
The new cards replace the American Express Starwood Preferred Guest credit cards, keeping in line with the rebranding of Marriott's loyalty program after the hotel chain acquired Starwood Hotels & Resorts in 2016.
The integration of the two companies has taken a long time, with three different hotel loyalty programs needing to be merged. That finally happened this past August, when Marriott combined its program with Starwood Preferred Guest and Ritz-Carlton Rewards.
Last month, Marriott announced the new combined loyalty program, giving it the name Marriott Bonvoy. In Marriott's launch announcement, it says this program will be not just a hotel rewards program, but also a travel program that also offers trips and experiences.
When the Marriott Bonvoy program launches on February 13, so will the new American Express cards. The Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury Card will become the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card. The Starwood Preferred Guest card will become the Marriott Bonvoy card, and the Starwood Preferred Guest business card will become the Marriott Bonvoy Business card.
"In line with the changes to the Marriott International loyalty program, our rebranded Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card portfolio will maintain the same great benefits and rewards that have enhanced our Card Members’ travel journeys over the years, as well as offer compelling new designs, names and benefits," said Eva Reda, Executive Vice President, Global Cobrand Partnerships at American Express, in a statement. "Building on our successful 50-year relationship with Marriott, we are looking forward to entering this exciting new chapter and continuing to bring incredible value and service to our Card Members wherever life or business takes them."
The Marriott American Express cards do earn points for purchases. At all tiers of the card, cardholders earn 6x points on purchases at Marriott Bonvoy properties and 2x points on all other purchases. One of the new benefits for all cardholders will be a 15 Elite Night Credit each calendar year.
The top tier Brilliant card also includes and 3x points on purchases at restaurants in the United States and flights booked directly with airlines, up to $300 in statement credit for purchases at Marriott properties, as well as instant Gold Status in the hotel's loyalty program and a host of other benefits. More benefits, such as a specific property credit and a statement credit, will roll out at the end of March.
Business card holders can earn 4x points at restaurants and gas stations in the U.S., wireless services and shipping purchases, along with Silver status at the hotel, and other benefits. More benefits will roll out in March, including a free night award for spending $60,000 or more on the card every year.
The basic card offers Silver status and an annual free night award.
Annual fees for the cards will be mostly the same, with the Brilliant card keeping its $450 price tag and the basic card having a $95 annual fee. The Business card will increase from $95 to $125 at the end of March. All three cards have an APR of 17.99% to 26.99%, based on creditworthiness.
The credit cards themselves will also be updated with new designs, including the ability to make contactless payments. This tap-and-go capability can speed up payment transactions, something that consumers have noted has slowed down since card companies implemented EMV chip technology.
With the relaunch, American Express is having a sign-up bonus through April 24. New card members who apply for the Brilliant or Business card can earn 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy points after spending $5,000 in purchases on the card within the first three months they have it.