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History: SPG Credit Cards
Back when the Starwood Preferred Guest credit cards were the staple of every points enthusiast’s wallet, you were able to earn 2 elite stay credits and 5 elite night credits from both one personal credit card and one small business credit card.
Combined, many of us started each program year with 4 stay and 10 elite night credits, making Gold status (10 stays or 25 nights) or Platinum status (25 stays or 50 nights) much more attainable.
Marriott acquires Starwood Preferred Guest
When Marriott acquired SPG, they eliminated nearly any method of getting “too many” elite qualifying nights in the new Bonvoy program. While any Marriott Bonvoy credit card earns 15 elite nights in the new Bonvoy program, they limited it right off the bat to a max of one bonus per person. Even if you had all 5 Marriott Bonvoy Credit Cards from American Express and Chase, you would still get just 15 elite nights.
There was one “loophole” of sorts where you could have a meeting (no matter how small) at a Marriott brand property and receive 10 elite nights. So that plus the credit card got you to 25 elite nights and Gold status – and half way to Platinum (50 nights).
This meeting benefit, though, meant that many were clogging up the system with meetings they didn’t really want (or even use). At the end of 2019, Marriott pulled the plug on it, leaving no way to get past 15 elite nights without staying in a hotel. For many leisure travelers, making up the remaining 35 nights to Platinum seemed out of reach.
In 2020, with all travel at a virtual halt, there’s been a lot of chatter on if Marriott might relax the elite night rules for 2020 (or extend current status to 2021).
While that hasn’t yet happened, Marriott has given us a surprise bit of good news.
Get 15 Marriott Bonvoy Elite Nights for each of a Personal and Small Business Credit Card
Marriott has secretly changed the rules in our favor (why secret? I have no idea!) to allow you to get 15 nights from one personal and one business credit card.
Here’s the new language in the terms and conditions:
A maximum of 15 Elite Night Credits will be provided per Marriott Bonvoy Member Account, unless you have both a small business Marriott Bonvoy Card account and a consumer Marriott Bonvoy Card account; then, you may receive a combined maximum of 30 Elite Night Credits (15 per Card account). This benefit is not exclusive to Credit Cards offered by American Express.
There are 3 personal and 2 small business Bonvoy branded credit cards:
Personal Marriott Bonvoy credit cards
The Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card is the no-annual fee version, by Chase and comes with 15 elite night credits per calendar year and no foreign transaction fees.
The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card, also by Chase, comes with a modest annual fee and also gives 15 elite night credits per calendar year and no foreign transaction fees. For the fee, though, you’ll earn more at Marriott hotels (6X points) and get an annual free night certificate valid at any hotel priced at 35,000 Bonvoy points or less.
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card, by Amex, is the super luxury (high annual fee of $450) version of the consumer cards, offering everything the Boundless card above does, but with an additional $300 annual credit towards stays at Marriott hotels, Gold status, and a free night certificate valid at hotels priced at up to 50,000 points rather than 35,000.
Small Business Marriott Bonvoy credit cards
The Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card is very similar to the Bonvoy Boundless card above, however this small business credit card has the added bonus of earning 4x Bonvoy points at US restaurants, gas stations, shipping, and wireless telephone service. If you have a small business (or even a side hustle – read about eligibility here), this may be the best choice for you.
There is also a legacy Chase Marriott Premier Plus Business card but it is no longer available to new applicants.
They are still very strict on the ability to get welcome bonuses on Marriott Bonvoy credit cards across both issuers when you have others.
For example, let’s say you have one of the above personal cards and want the Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card. If you have the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card, then you can get the Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card as long as you didn’t open the boundless in the last 90 days and did not get the Boundless bonus in the last 24 months.
In reverse, if you have the Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card, you can get a Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant as long as you didn’t get one of the current Chase Bonvoy cards in the last 24 months. Or you can get the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card as long as you didn’t get any of the Amex Marriott cards in the last 24 months.
The above rules are horribly confusing and I have to look them up every time I write a post on these cards, so don’t feel bad if you also find it super confusing.
How do you feel about these new and improved elite night rules?
You can find credit cards that best match your spending habits and bonus categories at Your Best Credit Cards.
New to all of this? The MilesTalk “introduction to miles and points” book, MilesTalk: Live Your Wildest Travel Dreams Using Miles and Points is available on Amazon and at major booksellers.