Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Finding huge value in the 70,000 point welcome bonuses on the Marriott Bonvoy credit cards

Last week American Express revealed some amazing new up front welcome bonus offers for their  Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card and/or the Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express card. Both cards will award 70,000 Marriott Bonvoy points each after meeting the minimum spend requirements in the first three months - no waiting to months 14-17 to get your full bonus nor needing to have specific category spending to get that 70K but there is icing on the cake with an additional spend bonus! On top of the 70K Amex are offering accelerated category earn rates to earn up to 15,000 more points which means you can top out either card at 85,000 bonus points with this current deal.

The new welcome offers are as follows:


 Marriott Bonvoy™ American Express® Card
  • New Marriott Bonvoy™* American Express® Cardmembers earn 70,000 Welcome Bonus points after you charge $1,500 in net purchases to your Card in your first 3 months of Cardmembership
    • Plus, earn a total of 5 points for every $1 on eligible travel & gas purchases in Canada for your first 3 months of Cardmembership (up to 15,000 points). Offers subject to change at any time

Marriott Bonvoy™ Business American Express® Card

  • Earn 70,000 Welcome Bonus Marriott Bonvoy™ points after you charge $5,000 in purchases to your Card in your first three months of Cardmembership. 
  • Plus, earn 5 points for every $1 in Card purchases on eligible Gas, Dining and Travel (excluding lodging) for the first three months of Cardmembership.

Here at Rewards Canada we value Marriott Bonvoy points a 1 cent a piece (C$) which puts the welcome bonus value at $700 for either card. After annual fees that drops to $580 for the consumer card and $550 for the business card. Those are minimum values however, as I'll show you below you'll see that you can easily put those 70,000 points at over $2,000 in value!

After reading this post I would highly recommend reading our reviews of the cards so that you can see everything these amazing cards offer:

Value in the 70,000 point welcome bonus

Let's get down to business. I hear your yelling at your screen. Show me the value! What can I get for 70,000 points?  

Might as well start off with the destination everyone raves and dreams about. The Maldives. The amazing thing with Marriott and the Maldives is that they just opened up a Category 5 hotel this month in the islands where most hotels are Category 8. What does Category 5 mean? It means a standard award night at the new Le Meridien Maldives goes for only 35,000 points and you can get an overwater villa for that rate! Let's check that out!

Le Meridien Maldives
Two night stay March 1-3, 2022


So here you have two nights for 70,000 points, which just happens to be the exact amount of the current welcome bonus on the Marriott credit cards! And that does not take into account your spending on the card so you'll have even more points to use. So what about actual value? Let's look at that exact same overwater villa by paying a cash rate:

The 70,000 points would save you US$1,690 on this stay. Convert that to C$ and you have C$2142.73 (xe.com Sep 28). That's right - $2142 in value just from the welcome bonus on either of these cards. Subtract the annual fee of $120 for the consumer card and you have a net value of $2022 and $1992 on the business card. There aren't many credit cards in the Canadian market that can claim that big of value just from the welcome bonus points alone.

Now I know most people would not want to spend only two nights here but I give this as an example of what can be achieved with just the bonus - add in some card spending or perhaps getting both of the Marriott cards and you can easily add in more nights. Further to that if you want to plan farther down the road since this hotel is a Category 5 you can use the annual free night certificate from the cards here as well.  You also have to remember that if you book a 5 night stay on points you get the 5th night free and are only redeeming for 4 nights.

Fairfield Inn & Suites Winnipeg
Seven night stays Dec 22-29, 2021

Let's go to complete opposite end of the spectrum here - we'll look closer to home at a Marriott Bonvoy Category 1 hotel. Currently there are six Marriott hotels in Canada that are Category 1 hotels. These price out a 7,500 points per night at the standard award price level. Say you need to spend a week over Christmas visiting family in Winnipeg. The Fairfield Inn & Suites Winnipeg is a Category 1 hotel and prices as such over this time:

You can see it is a mix off Off-Peak and Peak rates and since it is 5 or more nights you get that 5th night free. The same 7 nights cash wise costs:

Here you are redeeming 35,000 points for $1027.12 in value. You are only using half your points from the welcome bonus so if we double this value of $1027 you get $2054 in value from the full 70,000 points. Almost the same value as the Maldives redemption and again just an amazing amount of savings from one single credit card.

Now let's do a hotel in Europe as I haven't really shown European locations in past valuation posts like this.

Paris Marriott Champs Elysees Hotel
1 night stay April 6-7, 2022

One night at this classic hotel that is right in the heart of Paris goes for 60,000 points since it is a Category 7 hotel. 

And the cash price:


The 60,000 points saves you 567 EUR or approximately C$840. This is about half the value as seen in the examples above but still presents an amazing value! But that's one night - most of us will spend more nights in Paris so let's try a Category 3 hotel for 5 nights. This is a possibility in Paris but you'd have to be willing to commute by Metro to see the sights:

Courtyard Paris La Defense West - Colombes
5 Nights April 24 to 29, 2022

Here you would be redeeming 70,000 points for 790 EUR in value - again not as high as previous examples but again another decent option. 

And finally why not a 5 night stay in Rome (with a commute to see the sights)

Rome Marriott Park Hotel
5 Nights April 3 to 8, 2022

Here the 70,000 points gets you 1237 EUR in value or C$1834. That's more like it!


Value in the Anniversary Free Night benefit

I could go on and on with many more examples but I think by now you should be able to see what the welcome bonus on this card can provide you. How about keeping the card beyond the first year since you won't have the welcome bonus? You definitely would want to, even if it is just for the anniversary free night at a hotel up to 35,000 points. Back to examples for this one!

Here's a New Year's Eve stay at the Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort & Spa Victoria - it's actually pricing out 2,500 lower than its standard 35,000 points:


And the cash rate:

Here you would redeem your free night annual free night award for a stay that costs $385. That's a pretty good deal for paying that $120 annual fee to keep the card and get that award night!

Wrapping it up

There you have it - a look at the value these cards provide strictly from the welcome bonus and anniversary free night benefit. We didn't even touch upon the 15 Elite Night Credits given to you every year you have the card, the automatic Silver Elite status (and Gold if you hit $30,000 in spending on the card), the ability to convert to a wide selection of airlines and the earn rates of 5 points per dollar spent at Marriott Bonvoy properties and 2 points per dollar everywhere else.

Now, do you see why the consumer card ranks as one of top five overall cards in Canada (Rewards Canada's Top Travel Rewards Credit Cards for 2021) and I might add the Business version is most definitely one of the top 5 business cards in Canada!

Apply for he Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card here  and/or the Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express card here.

Do you have one or both of these cards? Let us know how you have maximized the value from it in the comments section below!

American Express is not responsible for maintaining or monitoring the accuracy of information on this website. For full details and current product information click the Apply now link. 

This post was NOT sponsored by Amex Bank of Canada or Marriott. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are purely my own.  

Images via Marriott

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