Marriott Bonvoy American Express Canada Review

The Marriott Bonvoy American Express Canada is the best hotel credit card you can get as a Canadian! It should be a staple in every traveller’s wallet.

Today we’re going to dissect the card and give you all the information you need to decide whether or not you should apply of the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Canada card.

Hint: I think nearly every traveller can benefit from the Marriott Bonvoy Amex Canada card, and it is more a matter of adding it to your wallet at the right time rather than deciding whether or not you want to get the card at all!

The Marriott Bonvoy American Express Canada gives you 50,000 Bonvoy points as a sign-up bonus, a free night’s stay on your anniversary each year, and lets you earn 5x points on every $1 you spend at Marriott properties. It is the quickest way to earn free hotel stays with a Canadian credit card. The sign-up bonus alone is worth up to 3 free nights! The Marriott Bonvoy Amex Canada is a no-brainer for anybody who travels at least once a year!

I love the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Canada card. It is a keeper card for me, and I recommend it to all my family and friends as an essential travel credit card they should consider getting.

Highlights

The Marriott Bonvoy Amex Canada is your standard hotel credit card. You see a lot of hotel credit cards on the US market, but not many in Canada.

That is why the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Canada is such a special credit card.

There are a number of awesome perks that come along with this credit card, and here are just a few of my absolute favourites:

  • 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points as a sign-up bonus
  • Free night’s stay awarded on your anniversary each year
  • Automatically awarded 15 night’s worth of stays applied to your Bonvoy profile to help you reach new reward levels
  • 5x points on every Marriott purchase
  • Receive complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status (all the rewards that come along with that)
  • Hotel burglary insurance, which isn’t found on many credit cards
Marriott Bonvoy American Express Canada

Pros and Cons of the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Canada

Pros

  • The best hotel credit card in Canada
  • Easy to redeem points and can transfer points to a few partner programs
  • Good insurances and protections

Cons

  • Limited to Marriott hotels
  • Some hotels are very expensive to redeem at
  • Not every vendor accepts American Express

Points

You earn and redeem Marriott Bonvoy points with this card.

The most common way to redeem points is for hotel stays, but you can also transfer points to a partner airline program.

This isn’t the best way to use your points, and I recommend you stick to using your Marriott Bonvoy points for hotel stays.

The Marriott Bonvoy program allows you to redeem points for stays at over 7,000 hotels across every continent expect Antartica. Because, well, it’s Antarctica.

As a side note: there have been numerous studies on how tourism and the increasing number of tourists visiting Antarctica every year is damaging the fragile ecosystem and environment. I know it is a super cool bucket list adventure but stick to getting your Antarctic fill by watching documentaries!

Anyways, back to what you’re actually here for.

Sign-Up Bonus

The sign-up bonus on the Marriott Bonvoy Amex Canada is quite generous. Especially considering they have basically no competition in the hotel credit card space and could have easily justified being stringent on the sign-up bonus.

You earn 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points when you spend at least $1,500 on the card in the first three months of holding it.

That is enough points for a three 3-night stay at a category 2 hotel!

Category 2 is one of the lowest categories in the Marriott Bonvoy rewards system, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t nice!

There are countless gorgeous hotels that fall into category 2.

It may take a little bit of searching to find the best use of your points, but no matter what hotel you use your sign-up bonus points on, it’ll be a nice stay!

If you travel multiple times per year, I recommend looking through the hotels in all the cities your visiting and picking the hotel with the most value to be the one you redeem your points at!

Luxury overwater bungalow

Earning Points

The points earning categories on the Marriott Bonvoy Amex Canada are really easy to remember.

Your purchases fall into one of two categories:

  • 5x points on Marriott Bonvoy purchases (including dining and spa services at eligible hotels)
  • 2x points on every other $1 spent

It doesn’t get any easier than that!

In the whole big scheme of things, those are really good earning categories!

You can wrack up an impressive number of points if you consistently stay at Marriott properties.

Bonus tip: Marriott gift card purchases count as a Marriott purchase and are eligible to receive 5x the points! A sneaky way to get the most out of your credit card is to spend the $1,500 minimum spend requirement on Marriott gift cards to use on your future travels.

You earn 7,500 Marriott Bonvoy points on top of the 50,000 point sign-up bonus if you do that!

That’s some travel hacking magic right there!

Redeeming Points

Marriott makes it super easy to redeem your Bonvoy points!

It is all done through their website. All you have to do to redeem your points is check the “use points” box before searching for your hotel, and you are shown the price in points.

You select the hotel you want to stay at, and your points are withdrawn from your account.

It is as easy as that!

The other way you can redeem points is by transferring them to a partner airline program. This isn’t recommended because you lose a lot of value per point, and you get better value when you redeem your points for hotel stays.

If you do choose to transfer your Bonvoy points to an airline partner, you receive 15,000 Bonvoy points back as a bonus when you transfer 60,000 points to a partner program.

You can easily transfer your Bonvoy points to a partner program through your Marriott Bonvoy program, and the transfer will be complete within 24 hours in most cases.

There are literally dozens of airline partners. Instead of listing all of them here, you can go to the Marriott website and check it out for yourself.

Champagne in hotel room

Best Way to Redeem Points

The only way you should be redeeming your Marriott Bonvoy points is for free hotel stays.

It is the best use of your points hands down.

In terms of what hotel you should redeem your points at, that requires a little bit of investigative work.

I like to look around the Marriott website and search for hotels in each city I know I’ll visit that year.

I compare all the different hotels and find the most expensive hotel in whatever category I’m looking to book.

For me, I like don’t need anything fancy and normally book a category 2 or 3 hotel, but you may prefer something more luxurious and want a category 7 or 8 hotel.

Whatever suits you and your travel style the best!

Once you find the most expensive hotel in whatever category you want to stay in, go ahead and book that hotel through the Marriott website.

It is super easy to redeem your Bonvoy points through the Marriott website! You simply search for a hotel as you normally would but check off the “use points” button before you press “search”.

The search will show you the price in points rather the price in fiat currency, and you can book from there!

Worst Way to Redeem Points

The worst way to redeem your Marriott Bonvoy points is transferring them to an airline partner.

You lose a lot of value when you do that. If you want to redeem points for flights, then get a flight-specific travel credit card.

The American Express Aeroplan card, RBC Westjet World Elite, and MBNA Alaska Airline World Elite Mastercard are all great options.

The Marriott Bonvoy American Express Canada is a hotel credit card, and you should use it to redeem for free nights at a hotel.

It can be tempting to transfer your Marriott Bonvoy points to a partner airline program because you get 15,000 Bonvoy points back when you transfer 60,000 points to a partner program.

But it isn’t worth it!

Even with the “bonus” points you get back, you’re still losing value on each point you transfer to a partner program.

Annual Fee

The annual fee on the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Canada card is $120.

American Express doesn’t offer a first-year annual fee waiver, so you’re stuck paying the annual fee every year you hold the card.

I think this is a very reasonable annual fee considering all the perks you get with the card. You receive a free night’s stay every year you hold the card, so you’re making up the cost of the annual fee with that free stay.

Woman putting credit card in purse

Qualifications

American Express is one those lovely (and rare) credit card issuers who don’t have a minimum income requirement.

I love and appreciate this because it makes their cards accessible to more people unlike many other Canadian travel credit cards on the market.

I’m looking at you BMO and MBNA who have outrageously high minimum income requirements.

The only requirements to get the Marriott Bonvoy Amex Canada card are:

  • Be the age of majority in the province you live in
  • Be a Canadian resident
  • Have a Canadian credit file

That’s it! It doesn’t get easier than that!

American Express doesn’t post a required credit score, but, in most cases, you need a pretty decent credit score to be approved for one of their cards.

I suggest having a credit score of at least 650 before you apply for the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Canada card.

The higher the credit score, the better chance you will be approved!

With that being said, American Express is pretty reasonable when it comes to approving people, and as long as you have a decent credit score, you should be fine.

But I can’t make any promises so try your best to have a good credit score!

Who Should Get the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Canada

I honestly think everybody who travels at least once a year will benefit from having the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Canada card in their wallet.

The card comes with so many perks that even a casual traveller will benefit from the card.

It is super easy to earn and redeem points, the sign-up bonus is incredible, and you get a free night’s stay every year you hold the card.

There is basically no down side to the Marriott Bonvoy Amex Canada card!

With an annual fee of $120, as long as you redeem your free night every single year you hold the card, you’re getting value out of the card!

Who Should NOT Get the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Canada

This isn’t the credit card for people who are very loyal to other hotel brands.

If you’re a die hard fan of a non-Marriott hotel chain and won’t get much use out of the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Canada card, then I don’t recommend you add it to your wallet.

The American Express Platinum may be a better fit for you in this scenario. It gives you upgraded status at many hotel chains like Hilton, and you can even transfer your MR points to Hilton Honors points if you’re a Hilton fan.

No matter what hotel chain your loyal to (or perhaps you hate all chains and only stay in small, local hotels), if you’re not interested in Marriott properties, this card isn’t for you.

For everybody else, I think you can get a lot of value out of the Marriott Bonvoy Amex Canada card!

Luxury hotel

Alternative Credit Cards

Conclusion

The Marriott Bonvoy American Express Canada card isn’t the most versatile travel card in Canada, but it does hotel rewards perfectly.

This is hands down the best hotel credit card in Canada, and no other credit card comes closing to knocking it out of first place!

You earn points so fast when you use the card at Marriott hotels, and the earning rate for everyday purchases isn’t too shabby either.

The 50,000 Bonvoy point sign-up bonus and free night’s stay awarded every year on your anniversary are just the icing on top of an already great card.

I’m pretty impressed American Express offers this card to Canadians. It helps fill a gaping hole in the Canadian travel credit card market.

Here’s hoping American Express introduces more hotel credit cards in Canada. I really want to see a card similar to the Hilton card offered in the United States.

But until American Express offers more hotel credit cards, the Marriott Bonvoy Amex Canada is a great option to earn free hotel nights quickly.

As I said at the start of this post, this is the type of credit card everybody can get use out of, and it is more of a question of when you’ll add it to your wallet not if you’ll add it to your wallet.

Hotel Credit Cards in Canada (Get Free Hotel Stays!)

Most of the conversation in the travel hacking world is centred around getting free flights. Free flights are great, but it is also important to talk about the hotel credit cards in Canada.

Hotel credit cards offer great perks and can save you a lot of money. It is in your best interests to have at least on Canadian hotel credit card in you wallet!

Most people will tell you that there are only two hotel credit cards in Canada, but they are wrong. In addition to the widely known Marriott Bonvoy American Express Canada card and MBNA Best Western Rewards Mastercard, there is also the American Express Cobalt Canada card. The Amex Cobalt Canada card earns MR Select points that can only be transferred to hotel partner programs. This essentially makes it a hotel credit card as well.

The three hotel credit cards in Canada allows Canadians to mix and match cards to earn the points that suit their needs.

If you don’t need anything fancy and hate annual fees, go for the MBNA Best Western Rewards Credit card.

Enjoy luxury? The Marriott Bonvoy American Express Canada is the card for you!

Enjoy luxury and choice? Go for the American Express Cobalt Canada card. You can transfer your MR Select points to either Marriott Bonvoy or Hilton Honors.

Better yet! Have a combination of two cards or even get all three if you’re a hardcore travel hacker.

Hopefully more travel credit cards will come on the market in Canada, but, for now, this is a good start!

In this post, we’re going over the pros and cons of all three hotel credit cards in Canada. This helps you choose the right hotel credit card for you and your travel needs!

Luxury overwater bungalow

Marriott Bonvoy American Express Canada

The Marriott Bonvoy Amex Canada card is the crème de la crème of hotel credit cards in Canada.

It has the best sign-up bonus, comes with an annual free night stay, and earns points at a decent rate.

The Marriott Bonvoy American Express is the first hotel credit card in Canada I suggest you target when you first get into travel hacking.

Marriott Bonvoy American Express Canada Card Highlights

  • Earn 50,000 Bonvoy points as a sign-up bonus
  • Get a free night’s stay certificate every year you hold the card
  • Earn 5 Bonvoy points for every $1 spent at Marriott
  • Earn 2 Bonvoy points for every other $1 spent
  • Receive 15 nights towards Marriott status every year
  • Automatically receive Silver Bonvoy status every year
Hotel Room

Other Important Information

  • You have to spend $1,500 in the first 3 months to earn the sign-up bonus
  • The annual fee is $120
  • There is no minimum income requirement
  • You need an excellent credit score to be approved for Amex cards

MBNA Best Western Rewards Mastercard

I love the MBNA Best Western Rewards Mastercard and think it is highly underrated.

Of all the hotel credit cards in Canada, it is the only one that doesn’t have an annual fee, and it even comes with healthy sign-up bonus!

This is definitely one of those credit cards you get and hold onto forever!

I don’t really see a reason why people wouldn’t hold the MBNA Best Western Rewards Mastercard in their wallet.

It is completely free to hold, and you get a lot more out of the card than most other no annual fee credit cards in Canada!

Highlights of the MBNA Best Western Rewards Mastercard

  • No annual fee
  • Receive 20,000 Best Western Rewards as a sign-up bonus
  • Earn 5 points for every $1 spent at Best Western
  • Automatically upgraded to gold statue
Fancy Hotel

Other Important Information

  • Only earn 1 point per $1 spent on non-Best Western purchases
  • MBNA has a 5/24 rule where you won’t be approved if you have applied for 5 or more credit cards in the past 24 months
  • There is no minimum income requirement

American Express Cobalt Canada Card

The Amex Cobalt Canada card is always left out of the best hotel credit cards in Canada discussion.

People don’t mention it because it isn’t branded to a specific hotel chain like the Marriott Bonvoy Amex Canada and MBNA Best Western Rewards Mastercard.

But that is a mistake!

You should not overlook this card! It is one of the best best credit cards in Canada.

I consider the Amex Cobalt Canada card a hotel credit card because you earn MR Select points rather than the standard MR points other Amex cards earn.

MR points can be transferred to partner airline and hotel partner programs, but MR Select points can only be transferred to hotel partner programs.

This makes the Amex Cobalt Canada card a hotel credit card in my mind.

You can transfer your MR Select points to either Marriott Bonvoy points or Hilton Honors points.

These are both great hotel chains, and it is nice to have an option that is more flexible than having to redeem points just for the chain that is co-branded on the credit card.

Highlights of the American Express Cobalt Canada

  • Earn up to 30,000 MR points as a sign-up bonus
  • Earn 5 points per $1 spent on eligible grocery, restaurant, and food delivery purchases in Canada
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on travel and transportation
  • Receive a $100USD hotel credit to be used on hotel amenities like the spa and dining
Luxury hotel

Other Important Information

  • The annual fee is billed monthly at $10
  • The sign-up bonus is awarded monthly, and you have to spend $500 per month to earn that month’s 2,500 point award
  • You need an excellent credit score for American Express to approve you
  • There is no minimum income requirement

How to Choose the Right Hotel Credit Card for You

It can be a bit tricky to decide which of the hotel credit cards in Canada is right for you.

There aren’t many options, but it can still be a tricky decision!

You have to consider a number of factors:

  • What hotel chain best suits your preferences
  • How much you’re willing to pay in annual fees
  • What card gets you the most points based on your spending habits

I suggest you going onto the Marriott website, Best Western website, and Hilton website and play around with searching different locations.

See what hotels appeal to you, are in your price range, and what you likely will stay at most and use this information to help guide your decision.

There is no sense getting one of the hotel credit cards in Canada if you aren’t likely to stay at their properties semi-regularly.

You won’t earn many points that way!

You may be drawn to the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Canada because of the sweet sign-up bonus and free night’s stay every year.

The card may still be worth getting if you never stay at Marriott properties, but it also may not be.

Take the time to consider what card is best for you and don’t automatically go for the most popular one!

Who is the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Canada Best for?

The Marriott Bonvoy Amex is without a doubt the most attractive hotel credit card in Canada.

It is hard to pass up getting a free night’s stay every year you hold the card!

I think most people can benefit from holding this card, and there is a reason it is so popular.

If you travel frequently and enjoy Marriott properties, you should seriously consider getting this credit card.

The perks are hard to pass up, and even if you only stay at a Marriott hotel once or twice a year, you can still earn points pretty quickly.

Even if you don’t collect a lot of points with this card, the free night’s stay every year normally makes up for the $120 annual fee.

Luggage

Who is the MBNA Best Western Rewards Mastercard Best for?

This is the perfect hotel credit card for young people who budget travel or people who don’t have a super high credit score.

I love that it doesn’t have an annual fee, comes with a sign-up bonus, and has decent points earning on Best Western purchases.

It is a great introduction into travel hacking and hotel credit cards in Canada!

That being said, I think everyone can benefit from having the MBNA Best Western Rewards Mastercard in their wallet.

It has no annual fee, so there is no downside to holding this credit card for years.

The no annual fee combined with the sign-up bonus makes this card very attractive even if you don’t frequent Best Western properties.

I personally find myself staying at Best Western properties when I’m in transit. They often have hotels near airports and train stations, so they are the perfect choice when you have an early morning departure!

Who is the American Express Cobalt Canada Best for?

American Express has Millennials and Gen Zers in mind when they designed the Amex Cobalt Canada card!

The high earning categories in food and travel means young people who tend to spend a lot of money in those categories can earn points like no tomorrow!

I highly suggest young people seriously consider applying for this card. You will be stunned at how quickly you can earn points and how many free hotel stays you can get!

There is hardly a better feeling than earning tons of points and getting free travel just for spending your money like you normally do!

It is also nice to have the option to choose between Marriott and Hilton.

You can choose to transfer your points to the program you use the most or split them between the two programs and redeem your points at whatever hotel is the best value!

Champagne in hotel room

Other Credit Cards You Might Like

Conclusion

There aren’t many hotel credit cards in Canada, but the ones we have are pretty decent.

I would love for American Express to introduce a Hilton credit card similar to the ones they have in the US, but, for now, I’m satisfied with what we have.

My strategy when it comes to hotel credit cards in Canada is to hold at least one of the premium American Express cards with an annual fee and the no annual fee MBNA Best Western Rewards Mastercard.

It is the best way to maximize your rewards, and it gives you a bit more flexibility in where you can redeem points.

It is nice to be able to choose between the higher end hotels offered by the American Express cards and the mid-range and more affordable Best Western hotels.

No matter what, I think it is important that everybody holds at least one hotel credit card in their wallet. It is part of a well-rounded travel hacking strategy!