Marriott Bonvoy: Greg’s Bountiful Bevy of Brilliant predictions

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The internet is on fire with Marriott credit card rumors, and I’m here to fan the flames.  Over the weekend we reported a rumored shakeup in Marriott’s credit card portfolio.  If the rumors prove true, then in September, the  Bonvoy Brilliant card will add new features and will have a new $650 annual fee (up from the current $450).  This will make room for both Amex and Chase to introduce new $250 annual fee cards: the Bonvoy Bountiful card from Chase and the Bonvoy Bevy card from Amex.  In this post, without a shred of evidence to go on, I’ll tell you what these new cards will offer.  In other words, everything that follows is pure speculation

Prediction: The $95 cards won’t change

Chase’s Bonvoy Boundless card and Amex’s Bonvoy card share the following features:

  • $95 annual fee
  • 35K free night certificate each year upon renewal
  • Automatic Silver Elite status
  • 15 elite qualifying nights per year towards elite status
  • Earn Gold Elite status with $35K annual spend
  • Earn 6x points at Marriott hotels and 2x for most other spend (the Chase card also throws in 3X at gas stations, grocery stores, and dining on up to $6K in combined purchases each year)

The Amex card is not available to sign up new, but you can get the Amex Bonvoy Brilliant card and later downgrade to the $95 Bonvoy card.

The Chase card has one significant feature that I don’t think is available on the Amex card:

  • 1 elite qualifying night towards elite status for every $5K spent

My prediction is that these cards will remain basically the same.  The main point of covering them in this post at all is because the new $250 cards will have to offer significantly better features in order to warrant the higher annual fee…

Predicting the Bonvoy Bountiful and Bonvoy Bevy features…

Leaked image first posted by View from the Wing

Here’s where I’m throwing darts in the dark.  I haven’t seen any credible predictions for these cards other than the $250 annual fees, so I’ll start there…

  • $250 annual fee
  • 50K free night certificate each year upon renewal
  • Automatic Gold Elite status
  • 15 elite qualifying nights per year towards elite status
  • Earn Platinum Elite status with $75K annual spend
  • Earn 6x points at Marriott hotels and 2x for most other spend (I expect that there will be some categories of spend that earn 3x or 4x as well)

Those familiar with Marriott’s current card lineup may notice that my predictions above, aside from the annual fee, exactly match features found on the current Bonvoy Brilliant and Ritz cards.  But the current Brilliant and Ritz cards also throw in Priority Pass and $300 in annual rebates (for the latter, the Brilliant card is changing soon from $300 in Marriott spend rebates to $25 per month in dining rebates whereas the Ritz card offers $300 in airline incidental fee rebates).

I don’t think that the $250 cards will offer Priority Pass, but I do expect to see some kind of “coupon book” rebates such as $10 monthly dining credits, DoorDash credits,… whatever.  So, my prediction is:

  • Monthly $10 rebate for dining, food delivery, or something similar

Today, the Ritz and Brilliant cards cost $450 per year and offer up to $300 in annual rebates and so they cost $150 per year after rebates for those who max out the rebates. If my predictions are true for the new cards, they’ll cost $250 per year with up to $120 in annual rebates, and so they’ll cost $130 pear year after rebates for those who max them out.  Those numbers are similar enough to make me think that my predictions are reasonable.

Predicting the Bonvoy Brilliant

A year ago I posted details about the expected changes to the Bonvoy Brilliant card.  Since then we’ve learned that at least one of those details is true: On September 22, 2022, the Brilliant card’s $300 Marriott rebate will change to a $25 per month dining rebate.  That confirmed change makes me think that the rest of the predicted changes are reasonably likely.  Here are the details:

Rumored New Current
Annual Fee $650 $450
Statement Credits $300 Dining ($25 / Month) $300 Marriott Spend
Free Night Award 85K Certificate 50K Certificate
Free Night w/ Spend 85K Cert after $50K Spend N/A
Annual Card Choice Award After $50K Spend: Choose 50K points, 40% bedding discount, gift set, gift Gold status, or 15% off Ritz Yacht Collection N/A
Automatic Elite Status Platinum Elite Gold Elite
Elite Status w/ $75K Spend Titanium Elite Platinum Elite
Automatic Elite Credits 25 Elite Nights 15 Elite Nights
Earnings from Spend Same as current 3X airfare charged by airline; 3X US restaurants, 6X Marriott; 2X on all other eligible purchases
Travel benefits Same as current Priority Pass Select with 2 free guests + Global Entry fee credit

 

I love some of the above potential changes and hate others.  Let’s start with the parts I like most:

  • Spending exactly $50K per year becomes very rewarding.  With $50K spend you’ll earn at least 100K points directly plus can choose 50K more points as your “Annual Card Choice Award.”  That means that you’ll earn at least 3 points per dollar on that spend.  Plus, you’ll get a second 85K free night certificate.  If you use that to pay for a night that would have cost $500, then that’s like an additional 1% rebate on your spend (and it gets better if you use it towards a much more expensive night).
  • This card will offer a decent way to spend your way to Titanium Elite status.  On the surface it doesn’t look like Titanium status offers many more benefits than Platinum status (you can find a summary of elite benefits here), but it is very nice to have the potential to get suite upgrades at Ritz properties and to get United Silver Premier status.  If you assume that you would spend $50K on this card annually anyway (see bullet above), then Titanium status will cost you only $25K of extra spend.

And here are the things I dislike:

  • Do we really need another $600+ annual fee card?
  • Free night certs should be uncapped.  I don’t like that we won’t be able to use these 85K certs at all top-end Marriott hotels.  Yes, we can top these off with up to 15,000 points, but we’ve already seen some top end properties being priced above 100K per night and I expect we’ll see more and more of that in the future.
  • 85K certs may be hard to use for top value.  If you want to spend more than one night in a high end hotel, then it may be hard to dig up enough points for even a second night!  If you get this card you almost have to spend $50K per year in order to get the second 85K cert and a lot of points.
  • There will be too many Platinum elites. As the ranks of Platinum elites swell, meaningful upgrades will be harder to come by, hotel lounges will be uncomfortably crowded, and more hotels will work to find ways to avoid delivering valuable benefits like free breakfast.
  • I’m not a fan of the dining credits.  With the old Marriott credits, it was pretty easy to make sure to collect on the full $300 rebate each year.  Now it will be necessary to use this card every month for dining in order to get full value.  If you don’t mind earning only 3x Marriott points for dining, that won’t be hard, but if you have a better card for dining then you’ll have to remember to swap in the Marriott card once a month.

Predicting the Ritz

The Ritz card hasn’t been available new for many years, but it is still possible to get the card by starting with a Chase Marriott consumer card, like the Boundless card, and upgrading to the Ritz card.

Currently, the Ritz and Bonvoy Brilliant cards offer nearly identical features, pricing, and rebates.  What then will happen if the Brilliant changes as predicted above?  Will the Ritz card also gain new features and a new annual fee?  Will the Ritz card be modified to match the new $250 Bonvoy Bountiful card?  Will Chase sunset the Ritz card and migrate customers to the new Bonvoy Bountiful card?  Will the Ritz card stay as is?

My prediction: The Ritz card will remain as-is.  It will be very similar to the new $250 Bonvoy Bountiful card, but for $200 extra per year the Ritz card will offer a better rebate ($300 in airline incidental fees vs. $10 per month for dining or something similar) and will continue to offer Priority Pass and best in-class travel protections.

What about business cards?

I’m surprised that we haven’t seen any rumors about new Marriott business cards.  The only currently available business card is the $125 Bonvoy Business Amex, which is very similar to the $95 consumer Bonvoy cards.  Shouldn’t there also be $250-ish and $650-ish business cards in the mix?  Perhaps we will see such things someday, but my guess is that the imminent Bonvoy card changes will be only for consumer cards.

Mini rant: Baffled and befuddled by Bs

If the rumors are true, Marriott will soon have the following line-up of b-named cards:

  • Bonvoy
  • Bonvoy Bevy
  • Bonvoy Bold
  • Bonvoy Boundless
  • Bonvoy Bountiful
  • Bonvoy Brilliant
  • Bonvoy Business

Does someone at Marriott really believe that this b-based alliteration is good for business?  And why use words that fail to convey the purpose or placement of the card in any way?  All this really does is confuse customers and tongue-tie podcasters.  How is anyone supposed to remember that Bountiful is better than Boundless, or that Bevy is better than Bold?

Want to share your thoughts about the proposed changes or my predictions? Broadcast your best brilliant, brooding, or biodegradable beliefs below…

 

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Michael

Not really related to the main topic, but I thought I heard Greg mention buying an Uber gift card through Fluz to trigger the Uber credit? How would that work? Because my credit just shows up in my Uber account, not on my Amex stmt.

Michael Scott

Ah, I get it. I have an AMEX Platinum, which doesn’t work that way. The credit just goes straight into the Uber account. Thanks.

J R

Why the same $250 for both Chase and AmEx? If the current split remains consistent, shouldn’t Chase do the $250 card and AmEx issue a new $450 AF card (15 Elite nights, 50K cert, Gold Elite status, dining credits) and upgrade the Brilliant (25 Elite nights, 85K cert, Plat status, airline credits)?

Bill

Bonvoy Bs lol

tassojunior

I so hope the Biz card keeps the 15 nights and stays $125 ! Otherwise I lose Platinum.

Esquiar

I think they’ll stick with 15 nights free on the ultra-premium if it includes Plat. They don’t want too many titans or lifetime Plats running amok. I’m also guessing more hotels will start meaningfully differentiating between Titanium and Plat to the extent they care about the elite members at all.

Stephen

They will be renaming thr status levels as well
Beginner
Basic (Silver)
Better (Gold)
Best (Platinum)
Better than Best (Titanium)
Blimey (Ambassador)
It will make thr levels easier to understand.

Steve S

Marriott has made a case study of how not to market a brand and how to confuse it’s consumers to the point of not even caring to keep track anymore.
It would be fine strategy and they’d get breakage if there were no competition to flock to but silly for them there is a competition to be had and some like Hilton and IHG have decent footprint. IHG with their recent improvements are probably swinging some Marriott defectors their way.
Honestly we knew this was all going south the minute SPG/Marriott merger was announced. But also honestly we can all probably say we were surprised how long value still remained and how slowly things degraded. But nowadays yes, it’s absolutely hilarious all the B’s, the devaluations, now finally coming in 2023 dynamic pricing, and all the brands (the gall they have to keep adding new ones instead of consolidating overlap.)
Kids in college will read about this in their business majors involving marketing, operations, and finance. It’s a mess. I’d hate to work their. It’s probably so confusing for them. That’s why no reps know even basic stuff confidently, there’s no consistency and we are meant to turn to spreadsheets to analyze credit card eligibility and free breakfast benefit. LOL I laugh just thinking about it all.

Glenn Connery

Titanium status doesn’t mean you get some if the things that come with it like +5 SNA

Ben

I don’t care which cards they introduce and I’m certainly not applying for any until I see what they do to the program next year when they fully eliminate award charts.

As of now, even after all the Devals and even with their stupid marketing, they still have a vastly superior mid to top range footprint then any other brand which is why I’m still with them

But if they decide to charge astronomical prices for any nice property (ala Delta), that would be the breaking point.

Esquiar

If the initial SUBs are good, might as well grab them and make a booking before the end of December

Ben

I have more than enough points/certs to last me way past the year.

VIS

I am holding Brilliant till next anniversary. If they offer 100k points to upgrade and $300 lump sum Marriott Credit, I will go with Bevy, otherwise cancel and just stay with Amex platinum. Aspire will be next to go.

Michael

I think they get rid of the $95 Amex. It is Marriott afterall.

Jake

B is for Boundless. That’s good enough for me.
B is for Bevy. That’s good enough for me.
B is for Brilliant. That’s good enough for me.
Oh Bonvoy Bonvoy Bonvoy starts with B.

John

I am totally done with bonvoy. Too many devaluations mean that their points and certificates are basically useless. As for free breakfast and lounges, just pay for some food and spare yourself the mental anguish of dealing with this terrible program.

If anyone hasn’t looked up how much all their properties cost after the most recent devaluation, they should do that before continuing to amass points and certificates with this program. I recently had a few 50k certs expire because every hotel I wanted to stay at cost 66k or more. It was almost as though the hotel owners programmed the points required to ensure that certificates could not be used. Too many nights popped up at 66k or 67k for it to be a coincidence.

DJG

Probably 12 Marriott room nights in 2021-2022 for $0 all exactly where we needed to be using 25-35k certificates and a few rooms with points. ~ $2500 min cash value. No complaints.

Gene

Regardless of what they put in their surveys I still don’t believe Marriott is going to give away Platinum status just by having a card. It’ll probably make it easier to get Platinum status than before but I don’t think it will be a straight up benefit.

LOL

If they can get more revenue, they don’t care about customers. Its CEO showed it perfectly. I think it is hard to get revenue but very easy to downgrade the benefits. Amex Platinum is an example.

Stephen

The 25 EQN would go along way to getting to Platinum.

And Delta and a huge spend on the card gets you strong status. Platinum in easy reach with $120k on the card.

SamBam

For the record, is this speculation game gonna be as hyperbolically busy in the blogosphere as the Marriott category change was several years back? Where’s Starwood Lurker when we need him/her??? And does Marriott do this rumor thing purposefully???

Mark W

As a Ritz cardholder, I would love to be proven wrong on this, but I think the most likely outcome for the Ritz card is that all current cardholders get force-converted to the Bountiful and the Ritz card ceases to exist.

Andy

An equally likely outcome is a rebranding as the Bitz-Barlton card. We’ll see.

Last edited 1 month ago by Andy
TravelerMike

I can’t wait to see the updated matrix of what card you can / cannot get based on what you have / had …

But Marriott does make an interesting credit card proposition: a person with no Marriott cards can get 3 FNC (5 in a year via production changes – I believe Greg did a post on how to get them). With the addition of the Bevy and Bountiful, that would potentially be 5 FNC (may 7 in a year). No other hotel enables you to prepay for so many nights …

Nick Reyes

I am not surprised that Marriott pushed for a new batch of “b” names, but I continue to be surprised that bankers at two different issuers haven’t convinced them that this is bad for business.

Troy

Someone’s on their AB-game today!

Randy

I agree with the recognition that the expansion of Marriott cards is confusing and difficult to manage. I have been a loyal card user for many years and use the Amex brilliant card which had in place a rebate of $300 towards travel related expenses, which I usually get within the first month of each renewal. Now that this most important perk is being removed, I have switched to the unavailable Bonvoy card. I do not like having to constantly monitor card benefits, and if it gets any more confusing, I will be forced to give up my allegiance to the brand after I use my point balance of approx 1.4 million. What a shame to give up a good relationship.

Reno Joe

Randy, the reason to give up your relationship with Marriott should not be because of changes to its credit card. It should be because the service levels (such as housekeeping, etc.) have declined. It should be because property owners continually find ways to deny tier benefits — such as breakfast and upgrades. It should be because property owners find ways to limit award availability. It should be because Marriott corporate has made it clear that its customer is the property owner and not you. It should be because of all these reasons but not the credit card.

Stephen

Get out of the US and you will find this is not the case.

Reno Joe

I have experienced this outside the US as well. You’re trying to convince the wrong guy. And, the blogs are replete with reader stories about Marriott properties outside the US stiffing them. But, even if you’re correct, is the solution to belong to Marriott for only non-US stays? What does a person do for US stays?

C.J.

I agree that too many “B” named cards is not the best idea and can confuse the consumer. Have we not learned our lesson from the Aspire and Ascend cards?

JT

Exactly! I gave up trying to figure out the difference between the B cards and which cards … Amex or chase versions… I can have. It is so not worth the mental energy. It’s exhausting and confusing.

SamBam

Greg you didn’t speculate on signup eligibility/ineligibility!!! What does your crystal bill say about that?

Holly

Bevy is such an odd name for a credit card.

JohnB

Totally agree! It is the UK’s sang for alcoholic beverages. Do the product marketers know this?

Brutus

Beguiling bunkum and balderdash

Buzz

The new timeshare product will be called Abound! So at least there’s that.

FNT Delta Diamond

And then everyone who signs up for these cards will find that every property costs between 100,000 and 200,000 points per night when dynamic pricing goes into full effect in 2023.

Giving everyone platinum just means the club lounges—if they are ever reopened across the board—will be more crowded than ever.

If Marriott is going to do this, they better improve titanium and ambassador because the tangible differences between those statuses and platinum are very little.