Rumor: Mid-tier Marriott cards may be coming next month

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Over the past couple of days, we’ve seen reports of a possible new Marriott credit card or newly-named Marriott credit card called the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy. Gary Leff at View from the Wing shared possible leaked card art and product of Internet sleuthage like trademark filings, etc. Those rumors picked up some steam with a new post from View from the Wing this morning including more detailed rumors about not only the Bevy card (expected to be an Amex), but also a Marriott Bonvoy “Bountiful”, which is rumored to be the name of a matching Chase mid-tier offer. It will be interesting to see if this shakes out as rumored — and if rumors are to be believed, we won’t have to wait long.

According to comments at View from the Wing, the Marriott Bonvoy Bountiful will be a new Chase Marriott card with a $250 annual fee and the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy will be a new Amex Marriott card with a matching $250 annual fee.

The word on the street is that these cards will launch in September and that the current Amex Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant, which currently features a $450 annual fee, will bump up to $650 per year.

It is important to be clear that this is 100% rumor at this point, so it is possible that none of this turns out to be true. However, there are reasons to believe that this could indeed happen. Gary points to several small pieces of evidence in his post (it’s worth a read). Beyond that, rumors have persisted for a while about the Brilliant card’s annual fee increasing. The timing here makes sense given that the Brilliant card’s dining benefit is scheduled to change in late September.

Greg previously imagined what an ultra-luxury version of the Brilliant card might look like and whether or not it could be worth $650. I’ll be curious to see how close the actual product turns out to be (if rumors are to be believed). On the one hand, I have a hard time with concept of a $650 Marriott credit card — it just sounds like that couldn’t possibly be worth it. On the other hand, if it comes with Platinum status, I suppose that one could probably save enough with one annual vacation at a high-end Marriott property could go far towards justifying the cost for someone who wouldn’t otherwise reach Platinum status. Maybe.

Chase already has a mid-tier United card. Amex already has a mid-tier Delta card. I feel like the $250 price point probably has some room to be explored. At the same time, I find it easier to predict the slew of benefits that might be offered on a $650 card than on a $250 Marriott card. If the card continues to earn at a sub-par rate on everyday spend, I feel like it’ll be hard to convince members that it’s worth going for that over a ~$100 card. Still, I’ll be curious to see how that shakes out.

I wonder whether it will turn out to have been worth getting the Brilliant card before the fee increase if that is indeed scheduled to happen. It already might make sense since it should be possible to double-dip on the Brilliant card’s annual Marriott benefit and new monthly dining benefit. On the other hand, given the really complex Marriott card application rules, I’d be somewhat hesitant about the prospect of locking oneself out of what might end up being really lucrative offers if and when new cards are launched. Ultimately, I don’t have the answer one way or another and I don’t expect any of us will with advance notice. Still, I find the rumors juicy on this one and not so hard to believe.

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Jay

The Marriott card application rules are already confusing as is, adding the Bevy and Bountiful cards to its lineup will make our heads spin!

Larry

It’s disappointing to those of us who only held the Brilliant card for the $300 hotel credit. Yes, I’ll get the dining credits, but I pay the $450 annual fee in the spring for (mostly) Fall travel, and I’ll have to waste the credit this year. As a lifetime Platinum, the 15 ENCs each from 1 personal and 1 business card are useful to reach for Titanium, but still require 45 add’l nights. A $650 card should provide at least 30 ENCs, and I agree with TravelMike that it might be worth it if it includes 2 free night certs. Otherwise, it will be hard to justify paying that AF.

ActualMichael

Why do you have to “waste” the credit this year? Find a Marriott near you that sells gift cards to store the credit for later use. You can also pre-pay for future travel (which I know is not ideal). At worst, book a staycation for the points earning. Shouldn’t be a waste any way you slice it. Hopefully if you do have to burn the credit on a staycation, you’ll at least be able to make up the AF this year with the free night cert and maybe the restaurant credits.

Brenda Cantey

I’m just waiting for the Ritz-Carlton card. That’s what I named my Marriott BONvoy card. Never imagined I would willingly pay annual fees for a card other than Amexp.

Lone Gunman

Given that one can achieve Platinum with $75k in spend on the Brilliant card, they’re not going to just hand out Platinum as a vested benefit unless it’s tied to a super-premium card. And, I can’t imagine they will credit 50 ENCs and have Titanium only 25 nights away. But, if Platinum is bundled with a card, I want to hear from a large sample of such cardholders whether they are actually receiving Platinum benefits or being stiffed as so many of us expect/have experienced.

ActualMichael

I mean, you can also waste a ton of money spending your way to Gold on the Chase cards already, so I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss automatic status of some sort with a super premium card. What I think is more likely going to happen is that Marriott North America will just devalue their Platinum breakfast benefit they way that Hilton did because of the prevalence of the Aspire card and thus Diamond status here.

TravelMike

If one is interested in Marriotts, and does not have the Brilliant yet, the one question I’m wrestling with right now is apply now for the known $300 double stack or wait. A 100,000+ SUB would “almost” offset the $300. Then again, if they do raise the AF by $200, then the SUB would have to be at least 125,000 or 100,000 + an 85k FNC. Oh, and not that I’ve seen discussed, but I would prefer two 50k certs to a single 85k cert to justify the extra $200 AF.

JL100

Yes I would much prefer 2 50k or even 2 40k

José

Amen!

Mbh

My first thought is whether I’d qualify for any new Bonvoy card. I was never great with calculus and trig, so the whole “if, then” list confounds me. If it weren’t for you awesome bloggers and your complex charts I’d have (uselessly) applied for several cards. Please keep up the great work, if/when.

Raylan

Wonder what the structure of the $250 cards is. Is it gonna be just the 50k FNC with maybe Gold elite or something? I also wonder how these will impact the availability of the Ritz card to PC to/from?

Nathan

$650 annual fee worth it to me for platinum. Free breakfast, upgrades. Works well at the Marriott properties we frequent now. Would be nice to not have to hit 50 nights.

Reno Joe

If you are actually receiving and regularly receiving a meaningful breakfast benefit and suite upgrades from Marriott, then you clearly are blessed. And, if you have that kind of luck, then you need to buy a Power Ball lottery ticket each week.

Nathan

Yes, the ones I go to often have been great. Regularly upgraded, breakfast is really good and sometimes they even waive the parking fees. But I go consistently to the same few properties. I might not have such luck at other locations.

I am frustrated though with the devaluation of my points. Many free nights worth is now maybe a week for me now

Reno Joe

Property owners don’t give a poop about a person’s loyalty to Marriott (or any other chain). They only care about a person’s loyalty to their own property. You receive what you receive solely because of your loyalty to those specific properties. Don’t expect that treatment at Marriott properties where you don’t visit regularly.

I had been a multi-year Ambassador and found opportunities to be the exception. I eventually left the hotel loyalty program game. Instead, I regularly stay at hotels of my choosing and negotiate with the sales team for substantially discounted rates (which replace points) and benefits.

Best of luck.

ActualMichael

Unfortunately, I think that if there was a card that granted Platinum status automatically, we’d see the breakfast benefit devalued in North America the same way Hilton did with Diamond status because of the Aspire card.

Christian

Maybe the names are a tribute to things from a few years ago, something like: “Remember the Bountiful Bevy of elite benefits we used to give you before we Bonvoyed you over and over? Ha Ha! Well, those good old days are never to return but now you can remember them fondly with our new Bevy and Bountiful credit cards!”

Brutus

Step 1: Create excitement for new credit cards
Step 2: Offer new cards with unprecedented sign-up bonuses
Step 3: Devalue program

The only uncertainty is in Step 2.

Andrew

Spot on. It’s all fun and games until people realize cash back is a better value. Hasn’t happened yet, but this is the end game.

JL100

I have been working on 10x stuff for months so it is not even close to be as low as 2% cash back. I usually get 6-7% net back on my spend every year after annual fees, and that is without any business class or first class redemptions, only domestic and hotels that I would actually pay for.

ActualMichael

For everyday spending, for most people, you’re probably right. However, if you’re a legit travel hacker, you will get a way better return on your spend for hitting one SUB after another or MSing, especially if you’re deliberate and diligent about working towards specific travel goals. That’s always the tradeoff with cashback vs points. You’ve got a pretty hard ceiling of about 5% that you can reasonably expect with cashback, but cash is the single best transferable currency and you are guaranteed your return (subject to inflation). You’ve got near infinite potential with transferable points, but it is just that, potential, and not guaranteed value, and it takes a lot of knowledge, flexibility, and work to extract that value.

Andrew

Agreed with both of you. I think my biggest problem is availability. I’m sitting on 600k VS points for aspirational ANA first / business travel. Heck, I can’t find a solid Air France or Delta redemption from my base airport either.

With scarce available awards on the west coast, my only priority is exchangable bank point currencies now, and I feel like that’s just a stones throw from cash back.

SamBam

Ahhh, the reemergence of Starwood Lurker! Points hobbyists’ most famous agent of inside information and decoder. (Of course what’s the value of info if it’s wrong?)