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Amex Marriott Bonvoy Business vs. Hilton Honors Business Cards
American Express has 2 hotel business credit cards that can help elevate your Marriott and Hilton stay experiences and earn your way towards free nights. On one hand, you have the Marriott Bonvoy Business that charges a $125 annual fee, and the other, a $95 annual fee with the Hilton Honors Business. Which of these business credit cards should have your attention? Let’s compare them!
Marriott Bonvoy Business vs. Hilton Honors Business- Free Night Reward/Certificate
Marriott Bonvoy Business will get you annual free night certificate worth 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy points that can be topped up with up to 15,000 points, and be used on properties that require 50,000 points a night to redeem at most. The Free Night itself can make up for the $125 annual fee cost if redeemed every year.
Hilton Honors Business does not give you an annual free night just by opening the card. But, the card gives you an opportunity of up to two free night certificates if you can meet the spending requirements in a single calendar year. It’s like the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy/Bountiful, but better and cheaper.
- 1st Free Night Reward: Spend $15,000 in a calendar year
- 2nd Free Night Reward: Spend $60,000 in a calendar year
Hilton’s Free Night Reward can be used on just about most Hilton properties across the globe, including the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi that typically cost 150,000 Hilton Honors points a night! But, I would recommend that you just meet the 1st free night reward bonus if there’s a specific aspirational Hilton property that you really want, as the opportunity cost to get the 2nd one would most likely be too high.
Verdict: The potential for Hilton’s Free Night is a lot higher than Marriott’s Free Night. But, Hilton’s will take a lot more work compared to Marriott’s. You’d really have to have an eye for a specific Hilton property to get the most value out of the Free Night. With Marriott, you can expect to just use it on a normal property, or even upscale ones depending on where you’re going with a lot less thinking on redeeming.
Marriott Bonvoy Business vs. Hilton Honors Business- Complimentary Status
Marriott Bonvoy Business will get you Marriott Bonvoy Gold status. Hilton Honors Business will get you Hilton Honors Gold status.
Overall, Hilton Gold is the better of the two, and it’s probably the strongest mid-tier status out of all hotel loyalty programs.The most noticeable differences between the two are the free breakfast in international Hilton properties, (F&B credits in US) and potential executive lounge access (if upgraded to an Executive Room) that Hilton Gold provides. The status itself can make the $95 annual fee of the Hilton Honors Business worth it as long as the cardholder stay consistently at Hilton properties.
For more details on Marriott Gold vs Hilton Gold, I wrote about it in the past here.
Verdict: Hilton Gold is better than Marriott Gold. But, Hilton Honors Business cardholders must consistently stay at Hilton properties as the Hilton Gold status’ benefits may allow them to recoup the annual fee since the card does not give Free Night at default.
Marriott Bonvoy Business vs. Hilton Honors Business- Elite Night Credits
Only the Marriott Bonvoy Business gives you elite night bonuses out of the two cards. Elite night credits help you shortcut your way to the next status tier to gain more benefits for your hotel stays.
Marriott Bonvoy Business will start your calendar year with 15 elite nights. To get to Platinum Elite, you just need 35 more nights instead of the normal requirement of 50 nights. But, that’s not really what’s good with the Marriott Bonvoy Business. It’s the fact that it’s the sole Marriott business credit card that you can apply for.
Marriott allows you to stack elite nights you get from a US personal and a US business Marriott credit card. That means, you can start the year with 30 nights, or 40 if you have the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant. Getting to Titanium Elite may take just 30 nights at most with both cards.
While Hilton Honors Business does not provide any elite night boost whatsoever, it will get you Diamond status by spending $40,000 in a calendar year. But, getting Hilton Diamond is already easy enough by just opening the Amex Hilton Honors Aspire Card. But, I also wrote in the past that Marriott Platinum is a tad bit better than Hilton Diamond.
Verdict: Marriott Bonvoy Business’ elite night bonus will greatly help you towards Platinum/Titanium, where Hilton Honors Business only get you there through $40k/year spend. But, Hilton Diamond is already easy enough to get with the Hilton Honors Aspire Card.
Marriott Bonvoy Business vs. Hilton Honors Business- Earning Rates
Both cards have very similar category spend bonuses with different multipliers. But keep in mind, Marriott and Hilton points have different value. Currently, I value Marriott points at 0.7 cents per point & Hilton points at 0.5 cents per point.
|Category||Marriott Bonvoy Business||Hilton Honors Business|
|Hotel Spend||6x (Marriott)||12x (Hilton)|
|Restaurant||4x (worldwide)||6x (US only)|
|US Wireless Telephone Services||4x||6x|
|US Gas Station||4x||6x|
|Flights booked direct or Amex Travel||2x||6x|
Verdict: Hilton Honors Business yields better return on spend overall. Plus, the card gives spending incentives that the Marriott Bonvoy Business doesn’t offer.
Marriott Bonvoy Business vs. Hilton Honors Business- Airport Lounge Access
Only the Hilton Honors Business offer Priority Pass of up to 10 uses each year. This is most likely a moot benefit as pretty much all premium travel credit cards have Priority Pass Select with unlimited passes compared to just 10.
Marriott Bonvoy Business vs. Hilton Honors Business- Discounts
Marriott Bonvoy Business gets you a 7% discounted rate compared to the standard rate at Marriott hotels. It won’t be available all the time, and won’t be available at some properties either. But, I found the discount more available than AAA. But, it’s wise to compare both the Bonvoy Business rate and the AAA as one of them will be the better option between the two depending on where you go.
Hilton Honors Business does not give any discount similar to what the Marriott Bonvoy Business give. But, Hilton Honors do have AAA and AARP rates. Most of the time, the AARP has better benefit as it gives 2pm late checkout (subject to availability). Late checkout has been a weakness of the Hilton Honors program that even Hilton Diamond does not promise you the benefit.
So, which card is better? The answer is it depends.
For casual travelers, they’d find it easier to extract value from the Marriott Bonvoy Business thanks to the annual Free Night Certificate. But, Marriott loyalists can still get even more value thanks to the ability to stack elite night credits with a personal Marriott credit card to fast-track their way to the next status.
Hilton Honors Business on the other hand, require the cardholder to be a Hilton loyalists who plan to stay at Hilton very often to extract value out of this card. Potentially, the value can be a lot bigger than the Marriott Bonvoy Business thanks to the Free Night Reward that can be used anywhere after reaching $15,000 spend in a calendar year.
Both credit cards tend to offer juicy signup bonuses, so it’s not bad to take advantage of both of them. Since they’re business credit cards and are not issued by Chase, you can hit these cards’ signup bonus while not impacting your Chase 5/24 status.