Great Marriott 10X Promo & Summary Of The Very Best Amazing Card Bonuses

If you have one of the most popular Canadian cards for travelers, a great promo was announced on Monday. But most importantly, if it has been a few months since you applied for a new card, in the second section we’ve curated the 7 very best of the simply amazing offers currently available. It’s been a while since so many amazing travel rewards bonuses were available at the same time!

Here are the details.

 

Great deals for those who have some specific popular cards

Let’s start with a few offers for current cardholders, and we’ve included the cards in question in the second section too, since they are still some of the best travel rewards cards for Canadians.

 

Increased earn rates for Marriott Bonvoy Card

The Marriott Bonvoy Card is the most popular card for travelers, and the one that frankly all Canadian travelers should have (even if you don’t want hotel points). And unlike with many cards, it makes no sense to cancel it either, as it gives you an extremely valuable free night certificate for a luxury stay every year.

Anyway, Amex has just launched special increased earn rates from now to January 3rd to offer more value while most Canadians are not traveling, and they’re pretty good.

Amex already was known for offering some of the best deals for travelers, but they’ve outdone themselves with great initiatives during the pandemic too. If you remember, they had done the same earlier this year by offering 5X on groceries until August.

Here are the increased earn rates (and I’ll analyze them below):

  • 10 Marriott Bonvoy points per dollar at Marriott (capped at 25,000 points)
  • 5 Marriott Bonvoy points per dollar at restaurants/food delivery (capped at 15,000 points)
  • 3 Marriott Bonvoy points per dollar at gas stations (capped at 1,500 points)

 

This is not part of the “Amex Offers”, it’s really a limited-time benefit added to all Marriott Bonvoy Cards. No need to register or do anything at all, the new increased earn rates will apply automatically.

As a reminder, earn rates are way less important than most travel rewards beginners usually think they are (welcome bonuses are the key to earning $1,000 in free travel every year very easily; we can’t repeat it enough!).

But if for some reason you’re not currently using your spending to unlock some of the amazing welcome bonuses in the second section, it’s important to use the right card at the right place to maximize your earnings.

The Marriott Bonvoy Card normally already has one of the best earn rates for non-bonused categories, but has no bonus categories except for Marriott purchases.

The regular earn rates are:

  • 2 Marriott Bonvoy points per dollar everywhere
  • 5 Marriott Bonvoy points per dollar at Marriott

So here’s our brief analysis of each of the 3 increased earn rates:

Marriott: If you have staycations or trips planned from now to January, 10X on Marriott purchases is huge. In fact, you can even book future trips if they are pre-paid, especially if they’re fully-refundable anyway. Not to mention that the 10X can possibly be stacked (also called double-dipping) with the next promo below, making it very lucrative to stay at a Marriott hotel soon.

Restaurants and food delivery: unless you have the American Express Cobalt Card (which earns 6 Marriott points per dollar on restaurants and groceries all the time), this is probably as good as it gets in terms of earn rates. (Don’t forget to use our referral codes for free food with the Canadian delivery apps.)

Gas: while you’re probably spending less on gas right now, 3X is not a bad multiplier and likely makes the Marriott Bonvoy Card the best card for your next fill-ups.

As a reminder, Marriott points are variable-value points and our Flytrippers Valuation is 0.9¢ per point, so 5X on restaurants is the equivalent of ≈ 4.5% back. If you book 5 nights at a time and avoid Peak dates, you can get a free night for an average of only 6,000 points in certain countries.

 

Amex Offer: $50 off a $200 Marriott stay with the Marriott Bonvoy Card

Now if you’re lucky, you’ll be able to also take advantage of an Amex Offer, but this one actually might be a “targeted” offer, meaning not everyone has it on their account.

These are rare in Canada, but as of right now, I have the Marriott offer in my Amex Offers (as does my girlfriend) but Flytrippers’ other co-founder Kevin does not (and we currently have the 3 same Amex cards, so there’s no difference there).

Anyway, you can go check your Amex account, and maybe you have the “$50 off a $200 purchase with Marriott” offer. If so, add the offer to your card as it is limited to the first 30,000 cards registered.

 

The offer is only for Marriott hotels in Canada (they provide a list, but at first glance, pretty much every Canadian property seems to be there).

You do not need to spend $200 in one transaction: cumulative purchases will trigger the $50 statement credit, as long as it is before the December 31st deadline.

This Amex Offer alone is a pretty good discount (25% off) if you were going to stay at a hotel anyway, but with the 10X promo above, it might even make it worth a weekend escape nearby or staycation.

Remember that as a Marriott Bonvoy cardholder, you automatically have Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status, which means you earn 11 Marriott points per US dollar. Add the 10 Marriott points per Canadian dollar from the previous promo, and the fact you save $50 if you spend $200… that’s a very rewarding stay.

For example, let’s say you spend exactly $200. You would earn:

  • ≈ 1,500 points as a Silver Elite
  • 2,000 points with the Marriott Bonvoy Card 10X promo
  • a $50 statement from the Amex Offer

Those 3,500 points are worth ≈ $32, so you’d save $82 on a $200 stay. A 41% return is not bad at all!!! It’s even higher if you maximize the value of your points, of course.

 

Amex Offer: 5X on Amazon with the Cobalt Card

If you don’t have the American Express Cobalt Card, see the second part of this article with another Amazon-related offer.

If you do have it, there is an Amex Offer marketed as a “Cobalt perk” that gives you 5X the points on your Amazon purchases.

 

Beware: it is only valid between November 27-30, which is the Black Friday weekend (Amazon often has great deals that weekend).

You must add the Amex Offer to your account and of course make the Amazon purchase with your American Express Cobalt Card. We thank you for using our Amazon links if you want to support us at no cost to you, or at least use the shopping portals so you can be rewarded instead).

There is a maximum of 2,000 bonus points earned (so 5X on the first $500 only, as the regular earn rate is 1X and the 4X is what counts as the bonus points).

Those 2,000 points give you 2,400 Marriott points, worth ≈ $24. It’s not extraordinary, but it’s free bonus points so it’s not a bad promo given how easy it is to find something you actually need on Amazon.

And if you aren’t sure what to buy that weekend, in the past I was able to take advantage of this promo by buying Amazon gift cards for future use, although it’s not guaranteed to work every time (YMMV as we say in the world of travel rewards; your mileage may vary).

 

Great welcome bonus offers for new cards

We talked about this earlier this week…

But given how there are so many amazing bonuses currently available for all travelers, I wanted to simply highlight the 7 best that will be optimal for the vast majority of travelers.

You should read about why you should regularly apply for cards to increase your credit score and easily earn a lot of free travel or you can always check out our ranking of the best credit cards in Canada to see the month’s best offers for travelers (and the page design will be revamped and improved soon).

(By the way, we are offering a very useful free checklist for when you get a new card, with important pro tips to avoid costly mistakes… like the way-too-common one of canceling/closing old cards.)

So here we go.

As a reminder, out of the 7 best offers right now, only 2 have minimum income requirements:

  • the HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®, by far the best offer right now, requires $80,000 in income
  • the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* requires $60,000 in income
  • the 5 others do not have minimum income requirements

And to simplify, for those who want this in a very curated way, here’s who should choose which card now based on their situation:

As always, feel free to ask any questions in the comments below; I’ll be glad to help. I have many of these among the 9 cards currently in my wallet and I know the others very well too!

 

Highest welcome bonus in Canada: HSBC World Elite Mastercard

  • Flytrippers Valuation of Welcome Bonus: ≈ $790 (or ≈ $731 for Quebec residents)
  • Minimum spend amount: $5,000 in 6 months (or $0 for Quebec residents)
  • Minimum income required: $80,000
  • Best for: every traveler who is eligible
  • Learn more: card details
  • Apply now: secure link for HSBC application

The HSBC World Elite Mastercard is simply incredible. Honestly, there is no debate: if you are eligible income-wise, you definitely should take advantage of this incredibly rich offer. In absolute terms, the 100,000 points welcome bonus is the highest we’ve seen in Canada.

Unless you live in Quebec, you do have to spend $5,000 in 6 months on the card, but with our tips (and the holidays coming up), it should be possible.

Getting over $700 in value from one welcome bonus is ridiculously good. Even if used as a simple and flexible travel credit for more flexibility, it’s still $630 in free travel with just one welcome bonus. That’s why welcome bonuses are the key!!!

The ≈ $790 value is by transferring points to Avios (which can even be worth $1,000) but the $630 is if you prefer to apply it to literally any travel expense. It’s the simplest travel credit you can find.

The card is also one of the rare Canadian cards that does not charge the 2.5% foreign transaction fee, which has saved me quite a bit of money since I’ve had the card.

Detailed card review coming very soon, as the offer ends December 28th.

 

Very valuable 2-for-1 Air Canada Buddy Pass: American Express Aeroplan Card

  • Flytrippers Valuation of ≈ $433 for Welcome Bonus
  • Minimum spend amount: $1,500 in 3 months
  • Minimum income required: $0
  • Best for: travelers who want a 2-for-1 deal to North America
  • Learn more: card details
  • Apply now: secure Amex application link

The American Express Aeroplan Card is a great new option for travelers of all income levels, especially if you are planning a North American trip (if your income is between $60,000 and $80,000, you also have the TD and CIBC options, but…)

The 2-for-1 Buddy Pass can provide outsized value, particularly if you travel during peak periods.

It gives you a free ticket to anywhere in North America (Hawaii and Mexico included) on Air Canada if you buy one in cash. The base fare will be $0 with no surcharges, just the mandatory taxes ($100 roundtrip to many destinations, or sometimes $200 for Canadian destinations).

Despite the taxes, it’s always the net value that matters when you know how to math! And the amount you save will likely be easily over the $350 valuation we gave the pass for many travelers. You also get some Aeroplan points for free flights on Air Canada (more options) or its 38 airline partners (more potential value).

As a cardholder, you’ll get a free checked bag on Air Canada, as well as preferred pricing for Aeroplan reward flights on Air Canada.

If you already have the Marriott Bonvoy Card, this is likely the best offer for those who earn under $60,000 in income.

 

Brand-new card for easy-to-use fixed-value points: BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card

  • Flytrippers Valuation of $342 for Welcome Bonus
  • Minimum spend amount: $3,000 in 3 months
  • Minimum income required: $60,000
  • Best for: travelers who want simple easy-to-use points
  • Learn more: card details
  • Apply now: secure BMO application link

The BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card is an all-new option, perfect for those who can spend a little bit more on a card in the first 3 months. And also perfect for those who don’t want to deal with more valuable but more complicated variable-value points.

BMO Rewards points are a simple travel credit and you also get lifestyle credits that apply to literally any expense. That is the very lucrative welcome bonus, and the card has the best earn rate in Canada on some purchase categories.

Detailed card review coming soon.

 

The card every traveler should have: Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card

  • Flytrippers Valuation of ≈ $357 for Welcome Bonus
  • Minimum spend amount: $1,500 in 3 months
  • Minimum income required: $0
  • Best for: every traveler in Canada
  • Learn more: card details
  • Apply now: secure Amex application link

The Marriott Bonvoy Card is one that every traveler should have, with its welcome bonus of up to 8 completely free hotel nights in many countries (that doesn’t expire as long as you use your card once per year). And with the current increased earn rates until January, it’s a great time to get it.

It’s also great for beginners specifically, because with the annual free night certificate in luxurious hotels all around the world, it’s a card you should never cancel. That will build up the length of credit history component of your credit score.

And even if you don’t want to stay in Marriott hotels, as an alternative, the Welcome Bonus alone is almost enough to be transferred to 25,000 Aeroplan points. That would still make this Welcome Bonus worth ≈ $211 based on our Flytrippers Valuation and give you the amazing free night certificate going forward.

 

Card for those who spend a lot: American Express Cobalt Card

  • Flytrippers Valuation of ≈ $528 for Welcome Bonus
  • Minimum spend amount: $500 every month for 12 months
  • Minimum income required: $0
  • Best for: those who can spend a lot (for Marriott points or easy-to-use credit)
  • Learn more: card details
  • Apply now: secure Amex application link

The American Express Cobalt Card is amazing, but especially if you can spend a bit more on a card—or if you don’t want to maximize your rewards and plan on just getting one card per year.

That’s because it has an excellent earn rate and the welcome bonus is different than all the others: instead of having a minimum spend amount in the first 3 months, you need to spend $500 per month the first year to maximize it.

That gives you a ton of points though, especially if you spend a lot at the grocery store (for groceries… or for gift cards to other retailers), because it earns an incredible 5 Amex Select points per dollar (easy-to-use travel credit)!!! But it’s actually with the American Express Cobalt Card that I earn a vast majority of my Marriott points for free hotels (5 Amex Select points = 6 Marriott points), as these are a lot more valuable.

There is currently the first improved welcome bonus offer in a while: in addition to the regular offer, you can earn 10X the points on Amazon purchases in the first 3 months, up to $500. We didn’t include that in our Flytrippers Valuation, but if you maximize it, you’d get ≈ $49 in additional value.

 

Increased AIR MILES offer: American Express AIR MILES Platinum

  • Flytrippers Valuation of ≈ $276 for Welcome Bonus
  • Minimum spend amount: $1,500 in 3 months
  • Minimum income required: $0
  • Best for: everyone who uses AIR MILES for travel or wants less valuable cashback
  • Learn more: card details
  • Apply now: secure Amex application link

The American Express AIR MILES Platinum Card is not a premium card, despite its name. It’s a card accessible to all and it is the best one to earn many AIR MILES miles that are best used for short-haul flights and car rentals, not as cashback-type rewards. You can easily get 20% (or more) in additional value that way.

But even as cash-back, this is the best welcome bonus available for those who earn under $60,000 (unless you can spend $4,000 in 4 months on the SimplyCash Preferred Card).

With the current offer that is a 50% increase, after unlocking the Welcome Bonus with $1,500 spent, you’ll have 3,300 AIR MILES miles. With the $120 fee, that’s a net of ≈ $276 in free travel or a minimum of $227 as Cash Rewards if you prefer simplicity over value.

Detailed card review coming very soon.

 

Cashback offer: American Express SimplyCash Preferred

  • Flytrippers Valuation of $301 for Welcome Bonus
  • Minimum spend amount: $0 (but $4,000 in 4 months to maximize bonus)
  • Minimum income required: $0
  • Best for: everyone who wants less valuable cashback but can spend a bit more
  • Apply now: secure Amex application link

We don’t often recommend cashback cards (as they rarely have welcome bonuses and welcome bonuses are the key) but the SimplyCash Preferred Card has the benefit of offering an interesting bonus.

The offer is that you get 10% back on your first $4,000 spent in 4 months, so $400. There’s a fee of $99, so that’s a net of $301 in free travel, which is really not bad at all. But $4,000 is quite a lot and could be used to unlock 2 welcome bonuses instead of just one.

If you really insist on having cashback but can’t spend $4,000, there is another option but only for those who earn over $60,000: the Scotiabank Momentum Visa Infinite* gives you $200 cashback if you spend $2,000.

Detailed card review coming very soon.

 

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Summary

There are currently many great offers in the world of travel rewards! Taking advantage of them now is a great way to be ready for when travel resumes: you’ll have some free travel accumulated during the forced travel break!

Do you have any questions about these deals? Tell us in the comments below.

 

Explore awesome destinations: travel inspiration

Learn pro tricks: travel tips

Discover free travel: travel rewards

 

Featured image: Westin Tremblant Resort & Spa (photo credit: Marriott)

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Andrew D'Amours

Andrew is the co-founder of Flytrippers. He is passionate about traveling the world but also, as a former management consultant, about the travel industry itself. He shares his experiences to help you save money on travel. As a very cost-conscious traveler, he loves finding deals and getting free travel thanks to travel rewards points... to help him visit every country in the world (current count: 62/193 Countries, 46/50 US States & 9/10 Canadian Provinces).

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Suzanne

    Hi, and thanks for your detailed articles. I’m considering one of the new cards, as I understand the benefits of the welcome bonuses. I currently have a Visa Aventura Infinite card. If I do get a second card, would I be doing so essentially only for the welcome bonuses and other card perks? I’m not sure of the best strategy, because every dollar I spend on the new card would be fewer points earned on the Aventura card. Thanks.

    1. Andrew D'Amours

      Hello, thanks for following us! Well it’s really about looking at what the welcome bonuses give you versus what you get without them. Let’s say you’re looking at one of the cards that require $1,500 in spending to unlock the welcome bonus. That might give you 53,000 points with Marriott. That’s worth ≈ $357 net. Yes, you would have fewer points on the Aventura, but what are you really losing? $1,500 on the Aventura would give you 2,250 points at the most. That’s worth ≈ $25. So either $357 or $25. It’s really that simple of an equation. Then, once the bonus is unlocked, you can simply keep earning Aventura points if those are the ones you prefer, but you’ll have traded $25 for a potential of 8 free hotel nights to go with whatever you use your Aventura points on.
      Let me know if this way of explaining it makes it simpler, or ask any other question 🙂

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