The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card (review) is the most premium credit card in the Marriott co-brand card portfolio. The card has a hefty annual fee that might make some people hesitant to apply, but the perks add up. In this post I wanted to share my experience with the card, and why I get outsized value with it.
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card welcome bonus
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card offers a welcome bonus of 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy points after you spend $3,000 within the first 3 months of card membership.
I value Bonvoy points at ~0.7 cents each, so this bonus is worth $525.
Why the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card is worth it
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card has a $450 annual fee (Rates & Fees). I can totally understand how on the surface some people might say “well I don’t want to pay that much for a card if I don’t have to.”
This is a credit card I have, and in this post, I wanted to explain how this card has been oh-so-worth-it to me, and why I think this would be the case for lots of others as well. In no particular order, here’s how the benefits of this card have worked out for me:
$300 Marriott travel credit
This couldn’t be easier to use, and there are no hoops to jump through — you’ll receive statement credits for the first $300 you spend each cardmember year at a Marriott family property with the card:
- This is valid at almost all properties, both in the United States and abroad, and at a variety of brands, ranging from Four Points to Ritz-Carlton
- This is valid for virtually all hotel spending, ranging from room rate, to food & beverage purchases, to spa treatments
- The credit posts automatically, and there’s no registration required
If you spend at least $300 per year at Marriott properties, this should just about be worth face value, plain and simple. And I guess to reverse it, if you don’t spend at least $300 per year at Marriott properties (even on incidentals), then chances are that this card isn’t for you.
For example, last year I used my credit while staying at the St. Regis Deer Valley. I redeemed Bonvoy points for my stay, and then I used the $300 credit toward spending on food & drinks.
Free night award worth up to 50,000 points
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card offers a free night award on your account anniversary every year, valid at a property costing up to 50,000 Bonvoy points per night. This has a significant advantage over the free night award on some other Marriott credit cards, which are only valid at properties costing up to 35,000 points.
For example, last year, I used my free night award at the Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island, which was a lovely Florida getaway. For the nights I was staying, the hotel charged 50,000 Bonvoy points per night. I’d say that’s a heck of a redemption when you consider that a paid stay would have cost almost $800 per night.
At this point I’m already coming out way ahead with the card. I’m paying a $450 annual fee, and when you subtract the $300 travel credit, the card is really “costing” me $150 per year. And for that I got this stay. Not bad, eh?
15 elite nights toward Bonvoy status
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card offers 15 elite nights toward status annually. Since I have the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card and the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card (review), I receive a total of 30 elite nights toward status annually between the two cards.
For many people, this will make Platinum Elite status quite attainable, as it requires 50 nights per year, so having those two cards gets you 60% of the way there long term. This is where status gets really valuable, and you can unlock perks like free breakfast, suite upgrades, and more.
The card perks that I haven’t used
In addition to the above perks, there are a few more Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card perks that others may get value out of but that I don’t:
- A Priority Pass Select membership, which gets you access to 1,300+ lounges around the world; personally I receive this perk through several cards, so an incremental membership doesn’t get me much
- Premium in-room internet at Marriott properties; since I have status with Marriott Bonvoy, I get this benefit anyway
- Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status for as long as you have the card; since I earn Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status, that’s not of much value to me
- A Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit once every four years, which ordinarily costs $85-100; this is potentially valuable, but I get this benefit on so many cards
I find the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card to be extremely worthwhile. While the card has a $450 annual fee, the $300 annual Marriott travel credit is more or less worth face value, so to me the card is really only costing me ~$150 per year.
That’s extremely easy to justify with a free night award worth up to 50,000 Bonvoy points, 15 elite nights toward status annually, and much more.
If you have the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card, what has your experience been?
The following links will direct you to the rates and fees for mentioned American Express Cards. These include: Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card (Rates & Fees).