Is The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card Worth It?

Is The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card Worth It?

7
In the interest of full disclosure, OMAAT earns a referral bonus for anyone that’s approved through some of the below links. These are the best publicly available offers (terms apply) that we have found for each product or service. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, hotel chain, or product manufacturer/service provider, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Please check out our advertiser policy for further details about our partners, and thanks for your support!

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.

Redeem your points at Santa Marina Mykonos

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

Personally, I view the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card as actually costing $150 per year, rather than $450 per year. Why? Because the card offers a straightforward $300 annual 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.

The $300 Bonvoy Brilliant credit is easy to use

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.

Use the Bonvoy Brilliant Card credit for food & beverages at Marriott properties

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.

Talk about a great use of a free night award!

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?

The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island is a great use of a free night award

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.

Having the Bonvoy Brilliant Card makes it easier to earn status

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
Get airport lounge access with the Bonvoy Brilliant Card

Bottom line

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).

Conversations (7)
The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.
Type your response here.

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Anyone can comment, and your email address will not be published. Register to save your unique username and earn special OMAAT reputation perks!

  1. Simon Guest

    I just signed up! Thanks for the review.

  2. Ahmed Guest

    So do you think we are giving up on the rumored high fee card that we thought it's coming?

  3. iamhere Guest

    I think it is useful to have one Marriott business credit card and one personal card. If you have the higher class card for personal and the lower class for business, then the annual fee is $575 total, but the major benefit is that it would give you 30 nights. As 50 is required for Platinum status, then it is not hard to do, especially during a double nights promotion, which happens at least once...

    I think it is useful to have one Marriott business credit card and one personal card. If you have the higher class card for personal and the lower class for business, then the annual fee is $575 total, but the major benefit is that it would give you 30 nights. As 50 is required for Platinum status, then it is not hard to do, especially during a double nights promotion, which happens at least once or twice a year. The important benefits come with Platinum as a minimum. If you consider $575 for 30 nights that's rather cheap. I think the Business card is only issued by Amex whereas Chase and Amex both offer the personal cards. I would have one from each. Not everywhere around the world accepts Amex.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ iamhere -- Yep, that's exactly my strategy as well. And while it's $575 in annual fees, the $300 Marriott credit plus two free nights alone more than recoup those fees, in my opinion.

  4. Luke Guest

    It has become very tough after the EOM deval in March and dynamic pricing which prices many award stays that used to be within the 50k certificate to amounts like 52k, 55k, etc.

    Has become quite tough to get stays at places at top tier brands like Ritz, St Regis, even JW Marriott, etc while plenty of availability to burn 50k certificates at run of the mill Fairfield/Courtyard/AC type hotels.

    Hope the ability to...

    It has become very tough after the EOM deval in March and dynamic pricing which prices many award stays that used to be within the 50k certificate to amounts like 52k, 55k, etc.

    Has become quite tough to get stays at places at top tier brands like Ritz, St Regis, even JW Marriott, etc while plenty of availability to burn 50k certificates at run of the mill Fairfield/Courtyard/AC type hotels.

    Hope the ability to top off certificate redemptions with up to 15k points becomes available soon, thought it would come before end of this month not sure it will. There is the 25% transfer bonus from Amex membership points to Marriott which is also expiring end of this month wouldve been good to have the top offs available by then.

  5. FlyingHippo Guest

    Wow, never mind. Can’t believe I missed that!

  6. FlyingHippo Guest

    Hey Lucky, where are you seeing Free Night Award at properties up to 85k? Everywhere I look it references free night award at properties up to 50k points.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Simon Guest

I just signed up! Thanks for the review.

0
Ahmed Guest

So do you think we are giving up on the rumored high fee card that we thought it's coming?

0
Ben Schlappig OMAAT

@ iamhere -- Yep, that's exactly my strategy as well. And while it's $575 in annual fees, the $300 Marriott credit plus two free nights alone more than recoup those fees, in my opinion.

0
Meet Ben Schlappig, OMAAT Founder
4,523,713 Miles Traveled

25,807,500 Words Written

28,675 Posts Published