While the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card (review) has a $450 annual fee (Rates & Fees), in this post, I wanted to talk about the one benefit that should easily recoup roughly two-thirds of that.
How the $300 Marriott Bonvoy statement credit works
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card offers a $300 annual Marriott statement credit, which couldn’t be much more straightforward. Here’s everything you need to know about how this works:
- The credit is issued each cardmember year, rather than each calendar year
- You receive a credit in your first year as a cardmember, as well as any subsequent year
- This applies toward any eligible purchase made directly at hotels and timeshare properties participating in Marriott Bonvoy
- There’s no registration required to take advantage of this, you just have to charge an eligible purchase directly to your Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card
- In addition to room rate, taxes, resort and destination fees, etc., this can also be applied toward any incidental charges (including charges at restaurants, spas, and other establishments within the hotel) as long as they’re charged to your room and you pay with your card
- Online purchases of Marriott branded gift cards don’t qualify as eligible purchases for this benefit
- Purchases by both the primary cardmember and any authorized or additional users count toward this credit, though you only get one $300 credit per primary account
- While the terms state that it can take 8-12 weeks for statement credits to post, in my experience, they post much faster than that
How much is the Marriott $300 credit worth?
I think it’s important to account for the value of credit card benefits mentally to decide whether a card is worth it. How do I mentally account for the value of the $300 credit on the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card?
- The $300 Marriott credit should get you $300 in value per year since anyone with this card should be spending at least $300 per year at Marriott properties, even if it’s only on incidentals while redeeming points
- If you don’t spend at least $300 per year on Marriott properties anywhere in the world, then this probably isn’t the card for you
While the credit should get you $300 in value, if you want to be exact, you should probably apply some sort of a discount to it to reflect the opportunity cost of earning points:
- The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card ordinarily earns 6x Bonvoy points per dollar spent with Marriott
- You don’t earn points on the $300 of Marriott spending that you charge to the card and get reimbursed, so you’re forgoing 1,800 Bonvoy points on that spending
- I value Bonvoy points at 0.7 cents each, so a ~$12.60 “discount” should be applied to account for that opportunity cost, meaning the credit is “worth” around $287.40
Are the card’s other benefits worth ~$162.60 per year?
In calculating the value proposition of the $450 annual fee Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card, you can subtract $287.40 to account for the value of the $300 Marriott Bonvoy credit. Do the card’s other benefits justify that cost? Among other things, the card offers:
- 15 elite nights toward Marriott Bonvoy elite status each year, which will go a long way toward Platinum Elite status
- An anniversary free night award every anniversary year valid at a property costing up to 50,000 Bonvoy points per night
- A Priority Pass membership giving you access to 1,300+ lounges around the world
- Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status for as long as you’re a cardmember
- A Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit once every four years
The $300 credit and anniversary free night award alone more than justify the annual fee, in my opinion, and everything else is just the icing on the cake. So unless you avoid Marriotts at all costs, I think the math checks out very favorably on this card for most consumers.
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card offers an annual $300 Marriott Bonvoy statement credit, which couldn’t be much easier to use. It can be applied toward virtually any purchase directly with a Marriott property globally, whether room rate, taxes and fees, or incidentals. There’s no registration required, and if you have this card, you should be able to get full value out of this.
This should recoup roughly two-thirds of the annual fee for most cardmembers, and then the free night award should easily justify the rest of the annual fee. And that’s not even accounting for the card’s other benefits.
If you have the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card, what has your experience been with the card’s $300 annual travel credit?
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).