My Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card 100K Upgrade Offer

Filed Under: American Express, Credit Cards
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A couple of days ago the new Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program launched, and as part of that we saw rebranding of all co-branded Marriott and Starwood credit cards, which are issued by both American Express and Chase.

Many people are reporting that there are upgrade offers available to the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card. We’ve seen these a couple of times in the past when the card was known as the SPG Luxury Card, but for the first time I see this upgrade offer on my account.

So I figured I’d go through my thought process on deciding whether or not to upgrade.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex Card upgrade offer

I have both the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card and Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card, previously known as the personal and business versions of the SPG Amex. The former card is no longer open to new cardmembers, while the latter card is.

When I log into the account for my Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card there’s a banner at the top offering 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy points if I upgrade my card to the Bonvoy Brilliant Amex by April 24, 2019. Again, this is targeted, so not everyone will be eligible.

The process of upgrading is really easy — I can upgrade directly online, and I can earn 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy points after spending $5,000 within three months.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex Card benefits

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card has a $450 annual fee and offers:

  • A $300 annual Marriott statement credit; each cardmember year you’ll get a $300 credit that will be applied when you spend that amount at a Marriott hotel
  • An anniversary free night award that can be redeemed at a property costing up to 50,000 points per night
  • Platinum Elite status when you spend $75,000 on the card in a calendar year
  • Complimentary Gold Elite status for as long as you have the card
  • 15 elite qualifying nights per year just for having the card (you can receive this benefit for at most one card)
  • A Priority Pass Select membership that allows you to take up to two guests into eligible lounges
  • TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry fee credit once every four years
  • Premium internet access when staying at Marriott hotels
  • Complimentary Boingo Wi-Fi on up to four devices at over a million hotspots around the world

For me personally, most of those benefits are redundant. I already have lifetime Platinum status, I already get premium internet thanks to my Platinum status, I already get 15 elite qualifying nights through other cards, I have more Global Entry fee credits than I know what to do with, I already have a Boingo Wi-fi subscription, I already have several Priority Pass memberships, etc.

So for me, the value proposition of this card comes down to two things. Is it worth paying a $450 annual fee for a $300 annual Marriott credit and a free night certificate at a property costing up to 50,000 points?

To break it down even further, I value the $300 credit more or less at face value (since I spend way more than $300 per year with Marriott). So is it worth paying a $150 annual fee to get a free night annually at a property costing up to 50,000 points? Yes, I’d say that’s worth it… marginally.

Pros of upgrading to the Bonvoy Brilliant Amex

Then there’s the question of whether it makes sense to apply for this card outright or upgrade to it. Usually, when you upgrade a card you don’t get a bonus that’s as good as what you’d get if you applied outright for the card.

However, at this point the bonus is the same for me as it would be if applying outright — you get 100,000 points (which I value at $700+) when you spend $5,000 on the card within three months.

The benefit of upgrading the card would be that I don’t have a credit pull. The reality is that my credit score is excellent, so that doesn’t matter that much one way or another.

However, the other benefit is that the card I’d be upgrading is one of the cards I’ve had for the longest time, as I’ve had it for over a decade. So it’s good for my credit score to be able to maintain that credit history.

The other benefit is that I already have five American Express credit cards (not including charge cards), and that’s the maximum Amex allows:

So otherwise, if I wanted this card I’d have to cancel an existing card.

Cons of upgrading to the Bonvoy Brilliant Amex

What’s the downside of upgrading the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card to the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card? Well, the former card is no longer open to new applicants, and it’s compelling in its own right.

The card has a $95 annual fee and offers a free night award annually valid at a property retailing for up to 35,000 points.

Personally, I’m not sure if I’d rather pay $95 per year for a 35,000 point free night award, or the equivalent of $150 per year for a 50,000 point free night award. It’s more or less a wash, as far as I’m concerned.

So, what’s my decision?

All things considered, I think it makes sense to upgrade to the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card with the current 100,000 point offer (I’m waiting to do it until I get feedback from you guys, though). It’s rare to see an upgrade offer that’s as good as a welcome bonus, and this is a card that I’ve been eying.

So it seems to me like it makes sense to pick it up, as I’ll avoid a credit pull, I’ll maintain my credit history, and I’m also already at my limit as to how many Amex credit cards I can have.

Did you receive a Marriott Bonvoy Amex upgrade offer, and if so, do you plan on taking advantage of it?


Non-Affiliate Product Disclaimer: The information for the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, and The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express, has been collected independently by One Mile at a Time. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

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Comments
  1. @Lucky when are you going to be writing/posting your Bora Bora reviews? Working on planning a trip there now for our honeymoon. Thanks.

  2. On another AmEx upgrade note, I sure wish I’d get targeted for the ongoing Honors->Aspire upgrade offer. I could outright apply for Aspire in a few months once I get rid of an undesired card after the annual benefit posts. But the no-AF Honors card is one one of my oldest, so I don’t want to lose that history. OTOH, I also don’t want two Honors CCs taking up my 5 AmEx slots.

  3. I had recently gotten an offer to upgrade from Chase Marriott Premier to Premier Plus for 50,000 points if I did one purchase in Dec. It did force me to get into the annual fee zone but for the better free night and the points it seemed OK. I can always cancel later and keep the points.

  4. i was given an upgrade offer from no af AMEX HIlton to Aspire (150k after $4k) a few days ago. I took it since I had been wanting the Aspire for a while and the fact that there was no credit pull made the decision easy.

  5. Long term, the Brilliant card is decent as it is essentially a $150 annual fee card for a 50,000 point cert, which is valuable enough. The question is whether you should keep the old SPG card or upgrade into Brilliant. It all depends on whether you get enough value from the SPG’s 35,000 point cert.

  6. I got the upgrade offer for 100k and upgraded but then I thought about it and actually regretted my decision.

    Currently I have the Chase and Amex so thats 2 35k night. After upgrading, I’ll have 35k and 50k which I would never use together since I’ll lose out on 15k. Too bad they don’t let us pay the difference.

    I should instead just sign up for the 450 card like 2 years down the line and get a third night.

  7. I think it’s a good idea to upgrade.
    The 100,000 points will likely be the highest amount offered for the card, and a 50,000 point certificate will be easier to find a use for over a 35,000 point certificate.

    I checked my account after reading this post and, while I didn’t see the upgrade offer on the Account Summary page, I checked pre-qualified card offers and saw the upgrade offer.

    I saved the upgrade offer for record keeping, requested an upgrade, and was approved.

  8. @Lucky, when do the 15 nights post? I have two different Marriott cards and have yet to see the 15 nights posted to my account. Have others?

  9. If you’re not getting the extra value out of the 50k anniversary night, you can always product change back down to the regular Amex Bonvoy card. While it’s not eligible for new applications, Amex has confirmed that the Boyvoy card is eligible for product changes from the Bonvoy Brilliant.

    I’m very curious on what your thoughts are on the value of these anniversary nights (e.g., 35k, 50k) in wake of all the recent devaluations and category changes. Are you finding it more difficult to use these where you have in the past?

  10. The only reason to upgrade is if you want the bonus points w/o a credit pull. Otherwise just stay as you are.

  11. Just FYI for anyone looking to check if they are targeted, I logged in after reading this and had several other offer banners (personal loans, additional users etc) cleared them each and refreshed a bunch and got nada. Tried logging out and logging back in twice and on the second time I got the offer! Pretty good deal IMO, given the regular AmexSPG was $95 and this card is really only $150 after the $300 credit I think its a solid upgrade especially given the 100K bonus.

  12. I just hit my anniversary date/annual fee on my SPG AmEx last week. I haven’t yet received my free night award. If I upgrade, will I a) still receive my free night award, or will the clock be reset? b) will my $95 annual fee be credited toward the $450?

  13. Hey Lucky. I also received the offer and I’ve been going back and forth on whether to take it. My answer depends on two questions:

    1) Is it possible to accept the upgrade offer, and then downgrade back to the standard Bonvoy business card after collecting the sign-up bonus? The 100,000 points are enticing, but I don’t want the Brilliant card long-term.

    2) How does this impact a free night certificate that I’m scheduled to earn in April? Would this reset the clock so I wouldn’t earn my free night until February 2020?

  14. I recently hit my anniversary date/annual fee on my SPG Amex. I have yet to receive my free night award. If I were to upgrade, would a) I still receive my due free night award, and b) would the $95 annual fee I just paid be credited toward the $450 annual fee?

  15. @ Jeff

    I was offered this same upgrade in October, upgrading the SPG Amex to the SPG luxury. I had those same questions. the T & C mentioned something about keeping the card for 12 months.

    As far as the free night award goes, signing up didn’t affect my cardmember year. The $95 fee I had already paid was prorated, & the new $450 fee was also. Although I haven’t yet received my free night certificate (should come in April) I confirmed with a CR that I would get the certificate at the same time I had expected.

    I also confirmed that the $300 Marriott credit was NOT prorated in my first year. So I essentially paid half of the annual fee ($225) and have used my $300 Marriott credit.

  16. I got this same offer but I shifted to Hyatt due to being annoyed with the data breach etc. But this makes me want to shift back.. I know I’m not a points and miles addicts as much as some of you but man this is sure tempting but I agree with ben on this is it worth it for a 15k point bump?

  17. @Lucky

    U 100% sure you’ll get the statement credits if you upgrade? Some cards in the past didn’t offer that even though they did offer a substantial bonus points promo

  18. Lucky I have the same offer as you. My wife does not. I have the regular version she has the regular and business version. I am going to upgrade as soon as I help her meet spend on the HH Honors business card we just got with a 125k bonus after 3k spend. I may not keep the Luxury card long term but will wait and see.

  19. @Lucky, I am in the same camp as @Jon. My anniversary was 1/18 and my free night has yet to post. If I upgrade now what happens to the few night cert? I couldn’t find any detail in the T&Cs.

  20. Lucky, once you upgrade to Amex Bonvoy Brilliant Card. Can you downgrade again it to Regular Amex Bonvoy Cad or not?

  21. We did it because it helped us top off our points with the devaluation and we had Marriott spending planned anyway, so it was a no brained. And we don’t have redundant benefits so those help as well!

  22. @Matt @ktc @ Corey

    I have not yet received my 15 night credit in 2019 either. In previous years, I received it on either January 1 or 2 at the same time as my annual free night because I was granted the Marriott card on January 1 years ago. This year I received my 35,000 point night as usual and used it in January. I’ve called Marriott and they tell me I should have received it, that it is their responsibility (not Chase), and they claim to put in a request to restore it within 10 business days. Two failures so far.

    Marriott IT is pathetic. I manage large IT projects and I wish they would recognize the need to clear the personnel in the house, pay competitive contract IT costs, and move into the modern world. This isn’t that hard.

  23. @MK – you can downgrade but I’d do it at your next Brilliant anniversary. Never do it within months of opening it. You risk the points being taken back. Believe me!

  24. Lucky, what happens to your old acct’s free anniv night? Or has that already posted for you so you don’t lose it? I plan on doing this as soon as offered to me but my anniv on tye old card is March (like with the Aspire). Thx

  25. What will your suggestion be for someone who doesnt have any Amex card branded with either Marriott / SPG?I am evaluating Amex Brilliant vs Platinum vs Chase Reserve and seems to me Brilliant comes out top. I do travel 15-20 times a year due to work and mostly stay at Marriott/Westin properties so have been learning towards Brilliant. With the added 100K bonus points for $5K spend, Brilliant Amex makes sense. Any suggestions or thoughts?

  26. I got the offer but it says you aren’t eligible if you’ve receive a signup offer in the last 24 months from Chase. Even though I’ve had my Chase Marriott cars for many years, when they changed the name a few months back and offered 50K points to upgrade (I think the annual fee went up like $10) I took advantage. When I try to apply it says I’m not eligible because I’ve received another offer from Chase!

  27. Have had the (formerly) SPG Amex for two years – received the upgrade request. Even with the redundant offers, the 100K bonus plus the 50K cert plus the 300 statement credit (which I will meet within the next month easily) make this a no brainer for me! And like it has been mentioned – can always downgrade if I feel that the benefits don’t offset the annual fee.

  28. Mark, when did you get that notice? I was looking for the terms and I couldn’t find anything. Was it when you actually followed through with the process to upgrade that it came through with the Amex pop-up no bonus for you format?

  29. Well on the bright side I can at least try and Upgrade and if it lets it process I should get the bonus. I think I’ll be bounced for the same reason as I also recently got the Chase Marriott card. I was hoping this might be a method to bypass the 24 month window but it sounds like not.

    At least if I know it actively notifies you that you won’t get to the bonus I don’t have to worry about doing the upgrade and also not getting the bonus.

  30. Hi, I’m targeted with the 100k upgrade offer but I currently have the Ritz card. Am I still eligible to receive the 100k upgrade offer? Thx

  31. What happens to your Status if youre already platinum? I spend 75k on the Chase Ritz card every year so am platinum premier for a few years. Marriot has doing so much weird stuff that I would be afraid to get downgraded to gold for getting this card. Sounds insane but not really… Anyone have both?

  32. I upgraded and received the welcome packet and new card. Funny enough it is still on SPG plastic – does not say Marriott or Bonvoy on it anywhere. The packet however referred to the right card. Only thing I can think of is I use the contactless AMEX card and maybe they didn’t print up the Bonvoy Brilliant cards in contactless yet.

  33. My fee was due for the old SPG card and I cancelled it, in spite of the 100,000 point Bonvoy upgrade offer. For me, who often stays outside the footprint of large chain hotels, it’s too much work to get the value from it, when, like you, many of the premium benefits are duplicated with other cards in my wallet. The Bonvoy free night is worth about exactly the card fee after the credits, so I’d just as soon not be locked in. They might have kept me if they issued points instead of a free night with an expiration date. BON VOYAGE Bonvoy.

  34. Bonvoyed!!

    I just got a nasty surprise from Amex regarding the Brilliant card. After spending $1500 on a stay at a Marriott ‘International’ hotel in Switzerland, Amex would not give me the 6X points offered on the card. They said that the charges need to be in US dollars even though the Cardmember Agreement on their site right now only says this: You receive 4 additional Points (for a total of 6 Points) for each $1 of eligible purchases on your Card Account charged directly with participating Marriott Bonvoy properties (excluding home share properties), standalone Marriott branded retail establishments, and Marriott branded online stores (including online purchases of Marriott branded gift cards), that in each case, are owned or managed by Marriott International, Inc. and its affiliates.

  35. Update on this earlier post. The Amex CSR that told me that my stay in Switzerland did not qualify for Bonvoy bonus points because it was charged in Swiss Francs was incorrect.
    I elevated this issue and the supervisor clarified that bonus points were not issued because the property, a Design Hotel, was not recognized as a Marriott property. She promised that I would be credited the additional points (about 6000 total) would be credited to my account the next cycle. I haven’t seen them yet, so still unresolved.
    __________________

    Bonvoyed!!

    I just got a nasty surprise from Amex regarding the Brilliant card. After spending $1500 on a stay at a Marriott ‘International’ hotel in Switzerland, Amex would not give me the 6X points offered on the card. They said that the charges need to be in US dollars even though the Cardmember Agreement on their site right now only says this: You receive 4 additional Points (for a total of 6 Points) for each $1 of eligible purchases on your Card Account charged directly with participating Marriott Bonvoy properties (excluding home share properties), standalone Marriott branded retail establishments, and Marriott branded online stores (including online purchases of Marriott branded gift cards), that in each case, are owned or managed by Marriott International, Inc. and its affiliates.

  36. SWEET…upgraded 3.2.19 while staying at a Marriott prop & received $300 credit instantly. My old SPG anniv date was 3.25.19 at which point I got a new $300 credit! Was not expecting the second credit until my 2020 anniversary.

    The $5k upgrade spend also applies towards the $100k spend this yr for a 100k point bonus, so I am super happy I chose to upgrade!

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