Is The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card Worth It?

Is The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card Worth It?

17
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 get the card, but the perks add up. In this post I wanted to share my experience with the card, and why I get outsized value with the card.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card welcome bonus

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card is offering a two-part welcome bonus — with this offer you can earn the following after spending $3,000 within the first three months of card membership:

  • 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points
  • Up to $200 in Statement Credits for eligible purchases at U.S. Restaurants within the first 6 months of Card Membership

This is a solid bonus. Personally, I value Bonvoy points at ~0.7 cents each, so this bonus could be worth up to $725 by my valuation, which is nice.

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 virtually 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, I used my credit this year at the St. Regis Deer Valley. I redeemed Bonvoy points for my stay, and then I used the $300 credit towards 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 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, this year I used my free night award at the Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island, which was a lovely Florida getaway. This is a Category 7 Marriott Bonvoy property, and over off-peak dates the hotel can be booked for 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 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 towards Bonvoy status

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card offers 15 elite nights towards status annually. Since I have the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card and the Marriott Bonvoy Business Card, I receive a total of 30 elite nights towards 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.

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 personally 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 Pre-Check 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

Personally, 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 towards 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 (17)
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. Shots1 Guest

    Looks like this card is worth it
    Thank You Ben

  2. Schwayze1 Guest

    Looks like this card is worth it
    Thank You Ben

  3. Joe1293 Guest

    @DCS
    Since Hilton points over Bonvoy points are for the clueless
    That means Bonvoy Brilliant card is way much superior than the Hilton Aspire Card
    Good Day

  4. Wills Guest

    @DCS
    I take this Bonvoy Brillant card over the the Hilton Aspire card

  5. Will Guest

    @DCS
    I take this Bonvoy Brillant card over the the Hilton Aspire card

    1. DCS Diamond

      @DCS
      I take this Bonvoy Brillant card over the the Hilton Aspire card.

      -- Will

      Of course, you do. I wouldn't expect anything else from someone as enlightened as a troglodyte.

      That Aspire thing just the pits, the worse reward CC ever!

  6. Joe1293 Guest

    Also wait a minute is Hilton points worth more than Bonvoy points
    This is a serious question

    1. DCS Guest

      Serious only for those who are clueless...

    2. Joe1293 Guest

      I sent you a response and which means using Hilton Aspire card is for the clueless

    3. DCS Diamond

      Clueless squared. G'day.

  7. Boraxo Guest

    Good luck finding a decent resort property in CA for 50k per night. 50k is the new 35k. Not so useful in the covid era when we just don’t use Marriott much. I have $130 in credits plus 2 x 50k nights that expire in Jan. So I will be cancelling mine.

  8. Willem Guest

    If I just have the Bonvoy Boundless (no business card), I cannot get the additional 15 elite nights for this card, correct?

    1. Brandon Guest

      Correct. You can earn at most 15 elite night credits for having one personal card, and then another 15 elite night credits for one business card. Multiple personal or multiple business cards don't stack.

  9. rjb Guest

    I stopped paying to get Bonvoyed. Burn your Marriott points and move on.

    1. DCS Diamond

      That is pretty much what I did after the program downgraded ('BonVoyed') its formerly decent Gold status to be no better than HH Silver (i.e., no breakfast).
      Tough I cashed out (transferred all the points that I had to SQ miles), I still have the Chase BonVoy Boundless and the AMEX BonVoY CCs, which get me a couple of free nights each year that I have not had much use for, considering that they...

      That is pretty much what I did after the program downgraded ('BonVoyed') its formerly decent Gold status to be no better than HH Silver (i.e., no breakfast).
      Tough I cashed out (transferred all the points that I had to SQ miles), I still have the Chase BonVoy Boundless and the AMEX BonVoY CCs, which get me a couple of free nights each year that I have not had much use for, considering that they are worth only up to 35K award points. As a result of expiration date extensions due to the pandemic, I now have 4 such free nights:

      - Boundless Free Night Award - 35K; expiring in 3.1 months
      - Boundless Free Night Award - 35K; expiring in 1 year
      - MAR BV AX FNA up to 35k points; expiring in 3.1 months
      - MAR BV AX FNA up to 35k points; expiring in 4 months

      That is a lot of free nights. Unfortunately, I am not traveling to Timbuktu any time soon... ;-(

    2. Jill Guest

      How do you have so many Marriott cards

      Dare I ask what about your Hilton Amex cards?

  10. Joe1293 Guest

    Unless they raised the annual fee to $695 and improved the card

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.

DCS Diamond

<blockquote> @DCS <b>I take this Bonvoy Brillant card over the the Hilton Aspire card.</b> -- Will </blockquote> Of course, you do. I wouldn't expect anything else from someone as enlightened as a troglodyte. That Aspire thing just the pits, the worse reward CC ever!

0
DCS Diamond

Clueless squared. G'day.

0
Shots1 Guest

Looks like this card is worth it Thank You Ben

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

25,807,500 Words Written

28,675 Posts Published