Amex Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card Review

Amex Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card Review

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card Earn 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points | $450
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card Earn 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points | $450
Earn 6x points at Marriott hotels globally
$300 Marriott Bonvoy Statement Credit
Annual Free Night Award
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Both American Express and Chase issue co-branded Marriott credit cards. The market is split between them — American Express issues the ultra-premium personal card and business card, while Chase issues the mid-range personal card and no annual fee personal card.

In this post, I wanted to take a closer look at the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, which is the most premium credit card in the portfolio. This card is even offering a phenomenal welcome offer at the moment, which is among the best we’ve seen on the card.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card Basics For May 2022

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card is Marriott’s most premium credit card. While the card has a hefty annual fee, the perks should more than justify the cost, in my opinion, and I’ve found the card to be well worth it. In this post I wanted to take a look at all of the details of the card, including the welcome offer, benefits, and more.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card Welcome Offer

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card offers 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy points after spending $3,000 within the first three months of card membership.

Personally, I value Bonvoy points at 0.7 cents each, so the bonus is worth $525 to me.

Redeem your points at the St. Regis Maldives

Marriott Credit Card Eligibility

Given how many American Express and Chase Marriott cards there are, there are some pretty complicated restrictions regarding eligibility for this card.

On the most basic level, the welcome offer is not available to applicants who have had this product, or the Starwood Preferred Guest Luxury Card (which is briefly what this card was known as).

Furthermore, the welcome offer is not available to applicants who:

  • Have or have had The Ritz-Carlton Credit Card from JPMorgan or the J.P. Morgan Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card in the last 30 days
  • Have acquired the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card from Chase, the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card from Chase, the Marriott Bonvoy Premier Credit Card from Chase, the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card from Chase, the Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card from Chase, the Marriott Bonvoy Premier Plus Business Credit Card from Chase or the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Business Credit Card from Chase in the last 90 days
  • Have received a new card member bonus or upgrade offer for the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card from Chase, Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card from Chase, the Marriott Bonvoy Premier Credit Card from Chase, the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card from Chase, the Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card from Chase, the Marriott Bonvoy Premier Plus Business Credit Card from Chase or the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Business Credit Card from Chase in the last 24 months

General Amex Card Restrictions

I find Amex cards easy to be approved for if you have excellent credit. Anecdotally most people I’ve heard from have reported instant approvals on this card, so it really shouldn’t be very tough to be approved for. Just make sure you know that:

  • You can be approved for at most two Amex credit cards in a 90 day period
  • You can have at most five American Express credit cards at any point (this doesn’t include cards without a preset spending limit)

See this post for all major credit card application restrictions to be aware of.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card $450 Annual Fee

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card has a $450 annual fee. You can add additional cardmembers at no extra cost (Rates & Fees).

No Foreign Transaction Fees

The Bonvoy Brilliant Card has no foreign transaction fees (Rates & Fees), so it could be a good option for your purchases abroad.

Earning Points With The Bonvoy Brilliant Card

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card has some bonus categories, though, for the most part, this isn’t a card you’re going to want to start using for your everyday spending. There are much more generous card bonus categories out there.

I have this card but don’t actually spend money on it, unless there’s a very specific promotion causing me to do so. Let’s talk about how the bonus categories on the card work.

6x Bonvoy Points At Marriott Hotels

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card offers 6x Bonvoy points for spending at Marriott hotels globally.

Since I value Bonvoy points at ~0.7 cents each, that’s the equivalent of a ~4.2% return on hotel spending. Personally, I still prefer to use the Chase Sapphire Reserve® for my Marriott hotel spending, as it offers 3x Ultimate Rewards points.

Earn 6x points for stays at Marriott hotels

3x Bonvoy Points On Restaurants & Flights

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card has some bonus categories that offer 3x points, including for purchases with:

  • U.S. restaurants
  • Flights booked directly with airlines

Based on my valuation of ~0.7 cents per point, that’s like a ~2.1% return on spending, which isn’t amazing. Personally, I think there are better credit cards for both restaurant purchases and airfare purchases.

2x Bonvoy Points On All Other Purchases

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card offers 2x points on all other eligible purchases. Personally, I don’t consider 2x points per dollar spent to be especially compelling since I value that at a ~1.4% return on spending, and there are better cards for everyday spending.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card Perks

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card offers a variety of perks, ranging from a $300 annual hotel credit, to an anniversary free night certificate. For many people (including me), the benefits more than offset the annual fee on the card.

Let’s take a look at some of the benefits offered by the card.

$300 Marriott Bonvoy Statement Credit

Just for having the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card, you receive a $300 statement credit every cardmember year for spending at Marriott properties. This benefit is available the first year, and all subsequent years.

This couldn’t be easier to use — just use this card at any Marriott property globally, and your first $300 in eligible spending will automatically be reimbursed. This can be on room rates, meals, or almost anything else purchased directly with the hotel.

Assuming you spend at least $300 per year at Marriott hotels, then I’d say this is more or less worth face value and lowers the real “out of pocket” on this card to $150 per year.

Use your $300 credit for virtually any Marriott hotel spending

Up To 50K Points Annual Free Night Reward

The other major perk that makes the Bonvoy Brilliant Card worthwhile is that you get a free night award every year on your account anniversary, valid for a one-night hotel stay at a property costing up to 50,000 points. You receive your first one of these on your first anniversary.

The free night certificates offered on most other Marriott cards are valid at properties costing up to 35,000 points per night, so using these at properties costing 50,000 points per night is awesome. This gets you access to all kinds of luxury hotels.

There are plenty of hotels costing $500+ per night that you can use this at. Assuming you value this at a minimum of $150, then I’d say you’re just about at the breakeven point on the card. The $450 annual fee is easily offset by the $300 travel credit, and then this free night.

Use your free night certificate at Domes Zeen Chania

Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status

On an ongoing basis, just for having the Bonvoy Brilliant Card, you receive complimentary Gold Elite status in the Marriott Bonvoy program. This status ordinarily requires 25 elite nights and gets perks including the following:

  • 25% bonus points on hotel stays
  • 2 PM late check-out
  • A room upgrade

Spend To Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite Status

You can earn Platinum Elite status if you spend $75,000 on the Bonvoy Brilliant Card in a calendar year. This status ordinarily requires 50 elite nights. Platinum Elite status gets you the following benefits:

  • 50% bonus points on hotel stays
  • 4 PM late check-out
  • A room upgrade, including to a standard suite
  • Welcome gift, including breakfast at many brands

Platinum status is potentially really worthwhile. Whether or not it makes sense to spend $75,000 on the card to earn this very much depends on your travel patterns.

15 Elite Nights Toward Status

Just for having the Bonvoy Brilliant Card, you receive 15 elite nights toward status annually. Several co-branded Marriott credit cards offer this, and you can only receive the benefit once on a personal card and once on a business card.

In other words, if you have three Marriott personal cards, you wouldn’t get 45 elite nights. However, if you have a personal card and the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ Amex Card, you’d get 30 elite nights!

This makes Platinum status more attainable to earn, which is where status gets valuable. Platinum status requires 50 nights, so if you were getting 30 elite nights per year from credit cards, you’d only need 20 more elite nights. This would be my preferred way of earning this status, rather than spending $75,000 on the card.

Platinum status comes with some great perks

Premium Internet At Marriott Properties

All Marriott Bonvoy members who book direct receive free in-room internet. However, if you have this credit card, you receive complimentary premium internet access while staying at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels.

$100 Ritz-Carlton & St. Regis Property Credit

The Bonvoy Brilliant Card also offers a $100 on-property credit at Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis when you book stays of at least two nights. The catch is that you have to book an “eligible rate,” which is going to be equivalent to the best available/non-discounted rate.

Personally, I don’t consider that to be so valuable. Why?

  • You have to book a specific rate, so points stays, discounted member rates, etc., don’t qualify
  • All of these hotels belong to Marriott STARS, and some of these hotels belong to Virtuoso, which offer similar benefits
The $100 credit might not be as valuable as it sounds

Priority Pass Select Membership

The Bonvoy Brilliant Card offers a Priority Pass membership, giving you access to 1,300+ lounges worldwide. You can bring two guests with you into lounges, space permitting. This is a great way to make your airport experience more pleasant.

Do be aware that those getting a Priority Pass membership through Amex don’t receive credits at Priority Pass restaurants.

Access Priority Pass lounges with the Bonvoy Brilliant Card

TSA PreCheck Or Global Entry Credit

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card offers a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit once every four years. Just charge the $85-100 membership fee to your card, and it will automatically be reimbursed. It doesn’t matter who the fee is being paid for, as long as you charge it to your eligible card.

Amex Offers

One of the great features of Amex cards is access to Amex Offers, which gives members savings on purchases with all kinds of retailers. There’s huge value to be had in getting as many Amex cards as possible so that you can get these offers on multiple cards.

There are lots of valuable Amex Offers deals

Is The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex Worth It?

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I have the Bonvoy Brilliant Card. It’s not a card that I put much spending on, but rather it’s a card that I have for the perks.

The way I view it, this card really costs me $150 per year — it has a $450 annual fee, but I think the $300 annual Marriott credit is more or less good as cash. In reality, I’m paying $150 per year for an annual free night certificate valid at a property costing up to 50,000 points, plus for 15 elite nights toward status annually, which helps me earn a higher status tier.

To me, that’s an excellent deal. The card has plenty of other perks that others may find valuable, but which I personally don’t get much value out of:

  • The card also offers a Priority Pass membership, but personally, I have several cards that offer this
  • The card offers a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry fee credit, though again, I have several cards that offer this

In addition to that, I do get value out of the consistent Amex Offers deals that I see on this card, which have saved me hundreds of dollars.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Vs. Boundless Card

Many people may be looking to decide between the $450 annual fee Brilliant Card, and the $95 annual fee Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card (review). What are the major differences?

  • The Boundless Card offers an anniversary free night valid at a property costing up to 35,000 points per night (rather than 50,000 points)
  • Both cards offer premium internet and 15 elite nights toward status (you can only receive this benefit once across all Marriott co-brand personal credit cards)
  • The Brilliant Card offers a Priority Pass membership, Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit, and a $300 Marriott credit
  • The Boundless Card is issued by Chase, while the Brilliant Card is issued by Amex, in case that impacts your approval odds

I prefer the Bonvoy Brilliant Card, since I think it’s worth paying an extra $55 to get a free night certificate valid at a property costing up to 50,000 points, rather than 35,000 points. More casual Marriott guests may prefer the Boundless Card, though, given that there’s less “sticker shock” to the annual fee.

Both the Boundless & Brilliant are potentially great cards

Bottom Line

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card is Marriott’s most premium credit card. The card has a $450 annual fee, but offers perks like a $300 annual Marriott credit and an annual free night certificate valid at a property costing up to 50K points, which more than justifies the annual fee. Add in all the money-saving offers available with Amex Offers, and you should easily come out ahead with this card.

If you want to learn more about the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card or apply, follow this link.

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 (6)
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  1. Dian Winston Guest

    And where exactly are hotels offering rooms for 35,000 points or less? Those free night rewards have NO VALUE if they can't. be used!

  2. 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.

  3. Billy Bob Guest

    "costing up to 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy points"
    When you go to book, the room you want will be 86,000 points, and this particular certificate cannot be added to...
    Just like all the rooms out there now at exactly 52000/night: just out of reach of the (expiring) 50K certs. Of course in a week or so we can add 15K to them, but suspiciously the rooms will jump to 66K per night I am sure.
    Marriott is destroying their own program.

  4. Josh Guest

    I need to cancel my Chase Ritz to be eligible for this – what are the odds this bonus gets extended?

  5. Chicago Guy Guest

    Curious if Amex will ever honor better welcome bonuses. I literally applied for this card on Saturday (4/16), received and activated yesterday (4/20), and see the updated bonus today. I don't mean to be greedy this seems like a reasonable request. Anyone have experience before I call?

  6. Eddie Guest

    I feel the same way about this card--it's basically at least a break-even proposition on the annual fee with the easy to use benefits, but I never use this card for everyday spend other than at a Marriott property.  One interesting point about the annual Free Night Certificate is that it looks like we might soon be able to combine the FNC with some additional points to stay at higher-category properties (looks like this would apply to...

    I feel the same way about this card--it's basically at least a break-even proposition on the annual fee with the easy to use benefits, but I never use this card for everyday spend other than at a Marriott property.  One interesting point about the annual Free Night Certificate is that it looks like we might soon be able to combine the FNC with some additional points to stay at higher-category properties (looks like this would apply to redemptions up to 65K points).  This is from the Bonvoy website:

    "When booking a Free Night Award it must cover the full cost of the one Night.Example: If the cost of the Night is 36,000 Marriott Bonvoy® Points and the Free Night Award value is 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy® Points; the transaction cannot be completed. You cannot currently add Marriott Bonvoy® Points to the Free Night Award to make up the difference.  (In early 2022, Members will have the opportunity to increase their Free Night Award by adding up to 15,000 additional Marriott Bonvoy® Points, expanding the value of the award and possible options across the portfolio.)"

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.

Dian Winston Guest

And where exactly are hotels offering rooms for 35,000 points or less? Those free night rewards have NO VALUE if they can't. be used!

0
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 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.

0
Billy Bob Guest

"costing up to 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy points" When you go to book, the room you want will be 86,000 points, and this particular certificate cannot be added to... Just like all the rooms out there now at exactly 52000/night: just out of reach of the (expiring) 50K certs. Of course in a week or so we can add 15K to them, but suspiciously the rooms will jump to 66K per night I am sure. Marriott is destroying their own program.

0
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