Amex Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card Review (2022)

Amex Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card Review (2022)

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card Earn 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points | $650
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card Earn 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points | $650
Earn 6x points at Marriott hotels globally
Complimentary Platinum Elite Status
Annual Free Night Award
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Link: Apply now for the refreshed Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

Both American Express and Chase issue co-branded Marriott credit cards. 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 has just undergone a full refresh, making it more compelling than ever before.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card Basics For September 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. The card now even offers Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status, without any sort of a spending requirement. This is a card I have, and that I’ve found to be valuable.

Let’s take a look at all of the details of the card, including the welcome offer, incredible benefits, and more.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card Welcome Offer

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card is offering a welcome bonus of 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy points after spending $5,000 within the first three months of card membership. This is a huge bonus — personally I value Bonvoy points at 0.7 cents each, so the bonus is worth $1,050 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 Bountiful Credit Card from Chase, 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 Bountiful Credit Card from Chase, 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 $650 Annual Fee

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card has a $650 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.

Use the card with no foreign transaction fees

Earning Points With The Bonvoy Brilliant Card

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card has some bonus categories, though generally speaking this isn’t a card I’d be using for my everyday spending. However, the card does have a significant incentive to spend $60,000 per year, and the math could work out. 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 on eligible purchases 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® (review) 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:

  • Restaurants worldwide
  • 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.

Further Rewards For Spending $60K

Starting in January 2023, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card will allow you to select a Choice Rewards benefit when you spend $60,000 in a calendar year: Specifically, you’ll be able to choose one of the following:

  • Five Suite Night Awards, each of which can be used to confirm a suite upgrade for one night up to five days prior to arrival
  • A free night award, valid at a Marriott property costing up to 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy points
  • $750 off a bed from Marriott Bonvoy boutiques

This is in addition to whatever Choice Benefits you’d ordinarily earn for crossing 50 or 75 elite nights in a year. This could be a real incentive to spend money on the card, especially when you consider the opportunity to get a free night certificate worth up to 85,000 points.

Redeem a free night award at the St. Regis Venice

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card Perks

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card offers a variety of perks, ranging from Platinum Elite status, to an annual dining credit of up to $300, 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.

Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite Status

On an ongoing basis, just for having the Bonvoy Brilliant Card, you receive complimentary Platinum Elite status in the Marriott Bonvoy program. This status ordinarily requires 50 elite nights per calendar year, and offers the following benefits:

  • 50% bonus points on hotel stays
  • 4PM late check-out
  • A room upgrade, including to a standard suite
  • Executive lounge access at most brands, assuming the hotel has a lounge
  • A welcome gift, including breakfast at many brands

It’s amazing that you can now receive Platinum Elite status just for having a credit card, with no spending required.

Receive executive lounge access as a Platinum Elite member

$300 Per Year In Restaurant Credits

Just for having the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card, you receive up to $300 per year in restaurant statement credits. This comes in the form of a $25 credit each month, which you can use for purchases at restaurants worldwide. This benefit is available the first year, and all subsequent years.

This should be easy enough to maximize — if you spend at least $25 a month at restaurants, you should get the full value out of this.

Receive a $300 annual restaurant credit

Up To 85K Points Annual Free Night Reward

Another major perk that makes the Bonvoy Brilliant Card worthwhile is that you get a free night award every year on your renewal month, valid for a one-night hotel stay at a property costing up to 85,000 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 35,000-50,000 points per night, so using these at properties costing 85,000 points per night is awesome. This gets you access to all kinds of luxury hotels.

Marriott even lets you top off free night certificates nowadays with up to 15,000 points, so you could redeem these certificates at hotels costing up to 100,000 points.

Use your free night certificate at Domes Zeen Chania

25 Elite Nights Toward Status

Just for having the Bonvoy Brilliant Card, you receive 25 elite nights toward status annually. Several co-branded Marriott credit cards offer elite nights for being a cardmember, though this is the only card to offer 25 elite nights. Furthermore, you can only receive this benefit on one personal and one business card.

So if you had this card plus the Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card, you’d start every year with 40 elite nights.

Of course you already get Platinum Elite status with this card, but those elite nights could come in handy if you want to earn Marriott Bonvoy Choice Benefits (like Suite Night Awards) or go for Marriott Bonvoy Titanium Elite or Marriott Bonvoy Ambassador Elite status.

Platinum Elite status comes with some great perks

$100 Ritz-Carlton & St. Regis Property Credit

The Bonvoy Brilliant Card also offers a $100 on-property credit at Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis hotels 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 select membership (enrollment required), 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 statement credit for Global Entry (once every 4 years) or TSA PreCheck (once every 4.5 years). You’re eligible for either program, but not both. Simply charge the 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.

Get the TSA PreCheck cost reimbursed with the 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?

If you stay at Marriotts with any frequency, the Bonvoy Brilliant Card is a slam dunk, in my opinion. The biggest perk is Platinum Elite status, so getting that just for having a credit card is huge.

Even beyond that, though, the annual fee is easy to justify. I consider the $300 restaurant credit to more or less be worth face value, while I think the free night certificate valid at a property costing up to 85,000 Bonvoy points is easily worth $350.

To me, that’s an excellent deal. The card has plenty of other perks that are also potentially valuable:

  • The card offers a Priority Pass membership, giving you access to 1,300+ lounges around the world
  • The card offers 25 elite nights toward status annually, which can help you achieve higher elite tiers, or receive Choice Benefits
  • The card offers a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry fee credit, which is useful for security and immigration
Enjoy a stay at Gritti Palace Venice, Marriott Luxury Collection

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Vs. Boundless Card

Many people may be looking to decide between the $650 annual fee Marriott Bonvoy 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 85,000 points)
  • The Boundless Card offers Silver Elite status just for being a cardmember plus 15 elite nights toward status annually, while the Brilliant Card offers Platinum Elite status just for being a cardmember plus 25 elite nights toward status
  • The Brilliant Card offers a Priority Pass Select membership, Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit, and an up to $300 annual restaurant 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 for the elite status, the much more valuable free night certificate, and more. 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 $650 annual fee, but offers perks like Platinum Elite status, a $300 annual restaurant credit, an annual free night certificate valid at a property costing up to 85K points, and much more. 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 (13)
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  1. stlsch02 New Member

    I saw TPG rated this card 3.5 stars out of 5
    OMAT has this rated 4 out of 5 stars

    My fellow commenters which ones are more accurately OMAT vs TPG

    For the Marriott Bonvoy Amex Brilliant Card rating

    1. Eskimo Guest

      You can't comment on TPG so your response here will be biased towards OMAAT readers.

      However, if you decide what credit cards to get based on "stars", you have bigger issues to worry about.

  2. Alonzo Diamond

    Although it's only available for upgrades, I think we need an updated review of the Chase Ritz credit card.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      Because it's only available for upgrades (which could also end at any moment) after holding another card for a year. The card is a bit irrelevant.
      Especially blogs don't get referrals from upgrades. The difficulty to obtain makes it not a marketable topic to generate views or clicks. Nor did the card have any changes except matching the 50k to 85k annual certificate.

      Sorry but I just did the review you asked for, that's it.

  3. Dwondermeant Guest

    Does the 25 dollar monthly dining credit extend to Door Dash etc?

  4. Hyatt is Good Guest

    $200 more hurts, But, on the Bright side they already posted the Extra 10 Nights to make it 25 Nights and now I have more than 81. That will take me Beyond 2023 as Titanium. Now I can concentrate on Hyatt to qualify for Globalist, to me it is worth more than Titanium.

  5. Malik2911 Guest

    Thanks for bringing this to my attention. How can I upgrade?

  6. Trevor Guest

    I currently have the Chase Ritz card and the $95 Bonvoy Amex card. I understand that I can’t get the 150k welcome bonus, but can I upgrade the $95 Bonvoy Amex to the Bonvoy Brilliant? Thanks!

  7. KC Guest

    Confused about how the auto-granted status for holding a credit card counts towards lifetime years.

    For a given year, does that year count as a lifetime year if I have CC-granted status at Jan 1, at Dec 31, everyday from Jan 1 to Dec 31, or some other criteria?

    For example, if I open the Brilliant in Oct 2022 then close it in Nov 2023 (and I do not earn Plat “organically” from...

    Confused about how the auto-granted status for holding a credit card counts towards lifetime years.

    For a given year, does that year count as a lifetime year if I have CC-granted status at Jan 1, at Dec 31, everyday from Jan 1 to Dec 31, or some other criteria?

    For example, if I open the Brilliant in Oct 2022 then close it in Nov 2023 (and I do not earn Plat “organically” from hitting 50 ENC in either year) - which years (2022, 2023) count as a lifetime Plat year? Will I earn 0, 1, or 2 lifetime years?

    1. Will Guest

      I want to know this as well. I’m at 7 years platinum but am not on track to make it organically this year. This card could be my get out of jail free card, but I want to make sure before I pay the fee.

    2. stlsch02 New Member

      Yes keep this card
      Until 2026 and you should be good for lifetime Platnium
      Remember get your 600 nights

    3. John Guest

      Will the 25 nights get you over? Those apply immediately.

      I got plat in december of a year i think from a card and did not count for a plat year. Could be mistaken, might have only occurred january.

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John Guest

Will the 25 nights get you over? Those apply immediately. I got plat in december of a year i think from a card and did not count for a plat year. Could be mistaken, might have only occurred january.

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Eskimo Guest

Because it's only available for upgrades (which could also end at any moment) after holding another card for a year. The card is a bit irrelevant. Especially blogs don't get referrals from upgrades. The difficulty to obtain makes it not a marketable topic to generate views or clicks. Nor did the card have any changes except matching the 50k to 85k annual certificate. Sorry but I just did the review you asked for, that's it.

0
Eskimo Guest

You can't comment on TPG so your response here will be biased towards OMAAT readers. However, if you decide what credit cards to get based on "stars", you have bigger issues to worry about.

0
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