Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express<sup>®</sup> Card Review Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express<sup>®</sup> Card Review

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card Review

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The first premium credit card to carry the Marriott branding, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card recently underwent a significant revamp, with American Express adding additional benefits and increasing the annual fee - Rates & Fees.

Here's a quick summary of the new benefits added to the card:

  • Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite Status
  • Free Night Award each year after card renewal month worth up to 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy points (previously worth up to 50,000 points)
  • Up to $300 in statement credits per calendar year (up to $25 back per month) for dining purchases at restaurants worldwide (replaces the $300 Marriott Bonvoy credit)
  • 25 Elite Night Credits each calendar year
  • New Annual Earned Choice Award: Each calendar year (starting January 2023), after making $60K in purchases, card members can select an Earned Choice Award benefit
  • $650 annual fee – For members who opened accounts prior to September 22, 2022, the new annual fee will take effect on those Card Members’ annual renewal dates on or after January 1, 2023.
    (Rates & Fees)

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
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Rates & Fees
(Terms Apply)
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
Annual Fee$650
Welcome Offer Earn 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy® bonus points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases on the Card within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy® bonus points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases on the Card within the first 3 months.
  • Each Card renewal year, get up to $300 in statement credits per calendar year (up to $25 per month) for eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide.
  • A Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite member will earn 50% more points on eligible purchases at participating hotels for each U.S. dollar or the currency equivalent that is incurred and paid for by the member.
  • Earn 6 Marriott Bonvoy® points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program. 3 points at Worldwide Restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines. 2 points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Marriott Brilliant Free Night Award: Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Award can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Each calendar year after spending $60,000 on eligible purchases, Card Members are eligible to select an Earned Choice Award benefit. Benefit options include: Five (5) Suite Night Awards, 85K Free Night Award, and mattress and box spring $750 discount from Marriott Bonvoy Boutiques.
  • $100 Luxury Property Credit: Enjoy your stay. Receive up to a $100 property credit for qualifying charges at The Ritz-Carlton® or St. Regis® when you book direct using a special rate for a two-night minimum stay using your Card.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®: Receive either a statement credit every 4 years after you apply for Global Entry ($100) or a statement credit every 4.5 years after you apply for a five-year membership through any Authorized Enrollment Provider for TSA PreCheck® (up to $85) when you pay the application fee with an eligible Card. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Each calendar year you can receive 25 Elite Night Credits toward the next level of Marriott Bonvoy Elite status. Limitations apply per Marriott Bonvoy member account. Benefit is not exclusive to Cards offered by American Express. Terms apply.
  • Enroll in Priority Pass Select, which offers unlimited access to over 1,200 lounges in over 130 countries, regardless of which carrier or class you are flying. This allows you to relax before or between flights. You can enjoy snacks, drinks, and internet access in a quiet, comfortable location.
  • Enjoy unlimited airport lounge visits when you enroll in Priority Pass™ Select membership.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on international purchases.
  • Cell phone protection: You can be reimbursed for your costs to repair or replace your damaged or stolen cell phone up to $800, subject to a $50 deductible, for 2 approved claims per 12-month period when your prior month's wireless bill was paid utilizing an Eligible Card Account. Terms and conditions apply. Coverage is provided by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.
  • $650 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • Rates & Fees
  • 6X points on purchases at Marriott Properties
  • 3X points at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery
  • 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines
  • 2X points on all other eligible purchases

In addition to the new perks, Amex has published a massive new welcome offer on the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card, giving new cardholders the chance to earn 150,000 bonus points after meeting the minimum spend on the card.

Here’s what you need to know about Marriott’s revamped luxury co-brand rewards card.

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Earn 150,000 Points With Limited-Time Welcome Offer

Announced as part of its Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card relaunch, new cardmembers can earn 150,000 bonus points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases on the Card within the first 3 months. This limited-time offer is available through January 11, 2023.

Points Earning Potential and Category Bonuses

The earning structure on the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card is similar to other Marriott cards, with a few small contrasts. The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card earns:

  • 6x points on purchases at properties that fall under the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty umbrella
  • 3x points at restaurants worldwide and flights booked directly with the airline
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases

The value of these points now lies in their utility. The ability to use them across a wide range of redemptions from ultra-premium hotels to airline transfers to low-end hotels in almost 130 countries around the globe.

Now that Marriott has introduced Category 8 and peak/off-peak pricing, you can redeem properties at the low end of the Marriott award chart for as little as 4,000 points per night (off-peak PointSavers awards). Any award booking of more than four nights qualifies for Marriott’s fifth-night free policy, which drops that cost down as low as 3,200.

You’ll also receive 5,000 bonus miles every time you transfer 60,000 points to one of the 40+ airline partners, for a total of 25,000 miles in the frequent flyer program of your choice. Perfect for topping off mileage accounts across a wide range of airlines, many of which now partner exclusively with Marriott.

To be frank, the drop in earning power from the SPG cards has seen Marriott fall off the radar as the best cards for everyday spending, but it’s worth running the numbers on how you’ll use the points before deciding on a rewards' earning strategy, not focus solely on point values.

For example, World of Hyatt points claim the top spot when it comes to the most valuable hotel points, but Hyatt has such a small footprint compared to Marriott, roughly 670 vs. 6,700 properties. The lower value of Bonvoy points buys a kind of flexibility that Hyatt can’t deliver in the respect there are 10x more properties to choose from.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card Feature Benefits

With an increased $650 annual fee (Rates & Fees), the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card falls into the ultra-premium travel card category. To help offset the annual fee, and provide additional value for cardholders, Amex has added some top-tier benefits you’ll receive year-on-year just for holding the card and paying the annual fee.

Up to $300 Annual Dining Credit

Replacing the existing credit for Marriott purchases, the new credit gives cardholders up to $300 in statement credits per calendar year (up to $25 per month) for eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide.

A $300 dining credit is great, however, the $25 per month restriction isn't the best outcome for this credit. It's easy to maximize the value of a $300 credit if you are utilizing the entire credit in one go. Making the most of the $25 monthly credit will not always be as convenient. That being said, most people will have no problem spending $25 on restaurant purchases each month.

Anniversary Free Night up to the Value of 85,000 Points

One of the most valuable perks of any co-brand hotel card, and often the motivation to hold it long term, is the annual free night provided when you pay the annual fee. The refreshed free night on Marriott's top-tier card smashes this perk out of the park.

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card now provides an anniversary free night up to the value of 85,000 points!

Compared to the 35K annual free nights offered on Marriott’s entry-level co-brand cards, and even the 50K free night you can earn with the new Marriott Bonvoy Bevy Card, the 85K free night is a powerhouse benefit and enough to put you in some of Marriott's top properties around the globe.

Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite Status

Following the refresh of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card, the highlight of this card has to be the addition of complimentary Platinum Elite status.

Earning Platinum Elite the organic way would require you to stay a minimum of 50 nights in a calendar year. Platinum Elite status provides:

  • 50% Bonus Points on Stays
  • 4 pm Late Checkout
  • Dedicated Elite Support Line
  • In Hotel Welcome Gift (Choice of points, breakfast offering, or amenity — varies by brand)
  • Enhanced Room Upgrade Including Select Suites (based on availability)
  • Lounge Access
  • Guaranteed Room Type
  • Annual Choice Benefit after 50 Qualifying Nights (Choose from 5x Suite Night Awards, 40% discount on a Marriott bed purchase, 5 Elite Night Credits added to your account, Gift Silver Status to someone, or $100 Charity Donation in your name)

If you plan on sleeping your way to elite status with Marriott, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card now offers 25 Elite Qualifying Nights every year you hold the card. Unfortunately, if you hold more than one Marriott personal co-brand card, you can no longer stack the elite night credits earned on personal. However, if you hold both a personal and a business card, you can stack the elite night credits from each card, a huge incentive to get a business and a personal card.

Priority Pass™ Select Membership

Complimentary airport lounge access has become ubiquitous with premium travel rewards cards, and you would be hard-pressed to find a top-tier rewards card that doesn’t offer some form of lounge access. To that end, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card receives a full Priority Pass Select membership, providing unlimited complimentary access to over 1,000 lounges worldwide for the primary cardholder + 2 guests (when permitted). Additional guests are charged at $27 per person.

Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® Fee Credit

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card provides a fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® application costs every four years. Global Entry and TSA Pre provide streamlined access through the security lines at airports and select major events in the U.S. Global Entry includes access to TSA Pre✓, and also wears a higher price at $100 as opposed to $85, so if you want to maximize this credit we recommend applying for Global Entry over TSA Pre✓®.

Application Restrictions

Marriott has introduced overly complex application restrictions for its revamped credit card lineup. In addition to the Amex ‘once per lifetime per card’ policy on receiving welcome offers, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card is also subject to complicated new application restrictions laid out by Marriott that affect both the Amex and Chase co-brand cards.

The first restriction is one we all know well:

Welcome offer not available to applicants who have or have had this product or the Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card. We may also consider the number of American Express Cards you have opened and closed as well as other factors in making a decision on your welcome offer eligibility.

The second part is where it gets a little tricky. I think this policy will trip a lot of applicants up as they apply across both card providers, and contain provisions restricting applicants from acquiring personal cards if they hold, or have held, the business card and vice versa.

Welcome offer not available to applicants who (i) 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, (ii) have acquired the Marriott Bonvoy Bountiful Credit Card from Chase, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card from Chase, or the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card from Chase in the last 90 days, or (iii) 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, or the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card from Chase in the last 24 months.

These application restrictions will lock a huge portion of the points and miles community out of getting the welcome offer on the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card.

Final Thoughts

The refreshed Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card is sporting an excellent welcome offer of 150,000 bonus points for new cardmembers. The card now features an array of premium perks including a $300 annual dining credit, an annual free night worth up to 85,000 points, complimentary Platinum Elite status, and international lounge access via a Priority Pass Select membership.

For rates and fees of the cards mentioned in this post, please visit the following links: Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card (Rates & Fees)

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