The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card is a rewarding option for travelers who spend their nights on the road at Marriott properties. The card is a rebranded version of the Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card, and it offers the same features in addition to a few new perks. It comes with excellent rewards-earning power, with 6 points per dollar on Marriott purchases and 3 points per dollar on flights and at U.S. restaurants.
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card: Excellent for Marriott Loyalists
If you're a frequent traveler and a Marriott loyalist, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card is a great choice as a primary credit card. For starters, you'll earn 6 points per dollar on all purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy properties. We value Marriott points at 0.9 cents per point, so you'll be getting a rewards rate of 5.4% on dollars spent with the hotel chain.
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card also earns 2 points per dollar on purchases outside of the bonus categories. With a value of 0.9 cents per point, this is a 1.8% rewards rate on everyday spending. The best cash-back credit cards have a rewards rate of 1.5% to 2%, so you'll be getting a great rewards rate if you have use for Marriott points.
Premium Travel Benefits
Designed for frequent travelers, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card comes with a host of benefits that rival premium cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and The Platinum Card® from American Express. With the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, you'll get a Global Entry fee credit, Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status, up to $300 in statement credits each year for eligible purchases at Bonvoy hotels and an annual free night award (up to a 50,000 point redemption level).
Free Hotel Night at Qualifying Marriott Bonvoy Properties
As mentioned above, Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card cardholders have access to a free hotel night at Marriott Bonvoy properties. Each year, you'll be able to redeem this credit for award stays at properties worth up to 50,000 Bonvoy points. This includes hotels like the Ritz-Carlton Bali, St. Regis Mexico City and the Paris Marriott Opera Ambassador Hotel.
Expedite Earning Elite Status
If you're a Marriott elite status holder, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card will help you earn and keep your top-tier status. Cardholders now have access to an annual 15 Elite Night Credit, plus Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status. This is similar to the Gold Elite status benefit that was previously offered on the Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card.
Property Credit For Booking at Luxury Brands
Another new benefit of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card is a $100 property credit for stays at luxury hotels. Each time you use your card and a special rate code to book stays of two or more nights at The Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis properties, you'll receive $100 to enjoy on amenities throughout your stay. If you can benefit from this credit multiple times per year, the annual fee will likely be worth it for you.
ValuePenguin's Verdict: Worth It for Marriott Elite Status Members
Despite the high annual fee of $450 here), the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card is worth it for travelers who are Marriott Elite status members or who spend a lot of money at the chain. The card comes loaded with perks and fee credits designed to improve the travel experience for Marriott loyalists. If you stay at multiple hotel chains or don't spend that much on hotel stays, you'll be better off with a general rewards card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® or Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, please click here.
Alternatives to the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
We've put together a few alternatives to the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card if you'd prefer not to pay an annual fee or you don't want a card that only earns Marriott points. You can also check out our list of top rewards cards or top hotel cards.
All-Encompassing Travel Rewards
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
- 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
- Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
- Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
- One Year Complimentary Lyft Pink ($199 minimum value). Complimentary DashPass subscription from DoorDash after activating by 12/31/21.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is often heralded as the best premium travel card with good reason. For a $550 annual fee, you'll earn 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. You'll also get perks like Priority Pass lounge access and a Global Entry fee credit. You'll get 50% more value when redeeming your points on the Chase travel portal, so you'll be earning a 4.5% rewards rate on travel and dining purchases.
Fourth Night Free on Hotel Stays
The Citi Prestige® Card is a great option if you frequently have longer hotel stays. One of the major benefits of the card is a free fourth night on hotel stays booked through ThankYou.com. You can use the free fourth night up to twice a year. With the Citi Prestige® Card, you'll also earn an excellent rewards rate on travel and dining purchases: 5X points on air travel and restaurants and 3X points on hotels and cruise lines.
The information related to the Citi Prestige® Card has been collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.
Hotel Spending Rewards with No Annual Fee
The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card is our favorite no-annual-fee travel card. With the card, you'll earn 3 points per dollar spent on eating out and dining in, gas stations, rideshares, transit and travel — including car rentals, flights, homestays and hotels — and on popular streaming services. You'll also have the opportunity to earn an excellent welcome bonus of 20,000 points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
Compare Credit Cards
You can use our comparison tool below to see how each of these cards performs for your budget and spending habits. Click the gear icon to adjust the spending categories and find the card that's most rewarding for you.