Marriott is one of the world’s leading hotel brands, encompassing 30 brands and more than 7,000 properties across the globe. In 2019, the hotel chain launched the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program, combining the Marriott Rewards, the Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) programs together. By merging these forces into one powerful rewards program, it’s no wonder that Marriott Bonvoy has become a popular choice for all kinds of travelers — the program has over 120 million members total. In fact, Marriott offers three personal cards: the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card and Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card, both from Chase, and the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card.
While Marriott caters to a diverse range of travelers, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card is the most rewarding pick for luxury and international travelers. With statement credits and annual free night awards that well exceed the $450 annual fee, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card ranks well among the top luxury travel cards on the market.
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
- Earn 75,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
- Enjoy up to $300 in statement credits each year of Card Membership for eligible purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels.
- Earn 6 Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy Hotels. 3 points at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines. 2 points on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive 1 free Night Award every year after your Card account anniversary. Award can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy Points) at a participating hotel. Certain hotels have resort fees.
- Enjoy unlimited airport lounge visits when you enroll in Priority Pass™ Select membership.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $450 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
Review of the 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 offers plenty of ways to earn points. For starters, you'll earn up to Earn 75,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months..
This is an excellent welcome offer, as it consists of not only a considerable pool of points, but also a complimentary year of Platinum Elite status — Marriott Bonvoy’s third-highest tier. With this status level, you’ll enjoy benefits such as a 50% points bonus, an in-hotel welcome gift and lounge access, among others — typically, you would need 50 to 74 nights to qualify for this status. Since we value Marriott Bonvoy points at 0.5 cents each, the welcome bonus points are worth $625 alone. Coupled with automatic elite status, this offer could be a top choice for a very frequent traveler.
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card has an ordinary rewards rate: Earn 6 Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy Hotels. 3 points at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines. 2 points on all other eligible purchases. Since hotel points — especially Marriott Bonvoy points — are overinflated, you'll be getting a rewards rate of 3% on dollars spent with the hotel chain, 1.5% on restaurants and flights and a 1% rewards rate on everyday spending.
But while the card’s strongest points don’t lie in its rewards rate, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card does still come with a number of other benefits — and they’re not just limited to Marriott. Overall, these ongoing features make this card a solid pick for luxury travelers.
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card benefits and features
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card comes with a $450 annual fee, but it also has a long list of excellent benefits. From a Global Entry or TSA Precheck application credit to multiple Marriott Bonvoy statement credits and an annual free night award, you may be able to find value with little effort if you maximize the offers on the card.
Marriott Bonvoy statement credits
With the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, you can earn a couple of Bonvoy-specific statement credits that could provide long-term value:
- Annual $300 Marriott Bonvoy statement credit. Each year of card membership, you’ll receive up to $300 in statement credits — redeemable for eligible Marriott Bonvoy purchases.
- $100 Marriott Bonvoy property credit. When booking a special rate for a minimum two-night stay at The Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis, you can receive up to a $100 statement credit for qualifying charges.
If you stay at Marriott’s luxury properties often, you can leverage the latter statement credit to your advantage. You can use this credit for ancillary charges, such as room service and spa treatment. Again, this card is best suited for luxury travelers, as there’s no limit to how many times you use this credit.
Expedite your way to elite status
With the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, you’ll receive 15 elite night credits each calendar year to expedite your way to the next level of elite status. As a refresher, here are the Marriott Bonvoy elite status requirements:
|Member||0-9 nights per year|
|Silver Elite||10-24 nights per year|
|Gold Elite||25-49 nights per year|
|Platinum Elite||50-74 nights per year|
|Titanium Elite||75-99 nights per year|
|Ambassador Elite||100+ nights per year and $20K in annual qualifying spend|
With the current welcome offer, you’ll receive automatic Platinum Elite status, effective from Feb. 1, 2021, until Jan. 31, 2022. Afterward, your Marriott Bonvoy status level will default to Gold Elite status. Here’s what you can expect from being a Gold Elite or Platinum Elite member:
|Gold Elite||Premium internet access
Ultimate Reservation Guarantee
25% points bonus
2 P.M. late checkout, based on availability
In-hotel welcome gift (points)
Enhanced room upgrade, based on availability
|Platinum Elite||Premium internet access
Ultimate Reservation Guarantee
50% points bonus
4 P.M. late checkout, based on availability
In-hotel welcome gift (points, breakfast offering or amenity)
Enhanced room upgrade, based on availability (including select suites)
Guaranteed room type
Annual choice benefit: Five suite night awards or gift options
With 15 elite night credits every year — combined with additional Marriott stays every year — you could even fast-track your way to Titanium Elite or Ambassador Elite status.
Free hotel night at qualifying Marriott properties
Cardholders of Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card will receive one free night award every year on their account anniversary. This credit is redeemable for award stays at properties worth up to 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points at participating hotels.
To maximize this yearly free night award, you’ll want to use it on standard Category 6 properties or off-peak Category 7 properties. To give you a few ideas on where to use your credit, you can redeem a night at hotels such as the Ritz-Carlton Bali, St. Regis Mexico City and the Paris Marriott Opera Ambassador Hotel. Depending on the hotel, this free night award could save you upwards of $600 — quickly recouping the $450 annual fee.
Premium travel benefits
Designed for frequent travelers, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card comes with a host of benefits to rival other luxury credit cards, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card or The Platinum Card® from American Express.
With the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, you'll enjoy the following premium travel benefits:
- $100 Global Entry or TSA Precheck statement credit. When applying for Global Entry every four years (or TSA Precheck every 4.5 years), you’ll receive up to a $100 statement credit for either application.
- Complimentary Priority Pass™ Select membership. With Priority Pass Select™, you’ll have access to over 1,200 airport lounges across the world.
- Car rental loss and damage insurance. This protection offers secondary coverage in a covered territory when you use your card to reserve and pay for the entire rental.
- Premium Global Assist hotline. In the event of an emergency, you can receive 24/7 medical, legal, financial and other assistance when traveling more than 100 miles from home.
- Baggage insurance plan. When paying for your entire fare on this card, you can receive reimbursement for your carry-on or checked baggage in the event of loss, damage or theft.
- Trip cancellation and interruption insurance. By paying for the entire round-trip with this card, you can receive reimbursement for your non-refundable travel expenses under a covered reason resulting in trip cancellation or interruption.
- Trip delay insurance. By paying for the entire round-trip with this card, you’ll receive reimbursement for a covered reason that delays your trip for more than six hours.
- No foreign transaction fees. When traveling internationally, you won’t pay any foreign transaction fees.
- Terms apply.
From the tangible benefits like the Priority Pass Select™ membership, to the extensive list of available travel coverage options, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card comes with some great premium travel perks.
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 want more travel rewards flexibility or just prefer not to pay a $450 fee. You can also check out our list of top rewards cards or top hotel cards.
Marriott perks at a lower price-tag: The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card from Chase
For Marriott Bonvoy members who aren’t convinced to shell out $450 each year, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card from Chase is one worth considering. With a $95 annual fee, you’ll Earn 75,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. You’ll receive automatic Silver Elite status, with the ability to upgrade with 15 elite night credits each calendar year. And by spending $35,000 on purchases each account year, you’ll receive Gold Elite status.
While you’ll also receive one free night award on the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card, it only has a redemption value of up to 35,000 points. Therefore, this card may be best for middle-of-the-road travelers who don’t need ultra-luxurious travel benefits.
All-encompassing travel rewards: The Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card
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 including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. The Chase Sapphire earns Ultimate Rewards points, worth much more than Marriott Bonvoy points and with more flexibility. You’ll get 50% more value when redeeming your Ultimate Rewards points on the Chase travel portal, earning an excellent 4.5% rewards rate on travel and dining purchases.
You’ll get similar perks with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, like Priority Pass lounge access and a Global Entry or TSA Precheck fee credit. You can’t go wrong with either option, so you’ll have to decide between Marriott Bonvoy perks or travel flexibility and figure out what’s more important to you.
Fourth night free on hotel stays: The Citi Prestige® Credit Card
The Citi Prestige® Credit Card is another great general travel rewards card if you frequently have longer hotel stays. One of the significant benefits of the card is a free fourth night on hotel stays booked through ThankYou.com, and you can use the free fourth night up to two times per calendar year. If you’re not particularly loyal to Marriott and like to stay at many different hotel chains, this benefit may prove to be more useful in the long run.
With the Citi Prestige® Credit Card, you'll also earn an excellent rewards rate on travel and dining purchases: Earn 5x points at restaurants and for air travel purchases, 3x for hotel and cruise purchases, and 1x for all other purchases. Coming with a $495 annual fee, you’ll also enjoy an annual $250 travel credit, a Global Entry or TSA Precheck application credit and a Priority Pass Select™ membership.
Despite the high annual fee, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card is worth it for Marriott Bonvoy members who spend a lot of money at the chain. The card comes loaded with perks and credits designed to improve the travel experience for Marriott loyalists. However, 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 Citi Prestige® Credit Card.
The information related to Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card and Citi Prestige® Credit Card has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.