Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card
See Rates & Fees. Terms Apply. On American Express' Secure Website
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card
See Rates & Fees. Terms Apply. On American Express' Secure Website
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Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express Card® Review: Who Is It For?

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express Card® Review: Who Is It For?

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card is a great option for frequent Marriott travelers looking for luxury perks like TSA PreCheck, airport lounge access and Marriott elite status.

See Rates & Fees. Terms Apply. On American Express' Secure Website

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Quick facts

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Rates & fees

  • Credit needed: 660 - 850
  • Welcome offer: Earn 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy® bonus points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases on the Card within the first 3 months.
  • Earning rate: 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.
  • Annual fee: $650
  • Foreign transaction fee: None

Quick facts

  • Credit needed: 660 - 850
  • Welcome offer: Earn 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy® bonus points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases on the Card within the first 3 months.
  • Earning rate: 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.
  • Annual fee: $650
  • Foreign transaction fee: None

More details

  • Earn 95,000 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 $1,000 discount from Marriott Bonvoy Boutiques. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • $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

  • Intro Purchase APR: N/A
  • Regular Purchase APR: 20.24%-29.24% Variable
  • Intro BT APR: N/A
  • Regular BT APR: N/A
  • Annual Fee: $650
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: None
  • Balance Transfer Fee: N/A
  • See rates and fees

For rates and fees of Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card, please click here

Pros

  • Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status (enrollment required)
  • Priority Pass™ Select access (enrollment required)
  • Free night award
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Solid travel insurance

Cons

  • $650 annual fee
  • High spending requirement for welcome offer
  • Rewards are limited to Marriott stays
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Marriott is one of the world’s leading hotel brands, encompassing 30 brands and more than 7,000 properties across the globe. With over 120 million members, the Marriott Bonvoy program has become a popular choice for all kinds of travelers. The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card is for those who frequently stay at Marriott throughout the year and can take advantage of the card's many perks and credits.

While Marriott offers several cards 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 $650 annual fee, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card ranks well among the top luxury travel cards on the market.

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 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy® bonus points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases on the Card within the first 3 months.

Since we value Marriott Bonvoy points at 0.09 cents each, the welcome offer points are worth over $855 alone. Coupled with automatic Platinum Elite status, this offer could be a top choice for a very frequent traveler.

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card has a solid rewards rate, especially on Marriott and restaurant purchases:

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.

Even though Marriott Bonvoy points are a bit inflated, you'll still get a higher-than-average return on your purchases: 5.4% on dollars spent with the hotel chain, 2.7% on restaurants and flights and a 1.8% rewards rate on everyday spending.

However, the real value lies in the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card's 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 $650 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 dining statement credit. 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. This benefit alone covers almost half of the card's annual fee. Since the credit comes in $25 monthly increments, you'll need to remember to use the card every month.
  • $100 Marriott Bonvoy property credit. You can receive a $100 statement credit for qualifying charges when booking a special rate for a minimum two-night stay at The Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis. Unfortunately, you can't use this credit with any other Marriott properties. When you book online or by phone, you must select or ask for the "$100 Property Credit, Luxury Credit Card Rate" and pay with your Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card.

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 charges such as dining, spa services, room service and hotel recreational activities that aren't managed by a third party. This credit cannot be applied to the actual cost of your room. Again, this card is best suited for luxury travelers, as there’s no limit to how many times you use this credit.

Automatic Platinum status

With the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card, you’ll receive automatic Platinum status, plus 25 elite night credits each calendar year to expedite your way to the next level of elite status. Some of the valuable features of Platinum Elite status include a 50% bonus on stays, an annual choice benefit when you reach 50 Elite Night credits, 4 p.m. late checkout and more. If you frequent Marriotts and take advantage of the status benefits, then you can justify the annual fee.

As a refresher, here are the Marriott Bonvoy elite status requirements:

Status
Requirements
Member0-9 nights per year
Silver Elite10-24 nights per year
Gold Elite25-49 nights per year
Platinum Elite50-74 nights per year
Titanium Elite75-99 nights per year
Ambassador Elite100+ nights per year and $23,000 in annual qualifying spend

Here’s what you can expect from being a Platinum Elite member or a Titanium Elite member, which is the next tier up:

Status
Benefits
Platinum ElitePremium internet access Member rates Mobile check-in 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) Lounge access Guaranteed room type Annual choice benefit: Five suite night awards or gift options
Titanium ElitePremium internet access Member rates Mobile check-in Ultimate Reservation Guarantee 75% points bonus Guaranteed room if you book by 3 p.m. 48 hours prior to arrival 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) Lounge access Complimentary United MileagePlus Premier Silver Status Guaranteed room type Annual choice benefit: Five suite night awards or gift options

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 renewal month. This credit is redeemable for award stays at properties worth up to 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy points at participating hotels.

Since Marriott Bonvoy points cost $0.009 each and you can use up to 85,000 points, then this benefit can be worth up to around $765 — which more than justifies the annual fee.

Be aware that some hotels have resort fees, which may not be covered with your free night award.

Earned Choice Award benefit

If you spend $60,000 on eligible purchases with the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card, you can choose from one of several valuable awards. The award options include:

  • 5 Suite Night Awards: These awards allow you to request a room upgrade in advance for free.
  • 1 free night award: You can redeem a free night up to 85,000 points. Keep in mind some hotels have resort fees. If you earn this and use the free night award that originally comes with the card, you can receive a value of up to $1,530.
  • $1,000 off a bed from Marriott Bonvoy boutiques: Receive a promotional code valued at $1,000 off Marriott retail brand mattresses and box springs.

You can only redeem one award per calendar year.

Premium travel benefits

From the tangible benefits like the Priority Pass Select™ membership (enrollment required), to the extensive list of available travel coverage options, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card comes with other great premium travel perks. It rivals other luxury cards, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card or The Platinum Card® from American Express.

  • $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 Global Entry or up to an $85 statement credit for TSA PreCheck.
  • Complimentary Priority Pass™ Select membership. With Priority Pass Select™, you’ll have access to over 1,200 airport lounges across the world (enrollment required). The Priority Pass membership level that gets you 10 free visits, then goes to $35 per visit after, costs $329.
  • 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.

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 $650 fee. You can also check out our list of top rewards cards or top hotel cards.

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Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card

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Marriott perks at a lower price-tag

For Marriott Bonvoy members who aren’t convinced to shell out a $650 annual fee each year, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card from Chase is one worth considering. With a $95 annual fee, you’ll earn the following: Earn 3 Free Night Awards (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after spending $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card! 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.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® card

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All-encompassing travel rewards

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® card is often heralded as the best premium travel card — with good reason. For a $550 annual fee, you'll earn 5x points on flights and 10x points on hotels and car rentals through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. 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, NEXUS, 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.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

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Luxury with flexibility

The Platinum Card® from American Express, like the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card, is geared toward people who like to travel often — and luxuriously. The Platinum Card® from American Express might be better for you if you want more flexible rewards and transfer options instead of just being tied to Marriott rewards.

The Platinum Card® from American Express lets you earn 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and 5X Membership Rewards® points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel. Terms apply. On all other purchases, you'll earn just 1X Membership Rewards points. It also offers a similar, but larger annual fee of $695.

However, you can get many of the same perks — and more, including:

  • $200 hotel credit
  • Up to $200 airline fee credit (enrollment required)
  • Fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck (enrollment required)
  • Priority Pass™ Select complimentary access (enrollment required)

Marriott Bonvoy is an American Express transfer partner, so you can always use your points for Marriott stays. If you don't see yourself staying at other hotels or utilizing transfer partners, then the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card might be best for you.

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here

Should you apply for the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card?

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 The Platinum Card® from American Express.

For rates and fees of Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card, please click here

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). ValuePenguin does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).

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