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

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

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

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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. 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 (See rates and fees), the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card ranks well among the top luxury travel cards on the market.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

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

$450

15.74%-24.74% Variable

Excellent/Good

  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points and a bonus Free Night Award after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Resort fees may apply. Terms apply. Offer expires 11/3/2021.  
  • Enjoy up to $300 in statement credits each year of Card Membership for eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program.
  • Earn 6 Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program. 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 hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program. 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 Limited Time Offer: 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points and a bonus Free Night Award after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Resort fees may apply. Terms apply. Offer expires 11/3/2021.

Since we value Marriott Bonvoy points at 0.77 cents each, the welcome bonus points are worth over $950 alone. Coupled with automatic Gold 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 hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program. 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:

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 $20K in annual qualifying spend

Here’s what you can expect from being a Gold Elite or Platinum Elite member:

Status
Benefits
Gold ElitePremium internet access
Member rates
Mobile check-in
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 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

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.

Hotel category
Off-peak
Standard
Peak
15,0007,50010,000
210,00012,50015,000
315,00017,50020,000
420,00025,00030,000
530,00035,00040,000
640,00050,00060,000
750,00060,00070,000
870,00085,000100,000

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 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).
  • 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 (See rates and fees).
  • Terms apply.

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 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

On Chase's Secure Website

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 the following: For a Limited Time Only! Earn 125,000 Bonus Points and 1 Free Night Award (Free Night Award has a redemption value up to 50,000 points) after spending $5,000 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.

All-encompassing travel rewards: The Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card

On Chase's Secure Website

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is often heralded as the best premium travel card — with good reason. For a $550 annual fee, you'll earn 5X total points on air travel and 10X total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3X points on other travel and dining & 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.

ValuePenguin's verdict

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.

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

The information related to Citi Prestige® Credit Card has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and have not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

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).

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

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