Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
Earn 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy Bonus Points
- 6X Marriott Bonvoy points on direct purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels
- 3X points on purchases at U.S. restaurants and flights booked directly with airlines
- 2X points on all other eligible purchases
- Free Night Award each year on account anniversary
- Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status
- Annual $300 statement for eligible purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels
- Priority Pass Select membership
- $100 statement credit for Global Entry or $85 credit for TSA Pre Check
- Regular Purchase APR: 15.74% to 24.74% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
- Balance Transfer Transaction Fee: Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
- Cash Advance APR: 25.24% variable based on the Prime Rate
- Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
- Penalty APR: Up to 29.24% variable based on the Prime Rate
- Annual Fee: $450
- Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
- Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
At a Glance
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card adds a sizable dose of luxury to your wallet with generous rewards and ample perks for your travels. If you feel as though you spend more time in a Marriott Bonvoy hotel room than anywhere else, this card can help you make the most of it with free stays, upgrades and points for days (and nights).
Ideal for Those Who:
- Book the majority of their hotel stays at Marriott Bonvoy properties
- Travel frequently for work or pleasure and want to rack up more points on their Marriott Bonvoy loyalty membership
- Often incur incidental charges such as room service or spa service during their hotel stays
- Are looking for a luxury travel card with massive rewards for every purchase and no foreign transaction fees
- Are able to spend $3,000 in the first 3 months to earn the 75,000-point bonus
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card Review
The flagship entry in the Marriott Bonvoy suite of credit cards, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card puts a priority on points. No other Bonvoy card can quite compare to the level of rewards you can achieve, not to mention the complimentary Gold Elite status, statement credits and other benefits it brings. If you’re ready to go Bonvoy-big or go home, this could be the rewards card you’ve been waiting for.
At first glance, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ credit card doesn’t look much different than its sister card, the Bonvoy Boundless™. Both earn 6 points per dollar spent on eligible purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels, and 2 points on everyday purchases.
The distinction is that the Brilliant also earns 3 points for each dollar spent on dining at U.S. restaurants and flights booked directly with airlines. This extra boost makes it even easier to rack up rewards, since you can earn for your flights as well as your hotel stays. If you really want to maximize your earning potential, you’ll want to book with Marriott Bonvoy often.
Another way of netting points quickly is through the card’s welcome offer; 75,000 points are yours once you spend a minimum of $3,000 within your first 3 months as a cardmember. That puts you at about $1,000 per month, which isn’t unreasonable considering that 75,000 points can get you up to 15 free nights at qualifying hotels in the off season.
Naturally, an abundance of bonuses comes at a price, and with the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® it’s charged as a $450 annual fee. However, this isn’t a surprising figure among luxury hotel credit cards, and the points alone already offset a nice chunk of it.
As with the other Marriott Bonvoy cards, the Bonvoy Brilliant™ you can redeem your points in a large variety of ways, including for additional free night stays. How far your points go depends on the time of year and the hotel you select, as the rewards program labels eligible hotels with varying values.
You can use your points for free nights at either standard or discounted rates, as available, or pay for a portion of the room and use your points for a discount. During off season, some standard rooms are available for as few as 5,000 points a night. If that’s not enough, anytime you book 4 nights, you get a complimentary 5th night to extend your rewards even further.
Redeeming for free nights at your favorite Marriott Bonvoy locations is usually considered the best choice for value. However, you can also redeem for:
- Airline tickets
- Gift cards from top retailers
- Tickets to local events
- Upgrades to your hotel stay, including spa access and room service
- Donations to your favorite nonprofit
VIP Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ Credit Card Benefits
On top of your ability to earn free nights through point accumulation, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card also grants a Free Night Award every year after your cardmember anniversary. This benefit can be cashed in for a hotel room valued at up to 35,000 points. Unfortunately, the award expires at the end of the year so you can’t save up your free nights for a longer stay, though you can combine it with nights you redeemed from points.
If you’re looking for extra perks during your stay, this card delivers in a big way. When you become a cardholder, you gain complimentary Gold Elite status and receive benefits like late checkout and 25% additional points on rooms. If you keep your card on speed dial and manage to spend $75,000 in a calendar year, your status will be bumped up to Platinum Elite. This level includes:
- 50% more points when you book Marriott Bonvoy hotel rooms
- A welcome gift of your choice, such as a breakfast, points or other amenity
- Enhanced room upgrades, such as Select Suites
- An annual gift of choice, which includes gifting a family member or friend with Silver Elite status
On the other hand, you don’t really need to meet this massive spending requirement if you take advantage of your 15 Elite Night credits, which this card automatically provides as well. When combined with your complimentary Gold Elite status, you’re only 10 nights away from the 50-night requirement to reach Platinum. The cost of 10 nights is well under $75,000, so this way you can avoid breaking the bank to get this perk.
As the cherry on top of your VIP rewards, the Bonvoy Brilliant™ brings with it several opportunities for statement credits. When you pay with your card, you’re eligible for:
- An annual $300 statement credit for eligible hotel incidentals
- An annual $100 credit to cover charges when you stay at Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis properties
- A $100 credit to enroll in Global Entry every 4 years, or $85 to enroll in TSA Pre✓® every 4.5 years
Should You Apply for the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card?
As with most luxury credit cards, the Brilliant’s annual fee is the biggest downside is the $450 annual fee. However, making use of as many of the card’s features as possible can quickly offset it. For instance, a maximized $300 incidental statement credit plus the potential value of the anniversary Free Night Award could easily surpass $450, thereby ensuring that the card pays for itself.
Nonetheless, if you aren’t ready for such a hefty card, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ credit card from Chase is a great option with comparable rewards. For only a $95 fee you earn similar points, the 15 Elite Night credits, and the Free Night Award, along with the same ability to redeem for additional free stays. The Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express® Card is another option if you travel mostly on business, with many of the same benefits at a $125 fee.
Which card is right for you depends on just how frequently you pay Marriott Bonvoy hotels a visit. If your lifestyle makes sense for the Bonvoy Brilliant™, you’ll have no trouble putting the card – and all of its VIP perks – to good use.