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Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex card review: A premium credit card that offers excellent value for Marriott loyalists

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Featured Reward

Earn 125,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months, plus up to $200 in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. Restaurants within the first 6 months of Card membership.

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  • Pros & Cons
  • Details

  • Pros
    • Annual statement credits can save you money on Marriott stays
    • You get a free reward night each year after your account anniversary
    Cons
    • High annual fee
    • Other cards are more rewarding for earning points on your spending
    • Earn 125,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Plus, earn up to $200 in Statement Credits for eligible purchases at U.S. Restaurants within the first 6 months of Card Membership. Offer Expires 5/12/2021.
    • 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(TM) Select membership.
    • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
    • $450 Annual Fee.
    • Terms Apply.


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    If you frequently stay at Marriott hotels, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card is a great option for making your stays more luxurious and accelerating your points earning toward the next award stay.

    It has a $450 annual fee (See Rates), which means it’s geared toward Marriott Bonvoy loyalists who stay at the chain’s properties several times a year. If that describes you, it’s not hard to get significant value from this card.

    You’ll earn 6 points per dollar spent on eligible purchases at Marriott hotels, 3 points per dollar spent on airline tickets and at US restaurants, and 2 points per dollar spent everywhere else. You’ll also earn a free night certificate every year after your account anniversary, which you can redeem at Marriott Bonvoy properties that cost up to 50,000 points per night. Especially if you use this free night at an expensive Marriott hotel, you can get some great value from this benefit alone.

    The card also offers an annual credit of up to $300 toward Marriott Bonvoy hotels. It applies to room rates as well as on-site purchases like room service or spa treatments. If you max out this annual credit, you’re effectively reducing the card’s annual fee to $150.

    The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card also provides some helpful protections, including baggage insurance, rental car protection, and a host of purchase protections.

    *the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card offers an annual free night award each year after your account anniversary for participating Marriott Bonvoy properties that cost up to 50,000 points

    **the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card offers an annual free night award each year after your account anniversary for participating Marriott Bonvoy properties that cost up to 35,000 points

    *the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card offers an annual free night award each year after your account anniversary for participating Marriott Bonvoy properties that cost up to 50,000 points

    **starting January 1, 2021, the Platinum Card earns 5x points on up to $500,000 spent on eligible flights per year

    ***(Note: New Platinum Card® cardmembers can earn 10x points on eligible purchases at U.S. Gas Stations and U.S. Supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during the first 6 months of card membership)

    You can redeem your Marriott Bonvoy points and free night rewards at over 7,000 participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels in cities around the world. Award nights start as low as 4,000 points per night, and if you use your points to book a stay of five nights or more, you’ll get the least expensive night for free. This discount is automatically calculated when you search for a stay of five or more nights on marriott.com.

    Additionally, Marriott Bonvoy allows you to convert your points into frequent flyer miles with over 40 partner airlines — more than any other loyalty program. You’ll receive 1,000 airline miles for every 3,000 points transferred, with a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 points (so 60,000 points becomes 25,000 airline miles). Transfers to United Airlines MileagePlus get an extra 10% bonus.

    You’re best off using your points to book Marriott stays, though, since you don’t have to worry about odd transfer ratios, and you can score some real deals — especially when you can lock in off-peak travel dates at high-end hotels that would cost hundreds of dollars a night if you paid in cash.

    Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card benefits and features

    Welcome bonus

    The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card has a solid welcome bonus: Earn 125,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months, plus up to $200 in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. Restaurants within the first 6 months of Card membership.

    Complimentary Gold elite status with Marriott Bonvoy

    As long as you have the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card, you’ll receive automatic Gold elite status in the Marriott Bonvoy program, which includes the following benefits:

    • 25% bonus points on stays at Marriott properties
    • Enhanced room upgrades
    • A welcome gift of 250 or 500 bonus points at check-in
    • Late checkout, subject to availability
    • Complimentary enhanced in-room internet access

    The card also helps you climb toward higher levels of elite status, providing 15 qualifying nights every year just for having the card. You can also obtain complimentary Platinum elite status by spending $75,000 on the card in a calendar year.

    Annual free night award

    Every year after your account anniversary, you’ll receive a free night award valid at Marriott Bonvoy properties charging up to 50,000 points per night. Depending on when you travel, that could get you a night at up to a Category 7 property (Marriott’s second-highest tier of hotels).

    Annual $300 statement credit

    You’ll also receive up to a $300 credit every year valid for eligible purchases made directly at Marriott hotels, including room rates and incidentals. This benefit starts as soon as you open the card, so as long as you spend at least $300 per year at Marriott hotels, this alone offsets most of the card’s annual fee.

    $100 Marriott Bonvoy property credit

    Holding the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card also gives you access to an exclusive rate for stays of two nights or more at The Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis hotels and resorts, which includes a $100 credit toward room service, spa treatments, and other qualifying purchases.

    15 elite night credits each calendar year

    As mentioned above, in addition to offering complimentary Gold elite status in the Marriott Bonvoy program, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card comes with 15 elite night credits each year. If you’re working toward Platinum elite status, which requires 50 elite night credits, these credits will get you 15 nights closer. 

    Priority Pass Select membership

    The card includes a complimentary membership to the Priority Pass network of airport lounges, with more than 1,300 locations around the world (activation is required).

    Global Entry/TSA PreCheck enrollment credit

    The primary cardmember receives a credit toward enrollment in Global Entry ($100) or TSA PreCheck ($85), making your travel experience easier. This credit can be used once every 4 or 4.5 years (exact dates vary by program) so as long as you have the card you’ll never have to pay to maintain your membership in these trusted traveler programs.

    Car rental loss and damage insurance

    When you use your Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card to reserve and pay for a car rental, you may be covered against loss or damage to the vehicle. This coverage is secondary, and does not provide liability insurance.

    Trip cancellation and interruption insurance

    If you paid for a covered trip with your Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card and it’s canceled or cut short for a covered reason, you could be reimbursed up to $10,000 per trip and up to $20,000 per card per consecutive 12-month period.

    Baggage insurance plan

    When you purchase a ticket on an airline or other common carrier with your Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card, you’ll be covered for eligible lost, damaged, or stolen baggage up to $3,000 per trip.

    Trip delay insurance

    You can get reimbursed up to $500 for meals, lodging, toiletries, medication, and other personal items if you’ve paid for a covered trip with your Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card and it’s delayed by six hours or more, up to two times per consecutive 12-month period.

    Travel accident insurance

    If the unthinkable happens to you or a loved one on a trip you booked with your Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card, you’ll be eligible for up to $500,000 in death and dismemberment insurance for you and each of your additional cardmembers, the spouse or domestic partner of each cardholder, and any of their children under age 23.

    Purchase protection

    Your eligible purchases are covered against accidental damage or theft for 120 days, up to $10,000 per claim and up to $50,000 per account. 

    Extended warranty

    Cardholders can also get an extended warranty on eligible items when they use their Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card to pay — up to one additional year added to eligible US manufacturers warranties of five years or less.

    Return protection

    If you purchased an eligible item with the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card and the merchant won’t accept your return, you’re may get a refund of the full purchase price (excluding shipping and handling), up to $300 per item and a maximum of $1,000 per calendar year.

    Premium Global Assist Hotline

    Cardholders get access to Amex’s Premium Global Assist Hotline, which can help arrange things like passport replacement, medical referrals, and translation services.

    The service itself is complimentary, but you may be responsible for any third-party costs. One big difference from the regular (versus premium) Global Assist Hotline is emergency medical evacuation coverage — Amex may provide emergency medical transportation assistance at no cost if it’s approved and coordinated by Premium Global Assist Hotline.

    Regular APR

    15.74% to 24.74% variable APR

    Credit Score

    Good to Excellent

    Featured Reward

    Earn 125,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months, plus up to $200 in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. Restaurants within the first 6 months of Card membership.

    Chevron iconIt indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Details

  • Pros
    • Annual statement credits can save you money on Marriott stays
    • You get a free reward night each year after your account anniversary
    Cons
    • High annual fee
    • Other cards are more rewarding for earning points on your spending
    • Earn 125,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Plus, earn up to $200 in Statement Credits for eligible purchases at U.S. Restaurants within the first 6 months of Card Membership. Offer Expires 5/12/2021.
    • 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(TM) Select membership.
    • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
    • $450 Annual Fee.
    • Terms Apply.


    Read Our Review
    Read Our ReviewA looong arrow, pointing right

    Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant fees and costs

    The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card has a $450 annual fee. While that may seem high, it’s easy to get a ton of value out of the card for even occasional Marriott guests. It also has no foreign transaction fees, so using this card is a great way to avoid extra charges when traveling abroad.

    Beyond that, you can avoid most other fees on the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card by paying your balance in full each month so you don’t accrue any interest. If you do carry a balance, you’re looking at a 15.74% to 24.74% variable APR (See Rates) That adds up quickly, so consider a balance transfer credit card or a card with an intro APR offer if you need some time to pay off your credit card balance.

    Other Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card fees include:

    • Cash advances: 5% of the amount of each cash advance, with a minimum charge of $10 (See Rates)
    • Cash advance APR: 25.24% (See Rates)
    • Late payment fee: Up to $40 (See Rates)
    • Returned payment fee: Up to $40 (See Rates)
    • Penalty APR for late payments and payments returned by your bank: 29.24% (See Rates)

    Ariana Arghandewal is a travel rewards expert and content strategist. She launched her award-winning travel blog, Pointchaser, in 2012.

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