Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Credit Card Review: Premium Benefits for Frequent Marriott Travelers

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Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
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Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
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Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
Editor’s Score: (N/A)
  • Intro offer:
    75,000 points
  • Annual fee:
    $450
  • Regular APR:
    17.99%-26.99% Variable
  • Recommended credit score:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
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.

NextAdvisor’s Take

Pros
  • Generous welcome offer and rewards on Marriott purchases
  • Value of added benefits and credits can far exceed the annual fee
  • Qualify for automatic Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status
  • Comes with travel insurance and purchase protections
Cons
  • High annual fee
  • High APR
  • Marriott award nights use dynamic pricing, so redemption value can vary depending on your travel plans
  • Rewards aren’t that flexible
The Bottom Line
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex Credit Card is a luxury hotel credit card with high value perks for regular travelers and fans of the hotel chain. While it does require a $450 annual fee, frequent travelers can surpass the cost with major benefits, which include a $300 annual Marriott Bonvoy statement credit, a free night award each card renewal month (up to 50,000 points), automatic Gold Elite status in the Marriott Bonvoy program, Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership, and more.

Additional Card Details

  • Up to $300 Marriott Bonvoy statement credit annually
  • $100 Marriott Bonvoy property credit when you book an eligible stay of two nights or longer at The Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis properties
  • Free night award each card renewal month (worth up to 50,000 points)
  • 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year
  • Automatic Gold Elite status with Marriott Bonvoy
  • Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership
  • Fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck membership
  • Eligible for Amex Offers
  • Travel protections
  • Purchase protection and extended warranties on eligible items

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Credit Card Full Review

Card Type

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Credit Card is a premium travel rewards card and a co-branded hotel credit card within the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program. 

Annual Fee

This hotel credit card charges a steep $450 per year.

Welcome Offer

After you’re approved, earn 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases on the Card within the first 3 months.

Based on Marriott’s redemption chart, that’s enough for three standard nights at a category 4 property (which includes properties like the Aloft in San Juan or TownePlace Suites in Anaheim, CA). Or, you could use the bonus for a five-night off-peak stay at a category 3 property, which includes hotels such as the Courtyard in Ft. Lauderdale, FL or the Moxy near London’s Heathrow Airport.

Pro Tip

Marriott Bonvoy will switch to a dynamic pricing redemption model on March 29, 2022. The standard award night chart will change to Marriott’s Flexible Redemption Rates, which will fluctuate based on factors like availability and seasonality.

Introductory Offer

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Credit Card doesn’t come with an introductory APR for purchases or balance transfers.

Rewards

With the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Credit Card, you can earn 6X points on eligible Marriott hotel stays, 3X points on dining at U.S. restaurants and flights booked with airlines, and 2X points on other purchases. 

The Marriott Bonvoy program offers a few different redemption options, but you’ll get the most value for your points by redeeming them for award nights toward future Marriott stays.

Fees

In addition to the $450 annual fee, this card charges a late payment and returned payment fee up to $40 (See Rates & Fees). You may also incur a penalty APR up to 29.99% if you pay late or your payment is returned. This card does not charge an over limit fee or foreign transaction fees when you use it for purchases abroad (See Rates & Fees). 

Other Benefits

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Credit Card comes with quite a few perks that can more than make up its annual fee if you travel often. For starters, you’ll get $300 in Marriott Bonvoy statement credits for eligible purchases at Marriott Bonvoy properties. There’s also a $100 Marriott Bonvoy property credit when you book eligible stays of two nights or more at The Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis properties. You can use it for qualifying charges, including room service and spa treatments. 

Other benefits include a free night award each cardmember anniversary (for one night worth up to 50,000 points), Priority Pass airport lounge membership, and a fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck worth up to $100 every four years. 

Travel protections include secondary auto rental coverage, access to a Global Assist hotline, a baggage insurance plan, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, and trip delay insurance. Meanwhile, cardholder purchase protections include return protection, purchase protection against damage or theft, and extended warranties on eligible items.

Finally, you’ll qualify for automatic Gold Elite status with Marriott Bonvoy, which comes with perks like bonus points on paid stays, guaranteed reservations, complimentary internet access, and late checkouts based on availability.

Benefits of Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex Credit Card

The biggest benefit of this card is the added perks you’ll get with your account — from annual statement credits to elite status and points bonuses on Marriott Bonvoy stays, you can quickly outpace the cost of the annual fee if you stay at Marriott properties frequently.

This hotel credit card even has some perks normally reserved for more general premium travel credit cards from flexible rewards programs. The Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership alone is equivalent to the Prestige Priority Pass tier, which costs more than $400 annually. Priority Pass Select lets you enter more than 1,300 airport lounges worldwide with guests, access free snacks and drinks, and get discounts toward participating airport restaurants. 

Drawbacks of Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex Credit Card

The biggest downsides of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Credit Card is the limited value of benefits for people who don’t stay in Marriott Bonvoy hotels that often. For example, the $300 Marriott Bonvoy statement credit won’t be useful if you don’t plan to stay in eligible properties, and the $100 property credit is only good for two-night minimum stays at The Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis hotels.

If you don’t plan to travel to Marriott properties, Marriott Bonvoy points can also be less flexible than points you could earn under a more general rewards program like Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards, or even cash back rewards

Another detail to consider is an upcoming change to the Marriott Bonvoy rewards program — in March 2022, Marriott Bonvoy points redemptions will no longer be award chart-based, in favor of dynamic pricing. Whereas the award chart could give you an idea of how many points a free award night would cost, dynamic pricing means the amount of points needed for a redemption can fluctuate depending on your travel plans.

How to Use Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex Credit Card

If you want to make the most of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Credit Card, start by applying for the card when you have a large upcoming purchase or trip to book. If you spend at least $3,000 within three months of account opening, you can earn the 75,000 bonus points. 

In the meantime, use your card for your regular spending and bills, and particularly for stays at Marriott Bonvoy hotels and resorts. Since this card earns bonus points for restaurant and airline purchases, it can make sense to use it in those categories, especially if you don’t already have a card with dining or travel rewards.

To best maximize the card over time, use your annual credits and perks, including the $300 Marriott credit. Claim the credit by using your card for purchases made directly at Marriott properties, and make sure incidental purchases made at restaurants, your hotel’s spa or other establishments at the property are charged to your room. That way, they will be recognized as Marriott Bonvoy purchases within your Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Credit Card account. 

And like any new credit card — especially one with a very high annual fee — always remember to charge only what you can afford to pay off each month. Pay off your balance in full to avoid taking on debt at this card’s steep ongoing APR.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex Credit Card Compared to Other Cards

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Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

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American Express® Gold Card

American Express® Gold Card

Editor’s Score: (4.3/5)
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Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Editor’s Score: (4.3/5)
  • Intro offer:
    60,000 points
  • Annual fee:
    $550
  • Regular APR:
    19.24% – 26.24% Variable
  • Recommended credit:
    740-850 (Excellent)
  • Apply Now externa link icon At Chase’s secure site

Is the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex Credit Card Right for You?

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Credit Card is ideal for Marriott enthusiasts who stay with the hotel brand regularly for business or leisure. If you’re a Marriott loyalist who wants as many hotel perks as possible, this card can help you maximize your stays. For frequent travelers who always stay at Marriott properties, automatic Gold Elite status, lucrative benefits, and annual credits can more than make up for the annual fee each year.

But if you only travel a few times each year, or you’re not sold on staying with Marriott at least for the majority of the time you’re away, there’s probably a better card option for you. Using many of the card’s valuable perks requires staying in Marriott hotels, and you’ll get the best value if doing so frequently is already a part of your budget and travel plan. 

If you’re still looking for luxury perks and don’t mind paying the price, other premium travel cards with more general rewards programs — like the American Express Gold Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve — could offer better value for your spending, along with annual statement credits and travel benefits.

Before you apply, compare the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex Credit Card to other travel credit cards, as well as other Marriott credit cards from American Express and Chase. While this is the premium luxury hotel card from the Marriott Brand, other credit cards can help you earn rewards on your hotel spending with a lower annual fee.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Does the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex Credit Card charge foreign transaction fees?

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex Credit Card does not charge foreign transaction fees when you use it for purchases outside the United States.

How does the $300 statement credit on the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex Credit Card work?

The $300 statement credit offer on the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex Credit Card is applicable to any charges made at Marriott hotels and timeshare properties. You may need to charge incidental purchases to your room for the credit to apply.

Is the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex Credit Card metal?

Yes, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex Credit Card is a metal credit card.

Does the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex Credit Card offer Priority Pass?

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex Credit Card comes with a Priority Pass Select membership that lets you enter more than 1,300 airport lounges worldwide.

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