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Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card Review 2024

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Updated April 4, 2024

Don’t think of the card_name as a hotel credit card; think of it as a travel credit card with significant Marriott perks. The premium metal credit card can upgrade your travel experience as soon as you arrive at airport security.

card_name

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card

APR
reg_apr,reg_apr_type
Annual fees
annual_fees
Credit score
credit_score_needed

Let’s look at the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card to help you decide if it’s a good fit for your travel lifestyle.

TIME’s Take

The card_name is arguably the top Marriott credit card. Cardholders receive Platinum elite status, and its annual free night award is enough to single-handedly offset the card’s annual_fees annual fee.

The card isn’t great for spending outside of Marriott, and its annual dining credits (up to $300 value) are a bit clunky. Regardless, the card offers excellent value—and is worth its fee—for any frequent traveler.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Annual free night award worth up to 85,000 points
  • Up to $300 in Brilliant Dining Credit each year (up to $25 per month). Terms Apply.
  • Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership

Cons:

  • annual_fees annual fee (Rates & Fees)
  • Forgettable return rate

Who is the card for?

The card_name comes with a slew of Marriott-related benefits, but you can get up to $1,000 or more in annual value without stepping foot onto a Marriott property. Benefits include yearly dining credits, a complimentary airport lounge membership, and up to four types of travel-related insurance protection.

That said, the card is best suited for someone who stays with Marriott at least a couple of times per year. With the annual free night award and elite status benefits that rival the top hotel credit cards, you’ll want to consider Marriott over other hotel chains.

Rewards

Welcome bonus

The card_name comes with a generous welcome offer to bonus_miles_full. It’s possible to earn several hundred dollars in hotel stays from this offer alone.

Earning points

Here’s a closer look at the earning rates when you spend with the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card:

  • 6 points per dollar at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®.
  • 3 points per dollar at restaurants worldwide.
  • 3 points per dollar on flights booked directly with the airline.
  • 2 points per dollar for all other eligible purchases.
  • Terms Apply.

Redeeming points

Marriott award nights generally cost between 5,000 points (for a roadside hotel) and 120,000 points (for a luxury five-star resort). With more than 8,500 properties in over 130 countries, Marriott is one of the most recognizable hotel chains in the world. Marriott brands include SpringHill Suites, Courtyard by Marriott, Westin, Ritz-Carlton, and many more.

You’ll often get the best points value when booking the cheapest or the most expensive hotels. For example:

  • A night at The Fairfield Inn & Suites Tulsa Southeast/Crossroads Village in February costs over $90 per night, but you can reserve it for as little as 6,000 points. That gives you a value of 1.5 cents per point.
  • A night at The St. Regis Maldives in June costs over $2,200 per night, but you can reserve it for as little as 84,000 points. That gives you a value of 2.6 cents per point.

Marriott also partners with dozens of airline loyalty programs, allowing you to convert your points to airline miles at various rates. With most airlines, you’ll get a 3:1 transfer ratio (3 Marriott points equals 1 airline mile), with a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000-point increment you transfer.

You’ll get more value using your points for hotel stays than for flights, but transferring your points could be worth it if you want to take a specific flight and you only need a few more miles to achieve it.

The fine print

The card_name charges a annual_fees annual fee. Other card fees include:

  • Purchase APR: reg_apr,reg_apr_type.
  • Cash advance APR: cash_advance_apr.
  • Cash advance fee: cash_advance_fee.
  • Late or returned payment fee: late_payment_fee.

The card does not charge foreign transaction fees.

Additional hidden perks

Discounted Marriott stays

The card_name allows you to save money during your Marriott stays.

Most notable is the card’s annual free night award worth up to 85,000 points. You can stay at nearly any global Marriott property with this award, including luxury resorts that cost thousands of dollars per night (such as the aforementioned St. Regis Maldives). As long as a standard room costs 85,000 points or less, you can stay there. You also have the option to combine the award with up to 15,000 Marriott points— allowing you to book a room worth up to 100,000 Marriott points.

You’ll also receive a $100 property credit when you book a two-night stay with Marriott’s top luxury brands: Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis. Unfortunately, you must book a specific paid rate, which can sometimes cost more than the lowest available rate.

Finally, you’ll receive an “Earned Choice Award” each year that you spend $60,000 on the card. You can choose from a list of Marriott benefits you’d like to receive. Examples include a second free night award worth up to 85,000 points or five suite night awards (which you can use to upgrade your room).

Marriott elite status

As mentioned, the card_name includes Platinum elite status. Without the card, you would have to stay 50 nights in a year to qualify. Platinum status comes with the following benefits:

  • Free breakfast.
  • Suite upgrades (when available).
  • 4 p.m. late checkout.
  • 50% bonus points on stays.

The card offers an automatic 25 elite night credits each calendar year. This gives you a 25-night head start toward Marriott Titanium status, which normally kicks in at 75 nights. Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® cardholders can achieve this status at 50 nights.

Up to $300 in annual dining credits

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card includes up to $25 per month in statement credits to offset restaurant spending. In other words, you can receive up to $300 in free food each year you hold the card— an impressive perk that goes a long way to offset the card’s $650 annual fee.

Elevated travel experience

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card offers two specific travel benefits unrelated to Marriott.

The first is a complimentary Priority Pass Select membership, which gives you unlimited access to over 1,400 airport lounges worldwide. Airport lounges often come with perks such as free food and alcohol, and comfortable seating. Some even offer showers. A Priority Pass Select membership is worth over $450.

Second, you’ll receive up to $100 in statement credits to offset the application fee for either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® every 4 years after you apply. These trusted traveler programs can significantly reduce your airport security wait times, potentially saving you hours during a single trip.

TSA PreCheck® gives members a dedicated security lane that moves faster than a standard lane. You won’t have to take off your jacket, belt, or shoes. You won’t even need to remove your laptop from your backpack.

Global Entry comes with TSA PreCheck® benefits, but it also lets you skip the immigration line when coming home from an international trip. Just find a Global Entry kiosk, enter a few details, and leave.

Travel and purchase insurance

The card_name includes the following travel-related insurance coverages:

  • Rental car insurance1: Decline the rental company’s proprietary CDW, and you’ll be covered against damage or theft. The protection is secondary, so you’ll only be insured for things not covered by your personal insurance.
  • Trip delay insurance2: When your flight is delayed by at least six hours, you can receive up to $500 in reasonable expenses (paid for with your card), such as hotel, meals, and transportation. You’re capped at two claims per 12-month period.
  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance2: If you purchase prepaid, nonrefundable travel that is either cut short or canceled altogether for a covered reason, you could be reimbursed up to $10,000 per trip (max $20,000 per 12-month period).
  • Lost luggage insurance3: You’re covered for up to $3,000 if the common carrier (cruise, airline, etc.) loses or damages your checked or carry-on bags.

The card squeezes in a few purchase-related coverages, too:

  • Purchase protection3: Eligible purchases are covered for up to 120 days against theft and damage (up to $10,000 per claim, max. $50,000 per account).
  • Return protection4: When you try to return an item and are refused by the merchant, you can be refunded up to $300 per item (max. $1,000 per calendar year).
  • Extended warranty3: Eligible U.S. manufacturer’s warranties of five years or less will be extended up to one year.

Amex offers

As is the case with all American Express cards, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card includes Amex Offers, a program that provides statement credits and bonus rewards for a lot of your normal spending.

You can browse Amex Offers online in your credit card account. When you find an offer you can use (for example, a $10 statement credit after paying your phone bill), click on the offer to add it to your card. Once you’ve completed the terms of the offer, you’ll automatically receive the rewards.

What could be improved

At first glance, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card’s annual_fees annual fee is its biggest drawback. But the fee is easily justified for frequent travelers and those who stay with Marriott even a few nights each year.

The card’s monthly $25 dining credit is annoying to use and could be made more customer-friendly. Make no mistake, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant is nowhere close to being the best credit card for restaurants, and isn’t the first card you should reach for to pay for your dining.

It would better serve cardholders if the $300 in dining credits were offered as a lump sum to spend as you please.

Card alternatives

Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® credit card
APR
reg_apr,reg_apr_type
20.99% - 29.99% variable
21.49% to 28.49% variable
Annual fees
annual_fees
$550
$95
Credit score
credit_score_needed
Good, Excellent
Good, Excellent
Welcome offer
bonus_miles
180,000 points
100,000 points

Bottom line

The card_name charges a annual_fees annual fee, which is expensive. But before you get spooked by the price tag, do some quick math. Will you use the $300 in annual dining credits the card offers? Will you use its airport lounge membership? Will you redeem its 85,000-point free night award each year? Is travel insurance important to you?

If you analyze your travel habits and determine that you’ll save more than annual_fees per year, the card’s annual fee is most likely worth it.

card_name

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card

APR
reg_apr,reg_apr_type
Annual fees
annual_fees
Credit score
credit_score_needed

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

What credit score is needed for the card_name?

To qualify for the card_name, you should possess a “good” credit score. According to FICO, this means a score of at least 670.

What is the annual fee for the Bonvoy Brilliant Card?

The card_name annual fee is annual_fees.

Is the card_name worth it?

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card is worth it for those who travel regularly and stay with Marriott at least a few times each year. With its automatic Platinum elite status, a free night award after each card member anniversary, and valuable airport lounge membership, you could easily receive over $1,000 in value yearly.

Is Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant a metal card?

Yes, the card_name is made of metal.

1 Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company. Car Rental Loss or Damage Coverage is offered through American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc.
2 Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.
3 Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company
4Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details.

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

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