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The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card is one of Marriott’s four co-branded cards. While it may have a hefty price for an annual fee of $450, it’s packed with premium perks and benefits that many travelers and staycationers will enjoy.
Some of the major benefits that the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant has are the annual free night certificate at participating Marriott hotels, automatic elite status, and travel credits of up to $300.
Many people think that the card is only for people with deep pockets but it’s actually not. There are many ways to compensate for the $450 annual fee as long as you know how to maximize the card’s benefits. Let’s find out below!
Read More: Marriott Bonvoy Welcome Offers For 2021
- Earn 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy points after spending $3,000 within the first 3 months of card membership + $200 statement credits on eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants within the first 6 months
- Earn up to 6x points per dollar on Marriot purchases, 3x points per dollar on direct flights booked with airlines and US restaurants, and 2x points per dollar on all other purchases
- Automatic Marriott elite status
- One annual free-night award
- Get statement credits of up to $300 for eligible Marriott purchases
- Get property credits of up to $100
- Complimentary Priority Pass lounge access
- Travel and purchase Protection
- Application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
- Elite night credits
Marriot Bonvoy Brilliant Bonus Offer
The Marriot Bonvoy Brilliant bonus offer is currently 75,000 points after spending $3,000 within the first 3 months of account opening. Marriott Bonvoy points are worth around 0.7 cents apiece so the bonus offer alone is worth $525 although it may vary depending on how you redeem your points.
On top of that, new cardholders will also get $200 in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants within the first 6 months of account opening.
How To Earn Marriott Bonvoy Points
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant has a solid earning structure because it covers three common categories that you’d normally spend on during trips.
- 6x points per $1 on eligible purchases at participating hotels in the Marriott Bonvoy program
- 3x points per $1 on direct airline flight bookings
- 3x points per $1 at U.S. restaurants
- 2x points per $1 on all other purchases
What’s great about this card is that it earns 2x points on all other purchases which is a pretty high rate compared to other premium travel cards like the Amex Platinum Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve which only earn 1x points on non-category spending.
Get Automatic Marriot Elite Status
Cardholders will automatically get Marriott Gold status just by actively owning the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card. Gold status is the 4th highest tier among the 5 tiers in the Marriot Bonvoy program.
Here are some of the exclusive perks that you’ll get with Gold status:
- 25% bonus points when staying at participating hotels in the Marriott Bonvoy program
- Enhanced room upgrades such as better views, floor selection, room selection, special amenities and more (depends on availability)
- 2 p.m. late checkout (depends on availability)
- Welcome gift of points upon checking in
Additionally, Bonvoy Brilliant cardholders can also fast track their way to Platinum Elite status if they can spend at least $75,000 on the card every anniversary year. Some of the benefits of having Platinum elite status are 50% bonus points on stays, 4 PM late checkout (depends on availability), enhances room upgrades, free breakfast at participating hotels, and lounge access.
Read More: Is Hotel Or Airline Elite Status Worth It?
Annual Free Night Award
The annual Marriott Bonvoy award night certificate is the Brilliant card’s main selling point. The certificate is worth up to 50,000 points which can get you a stay at popular hotels like The Ritz-Carlton, Bali, Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa, and the JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach.
Just make sure that you’re booking off-peak or standard prices for these hotels because the prices can shoot up to 60,000 points during peak season. You can checkout the complete list of award points prices for Marriott participating hotels here.
Annual $300 Marriott Statement Credit
You will get $300 worth of statement credit whenever you use your card on eligible purchases at participating hotels in the Marriott Bonvoy program.
Some of these eligible purchases include spending at restaurants, spas, gym, and other facilities within your Marriot hotel’s premises. If you can make use of this annual $300 credit every year, your basically just paying $150 for your annual fee.
Property Credit Of Up To $100
Booking a 2-night stay at any Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis hotel will give you a $100 property credit. Just makes sure to book directly with the hotel using the rate called “$100 Property Credit, Luxury Credit Card Rate.”
You can use this property credit towards spa services, dining at restaurants, and even purchases within the hotel.
Priority Pass Lounge Access
To get year-round access to Priority Pass lounges, you need to have a Prestige membership that costs $429 per year. However, the Marriott Bonvoy Priority Pass Select membership is available on the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card and it gives you unlimited access to more than 1,200 participating airport lounges around the world.
You can even bring two guests with you who will also get unlimited access. Extra guests will costs $32 per visit and enrollment is required.
Priority Pass Vs Priority Pass Select Membership
A regular Priority Pass membership is available to all people who buy any of the three membership accounts which are:
- Standard ($99 per year)) – 1 free visit, then $32 per succeeding visit; $32 per visit for every additional guest
- Standard Plus ($249 per year) – 10 free visits, then $32 per succeeding visit; $32 per visit for every additional guest
- Prestige ($429 per year) – Unlimited visits
Meanwhile, a Priority Pass Select membership is only offered to people who hold certain cards such as the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant, Chase Sapphire Reserve, Amex Platinum Card, Amex Business Platinum Card, Hilton Honors Aspire Card, and Hilton Honors Surpass Card.
Travel And Purchase Protection
Just like most travel credit cards, the Marriot Bonvoy Brilliant also comes with basic travel and purchase protection benefits such as:
- Trip cancellation and interruption insurance
- Lost baggage reimbursement
- Trip delay insurance
- Extended warranty coverage
- 90-day return protection
You need to book round-trip flights and pay using the card to be eligible for these benefits.
Global Entry and TSA PreCheck Statement Credit
Cardholders will get up to $100 in application fee credits for a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck membership. The credit is also transferrable so you can use it to apply for another person’s membership if you already have one. The statement credit is offered every four years.
Just remember that having a Global Entry membership also gives you all the TSA PreCheck benefits so it’s always better to just get Global Entry instead.
Elite Night Credits
Elite night credits are status tier requirements that allow you to move from one elite tier to another. The Marriot Bonvoy Brilliant card gives you 15 elite night credits every card anniversary so you can boost your way to Platinum and Titanium status faster.
Remember that Platinum status requires 50 elite nights and Titanum status requires 75 elite nights so the 15 bonus elite night credits is a big help.
Marriot Transfer Partners
Marriott points can be transferred to more than 40 differnet airline partners although it’s not at a 1:1 ratio compared to Chase and Amex.
You typically get a 3:1 ratio plus 5,000 bonus miles for every 60,000 points transferred. For example, if you transfer 180,000 points to AeroMexico Club Premier, you will get 75,000 miles in total.
Here are some of the Marriott Bonvoy transfer partners:
- Aegean Airlines Miles+Bonus
- Aer Lingus Aeroclub
- Aeroflot Bonus
- AeroMexico Club Premier
- Air Canada Aeroplan
- Air China PhoenixMiles
- Air France/KLM Flying Blue
- Air New Zealand
- Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
- Alitalita MilleMiglia
- ANA Mileage Club
- American Airlines AAdvantage
- Asiana Airlines Asiana Club
- Avianca Airlines LifeMiles
- British Airways Executive Club
- Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
- China Southern Airlines Sky Pearl Club
- Copa Airlines ConnectMiles
- Delta Airlines SkyMiles
- Emirates Skywards
- Etihad Guest
- FRONTIER MILES
- Hainan AIrlines Fortune Wings Club
- Hawaiian AIrlines HawaiianMiles
- Iberia Plus
- Japan Airlines JAL Mileage Bank
- JetBlue TrueBlue
- Korean Air SKYPASS
- LATAM Airlines Multiplus Fidelidade
- Qantas Frequent Flyer
- Qatar Airways Privilege Club
- Saudi Arabian Airlines Alfursan
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- South African Airways Voyager
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
- TAP Air Portugal Miles&Go
- Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
- Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles
- United MileagePlus
- Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer
- Virgin Australia Velocity
- Vueling Cub
Who Is The Card For?
Ideally, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant is perfect for travelers who are frequently staying at Marriott hotels, and can make use of Marriott specific benefits such as the Gold Elite status and $300 Marriott credit.
However, you can still get the card as long if you’re only purpose is to make use of the annual free night certificate. This perk alone is enough to compensate the annual fees when redeemed at 50,000-point award stays.
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant has two major competitors, one also from American Express which is the Amex Platinum Card and the other one from Chase which is the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
The American Express Platinum card has a higher welcome offer of 100,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $6,000 within 6 months of card membership. It also has similar benefits such as Gold Elite Status and Priority Pass access.
However, the card doesn’t offer a status boost towards Platinum Status and it also doesn’t come with an award night certificate. Plus, the Amex Platinum has a higher annual fee of $695.
If we base on perks alone, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant is the better option but if we include redemption flexibility, then the Platinum card is better.
The Platinum card has multiple transfer partners where you can get a 1:1 ratio. This means more value for your points and more redemption options
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is an all-around travel credit card since it covers a lot of areas that consumers need the most.
If you’re looking for a more well-rounded premium travel credit card then the Chase Sapphire Reserve card could be a perfect option.
The card earns 3x points per $1 spent on all travel and dining purchases, with the travel definition being extended to include airfare, hotels, Airbnb, etc., along with a 10x points per $1 on Lyft rides.
While the card does charge a $550 annual fee, when you consider the up to $300 travel credit, Priority Pass membership, travel insurance protections, Lyft Pink membership, and DoorDash credits, it certainly makes for a compelling option.
The Marriott Bonvoy Bonvoy Brilliant card is a premium card that’s perfect for Marriott loyalists, luxury travelers, and business owners. With solid earning categories, bonus offers, travel credits, and an annual night certificate, paying for the $450 annual fee wouldn’t be a big deal!