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Many Million Mile Secrets readers love Marriott hotels! Depending on your travel style, you can choose from luxury brand hotels, like Ritz-Carlton, or book a family-friendly option like TownePlace Suites, which offers free hot breakfast for all guests.
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card is an excellent option for travelers who regularly stay at Marriott hotels or want to plan a trip for a special occasion.
The card’s welcome offer of 75,000 Marriott points after meeting minimum spending requirements is easily worth hundreds in free hotel stays. Plus, you’ll earn a free night award valid at select Marriott hotels each account anniversary. And this perk alone can help offset the annual fee.
Here’s our Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant AMEX review.
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant AMEX Review
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card comes with 75,000 Marriott points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening.
In addition to the welcome bonus, you’ll get:
- Up to $300 annual statement credit to use each cardmembership year at participating Marriott hotels (including room charges!)
- Automatic Gold Elite Status (25% bonus points on paid stays, guaranteed late check-out, room upgrades when available)
- Platinum Elite Status (Welcome gift of either points, breakfast, or an amenity depending on the hotel, lounge access where available, room upgrade, including suites when available) after spending $75,000 on purchases in a calendar year
- Annual free night (at participating Marriott hotels worth up to 50,000 points) after you renew your card
- $100 property credit for qualifying charges when you use your Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card to book direct using a special rate for a 2-night minimum stay at The Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis
- Priority Pass Membership for airport lounges (you can bring up to 2 guests)
- Global Entry or TSA PreCheck Credit (a value of up to $100) every 4 years (4.5 years for TSA PreCheck)
- Terms Apply
The card comes with a $450 annual fee (See Rates & Fees), but you’ll get lots of additional money-saving perks that can more than offset the annual fee.
75,000 Marriott points is more than enough for a night at a luxury category 7 Marriott hotel (60,000 points per night), like the Ritz-Carlton, Aruba, where rooms can easily cost well over $650. Or you could stretch your points and use the bonus for 3 nights at a mid-level category 4 hotel (25,000 points per night), like the Four Points by Sheraton Auckland in New Zealand.
What’s extra unique about Marriott points is that you don’t have to redeem them for Marriott hotel stays. You can also transfer them to 40+ airlines for award flights!
How to Earn Points With the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant AMEX Card
With the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card, you’ll earn:
- 6 Marriott points per $1 at Marriott hotels
- 3 Marriott points per $1 at US restaurants and flights booked directly with airlines
- 2 Marriott points per $1 on everything else
Plus, you’ll earn a free night award at participating Marriott hotels (worth up to 50,000 points) each account anniversary, which can more than offset the cost of the $450 annual fee.
How to Use Points From the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant AMEX Card
The most straightforward way to use Marriott points is for award nights at Marriott Bonvoy hotels, which include:
- AC Hotels by Marriott
- Autograph Collection Hotels
- Courtyard by Marriott
- Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott
- Gaylord Hotels
- JW Marriott
- Le Meridien
- Marriott Executive Apartments
- Marriott Hotels
- Marriott Vacation Club
- Moxy Hotels
- Protea Hotels
- Renaissance Hotels
- Residence Inn by Marriott
- Ritz-Carlton Reserve
- Springhill Suites by Marriott
- St. Regis
- The Luxury Collection
- TownePlace Suites by Marriott
It’s easy to search for award nights online by entering your destination, travel dates, and number of guests. Be sure to click “Use Points” to see available award nights and points rates for your stay.
Some might prefer transferring Marriott points to airline partners for award flights. You can transfer Marriott points to most of the ~40 airline partners at a 3:1 ratio, and when you transfer 60,000 Marriott points, you’ll get a bonus 15,000 Marriott points added to your transfer. So you’ll get 20,000 miles for airlines with a 3:1 transfer ratio, plus an additional 5,000 bonus miles (from the 15,000 Marriott point bonus).
Other Benefits of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant AMEX Card
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card comes with ongoing protections that make the annual fee worth paying for some, like:
- Return protection – If you try to return an eligible item within 90 days from the date of purchase and the merchant won’t take it back, AMEX may refund the full purchase price, up to $300 per item (excluding shipping and handling) up to a maximum of $1,000 per calendar year per card account, if you purchased it entirely with your AMEX Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card
- Purchase protection – Protection for eligible purchases when they’re accidentally damaged, stolen or lost, for up to 120 days from the date of purchase. (Coverage is 90 days for residents of New York, Indiana, Guam, Puerto Rico, and Northern Mariana Islands)
- Extended warranty – Provides up to 2 extra years on an original US manufacturer’s warranty of 5 years or less when you use your card on new eligible purchases. (For residents of Indiana, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Northern Mariana Islands, coverage will continue to match the original warranty period for warranties of less than 1 year or provide 1 additional year if the warranty is between 1 and 5 years)
- Travel protections like car rental insurance, lost or damaged luggage insurance, travel accident insurance, premium roadside assistance, and premium Global Assist Hotline
You’ll also get access to AMEX Offers, which are targeted deals that can get you automatic discounts or bonus points when you add an offer to your card and make a qualifying purchase.
Is the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant AMEX Card Worth the Annual Fee?
Because of the card’s larger ($450) annual fee, whether or not it’s worth it will depend largely on your own spending habits and personal travel goals.
Where you’ll get the most value from this card is through taking advantage of its perks. Benefits like up to $300 annual statement credit at Marriott hotels, automatic Gold elite status, and a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit all help offset the cost of the card’s annual fee.
My sister has this card and we used her $300 annual statement credit to have an amazing family dinner at Angel Oak, the award-winning steakhouse at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara. Side note – if you’re ever in the area or want to plan a getaway to Santa Barbara, I’d highly recommend this hotel! From the pools to the spa, to the numerous dining options, staying at this luxury hotel is an incredible treat.
Does the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant AMEX Card Have a Foreign Transaction Fee?
No. (See Rates & Fees)
Who’s Eligible for the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant AMEX Card?
You aren’t eligible for the AMEX Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card’s intro bonus if you have or have had the Ritz-Carlton card in the past 30 days.
You’re also ineligible for its welcome bonus if you’ve opened any of the following cards in the past 90 days or have earned a welcome bonus or upgrade bonus from any of these cards in the past 24 months:
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card
- Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card
- Marriott Bonvoy Premier Card
- Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card
- Marriott Bonvoy Premier Plus Business Card
- Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Business Credit Card
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant AMEX Card Customer Service
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card is issued by American Express. What’s great about AMEX is that they offer the option to chat with a live representative once you log in to your account and send a secure message. And when you call their customer service, it’s easy to get a real person on the line.
Credit Cards Similar to the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant AMEX Card
If you’re considering a premium hotel credit card, you could also look into the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express. With it, you can earn 150,000 Hilton points and a weekend night reward after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
Similar to the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card, it offers up to $250 in statement credits each cardmember year for eligible purchases at participating Hilton resorts. And you’ll get a weekend night reward every year after renewal.
Don’t forget, Marriott is also one of the Chase transfer partners, so you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Marriott at a 1:1 ratio. This is a good option if you need to top off your account to book another award night.
One strategy is to earn lots of flexible Chase Ultimate Rewards points with cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card. Then, transfer points to Marriott and other travel partners when you’re ready to book an award.
You can transfer the Chase Ultimate Rewards points you earn with any of these cards to travel partners:
|Card||Welcome Bonus & Minimum Spending Requirements||Our Review|
|Ink Business Preferred Credit Card||80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account||Read why this is the top card pick for small business owners|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred Card||60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account||This is the #1 card for beginners|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve||50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account||Lots of folks love this premium credit card because of the ongoing perks!|
You’ll earn 75,000 Marriott points with the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. There’s a $450 annual fee, not waived for the first year.
You can easily use the welcome bonus to get hundreds of dollars in free travel at otherwise expensive hotels and resorts. Or stretch your points for more nights at lower-category brands. The choice is yours!
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card has a valuable ongoing perk that can save you money, too. You’ll get a free night certificate after each account anniversary to use at participating Marriott hotels costing 50,000 Marriott points or less. You’ll also get up to $300 in annual statement credits to use each cardmembership year at participating Marriott hotels. Plus, the card comes with great shopping benefits and return and purchase protection.
Perks like these most definitely help offset the card’s annual fee!
For more Marriott Bonvoy tips and tricks, check out these posts:
- Here’s how to earn Marriott points in 2019
- Marriott Bonvoy review
- How to transfer Marriott points to airlines
- Find out about your Marriott points value
- Here’s our Marriott Bonvoy elite status review
- How to use Marriott points
- Why Marriott points are best for free flights
- How to setup a Marriott account
- Do Marriott points expire?
- Our permanent page for current Marriott promotions
For the rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, please click here