The American Express Bonvoy Brilliant card has a $450 annual fee, but offers a $300 Marriott credit, 6x points at Marriott, Gold Elite Status, Priority Pass airport lounge access, 15 elite night credits, and trip delay insurance.
Bonvoy Brilliant Card Information
Application Link: American Express Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant.
Current Sign Up Bonus: 125,000 Marriott Bonvoy Points plus a free award night up to 85,000 points.
Bonus Eligibility: The eligibility for the bonus is very complicated due to American Express and Chase both issuing Marriott cards, so be sure to read these first two paragraphs if you currently have or previously had a Marriott card in the past 24 months.
Recommended Bonus: At least 100,000 Marriott points.
Annual Fee: $450
- 6x points at Marriott
- 3x points on flights and U.S. restaurants.
- 2x points everywhere else.
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card Benefits
$300 Marriott Statement Credit– You receive a $300 statement credit for purchases at Marriott hotels each cardmember year.
One Free Hotel Night– This card gets you a free hotel night every cardmember anniversary, which can be used at hotels with a redemption level of 50,000 points or less.
Marriott Gold Elite Status– Marriott Gold Elite Status gets you a 2 p.m. late checkout, room upgrade if available, 12.5 Marriott points per dollar spent at Marriott hotels, and welcome points bonus for each stay.
15 Elite Night Credits- This card awards you 15 free night credits for Marriott Elite Status in addition to Gold Status. To reach higher elite levels, you would need 35 nights for Platinum Elite (50 nights without credit), 60 nights for Titanium Elite (75 nights without credit), or 85 nights plus $20,000 in qualifying spending for Ambassador Elite (100 nights without credit).
Priority Pass Airport Lounge Access– A Priority Pass membership gets you to access to 1,200 airport lounges all around the world. However, the American Express’ version of Priority Pass does not get you access to Priority Pass Restaurants, unlike the Chase Sapphire Reserve version.
Global Entry/TSA PreCheck Credit– This card comes with a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit for expedited airport security. If you already have it, you could always use the card to purchase it for a family or friend.
$100 Marriott Property Credit– You can get a $100 credit each time you book direct with a special rate for 2+ nights at the Ritz Carlton or St. Regis.
Trip Delay Insurance– This coverage will reimburse you up to $500 for hotels, food, and transportation for each eligible traveler if you flight is delayed 6 or more hours. This is a great benefit because it covers delays due to weather, which airlines do not.
Trip Cancellation Insurance– This coverage will reimburse you up to $10,000 per trip in nonrefundable expenses in the event that you cannot travel due to a covered reason.
Lost Luggage Protection– If your bag is lost, stolen, or damaged, you are eligible for up to $2,000 in compensation for a checked bag and a combined maximum of $3,000 for checked and carry-on luggage.
90-Day Return Protection– If the merchant won’t accept your return within 90 days of purchase, you are eligible for compensation up to $300 per item and $1,000 per calendar year.
Other Benefits: No foreign transaction fees, Amex Offers, extended warranty, secondary rental car insurance, and ShopRunner.
Battle of the $450 Amex Hotel Cards: Bonvoy Brillant vs. Hilton Aspire
American Express offers two hotel credits cards with a $450 annual fee: the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant and the Hilton Aspire.
Marriott points are worth slightly more than Hilton (0.8 vs. 0.6 cents per point), but the Hilton Aspire is a better overall card due to its much higher rewards earn rate, top-tier status, a free weekend night at any Hilton hotel, and a $250 Airline credit.
The Bonvoy Brilliant’s hotel credit is better than the Aspire’s credit because it can be used at almost every Marriott Hotel. Whereas, the Aspire only works at Hilton Resorts.
|Bonvoy Brilliant||Hilton Aspire|
|Points at Hotel||6 Points Per $1||14 Points Per $1|
|Extra Points||3x on Flights and U.S. Restaurants||7x Points on Flights, U.S. Restaurants, and Rental Cars|
|Elite Status||4th Tier (Gold)||Top Tier (Diamond)|
|Free Night||Yes, Up to 50,000 Points||Yes, Anywhere on Weekends|
|Hotel Credit||$300||$250 (Limited to Hilton Resorts)|
Marriott Bonvoy Credit Cards Comparison
Marriott has four different credit cards by American Express and Chase due to the Marriott and Starwood Hotels merger in 2018.
Each card comes with 15 elite night credits, which is enough for Silver Elite Status, and no foreign transaction fees.
|Marriott Bonvoy Credit Cards|
|American Express Bonvoy Brilliant||6x Points at Marriott; 3x Points on Flights and U.S. Restaurants; $300 Marriott Credit; One Free Hotel Night (Up to 50,000 Points); Gold Elite Status; Priority Pass; Trip Delay Insurance; and Global Entry Credit.||$450|
|Chase Bonvoy Boundless||6x Points at Marriott; 2x Points Everywhere; Free Night (Up to 35,000 Points); 15 Elite Night Credits, Silver Elite Status, and Trip Delay Insurance.||$95|
|Chase Bonvoy Bold||3x Points at Marriott; 2x Points on Travel; 1x Points Everywhere; 15 Elite Night Credits; Silver Elite Status; and Trip Delay Insurance.||$0|
|American Express Bonvoy Business||6x Points at Marriott; 4x Points at U.S. Restaurants and Gas; 2x Points Everywhere; Free Hotel Night (Up to 35,000 Points); 15 Elite Night Credits; and Silver Elite Status.||$125|
Redeeming Marriott Bonvoy Points
There are several ways to use Marriott Rewards points. You can use them towards hotels, where you can book a Category 1 hotel during the off-peak for 5,000 points and Category 2 during the off-peak for 10,000 points. Plus you get a fifth night free when you redeem points for four nights.
Marriott Bonvoy Points can also be transferred to airlines at a 3 to 1 ratio with a 5,000 point airline bonus when you transfer 60,000 Marriott Points (60,000 Marriott points would equal 25,000 airline points).
The three exceptions to the 3 to 1 ratio are United Airlines (10% extra bonus, which equals 3 to 1.1), JetBlue (6 to 1), and Air New Zealand (200 to 1).
|Marriott Bonvoy Points Transfer Partners|
|Marriott points transfer at a rate of 3 Marriott points to 1 airline mile with a transfer bonus of 5,000 airline miles when you transfer 60,000 Marriott points.|
|Airline Points Program||Transfer Time|
|Aegean Airlines||3 days|
|Aer Lingus||3 days|
|Air Canada Aeroplan||4 days|
|Air China||5 days|
|Air France/KLM Flying Blue||3 days|
|Air New Zealand [200 to 1 Ratio]||24 hours|
|Alaska Airlines||4 days|
|American Airlines||48 hours|
|Asiana Airlines||4 days|
|Avianca Lifemiles||24 to 48 hours|
|British Airways||3 days|
|Cathay Pacific Asia Miles||5 days|
|China Eastern Airlines||Unknown|
|China Southern Airlines||7 days|
|Copa Airlines||3 days|
|Delta SkyMiles||24 hours|
|Frontier Airlines||6 weeks|
|Hainan Airlines||24 hours|
|Hawaiian Airlines||24 hours|
|Japan Airlines||48 hours|
|jetBlue [6 to 1 Ratio]||24 hours|
|Korean Air||48 hours|
|LATAM Airlines||48 hours|
|Lufthansa Miles & More||3 days|
|Qatar Airways||3 days|
|Saudi Arabian Airlines||5 days|
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer||48 hours|
|South African Airways||3 days|
|Southwest Airlines||24 hours|
|TAP Air Portugal||48 hours|
|Thai Airways||4 days|
|Turkish Airlines||3 days|
|United [3 to 1.1 Ratio]||7 days|
|Virgin Atlantic||24 to 48 hours|
|Virgin Australia||24 to 48 hours|