Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card Review

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The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card is a good choice for travelers who frequent Marriott Hotels and Resorts.

The Bonvoy Brilliant card offers nice perks like Marriott Platinum Elite status, a free hotel night award on every card anniversary of up to 85,000 points, Priority Pass airport lounge access, a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit, and much more.

We have a lot to cover, so let’s dive right in.

Free Night Award and Priority Pass
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card
  • Earn 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy Points After $5,000 in Eligible Purchases in the First 3 Months
  • 6X Points at Marriott Hotels & Resorts
  • Up to a $300 Statement Credit for Eligible Purchases at Restaurants Worldwide Each Year ($25 Per Month)
  • Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite Status
  • Free Anniversary Night Award (Up to 85,000 Points)
  • Priority Pass Airport Lounge Access
  • $650 Annual Fee and No Foreign Transaction Fees (Rates and Fees)
Learn More
American Express is a Deals Points advertiser. Terms Apply; Enrollment is Required for Some Benefits

Welcome Bonus of 95,000 Points

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant is currently offering 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new card to make $5,000 in eligible purchases within the first three months of card membership. This offer ends on Jan. 11, 2023.

Marriott Credit Card Eligibility

Both American Express and Chase issue Marriott credit cards, which can cause some complicated restrictions on the eligibility for Marriott credit cards.

For the Bonvoy Brilliant, you are not eligible to get this card if you:

  • have or have had The Ritz-Carlton® Credit Card from JPMorgan or the J.P. Morgan Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card in the last 30 days;
  • have acquired the Marriott Bonvoy Bountiful Credit Card from Chase, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card from Chase, or the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card from Chase in the last 90 days;
  • received a new Card Member bonus or upgrade offer for the Marriott Bonvoy Bountiful Credit Card from Chase, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card from Chase, or the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card from Chase in the last 24 months.

Earning Marriott Points

The Bonvoy Brilliant earns Marriott points at the following rates:

  • 6 Bonvoy points per dollar spent on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program.
  • 3 points per dollar at restaurants worldwide and on flights booked directly with airlines.
  • 2 points per dollar on other purchases.

Card Benefits at Marriott Hotels and Resorts

The Bonvoy Brilliant card offers some nice benefits at Marriott Bonvoy Hotels such as:

$300 in Restaurant Credits

Cardmembers receive up to $25 in statement credits each calendar month when they use their card at eligible restaurants worldwide, for a total of up to $300 in statement credits.

This should be an easy credit to maximize without any hoops to jump through. Just use the card at a restaurant, and get up to $25 each month as a credit.

Free Annual Night Award (up to 85,000 Points)

One of the best perks of this card is a free-night award worth up to 85,000 points each year after your card renewal month.

If you maximize this free night award, you could book a $500+ dollar a night room at a luxury hotel.

Platinum Elite Status

The Brilliant card offers automatic Marriott Platinum Elite status, which is Marriott’s mid-tier status that normally requires 50 nights per year.

Platinum Elite status comes with a 50% points bonus, 4 pm guaranteed late checkout, a welcome amenity, room upgrades including suites, free breakfast, and lounge access.

Marriott Resort
Photo: Marriott

25 Elite Night Credits

This card can help you reach Marriott Titanium or Ambassador elite status with 25 elite night credits. 

This benefit stacks with the 15-night credits with Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card, for a total of 40 free-night credits. This stack allows you to reach Titanium elite status in only 35 nights (40 nights from the two cards and 35 nights from hotel stays).

$100 Property Credit

When you use your Brilliant card to book a paid stay of at least two nights at participating Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis properties with the special “Luxury Credit Card Rate,” you’ll receive a credit of up to $100 for incidentals.

Choice Award with Spending

Starting on January 1, 2023, if you spend $60,000 on eligible purchases using your Brilliant card, you will be eligible to earn an Earned Choice Award benefit, which gives you the option of either: 

  • Five Suite Night Awards, which can be used to confirm a suite upgrade for one night up to five days prior to arrival.
  • A free night award, valid at a Marriott property costing up to 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy points.
  • $1,000 off a bed from Marriott Bonvoy Boutiques.

Bonvoy Brilliant Card Benefits

This card also offers nice travel and purchase protections, including:

Priority Pass Airport Lounge Access

This card comes with Priority Pass airport lounge access, which gets you access to over 1,300 airport lounges.

Nothing is better than escaping the hustle and bustle of the airport and to escape the crowds to get free food and drinks. 

Global Entry / TSA PreCheck Credit

This card offers a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit like many other travel cards.

TSA PreCheck is a membership program offering dedicated airport security lines and faster security screening (typically 5 minutes or less) at more than 200 airports across the United States and includes over 81 airlines.

With TSA PreCheck, you do not need to remove your shoes, laptop, small liquids, belts, or light jackets.

Global Entry includes TSA PreCheck and expedited immigration upon arrival from an international trip back to the United States.

TSA PreCheck and Global Entry require an interview and background check, but TSA PreCheck is typically faster and easier to obtain. 

If you already have Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, you could use the card to purchase Global Entry for a family or friend or use it when your membership needs to be renewed. (Some TSA PreCheck enrollment centers require the credit card name to match the applicant’s name, whereas Global Entry doesn’t have the same requirement.)

Card members are eligible  to receive one statement credit every 4 years for the application fee for either Global Entry or every 4.5 years for the application fee for TSA PreCheck.

TSA Precheck

Trip Delay Insurance

You should always buy flights with a credit card that offers trip delay insurance, which reimburses you for things like hotels, food, transportation, and other necessary items.

Flights are increasingly delayed or canceled, and it is too risky to not use card that offers free trip delay insurance. Plus, airlines frequently blame delays on weather or an external factor to get out of paying compensation to passengers.

This benefit can really come in handy during a delay. While other passengers are worried about where to sleep and eat, you can book a nice hotel of your choice and enjoy some nice meals, without worrying about the cost.

Trip Cancellation / Interruption Insurance

When you’re planning a trip, the last thing you want to worry about is whether or not your travel plans will be covered if something goes wrong. That’s where credit card trip cancellation and interruption insurance comes in.

Trip cancellation and interruption insurance reimburse you for non-refundable expenses if your trip is interrupted or canceled for a covered reason such as illness, severe weather, or an accidental injury. 

To be eligible for trip cancellation and interruption insurance, you’ll need to pay for your travel expenses using this card.

Travel is crazy enough without having to worry about being out of pocket if something goes wrong, so I always suggest booking all travel with a card that offers travel protections.

Trip Delay - Airport Snow

Lost Luggage Reimbursement

Lost luggage reimbursement covers the cost to repair or replace your luggage and the contents inside if your bag is lost or damaged during a covered trip.

You must purchase the trip with this card, and it will also cover immediate family members traveling with you.

Coverage is also secondary to any reimbursement from the airline or common carrier. For example, if your bag and its contents were worth $1,000 and the airline gave you $200, you could file a claim for $800.

Return Protection

American Express offers return protection which allows you to return an item purchased in total with an eligible card when the retailer refuses to accept the item under its return policy.

Some items are excluded, such as jewelry, plants, perishable items, software, books, formal wear, tickets, and seasonal items.

This coverage is up to $300 per item with a maximum of $1,000 per cardmember year.

No Foreign Transaction Fees

This card has no foreign transaction fees on purchases outside the U.S., which is helpful if you travel internationally to help you avoid paying a 3% fee on those international purchases.

Secondary Rental Car Insurance

Secondary rental car insurance covers any damage to a rental car not covered by your primary insurance when you pay for the rental using this card.

Other credit cards offer primary rental car insurance, which pays before your insurance and saves you the hassle of filing multiple insurance claims.

But there are situations where this secondary insurance becomes the primary insurance, including when renting a car outside the U.S. and your personal car insurance does not cover you in that country, or if you don’t have collision insurance.

You still need to maintain liability car insurance to cover damage to another person or property.

Rental Car Insurance
Photo: Hertz

Alternatives to the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant

Now that you know about the pros and cons of this card and its benefits, it’s time to review the alternatives.

Or, if you are like me, who loves to maximize my rewards, here are other cards you should add to your wallet: 

Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless

3 Free Nights
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card
  • Earn 3 Free Night Awards (each night valued up to 50,000 points) After Spending $3,000 in the First 3 Months.
  • 6x Points at Marriott Hotels & Resorts
  • 3x Points on Groceries, Gas, and Dining on the First $6,000 in Combined Purchases Each Year
  • Free Anniversary Night Award (up to 35,000 Points)
  • Automatic Silver Elite Status + 15 Elite Credits
  • Trip Delay, Baggage Delay, and Lost Luggage Insurance
  • $95 Annual Fee

Click Here to Learn How to Apply

The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card is a good option for travelers who want benefits at Marriott for a reasonable annual fee of $95, which is offset by a free night award for each card anniversary of up to 35,000 points. 

The Bonvoy Boundless card also offers Bonvoy Silver status, 15 elite night credits, 6x points at Marriott Bonvoy hotels, 3x points at grocery stores, gas stations, and on dining on the first $6,000 in combined purchases each year.

Plus, the card offers benefits such as baggage delay insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, trip delay reimbursement, purchase protection, and no foreign transaction fees.

Platinum Card from American Express

Airport Lounge Access
The Platinum Card® from American Express
  • Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards Points After $6,000 in Eligible Purchases in the First 6 Months
  • 5x Points on Flights Booked Directly With Airlines (up to $500,000 in purchases each calendar year)
  • Airport Lounge Access (Centurion, Delta SkyClub, Priority Pass, Escape, and Plaza Premium)
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • $695 Annual Fee (Rates & Fees)
Learn More Our Review
American Express is a Deals Points Advertiser; Terms Apply. Enrollment is required for some benefits.

The Platinum Card® from American Express is a great premium travel rewards card for travelers who want airport lounge access, including Centurion Lounges, Delta Sky Clubs (when flying Delta), Escape Lounges, Priority Pass lounges.

The American Express Platinum has a $695 annual fee, but you receive many annual statement credits when you enroll your card to offset the fee, including:

  • $200 Airline Fee Credit (after you select a qualifying airline and incidental fees are charged by the airline to your Platinum Card®)
  • $200 Hotel Credit (on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings, which requires a minimum two-night stay)
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit (up to $20 each month: Audible, Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The New York Times)
  • $200 Uber Cash Credit ($15 per month with $35 in December when you add your Platinum Card to Uber or UberEats account)
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit (covers the cost of a $12.95 monthly membership) 
  • CLEAR Credit (up to $189 towards an annual Clear membership for expedited airport security)

You also earn 5x Membership Rewards points when booking flights directly with airlines or with American Express Travel (up to $500,000 in purchases per calendar year) and 5x Membership Rewards points when booking prepaid hotels with American Express Travel. 

On top of that, you automatically earn Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite and Hilton Honors Gold statuses, which offer points bonuses, room upgrades, late check-out, and other premier benefits. 

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

75,000 Miles
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
  • Earn 75,000 Bonus Miles for Spending $4,000 in the First 3 Months
  • $300 Travel Credit for Bookings via Capital One Travel
  • 10,000 Points for Each Account Anniversary
  • Hertz President’s Circle Elite Status
  • Airport Lounge Access (Priority Pass, Capital One, & Plaza Premium)
  • 10X Miles on Hotels and Rental Cars, and 5x Miles on Flights Booked with Capital One Travel
  • 2X Miles on all other purchases
  • Trip Delay and Trip Cancellation Insurance
  • $395 Annual Fee
Learn More Our Review

The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is a premium travel rewards card that’s perfect for travelers who want outstanding travel perks like annual travel credits, worldwide airport lounge access, and travel and purchase protections. 

The Venture X earns 2x miles on all purchases helping you maximize every dollar of your spending. Plus, you can earn 10x miles on hotels and rental cars, and 5x miles on flights booked through Capital One.

The card has a $395 annual fee, it is completely offset by an easy-to-use $300 annual travel credit for bookings via Capital One Travel and 10,000 points (worth at least $100) each account anniversary.

Plus you get airport lounge access at Priority Pass, Capital One, and Plaza Premium Lounges, Hertz President’s Circle elite status, Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit, rental car insurance, trip and luggage insurance, cell phone insurance, and purchase protection.

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

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

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