Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new information and offers.
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express Card® overview
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card is Marriott’s most premium card offering. Standout benefits include automatic Platinum Elite status, an annual free night at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program that is worth up to 85,000 points and up to $25 in statement credits each month when you use your card at eligible restaurants worldwide. Card Rating*: ⭐⭐⭐½
*Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG’s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
Marriott has six cobranded cards available to new cardholders, with fees ranging from none to $650 per year.
The recommended credit score for this card is 670 or above.
The Bonvoy Brilliant card is compelling for loyal Marriott guests — but let’s dig a little deeper to see if it’s right for you.
Amex Bonvoy Brilliant welcome offer
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant is currently offering new cardholders two free night awards worth up to 85,000 points each after spending $6,000 in purchases on the card in their first six months. Certain hotels have resort fees. The offer ends Nov. 1.
Based on TPG’s valuations of Marriott points at 0.84 cents each, those 170,000 points are worth $1,428.
While this isn’t the best offer we’ve seen on this card, it is significantly more than the regular offer of 95,000 points we tend to see, so if you’ve been eyeing the card, now is a good time to apply for it.
Note that the bonus is structured as two free nights of up to 85,000 points each. That means if you book a 60,000-point stay with one of the awards, you’ll forfeit the remaining 25,000 points, so you’ll want to maximize the free night awards at these high-end hotels.
Also remember that Amex has restrictions limiting your ability to collect a new-member bonus if you’ve had similar Marriott products from Chase or previous Starwood Preferred Guest cards from American Express. Be sure to review the card’s offer details page to ensure you’re eligible.
Amex Bonvoy Brilliant benefits
Where the card shines the most is in the perks it offers:
- Marriott elite status: Primary cardholders (authorized users aren’t included) receive complimentary, automatic Marriott Platinum Elite status, including perks like upgrades to suites, free breakfast and lounge access. You will receive your upgraded status in less than two weeks, on average, according to spokespeople for American Express and Marriott Bonvoy.
- Annual free-night award: Each year after your card renewal month, you’ll receive a free night award worth up to 85,000 points. That’s much more valuable than the free night certificates that come with the lower-tier Marriott cards, which are capped at 35,000 points. Some of the best uses of the certificate include luxury hotels such as The Ritz-Carlton Macau and The St. Regis Langkawi, where rooms routinely top $500 per night — though Marriott’s dynamic pricing may impact the ability to book some of these properties.
- $300 in restaurant credits: Cardmembers receive up to $25 in statement credits each calendar month when they use their card at eligible restaurants worldwide. This equates to a total value of $300 each year. (A spokesperson for American Express has confirmed that this credit applies to worldwide restaurants, is automatically applied and does not require registration prior to using this benefit.)
- Property credit of up to $100: When you book a paid stay of at least two nights at participating Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis properties with the special “$100 property credit, Luxury Credit Card Rate,” you’ll receive a credit of up to $100 for incidentals.
- Priority Pass Lounge access: As is pretty standard among premium travel rewards cards, the card comes with a Priority Pass Select membership, which gives you and two guests unlimited access to more than 1,400 airport lounges worldwide. Additional guests are charged $32 (increasing to $35 from Oct. 1, 2023) per lounge visit (enrollment required).
- Travel protections: This card offers trip cancellation and interruption insurance* as well as trip delay insurance* for trips delayed by more than six hours due to a covered reason. You must book a round-trip ticket and pay entirely with your card to be covered. (Underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.)
- Application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck: Like many other premium cards, the Bonvoy Brilliant will reimburse you when you charge the application fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck to the card up to $100 ($85 for TSA PreCheck or $100 credit for Global Entry, 4 years for the application fee for either Global Entry or every 4½ years for the application fee for TSA PreCheck). Unlike the Priority Pass membership, which essentially becomes useless if you already receive the benefit through other cards, if you already have Global Entry or PreCheck, you can use this credit to cover a friend or family member’s application fee (enrollment required for select benefits). This benefit is available to cardholders once every four years. Remember, Global Entry includes PreCheck, so it’s typically the smarter choice.
- Shopping protections: Purchases made with the card can get up to one year of extended warranty coverage* and 90 days of purchase protection.* This applies to warranties of five years or less on covered purchases in the U.S. or its territories or possessions. (Underwritten by Amex Assurance Company.)
- Elite night credits: Cardholders will receive 25 elite qualifying night credits per year. This benefit can be stacked with the nights you earn with a Marriott small-business card, allowing you to fast-track up to 40 elite nights per year.
- Annual Earned Choice Award: Earned each calendar year after making $60,000 in purchases. This is separate from the Choice Benefits you’d unlock by reaching 50 and 75 elite-qualifying nights. You can choose from the following:
- 5 Suite Night Awards
- An 85,000-point free night reward
- $1,000 off a mattress or box spring from Marriott Bonvoy Boutiques
Certain hotels have resort fees.
*Eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details.
Earning points on the Amex Bonvoy Brilliant
The Bonvoy Brilliant’s earning structure is similar to that of the regular Marriott Bonvoy Amex and the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card, but with two additional bonus categories: dining at restaurants worldwide and select airfare purchases.
Cardholders earn 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, and 2 points per dollar on other purchases.
The non-Marriott earning rates are a bit low, so you’ll probably want to pair the card with one or more other cards that offer superior bonus categories, such as The Platinum Card® from American Express for airfare and the Chase Sapphire Reserve for dining and other travel purchases. There are also some other great options for your everyday spending.
Redeeming points on the Amex Bonvoy Brilliant
There are many lucrative ways to use Marriott Rewards points. The most apparent redemption is for free stays. With the ability to book at more than 7,500 properties across 30 brands in over 130 countries, you’ve got a lot of choices. The Marriott portfolio has many fantastic hotels, including some of the world’s most luxurious properties.
These include a number of Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis properties, some of which are all-suite, such as the St. Regis Maldives, and others in dreamy destinations like the Al Maha Resort in the desert outside Dubai. Rooms at top-tier properties like these typically cost 100,000 points (or even more) per night. That may seem like a hefty price in points, but it isn’t that bad, considering room rates can be $1,500-plus per night most of the year.
Transferring points on the Amex Bonvoy Brilliant
You can also transfer your Bonvoy points to more than 35 airline partners, but this rarely offers good value unless you need to top off an account balance for a flight redemption or need to access an airline’s loyalty currency that doesn’t partner with any of the big U.S. bank programs.
Which cards compete with the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex?
If you’re not loyal to Marriott, there are a number of cards you might consider instead of the Bonvoy Brilliant:
- If you want another premium hotel card: The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card carries a $450 annual fee (see rates and fees) and offers many of the same benefits, including automatic elite status, airline fee and resort statement credits and an annual award night. This card also provides better returns on bonus category spending. For more information, read our full review of the Hilton Amex Aspire.
- If you want more travel perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express offers the overlapping benefit of Priority Pass lounge access, and it’s a 1:1 transfer partner of Marriott Bonvoy (enrollment required for select benefits). It’s also got a bevy of useful travel benefits that aren’t beholden to one hotel chain or another. For more information, read our full review of the Amex Platinum.
- If you want a Marriott card with a lower annual fee: The Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card has a $250 annual fee (see rates and fees) and comes with Gold Elite status, one step lower than Platinum. However, it lacks a free night certificate. For more information, read our full review of the Bonvoy Bevy.
*The information for the Hilton Honors Aspire Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
If you’re a Marriott loyalist in need of a cobranded credit card or are looking to change from a different Marriott card, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant is an ideal choice. Its earning rates are not as lucrative as those of some of its competitors, but the large welcome offer coupled with impressive built-in perks — like $300 in restaurant credits and an annual free-night certificate of up to 85,000 points — make it easy for even an infrequent traveler to get tremendous value out of the card. Although you shouldn’t have trouble finding a hotel at which to redeem points, the program’s many airline transfer partners also make it a great choice for racking up points to redeem for free flights.
Application link: Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant with two free night awards worth up to 85,000 points apiece after you spend $6,000 in purchases on the card in your first six months. Certain hotels have resort fees. Offer ends November 1.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex, click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Aspire Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy Amex, click here.