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The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card is a hotel rewards credit card with a rewards program built for frequent guests at the Marriott hotel family’s 6,500-plus hotels and resorts. Benefits abound, but the headline is up to $300 in annual statement credits for eligible purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy® hotels. When fully exploited, this perk alone eats up about 67% of Brilliant’s $450 annual fee.
That’s not all. Every purchase made with this card earns Bonvoy points, Marriott’s loyalty program currency. You can redeem Bonvoy points for free nights and room upgrades at participating Marriott Bonvoy properties around the world.
$300 Annual Statement Credit
Cardholders in good standing are eligible for up to $300 in statement credits to offset eligible purchases made at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels and resorts.
Earning Bonvoy Points
The Bonvoy Brilliant Card earns 6 Marriott Bonvoy points for every $1 spent at participating Marriott Bonvoy properties, with no caps or restrictions.
Purchases made at U.S. restaurants and on ?ights booked directly with airlines earn 3 points per $1 spent.
All other purchases earn an unlimited 2 Bonvoy points per $1 spent.
Redeeming Marriott Bonvoy Points
The best way to redeem accumulated Marriott Bonvoy points is for free hotel nights and room upgrades.
Free night redemption minimums start at 7,500 points for budget-friendly Category 1 hotels and rise to 85,000 points for high-end Category 8 hotels, though exact point requirements vary based on season and demand. You can also combine cash and points to accelerate your progress toward free room night redemptions.
Redemption values vary based on the cash price of the room or upgrade, as well as factors like season and demand, but can range as high as $0.025 (and even higher in rare cases). Check Marriott’s terms and conditions for up-to-date, location-specific award information.
Air and Car Redemptions
If you don’t want to redeem them at participating Marriott Bonvoy properties, you can use your accumulated Bonvoy points to redeem for airfare and car rental purchases with participating travel partners.
For a full list of redemption options, check out airandcar.marriott.com. Note that redemption ratios may vary by partner and are subject to change at any time.
Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status
As long as you remain a cardholder in good standing, you enjoy complimentary Gold Elite Status in the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program. Among other things, Gold Elite Status entitles you to:
- Flexible checkout times
- Complimentary room upgrades when available
- 25% more Bonvoy point earnings on stays at participating Marriott Bonvoy properties.
Platinum Elite Status Upgrade
You qualify for a complimentary upgrade to Platinum Elite Status after making at least $75,000 in eligible purchases on your card in a calendar year. Platinum Elite benefits include:
- 50% more Bonvoy point earnings on stays at participating properties
- A welcome gift of your choice at check-in
- Complimentary on-site lounge access where available
- Enhanced room upgrades where available.
Elite Night Credit
For accounts opened after 1/1/19, you (the primary cardholder) will receive a maximum of 15 Elite Night credits for use in conjunction with paid stays toward higher status levels. Elite Night requirements as follows:
- Silver Elite Status: 10 eligible nights (included with Bonvoy Brilliant cardmembership)
- Gold Elite Status: 25 eligible nights (included with cardmembership)
- Platinum Elite Status: 50 eligible nights (included with $75,000 qualifying spend in a calendar year)
- Titanium Elite Status: 75 eligible nights
- Ambassador Elite Status: 100 eligible nights
Complimentary Airport Lounge Access With Priority Pass Select
As a cardholder in good standing, you’re entitled to complimentary airport lounge access through the Priority Pass Select membership program.
Though lounge policies vary by location and are subject to change without warning, membership generally entitles the primary cardholder and two ticketed companions to complimentary access during permitted hours. Additional guests may be permitted for a discounted fee.
Annual Free Night Award
As long as your account remains open and in good standing, you’ll receive one free night award after your account anniversary. This award entitles you to a free night at participating Marriott Bonvoy properties with redemption levels at or below 50,000 points per night. Note that some resort properties charge resort fees that aren’t included in the free night award.
Global Entry or TSA PreCheck Application Fee Discount
You’re entitled to a statement credit once every four years against the full cost of the application fee for either Global Entry ($100 value, subject to change) or TSA PreCheck ($85 value, subject to change). Terms and conditions apply.
As a Bonvoy Brilliant cardholder, you’re entitled to free premium in-room WiFi at all participating Bonvoy properties. You also get complimentary, unlimited access to more than 1 million Boingo WiFi hotspots worldwide, including at airports and train stations.
Additional Travel Benefits
The Bonvoy Brilliant Card has a number of other useful travel benefits not limited to Marriott Bonvoy properties:
- Complimentary loss and damage coverage on rental cars paid for in full with the card
- 24/7 roadside assistance
- 24/7 global assistance for travelers more than 100 miles from home
- Accidental death and dismemberment insurance for traveling cardholders (a form of basic travel insurance)
This card’s non-travel benefits include:
- 12-month extended warranties on all items purchased with original warranties of 5 years or less
- Purchase protection for items stolen or damaged within 90 days of purchase
- Return protection (up to $300 per item) for returns rejected by the original merchant within 90 days of purchase
The annual fee is $450. There is no foreign transaction fee. Cash advances both cost the greater of $5 or 3%.
This card requires excellent credit.
- Very Generous Annual Statement Credit. Bonvoy Brilliant has a very generous annual statement credit offer: up to $300 against eligible Marriott Bonvoy purchases. If you routinely spend on incidentals while staying at Marriott Bonvoy properties, you’ll have no trouble racking up $300 in eligible charges here. It bears mention that this credit alone is enough to offset two-thirds of the $450 annual fee.
- Complimentary Airport Lounge Access Through Priority Pass Select. Thanks to Priority Pass Select, primary cardholders and up to two ticketed companions enjoy complimentary access to hundreds of airport lounges worldwide. Policies vary by lounge, but this benefit is easily worth hundreds per year for frequent flyers who routinely pass through airports with participating lounges.
- Automatic Gold Elite Status. As long as you remain a cardholder in good standing, you’ll enjoy automatic Gold Elite Status with the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program. The signature benefit is a 25% boost to base Bonvoy point earnings, getting you that much closer to free nights at participating properties.
- Potential to Earn Platinum Elite Status With Qualifying Spend. If you can manage to spend at least $75,000 in eligible purchases during a calendar year, you’ll qualify for an upgrade to Platinum Elite Status, which promises even more generous benefits than Gold Elite – including 50% faster base point earnings.
- Free Annual Award Night. You’re entitled to one free annual award night at participating Marriott Bonvoy properties with redemption levels at or below 50,000 points per night. Needless to say, this is a fantastic opportunity to splurge on a hotel or resort that you might otherwise overlook in favor of cheaper digs.
- Redeem for Airfare and Car Rentals. As a Bonvoy Brilliant cardholder, you can redeem your accumulated Bonvoy points with some of the world’s most popular airlines and car rental companies, including Delta and Hertz. Redemption rates vary, but it’s always nice to get a break on your out-of-pocket expenses.
- No Foreign Transaction Fee. This card doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees. That’s good news for international travelers who prefer the Marriott brand. Some competing cards aren’t so generous; foreign transaction fees range up to 3% on some other popular travel cards.
- Nice Fringe Benefits. This card has a nice lineup of fringe benefits, including free WiFi in every participating Marriott Bonvoy hotel room and at every Boingo hotspot worldwide. More bare-bones travel rewards cards don’t have these value-added perks.
- High Annual Fee. The Bonvoy Brilliant card comes with a hefty $450 annual fee. If you don’t stay at Marriott properties often enough to offset this recurring levy, this card probably isn’t for you.
- Not Ideal for Cardholders Who Aren’t Fiercely Loyal to Marriott. This card is designed exclusively for frequent travelers who prefer to stay at Marriott when they’re on the road. If Marriott isn’t your favorite hospitality brand, or you simply prefer more choice, a general-purpose travel card like American Express Platinum might be more your speed.
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card offers generous point values, 1:1 points transfer to many frequent flyer programs, and some other attractive perks. As hotel rewards credit cards go, it’s pretty good.
At the same time, it can’t singlehandedly create Marriott Bonvoy properties in your preferred destinations. If you routinely visit cities or vacation destinations without any participating properties, a different hotel rewards card may be in order. However, if your travel patterns shift into Marriott’s orbits at some point in the future, this popular card will be waiting for you there.