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Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex Card review: Score a free night and other luxury hotel perks

Select reviews the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex Card so you can decide if it's right for you.

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Whether you travel frequently for work or for pleasure, a co-branded hotel credit card that rewards you for your loyalty can be a good addition to your wallet.

Consumers looking for premium travel perks at Marriott properties as well as a competitive rewards program should consider the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card.

Marriott offers several loyalty rewards credit cards, but this one makes the list of our top picks for best hotel credit cards because of the generous hotel benefits.

To make sure you're choosing the best hotel card for your needs, Select analyzed 11 popular hotel credit cards that offer high rewards rates on purchases made with the brand. We compared each card on a range of features, including travel rewards, annual fee, welcome bonus, introductory and standard APR, one-time perks, annual perks, redemption rates, as well as factors such as required credit and customer reviews when available. (See our methodology for more information on how we choose the best cards.)

Below, we break down Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card's rewards, benefits and fees to help you decide if it's the right card for you.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card review

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

On the American Express secure site
  • Rewards

    6X Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar spent on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program, 3X points at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines, 2X points on all other eligible purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new card to make $3,000 in purchases on the card within the first 3 months.

  • Annual Fee

    $450

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    16.49% - 25.49% variable on purchases

  • Balance transfer fee

    N/A

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

Pros

  • Up to $300 in statement credits annually for expenses at restaurants, spas and other establishments at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program
  • $100 property credit on a two-night minimum stay at the Ritz-Carlton® or St. Regis®
  • One free night award every year after your card renewal month (redemption level at or under 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points and certain hotels charge additional resort fees) at a participating hotel.
  • Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status, which can be upgraded to Platinum Elite status after you spend $75,000 in a calendar year
  • Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit of up to $100 every four years

Cons

  • High $450 annual fee
  • No introductory 0% APR
  • Estimated points earned after 1 year: 50,955
  • Estimated points earned after 5 years: 254,775

Rewards totals incorporate the points earned from the welcome bonus

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card rewards

A card like the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card stands out because of its numerous benefits for hotel guests.

The rewards rate is higher when compared to the other two Marriott Bonvoy cards: Earn 6X Marriott Bonvoy points for every dollar spent on eligible purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels, 3X points per $1 spent at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines and 2X points per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases.

The card's welcome bonus allows new cardholders to earn 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new card to make $3,000 in purchases on the card within the first 3 months.

In addition to redeeming points for hotel rooms, airfare and car rentals, cardholders can use points for VIP access to entertainment, lifestyle, sports and culinary events through Marriott Bonvoy Moments.

Additional benefits

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card has a wide variety of premium perks that allow you to travel in luxury and benefit from insurance and purchase protections. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Up to $300 statement credit for Marriott Bonvoy hotels: Receive up to $300 in statement credits annually for incidentals, including charges at restaurants, spas and other establishments within Marriott Bonvoy hotels.
  • Up to $100 property credit: Guests staying two nights or more at the Ritz-Carlton® or St. Regis® properties get an additional $100 property credit.
  • A complimentary night: No spending required, the free night award is given every year after your card renewal month and can be redeemed for hotels worth up to 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. Certain hotels may charge additional resort fees.
  • Up to $100 for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee: Receive a statement credit for Global Entry every 4 years or TSA PreCheck every 4.5 years. (Read how to apply for Global Entry.)
  • Priority Pass™ Select membership: Access for you and two guests to over 1,200 airport lounges in more than 130 countries ($429 value).
  • Travel protection: Car rental insurance for theft and damage, as well as insurance for lost, damaged or stolen baggage.
  • ShopRunner free shipping: Complimentary ShopRunner membership, which gets you free two-day shipping at more than 100 online stores.
  • Return Protection: Return eligible items to American Express up to 90 days from the date of purchase, if you made the purchase with your Amex card.
  • Cardmember-only events: Check out Broadway shows and concert tours, family and sporting events, and more.

Terms apply for all benefits.

Fees

The card comes with a steep *$450 annual fee, but the benefits help to offset that cost.

There is no introductory 0% APR period, and the regular variable *APR is 16.49% - 25.49% on new purchases. Travelers staying overseas can take advantage of *no foreign transaction fees, which is a huge plus when venturing abroad.

*See rates and fees.

Bottom line

If you're a frequent traveler and enjoy staying at one of the many properties underneath the Marriott Bonvoy umbrella, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card is a great choice. The high rewards rate, many luxury perks and statement credits offered help offset the cost of the card. Frequent fliers can take advantage of the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck statement credit.

But if you are looking for a Marriott credit card with no annual fee, the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card from Chase lets you earn 3X Marriott Bonvoy points at participating hotels, 2X points on travel and 1X point on all other eligible purchases.

Our methodology

To determine which cards will put the most money back in your pocket, Select evaluated popular rewards credit cards offered by major banks, financial companies and credit unions that allow anyone to join and offer bonus rewards on hotel-related purchases. We compared each card on a range of features, including travel rewards (points and miles), annual fee, welcome bonus, introductory and standard APR, one-time perks, annual perks, redemption rates, as well as factors such as required credit and customer reviews when available.

Select teamed up with location intelligence firm Esri. The company's data development team provided the most up-to-date and comprehensive consumer spending data based on the 2019 Consumer Expenditure Surveys from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. You can read more about their methodology here.

Esri's data team created a sample annual budget of approximately $22,126 in retail spending. The budget includes six main categories: groceries ($5,174), gas ($2,218), dining out ($3,675), travel ($2,244), utilities ($4,862) and general purchases ($3,953). General purchases include items such as housekeeping supplies, clothing, personal care products, prescription drugs and vitamins, and other vehicle expenses. Select used this budget to compare cards that reward specific purchases and estimate how many rewards the average consumer might earn.

We then estimated how many points the average consumer could earn over the course of a year, two years and five years, assuming they would attempt to maximize their rewards potential by earning all welcome bonuses offered and using the card for all applicable purchases.

For co-branded hotel cards, we only calculated the estimated number of points you can earn after one and five years. The dollar value of points depends on whether you redeem them for hotel stays, merchandise, gift cards and more.

It's important to note the value of a point or mile varies from card to card and based on how you redeem them, and this is especially true for co-branded hotel rewards cards.

Our final picks are weighted heavily toward the highest five-year returns, since it's generally wise to hold onto a credit card for years. This method also avoids giving an unfair advantage to cards with large welcome bonuses.

While the five-year estimates we've included are derived from a budget similar to the average American's spending, you may earn a higher or lower return depending on your travel habits.

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

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.