9 Ways to Maximize the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant AmEx

Paying the steep annual fee can provide loads of value if you get the most out of the card during Marriott stays.
How to get the most from the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card

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The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card offers solid perks, like Priority Pass lounge access (enrollment required) and an annual $300 Marriott statement credit. Of all the Marriott cards, this card offers the most luxurious perks, and accordingly, has a $450 annual fee to match.

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card is designed for travelers looking to maximize their Marriott Bonvoy benefits. If you’re considering applying, here are nine ways to get the most out of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card. Terms apply.

How to maximize your Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

1. Earn the welcome bonus

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card comes with an attractive welcome bonus: Earn 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points and a bonus Free Night Award after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Resort fees may apply. Terms apply. Offer expires 11/3/2021.

That’s enough for a free night (with some of points leftover) at a luxury resort like the Ritz-Carlton in Half Moon Bay, California, where you’ll need from 50,000 to 70,000 Bonvoy points for an award night, depending on when you travel.

To get the most value from your points, compare the cash price. A recent search for this Ritz-Carlton showed rooms starting at $809 per night. Dividing the cash rate by a 60,000-per-night points rate shows you’re getting about 1.3 cents per point. That’s a high-value redemption since the average value of Marriott Bonvoy points is about 0.7 cent each.

2. Enroll for Priority Pass lounge access

Your Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card comes with a membership to Priority Pass Select, a network that includes more than 1,300 airport lounges across the globe. Before you fly, visit the Priority Pass website to find out whether your departure terminal has a participating lounge. If it does, your Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card gets you and up to two guests into the lounge at no charge — a value of about $50 per person, depending on the lounge. Terms apply.

You can also add your Priority Pass card information to the Priority Pass app, which you will have to present at the lounge when you visit. The app is pretty handy, especially if you forget your Priority Pass card at home when traveling.

3. Use your $300 annual statement credit on hotel purchases

Another annual benefit of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card is the $300 statement credit that offsets charges made at Marriott hotels. Just use the card to pay for a stay at any of over 7,000 participating Marriott properties, and a credit of up to $300 will appear on your statement. This credit can cover the cost of the room and incidentals, like dining and spa services, when you charge them to your room. Terms apply.

4. Use the $100 property credit at St. Regis or Ritz-Carlton

If you’re a fan of high-end properties like St. Regis or Ritz-Carlton, use your Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card to book your reservation and you'll earn a $100 property credit. To qualify, you will need to book a two-night minimum stay and use the member rate called "$100 Property Credit, Luxury Credit Card Rate." Terms apply.

Nerdy tip: The credit could be used each time you book a two-night stay at one of these hotels.

5. Earn up to 6 points per $1 on bonus categories

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card offers bonus points on specific bonus categories:

  • Participating Marriott hotels: 6 points per $1.

  • Restaurants in the U.S.: 3 points per $1.

  • Flights booked directly with an airline: 3 points per $1.

  • All other purchases made with the card: 2 points per $1.

Terms apply.

If you’re fond of Marriott properties, this card will help you get the most bang for your buck on paid hotel stays. But even when you’re not traveling, you can accelerate earning of points by using the card at restaurants and everywhere else you make purchases.

6. Enroll in Marriott Gold Elite status

This card gives you automatic Gold Elite status in the Marriott Bonvoy program, which provides benefits like:

  • 25% more points earned on every paid stay.

  • 2 p.m. late checkout, when available.

  • Complimentary room upgrades, when available.

Normally, you would have to stay 25 nights in Marriott properties in a year to reach this status level. Terms apply.

Savvy cardholders use the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card to climb to an even higher elite status level. Every calendar year, cardholders receive 15 elite night credits that can be applied to the next level of Bonvoy status. Combine these with elite night credits you earn by staying at Marriott family properties, and you can get to Platinum or Titanium status faster. Once at these levels, you'll enjoy enhanced perks, like 50% or 75% bonus points on every paid stay (respectively) and a gift at check-in. Terms apply.

7. Earn an annual free night award worth 50,000 points

Each year after your card anniversary, you'll receive a free night award certificate that can be used at participating Marriott hotels — though you will still have to pay resort fees if applicable. To earn this award, keep your card account open for a year or more and pay the annual fee. This perk is good at Marriott properties costing 50,000 or fewer Bonvoy points per night. Terms apply.

8. Get reimbursed for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck

Use your Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card to pay the application fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck and you’ll get reimbursed up to $100. You can use this benefit once every four years when you reapply for Global Entry or every 4 1/2 years when you reapply for TSA PreCheck. Terms apply.

9. Get travel insurance coverage

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card comes with trip cancellation, trip interruption, trip delay, baggage insurance, car rental loss and damage, purchase protection, extended warranty, return protection and access to the Premium Global Assist® Hotline. To receive coverage, make sure that you use the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card to book your trip. Terms apply.

Maximizing the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card is a great option for Marriott loyalists looking to get even more from their travels. While the annual fee is steep, the high welcome offer combined with Priority Pass lounge access (enrollment required), the $300 annual statement credit and the 50,000-point anniversary free night award can offset that cost. Terms apply.

To view rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, see this page.


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