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Credit cards with high annual fees fall into two categories: Practical and blingy. The blingy cards aim squarely for high-net-worth types looking for luxury perks and prestige. The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card lands firmly in the “practical” category: A card that carries a hefty $450 annual fee but can pay for itself, even for frugal types. Use it wisely and perks like the $300 Marriott statement credit and free anniversary night can more than make up for the annual fee. Here are the most valuable benefits of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card.
75,000 point welcome offer
For just about any travel rewards credit card, welcome bonuses are the biggest draw. The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card will pay you an impressive 75,000 points after you spend $3,000 in the first three months after account opening. That’s good for up to two nights at a lot of mid-range properties, like the Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay. Or redeem them for one night at a luxury property like the King George Hotel in Athens. Terms apply.
» Learn more: Here's how much your points and miles are worth
Annual $300 Marriott statement credit
Here’s where regular guests of Marriott family properties can earn back the bulk of that annual fee: Book a hotel stay at any participating Marriott property and the first $300 you spend at the resort will be credited back to you. That includes incidental charges at the hotel’s restaurants, spas and other establishments within the property.
If you’re pretty sure you’ll spend at least $300 at a Marriott family hotel or resort every year, this credit puts the annual cost of card membership solidly in the competitive range. If, on the other hand, you’re not sure you’ll stay at a Marriott every year, consider this a gamble. Terms apply.
» Learn more: Marriott Rewards program: The complete guide
Free anniversary night certificate
Every year on your card member anniversary, you’ll earn a certificate good for a free night at any Marriott property normally redeemable for 50,000 points per night or less. For luxury connoisseurs who do not settle for anything less than the finest hotels, this perk can be disappointing, as the 50,000-point level excludes top-tier hotels. Terms apply.
For the rest of us who are perfectly happy to stay at mid-range Marriotts and Sheratons, it’s a boon. And for those of us privy to some truly great properties where these free nights can be redeemed, like the beachfront Sheraton Kauai in Hawaii, it’s even better.
» Learn more: Travel loyalty program reviews
$100 property credit for qualifying Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis stays
Speaking of those luxury connoisseurs, this card carries a perk just for them: $100 property credit to be used for things like couples’ massages, in-room champagne or any other charges during a qualifying 2-night stay at a St. Regis or Ritz-Carlton property. It’s practically in invitation to indulge. Terms apply.
» Learn more: Find the best hotel credit card for you
6 points per $1 on Marriott purchases
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card earns 6 points per $1 spent at Marriott hotels. Those points are on top of the 2.5 - 10 Bonvoy points per $1 members earn through the Marriott Bonvoy program. The card also comes with Gold Elite status, which earns 25% bonus points on paid stays. In other words, cardholders can earn reward nights faster. It’s yet another reason why anyone who’s already a regular with Marriott should take a close look at this card. Terms apply.
All information about the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card has been collected independently by NerdWallet. The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card is no longer available through NerdWallet.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2020, including those best for:
Airline miles and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
Flat-rate rewards with no annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Premium travel rewards: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice: Find the best hotel credit card for you Which Marriott Bonvoy credit card should I choose? Benefits of Marriott Bonvoy credit cards