Advertiser Disclosure

5 Things to Know About the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card

July 16, 2019
Credit Cards, Rewards Credit Cards, Travel Credit Cards
GettyImages_677675328_Story.jpg
At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

As the most high-end member of the Marriott Bonvoy credit card family, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card offers Bonvoy devotees, frequent travelers and big spenders a selection of luxurious benefits.

How this card compares with more down-to-earth options depends on how likely you’d be to take advantage of all the extras it provides. Here are five things to know about the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best hotel credit cards

1. The annual fee is substantial …

A premium travel card comes with a premium price, and in the case of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, you’ll pay a hefty $450 per year. Before signing up for such a high fee, consider how committed you are to the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program. Do you travel often, and do you stay almost exclusively at Marriott Bonvoy properties when you do? If so, it’ll be easier for you to extract the maximum value out of this card. If not, other travel rewards cards may be a better fit.

» MORE: Is it worth paying an annual fee for a credit card?

2. … but it offers plenty of goodies to offset the cost

If you’ve taken up residence at more Residence Inns than you can count, several perks of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card will help you recoup what you spend on the annual fee:

  • Up to $300 in statement credits per anniversary year for eligible purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels.
  • A free night award following each cardmember anniversary (translation: each time you pay the annual fee again).
  • A $100 credit for qualifying charges when you book a minimum two-night stay at a Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis hotel. You must book the stay on marriottbonvoy.com, or by calling Marriott Bonvoy directly, and indicate that you’re using the member rate named “$100 Property Credit, Luxury Credit Card Rate.”
  • A Priority Pass Select membership, giving you access to more than 1,000 airport lounges worldwide. In lounges that allow guests, you can bring up to two for no additional charge.
  • A credit covering the application fee for Global Entry or TSA Precheck. This is valued at $100 or $85, respectively. You’ll be eligible for the credit every four years for Global Entry or every four-and-a-half years for TSA Precheck.
  • Terms apply.

» MORE: TSA Precheck vs. Global Entry: Which is right for you?

3. You’ll also get serious point-earning potential

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card offers several ways to supersize your stash of points:

  • Earn 75,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after you spend $3,000 in the first three months. Terms apply. (This is the card’s welcome offer as of Oct. 16, 2019.)
  • Earn 6 points per dollar on eligible purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels.
  • Earn 3 points per dollar spent at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines.
  • Earn 2 points per dollar everywhere else.
  • Terms apply.

Marriott Bonvoy points are worth 0.8 cents apiece, according to NerdWallet valuations.

4. Other traveler-friendly benefits abound, too

As a cardholder, you’ll get complimentary Gold Elite status, which grants you late checkout, room upgrades when available, a 25% point bonus on eligible hotel purchases, a dedicated reservation line and more. Spend $75,000 on your card in a calendar year and you’ll attain Platinum Elite status — it’s everything you’d get with Gold Elite status plus even later checkout, a 50% point bonus on eligible hotel purchases, a welcome gift upon check-in and access to special hotel lounges.

The card also earns you credit for 15 nights toward the next level of Marriott Bonvoy Elite status per calendar year.

With no foreign transaction fee and protections like rental car insurance, coverage for lost luggage, roadside assistance and access to the Premium Global Assist Hotline 24 hours a day, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card is an ideal travel companion. Keep in mind that American Express cards aren’t accepted as widely outside the U.S. as Visas or Mastercards, so bring a backup credit card when you’re overseas.

Terms apply.

» MORE: 9 credit card tips to take with you overseas

5. This isn’t an ideal card if you carry a balance or pay late

With a variable APR ranging from 17.49% to 26.49% and no introductory 0% APR period for new purchases or balance transfers, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card is geared toward those who don’t plan to carry a balance from month to month. And take care to avoid making a late payment because this card not only charges a late fee of up to $39, it also will raise your APR to 29.99% until you make six months’ worth of on-time payments. Terms apply.

Information related to the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card. 

About the author