Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Review: Luxurious Benefits, Price Tag to Match

You'll get a massive welcome bonus, solid rewards, multiple statement credits, elite status, lounge access and more, in exchange for a $450 annual fee. Terms apply.
Sara RathnerOct 21, 2020

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Our Take

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line: The card’s perks help offset its large annual fee, but only if you use them. Frequent travelers who are loyal to Marriott Bonvoy will benefit most.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card

on American Express's website

Annual fee

$450

Regular APR

15.74% - 24.74% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

Quick FactsView rates and fees

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Anniversary perk
  • High rewards rate
  • Automatic elite status
  • Luxury perks

Cons

  • High annual fee
  • Rewards have limited flexibility
  • Lower acceptance abroad

Alternate Pick: More flexibility

Chase Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card
NerdWallet rating 

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Similar high-end perks

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus, get a $300 annual travel credit, credit toward TSA Precheck or Global Entry, airport lounge access and more. Points are worth 50% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. The annual fee is $550.

Read our review

Compare to Other Cards

NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Annual fee

$450

Annual fee

$95

Annual fee

$0

Regular APR

15.74% - 24.74% Variable APR

Rates & Fees

Regular APR

15.99% - 22.99% Variable APR

Regular APR

15.99% - 22.99% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score

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Full Review

As the most high-end member of the Marriott Bonvoy credit card family, the 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.

The massive annual fee can be tough to budget for, but if you have the habit of extracting every last drop of value out of a premium , you’ll easily find ways to offset that yearly cost.

To view rates and fees of the , see .

Card type: .

Annual fee: .

Welcome bonus:

Ongoing rewards:

Rewards earned by using the credit card are in addition to points you earn as a member of the Marriott Bonvoy program.

Marriott points at  each. This is a baseline value, drawn from real-world data, not a maximized value. In other words, you should aim for award redemptions that offer  or more in value from your Marriott points.

Redemption options:

Foreign transaction fee: None.

Other benefits:

» MORE:

The card's welcome bonus is rich indeed. It could translate to, say, a three-night stay at a Category 5 or 6 property, depending on when you travel. Or, alternately, you could use those points toward several nights at lower-tier Marriott hotels.

On an ongoing basis, the doubles as a travel and dining card, earning 6 points per $1 spent at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels, 3 points per $1 spent at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines, and 2 points per $1 on everything else. Terms apply.

Points aside, the card's perks alone can make up for its annual fee, assuming you can use them:

» MORE:

Enjoy Gold Elite status, which gives you a 25% point bonus on eligible hotel purchases, along with things like room upgrades, late checkout and more. Terms apply.

Get reimbursement for nonrefundable travel costs if your trip is delayed or canceled for a covered reason. The also includes , a 24/7 global assistance hotline, and coverage if your baggage is lost, damaged or stolen. Terms apply.

Purchases you make with the are covered for up to 90 days if they’re lost, stolen or damaged, or if the seller won’t let you return the item. Covered purchases are also eligible for an extended warranty. Terms apply.

Any is worth notice, but is impossible to ignore. If that’s a dealbreaker for you, other Marriott Bonvoy cards offer some of the same benefits at a lower cost. The -annual-fee offers this sign-up bonus: Terms apply.

With a annual fee, the comes with a more modest welcome offer. Terms apply.

Here are other ways the cards compare:

The main way to redeem your points is on free nights at Marriott Bonvoy properties. When you book four consecutive nights, you get a fifth night free. You can also use them to book airfare or car rentals through Marriott’s Air+Car program, or transfer them to one of Marriott Bonvoy’s airline partners (typically at a rate of 3 points per mile). Hotel credit cards are more valuable if you consistently stay at the hotel brand’s properties. If you prefer the freedom to apply rewards to other hotel brands, or other types of travel expenses, consider a general travel rewards credit card.

The offers fanciness with flexibility. It comes with a $300 annual travel credit, travel protections, a statement credit for TSA Precheck or Global Entry, airport lounge access and more. When you redeem points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, your points are worth 50% more. . The annual fee is .

The has a lower annual fee, and it also offers a credit toward TSA Precheck or Global Entry, plus a rich sign-up bonus. You can redeem points for a wide variety of travel expenses, including airfare, hotels, trains, rental cars, limos, buses, cruises, cabs, travel agents and timeshares.

If you’re loyal to Marriott Bonvoy and plan to use many of the benefits the card offers, the super-high annual fee can absolutely be worth it. But if you’re not going to be able to enjoy everything the card offers, look elsewhere (check our list of ).

To view rates and fees of the , see . To view rates and fees of the , see .

Frequently asked questions