Amex Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Review

American Express has rolled out a number of newly branded Marriott credit cards that provides some great ways to benefit from your Marriot stay.

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American Express has rolled out a number of newly branded Marriott credit cards that provides some great ways to benefit from your Marriot stay.  However, with the recent Marriott hotel credit card promotion of 100,000 points, there seems to be more incentive than ever to apply.

With the recent Starwood and Marriott hotel merger, the minted Bonvoy loyalty program creates a new reward system and consolidation of the 2 hotel credit cards and reward programs.  This includes the new Amex Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant, which is one of the Marriott co-branded hotel credit cards that cater to higher spenders, especially with a hefty $450 annual fee.

However, if you pay close to the details, the benefits may outweigh the costs.

Benefits

Anniversary Free Night Award

The unique advantage of the Bonvoy Brilliant is that it can allow you to redeem a property up to 50,000 points.  Unlike the other Bonvoy cards, one can obtain upscale properties like the Swan and Dolphin at Disney World or the Westin Grand New York Central.

Yearly $300 Marriott Statement Credit

The $300 Marriott statement credit includes expenses in Marriott hotel charges.  What’s even more interesting is that it works with room rates.  It can pay for the nights you stay at a Marriott.  This makes the net effective fee only $150 per year, if you can utilize the $300 credit.

Gold Elite Status or Platinum Elite Status with $75,000 spend

The card also adds a nice perk of Marriott Gold status.  Although Gold status may not be what it used to, it provides small perks such as late checkout and increases bonus points on stays.

If you spend at least $75,000 on a credit card, you can obtain Marriott Platinum status.  This may be huge if you’re looking for great perks like lounge access.

Priority Pass Membership

Priority Pass memberships provide users access globally to various airport lounges.  Although this benefit is found in many premium cards, it still might benefit some cardholders.

TSA PreCheck & Global Entry

Every four years, users get a credit on TSA PreCheck or Global Entry.   TSA PreCheck allows you to get into a faster line for TSA checks and Global Entry expedites entry into US Customs.

Additional Points

Like many hotel credit cards, cardholders can get accelerated bonus points for specific credit card

  • 6x for Marriott Properties
  • 3x for US Restaurants and flights booked directly with an airline
  • 2x on all other eligible purchases

Cons

Fee

The $450 annual fee may be the most notable deterrent of this card. If you need to justify the hefty fee, you might want to consider the annual hotel certificate and the $300 hotel credit as to how it can negate some of the costs.

Annual Certificate

Although the annual certificate sounds enticing and that it may offset the annual fee, the max 50,000 points for the certificate may not be so lucrative.  Some may argue you can get great premium hotels with the 50,000 points.  However, I find that worthwhile destinations are mainly overseas.

Ask yourself if the 50,000 points can generate at least a $150 value.  If so, you might net positive after the $450 annual fee.

Card Application

You can obtain the Marriott Bonvoy card through the American Express website.  The typical credit score should be at least 700.

Make sure that you haven’t opened up too many American Express credit cards.  Amex can deny your application if you had to applications.

Who It’s For

If you’re a frequent traveler or a person who mainly stays at Marriott hotel destinations, including the former Starwood properties, the card may be right for you. For people who stay at least 4 times a year in a Marriott, the card could generate positive returns.

This means if you spend at least $300 dollars and can find value with your annual certificate, you will at least break even each year.

Summary

Keep in mind the Marriott credit card bonus points of 100,000 is short term.  Some argue that this deal is rare.  However, I find that Marriott, in conjunction with the banks, will occasionally come out with promotional deals like this.  It might make sense to wait until you see this offer again.

For the Marriott fans out there, this is a card that might help you maximize returns on points and value.  The card clearly has some benefits that might make it worthwhile to keep for the long term.