If you frequently stay at Marriott hotels, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card is a great opportunity to make your stays more luxurious and accelerate your rewards. It earns 6 points per dollar spent at Marriott hotels, 3 points per dollar spent on airline tickets and at US restaurants, and 2 point per dollar spent everywhere else. You'll also earn a free night certificate every year after your account anniversary and an annual $300 credit toward hotel purchases. The Bonvoy Brilliant card also provides some helpful protections, including baggage insurance, rental car protection, and a host of purchase protections. Read more personal finance coverage.
If Marriott is your hotel brand of choice and you know you'll be spending at least $300 on Marriott stays each year, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex could improve your stays. Not only do you get a $300 annual credit toward hotel purchases including room rates, but you also get complimentary Marriott Gold status, 6x points on Marriott stays, and a slew of travel and purchase protections. Keep reading to see if this card is right for you. Keep in mind that we're focusing on the rewards and perks that make these credit cards great options, not things like interest rates and late fees, which can far outweigh the value of any rewards. When you're working to earn credit card rewards, it's important to practice financial discipline, like paying your balances off in full each month, making payments on time, and not spending more than you can afford to pay back. Basically, treat your credit card like a debit card. Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card details Annual fee: $450 Welcome bonus: 75,000 points when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months Points earning: 6 points per dollar spent at participating Marriott properties; 3 points per dollar spent at US restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines; 2 points everywhere else Foreign transaction fee: None Welcome bonus and points earning You'll earn 75,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points when you use the card to make $3,000 in purchases during the first three months of cardmembership. Read more: The best credit card welcome bonuses available now In addition, you'll earn 6 points per dollar spent on purchases at participating Marriott hotels; 3 points per dollar spent at US restaurants and on airline tickets purchased directly from the airline; and 2 points per dollar spent everywhere else. Annual fee and other charges The Bonvoy Brilliant card has a $450 annual fee. While that may seem high, it's easy to get a ton of value out of the card for even occasional Marriott guests. It also has no foreign transaction fees, so using this card is a great way to avoid extra charges when traveling abroad. Read more: If you only want to $450+ for one premium credit card, which should you choose? Free nights and credits at Marriott hotels Every year after your account anniversary, you'll receive a free night award valid at properties charging up to 50,000 points per night. Depending on when you travel, that could get you a night at up to a Category 7 property (Marriott's second-highest tier of hotels). You'll also receive a $300 credit every year valid for eligible purchases made directly at Marriott hotels, including room rates and incidentals. This benefit starts as soon as you open the card, so as long as you spend at least $300 per year at Marriott hotels, this alone offsets most of the card's annual fee. Holding the Bonvoy Brilliant card also gives you access to an exclusive rate for stays of two nights or more at The Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis hotels and resorts, which includes a $100 credit toward room service, spa treatments, and other qualifying purchases. Redeeming your Marriott Bonvoy points You can redeem your Marriott Bonvoy points and free night rewards at over 7,000 participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels in cities around the world. Award nights start as low as 4,000 points per night, and if you use your points to book a night of 5 nights or more, you'll get the least expensive night for free. This discount is automatically calculated when you search for a stay of 5 or more nights on marriott.com. Additionally, Marriott Bonvoy allows you to transform your points into frequent flyer miles with over 40 partner airlines — more than any other loyalty program. You'll receive 1,000 airline miles for every 3,000 miles transferred, with a 5,000 mile bonus for every 60,000 points (so 60,000 points becomes 25,000 airline miles). Transfers to United Airlines MileagePlus get an extra 10% bonus. Marriott Bonvoy elite status As long as you are a Bonvoy Brilliant cardholder, you'll receive automatic Gold elite status in the Marriott Bonvoy program, which includes the following benefits:
25% bonus points on stays at Marriott properties Enhanced room upgrades A welcome gift of 250 or 500 bonus points at check-in Late checkout, subject to availability Complimentary enhanced in-room internet access
The card also helps you climb toward higher levels of elite status, providing 15 qualifying nights every year just for having the card. You can also obtain complimentary Platinum elite status by spending $75,000 on the card in a calendar year. Other travel benefits Priority Pass Select Sign up for complimentary access to Priority Pass' network of over 1,200 airport lounges in more than 120 countries. Global Entry/TSA PreCheck enrollment credit The primary cardmember and each authorized user receives a credit toward enrollment in Global Entry ($100) or TSA PreCheck ($85), making your travel experience easier. This credit can be used once every five years (exact dates vary by program) so as long as you have the card you'll never have to pay to maintain your membership in these trusted traveler programs. Read more: Credit cards that will reimburse your Global Entry fee credit Car rental loss and damage insurance When you use your Bonvoy Brilliant card to reserve and pay for a car rental, you may be covered against loss or damage of the vehicle. This coverage is secondary, and does not provide liability insurance. Baggage Insurance Plan When you purchase a ticket on an airline or other common carrier with your Bonvoy Brilliant card, you'll be covered for eligible lost, damaged, or stolen baggage up to $3,000 per trip. Travel accident insurance If the unthinkable happens to you or a loved one on a trip you booked with your Bonvoy Brilliant card, you'll be eligible for up to $500,000 in death and dismemberment insurance for you and each of your additional cardmembers, the spouse or domestic partner of each cardholder, and any of their children under age 23. Purchase protection The Bonvoy Brilliant card offers a host of valuable benefits for purchases made with your card. If you try to return an item purchased with the card within 90 days of purchase and the merchant won't accept it, American Express provides coverage of up to $300 per purchase and $1000 per year. Your purchases are also covered against accidental damage or theft for 120 days, up to $10,000 per claim and up to $50,000 per account. And if you buy something with a manufacturer's warranty of less than 5 years, American Express will double it (up to 2 additional years), with the same dollar limits. Bottom line The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card can be a great deal for frequent Marriott guests. The $450 annual fee may seem steep at first, but it's easily offset by the $300 annual credit and the annual free night award, before even considering the value of the elite status and other benefits received from the card. Click here to learn more about the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card.
More credit card coverage What's the best airline credit card? The best cash-back credit cards Southwest credit card review Best rewards credit cards Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Here's what airlines legally owe you if you're bumped off a flight
More like this (3)
The best ways to use a Marriott Bonvoy 35,000-point free night certificate — from upscale beach destinations to luxury international hotels
Summary List Placement Some Marriott cards come with an annual free hotel night certificate worth...Summary List Placement Some Marriott cards come with an annual free hotel night certificate worth up to 35,000 points. This includes the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card and Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card. It's easy to get a value well above the card's annual fee if you redeem at pricey Category 5 hotels. Read Insider's guide to the best hotel credit cards....
How to earn, redeem, and maximize Marriott Bonvoy points — from luxury resort stays to dozens of airline partners, you can't beat the flexibility
Summary List Placement The Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program includes over 7,000 properties across 32 brands worldwide,...Summary List Placement The Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program includes over 7,000 properties across 32 brands worldwide, so it's easy to find a Marriott hotel just about anywhere you go. It's easy to earn Marriott points from paid stays or with co-branded credit cards, including the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card and Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card. The Bonvoy program is one of...
The Chase Ink business cards all come with hefty sign-up bonuses, and the best one depends mostly on how you spend and travel
Summary List Placement The Ink Business Cash® Credit Card and the Ink Business Unlimited® Credit...Summary List Placement The Ink Business Cash® Credit Card and the Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card recently came out with increased limited-time bonus offers. With either card, you can earn $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Meanwhile, the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card is offering 100,000 points after spending $15,000 on...