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Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card review

A stellar addition to the premium-travel-card market with a welcome offer worth $1,500.

finder.com’s rating: 4.6 / 5

★★★★★

  • Get this card if Marriott Bonvoy is a major part of your regular travel plans.
  • Pick something else if you want generalized, flexible travel rewards or prefer staying with a different hotel group.
  • Apply with an excellent credit score of 740 or higher.

150,000

Points as welcome offer

Up to 6x

Points

$450

Annual fee

15.74% to 24.74%

Purchase APR (variable)

Details

Annual fee$450
Welcome offerLimited Time Offer: 150,000 points and a bonus Free Night Award after spending $5,000 in eligible purchases in the first 3 months. Resort fees may apply, offer expires 11/3/2021
Rewards6x Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program, 3x at US restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines and 2x points on all other eligible purchases
Purchase APR15.74% to 24.74% variable
Balance transfer APRN/A
Minimum Credit Score740
Avatar

Review by


Kevin Joey Chen is a credit cards, banking and investments writer whose work and analysis have appeared on CNN, U.S. News & World Report, Business.com, Lifehacker and CreditCards.com. He's passionate about helping you get your finances in order by expertly navigating cutting-edge financial tools — including credit cards, apps and budgeting software.

Expert review

There’s long been stiff competition among premium travel cards, especially thanks to the superb options offered by leading providers. Now, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card has entered the field following the merging of Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) and Marriott Rewards into Marriott Bonvoy. The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card carries a $450 annual fee, earns 6x points at Marriott properties, 3x points at US restaurants and flights booked directly with airlines and 2x on everything else. It also offers an excellent limited time welcome offer of 150,000 points and one Free Night Award after you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months. This offer expires November 3, 2021 and resort fees may be applied on your Free Night.

There’s good news: You’ll find tremendous value for the price. The card can pay for itself with just a few of its benefits. The card’s annual $300 statement credit immediately takes a bite out of what you owe on the annual fee. The card’s annual free night award and complimentary Priority Pass membership more than cover the rest, allowing you to worry less about covering the fee and more on enjoying your perks. Just be sure to enroll in your Amex account to access these perks.

Not surprisingly, the card’s rewards are most impressive for frequent travelers. But a notably deft touch is elevated rewards for dining, which makes it competitive with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

If you’re a dedicated Marriott Bonvoy member, this card is more than worth a spot in your wallet and likely your best choice out of the three Marriott options.

How to apply for the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

To apply for the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, you must be at least 18 years old and a US resident. You’ll also need to provide information such as your name, email and phone number, Social Security number and date of birth, your home address, and your total annual income and income source.

  1. Click Apply now.
  2. Fill out the application form with details like your name, contact information, Social Security number and total annual income.
  3. Review your application and submit it.

    What credit score do I need

    For better odds of approval, consider applying with an excellent credit score of 740 or higher. Remember that when you apply with a better score, you’re more likely to receive a lower APR, which can be handy if you’re planning on carrying a balance.

    How long will it take to get my Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card?

    Applications are generally processed automatically, meaning you can get a decision within just a few minutes. In some cases you may need to provide additional information, which can delay getting an answer by anywhere from a few business days to a few weeks. Once you’re approved for the card, you’ll likely receive it and any welcome materials in the mail within seven to 10 days.

    Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card benefits

    • Welcome offer: For a limited time, you can earn 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points and a bonus Free Night Award after you spend $5,000 in eligible purchases using your new card within the first 3 months of card membership. This offer expires November 3, 2021. Resort fees may apply.
    • Rewards: Up to 6x points. Earn 6x points at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels. This was the rate you’d receive before SPG and Marriott Rewards merged in August 2018, and it’s still a strong one.Earn 3x points at US restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines. On all other eligible purchases, you’ll earn 2x points. Redeem points for reward nights at Marriott Bonvoy hotels, as well as car rentals and flights through the airline program. For all of your redemption options, check out our Marriott award chart. You can also transfer points to miles with over 40 airlines, including Delta, Emirates, United and more.
    • Free Night Award. Each year after your card anniversary, you’ll receive a Free Night Award. You can use it for a night at a participating hotel that has a redemption level at or under 50,000 points.Currently, complimentary nights range in cost from 7,500 to 85,000 points.
    • Credits toward higher Elite status. Each calendar year, you’ll receive a 15-night credit to help you reach the next level of Elite status.You’ll need to link your card account to a Marriott Loyalty Program in your name.
    • No foreign transaction fees. Use your card abroad or at foreign websites without paying a fee. This is standard across travel cards.
    • Complimentary Wi-Fi. After enrolling, you’ll receive unlimited Wi-Fi through more than a million Boingo hotspots around the world. You’ll also receive complimentary in-room, premium Internet access when you stay at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels.
    • Travel benefits. Enjoy car rental insurance and lost luggage insurance. Get access to the Premium Global Assist Hotline as well, which can connect you to medical and professional services when you’re in a pinch on vacation.
    • Shopping and entertainment benefits. Access ticket presales and select events in your area.
    • ShopRunner. You’ll receive free two-day shipping on eligible items at over 140 online stores in the ShopRunner network with this complimentary membership. Access Shoprunner by enrolling in your Amex account.
    • $300 in Marriott Bonvoy statement credit. Each card year, you’ll receive $300 in statement credit for eligible purchases you make at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels. This is an excellent perk that can largely offset the card’s annual fee, depending on how you take advantage of the Amex credit.
    • Priority Pass™ Select membership. You’ll receive a complimentary membership in Priority Pass Select. Once you enroll, you’ll enjoy complimentary access to over 1,000 airport lounges around the world. At Priority Pass lounges that allow guests, you can bring two along without paying extra.
    • Statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. Every four years, you’ll receive a $200 statement credit for your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application, which cost $100 and $85 respectively. If you’re approved for Global Entry, you’ll automatically receive a TSA PreCheck membership at no additional charge.
    • Complimentary Elite status. As a baseline perk, you’ll enjoy Gold Elite status in the Marriott Bonvoy program. Gold Elite comes with a 25% points bonus, 2 p.m. late checkout based on availability, a dedicated elite reservation line, welcome gifts and enhanced room upgrades based on availability. Normally, you’d need to stay 25 nights a year to attain it.

      Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card drawbacks

      • $450 annual fee. This card is priced at a premium. To its credit, however, it offers impressive benefits for its annual fee that can easily make up the cost.
      • Potentially high APR. You could receive a purchase APR as high as 24.74% variable, depending on your credit. That’s much higher than the average credit card APR of around 16%.
      • Penalty APR. American Express may apply a 29.99% variable APR to all balances if you pay late or make a returned payment. This rate will apply for at least six months, but you may be stuck with it indefinitely.

      Compare Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant to similar credit cards

      Compare the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card vs. The Platinum Card® from American Express vs. the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. Looking at these similar cards’ annual fees, welcome offers and other features can help you decide which is right for you.

      Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

      ★★★★★

      Finder Rating: 4.6 / 5

      Terms apply, see rates & fees
      Go to site

      Minimum credit score

      740

      Annual fee

      $450

      Purchase APR

      15.74% to 24.74% variable

      Balance transfer APR

      N/A

      Rewards

      6x Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program, 3x at US restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines and 2x points on all other eligible purchases

      Welcome offer

      Limited Time Offer: 150,000 points and a bonus Free Night Award after spending $5,000 in eligible purchases in the first 3 months. Resort fees may apply, offer expires 11/3/2021

      The Platinum Card® from American Express

      ★★★★★

      Finder Rating: 4.4 / 5

      Terms apply, see rates & fees
      Go to site

      Minimum credit score

      670

      Annual fee

      $695

      Purchase APR

      See Pay Over Time APR

      Balance transfer APR

      N/A

      Rewards

      10x points at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the US on up to $25,000 combined in the first 6 months, 5x points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel, 5x points on directly-booked flights on up to $500,000 annually, then 1x points after that and on other eligible purchases

      Welcome offer

      100,000 points after spending $6,000 in your first 6 months, plus 10x points at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the US on up to $25,000 in combined eligible purchases in the same timeframe

      Silver Elite vs. Gold Elite status in the Marriott Bonvoy program

      Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card offers complimentary Silver Elite status. Meanwhile, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card offers complimentary Gold Elite status. Here’s how the tiers stack up, with base-level Member perks to compare.
      MemberSilver EliteGold Elite
      Complimentary in-room Internet accesscheckmarkcheckmarkcheckmark
      Member ratescheckmarkcheckmarkcheckmark
      Mobile check-in and mobile servicescheckmarkcheckmarkcheckmark
      Ultimate Reservation Guaranteexcheckmarkcheckmark
      Points bonusxcheckmark
      10% bonus
      checkmark
      25% bonus
      Priority late checkoutxcheckmarkcheckmark
      Until 2 p.m.,
      based on availability
      Dedicated Elite reservation linexcheckmarkcheckmark
      In-hotel welcome giftxxcheckmark
      Typically points
      Enhanced room upgrade, based on availabilityxxcheckmark

      Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card customer reviews and complaints

      The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card is a new product, but its sister card — Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card — is often highly regarded by customers. The business version in particular is much improved over its previous incarnation, offering elevated points in new categories.

      The American Express Company is accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), earning an A+ rating from the agency as of August 2021. It currently has over 3,000 complaints. However, according to the BBB, most of the complaints have been answered by the company or resolved to customers’ satisfaction.

      Bottom line

      The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card is priced at a premium, but it packs tremendous value for its cost. If you frequent Marriott Bonvoy properties and love traveling in style, this card could be an automatic winner.

      If you’re not sure the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card is for you, compare other great travel cards before you decide.

      Frequently asked questions

      Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

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      Images: AmericanExpress.com

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      4 Comments

        Default Gravatar
        Ned
        May 2, 2019

        Do points earned on the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card expire? Thanks.

          Avatarfinder Customer Care
          Mai
          May 4, 2019

          Hi Ned,

          Thank you for contacting Finder.

          Points stay active if the loyalty member account is considered active. Card Members who make a purchase with the Card at least every 12 months will stay in active status.

          Hope this helps! 😊

          Kind Regards,
          Mai

        Default Gravatar
        Charles
        March 20, 2019

        Just rec’d Am ex credit card,has been activated for Marriott BONVoY, it provides statement “visit americanexpress.ca/welcomeMarriott” however cannot get access to this Internet address? Also can I get a telephone number where I can talk to a human being rather than a recording.

          Avatarfinder Customer Care
          johnbasanes
          March 21, 2019

          Hi Charles,

          Thank you for reaching out to Finder.

          You may want to check the settings of your browser as there may be restrictions in place that prevent you from accessing this page. You may also try a different browser just in case. Once you have access to the website, the contact us button is available at the top right corner of the screen and depending on the query that you have, there is a selection that would provide you the correct number to dial to reach that department. Hope this helps!

          Cheers,
          Reggie

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