Table of Contents
- Is the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card Worth It?
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card Pros & Cons
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card Important Details
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card Rates & Fees
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card Rewards & Credits
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card Benefits
- Should You Get the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card?
- Comparable Cards
Is the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card Worth It?
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card will be worth the $650 annual fee to few people—only diehard frequent Marriott patrons. Here’s what to consider:
- Steep annual fee: The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card has a $640 annual fee. While statement credits and rewards can make up a lot of this cost, the limited flexibility of the card’s rewards make it hard to justify the high fee.
- High rewards: With the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, you get 2x–6x points on every purchase, with the highest rewards rates being for hotel, restaurant, and airline purchases.
- Points aren’t what they seem: Points don’t carry a 1:1 value, meaning 1 point doesn’t directly equal one cent. In fact, it’s estimated that Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card points are only worth $0.084 each.
- Limited reward redemption: While you can earn a lot of points with the card, you have to use those points to book Marriott hotel stays, or use them toward car rentals or airfare. This limits the value of your points, as you can’t exchange them for a direct cash value in statement credits.
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card does boast a 120,000 point welcome bonus, annual credits, and no foreign transaction fees. So this card may be worth it for some—but its audience is limited to frequent travelers looking for luxury hotel discounts.
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card Pros & Cons
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card Important Details
- Annual fee: $650
- Purchase APR: 19.74%–26.74% (variable)
- Rewards rate: 1x–6x
- Welcome bonus: 150,000 points after you spend $5,000 in first 3 months
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card Rates & Fees
- Annual fee: $650
- Cash advance fee: $10 of 5% (whichever is greater)
- Foreign transaction fee: None
- Late payment fee: Up to $40
As American Express foreign transaction fees are usually 2.7%, it’s a major perk that this card comes with a waived fee. That makes it a good resource to carry on trips abroad.
- Purchase APR: 19.74%–26.74% (variable)
- Cash advance APR: 28.99%
- Penalty APR: 29.99%
The interest rates on this card are incredibly high. As interest charges can add up quickly with rates in this range, we don’t recommend getting this card if you’re likely to carry a balance from month to month.
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card Rewards & Credits
The points reward system for the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card is its biggest asset, earning high rewards on travel and dining purchases. Here’s how it works:
- 6x points for every dollar spent on purchases at participating hotels
- 3x points at restaurants
- 3x points on plane tickets purchased directly from airlines
- 2x points for everything else
You also have the opportunity to earn up to 21x points per stay at participating Marriott hotels:
- 6x points on eligible purchases
- 10x points for being a Marriott Bonvoy Member
- 5x points with the complimentary Marriott Bonvoy® Platinum Elite status
While the rewards program for the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card is incredibly good, it also comes with an annual fee of $650. This means you’ll have to use the card often in order to break even and start saving. Here’s what you would need to spend per year in a certain rewards category to make the high annual fee worth it.
- Eligible hotel purchases: $12,897
- Restaurants or airline tickets: $25,793
- Everything else: $38,691
While these are incredibly high limits to reach just to break even, it’s worth taking into account the welcome bonus (a value of $1,260) and the various annual credits.
You can redeem your points as:
- Hotel nights at locations participating in Marriott Bonvoy
- Airfare or rental cars booked through Air+Car
- Points transferred to a partnering airline program
This limits the way points can be redeemed, especially compared to other rewards cards that allow you to exchange points for statement credits or even checks.
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card comes with a welcome bonus offer of 150,000 points. However, you do need to spend at least $5,000 in your first 3 months to unlock this bonus, making this card a better choice for higher spending individuals.
As mentioned, the bonus ends up being worth about $1,260 once you factor in the point conversion value.
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card gets a lot of its worth from the annual credits it offers. You can get:
- $300 annual dining credit
- Free award night worth 85,000 points at a participating hotel or resort
- $100 Marriott Bonvoy property credit (for qualifying purchases at the Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis)
Keep in mind that these annual credits have limitations and fine print, so know how exactly you can earn them before committing to the card based on these perks.
Of the additional credits, the free award night is easily the biggest draw. A free night worth up to 85,000 can save you a lot of money—especially if you use this reward on a participating international luxury hotel.
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card Benefits
This card comes with an impressive selection of travel benefits. Here’s everything you can get:
- 25 Elite Night credits to be used on a stay
- Access to the Air+Car Transfer program
- Access to the Destination Family program
- Global Entry or TSA PreCheck Fee Credit
- Lowest rates for hotels
- Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite Status
- Trip cancellation/interruption insurance
- Trip delay insurance
- Ability to Transfer Marriott Bonvoy points to airline programs
American Express cardholders get access to several additional benefits, including American Express Experiences and American Express Early Access which include concerts, comedy shows, sports games, and other entertainment events.
You also get cell phone protection and access to the Premium Global Assist Hotline.
Pay It Plan It
American Express offers additional ways to finance purchases through the American Express® App, so you can more easily manage large expenses.
For purchases over $100, Plan It lets you choose to split up the payment into monthly installments with a fixed fee and no interest charges. When you make your purchase, you’ll be offered 1-3 plan duration options and will be charged a “plan fee” of 1.33% every month that your plan is active.
You can have up to 10 active payment plans at one time, so choose what purchases you want to add to a plan wisely. As the 1.33% fees are low compared to the regular APR, this is a great way to pay off expensive purchases without getting charged interest.
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card allows authorized users as young as 13 to be added at no additional cost.
However, as the primary account holder, you will be legally responsible for paying off all the card’s charges, so add authorized users with caution.
American Express reports to all three major credit bureaus every month, so your credit report will be regularly updated while using the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card.
You can also receive free credit score checks and reports via the Amex MyCredit Guide service.
You can use the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card to withdraw funds through a cash advance. However, cash advances come with a very high APR of 28.99% (variable) and a minimum fee of $10. These kinds of interest rates and fees can build up quickly, so we recommend that you only take out cash advances in emergencies.
If you want to speak to American Express directly regarding the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, you can use these contact numbers.
Apply for a credit card
Check application status
Should You Get the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card?
You should get the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card if you’re a frequent traveler who can make the most out of the annual credits, free award night, and rewards redemption. Otherwise, the $650 isn’t worth it if you aren’t a dedicated Marriott patron.
See how the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card compares to similar credit cards on the market.