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American Express Bonvoy Brilliant Welcome Bonus: 150k + an 85k Award Night

The co-brand bonus offer wars continue… and this time American Express is stepping up the welcome bonus on the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card.

Right now, you’ll get 150,000 bonus Bonvoy points and a Free Night Award worth up to 85,000 points when you spend $5,000 within 3 months.

If you are in a cash crunch, you should avoid travel rewards credit cards until you are caught up. Here are our favorite credit cards for Intro 0% APR offers and for balance transfer offers

Note that the above link does not yet lead to the new offer. I expect to have the offer next week. The Business version below is live now.

This means you can use the Free Night Award at any property in the Bonvoy system with the exception of Category 8 at Peak times (since those are 100,000 points).

Used wisely, this welcome bonus is worth 235,000 points.

What Do You Get for the Annual Fee on the Bonvoy Brilliant?

For sure, a $450 annual fee (Rates and Fees) isn’t small and it’s not waived the first year either. And while the card isn’t as strong as the Hilton Aspire card for the same fee, Marriott loyalists probably want a Bonvoy card in their wallet, so let’s take a look at the benefits:

  • Automatic $300 annual credit to spend at Marriott hotels and resorts, good for the room rate and/or incidental charges on-property.
  • Starting at renewal, you’ll receive a certificate for a free night each year, up to 50,000 Rewards Points in value.
  • Earn 15 elite night credits towards status as well as complimentary Marriott Gold status every year. (See section below about earning up to 30).
  • Up to $100 in property credit per stay when you use your Card and a special rate code to book stays of two or more nights at The Ritz-Carlton® or St. Regis® properties. (Limited use due to the need to use a code and pay a higher rate.)

After the $300 annual credit, the fee on this card is effectively $150. That gets you the annual free night worth up to 50,000 points which in my experience can easily be worth $400-$500 when redeemed wisely. It is up to you if that is worth it! If not, you can always downgrade after one year.

It’s definitely worth noting, also, that after one year you do have the option of downgrading to the $95 annual fee Bonvoy Amex card (not available to new applicants otherwise).

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Points Earning Rates

  • Earn 6x Marriott Bonvoy points at Marriott hotels and resorts.
  • Earn 3x Marriott Bonvoy points at US restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines.
  • Earn 2x Marriott Bonvoy points everywhere else.

When this card was SPG-branded “back in the day,” every day spend earned 50% more. The relatively low earn rate makes it fairly hard to put significant spend on the card unless you are staying at Marriott’s a lot where you’ll earn 6X. You can do much better with other credit cards for dining than this one even with the 3X multiplier.

Up to 30 Annual Elite Night Credits Towards Marriott Bonvoy Status

You may recall that as of April 2020, you can earn 15 elite nights per year and per a maximum of one business credit card and one personal credit card. So if you already have the Bonvoy Business card and add this, you’d get 30 elite night credits per year.

Eligibility for the Card

As with any Bonvoy credit card these days, it’s a mess with regards to being allowed to earn the bonus if you have or have had any other Bonvoy card including those issued by Chase.

Most common would be already have a Bonvoy Boundless card, in which case you can get the Bonvoy Brilliant bonus even if you have the Boundless – as long as you haven’t opened that Boundless in the last 24 months. Same for the Bonvoy Bold should you have that flavor.

If you already have the $95 annual fee Bonvoy Amex or the Bonvoy Business card from Amex, you can get this card as well, subject to the Amex 5 card limit.

How to Apply for the Bonvoy Brilliant Card

You can use this link. (Rates and Fees)

Want the Bonvoy Business Card?

The Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card is very similar to the Chase Bonvoy Boundless card (6x at Marriott, 2x everywhere else), however this small business credit card has the added bonus of earning 4x Bonvoy points at US restaurants, gas stations, shipping, and wireless telephone service. If you have a small business (or even a side hustle – read about eligibility here), this may be the best choice for you. This card has a $125 annual fee and comes with an annual free night valid for a hotel night up to 35,000 Bonvoy points. (Rates and Fees)

Limited Time Welcome Bonus: Earn 125,000 points plus two Free Night Awards worth 50,000 points each (This equates to a Category 6 Off Peak or Standard room or a Category 7 Off Peak room.)

This is worth up to 225,000 points if the certificates are used on two 50k award nights.

Marriott Bonvoy Business CardGet 125,000 bonus Bonvoy points + 2 Free Night Awards (valid for nights worth up to 50,000 points per night) with this Welcome Offer on the Bonvoy Business card | How to apply for this offer.

Eligibility: Welcome offer not available to applicants who have or have had this product or the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express. We may also consider the number of American Express Cards you have opened and closed as well as other factors in making a decision on your welcome offer eligibility.

Welcome offer not available to applicants who (i) have or have had the Marriott Bonvoy™ Premier Plus Business Credit Card from Chase, the Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Business Credit Card from Chase, the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ Credit Card from Chase, or the Marriott Rewards®Business Credit Card from Chase in the last 30 days, (ii) have acquired the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card from Chase, the Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card from Chase, the Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card from Chase, the Marriott Bonvoy™ Premier Credit Card from Chase or the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card from Chase in the last 90 days, or (iii) received a new Card Member bonus offer in the last 24 months on the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card from Chase, the Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card from Chase, the Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card from Chase, the Marriott Bonvoy™ Premier Plus Credit Card from Chase or the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card from Chase.

Overall, the eligibility is super confusing and if you aren’t clear on if you are eligible for one of these based on what you have, please ask me!

Thoughts?

Let me know below in the comments, on Twitter, or in the private MilesTalk Facebook group.

And if this post helped you, please consider sharing it!

You can find credit cards that best match your spending habits and bonus categories at Your Best Credit Cards

New to all of this? My “introduction to miles and points” book, MilesTalk: Live Your Wildest Travel Dreams Using Miles and Points is available on Amazon and at major booksellers.

I got "in the game" in 2003 and since then I've collected literally millions and millions of frequent flyer miles and hotel points. I've flown around the world in first class seats that would cost $29,000 using frequent flyer miles and a few bucks in tax. And I've stayed in some of the finest hotels - all for free! A few years ago I realized many of my friends actually thought I was paying for these!! So I started sharing my tips. It's long been a passion, but when I hosted a session on Miles and Points at this year's South by Southwest festival, my love of the game intensified and this blog was born.

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