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Marriott Bonvoy fans have just two days left to take advantage of an excellent welcome bonus on the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card – the premium Bonvoy credit card with a $450 annual fee.

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

bonvoy brilliant
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant

Elevated Bonvoy Brilliant Welcome Bonus is Ending

That offer, which is ending May 12th, is:

Get 125,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points when you spend $5,000 in your first three months plus up to $200 in statement credits for purchases at US restaurants in your first 6 months.

Unless there was a special referral bonus or very limited time offer I cannot recall, this offer, with the $200 dining credits (US restaurants only) kicker is the best we’ve seen.

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

For sure, a $450 annual fee 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.

The Bonvoy Business Card’s Welcome Bonus Ends As Well

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: Get 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy points when you spend $5,000 in your first 3 months plus up to $150 in statement credits.

Marriott Bonvoy Business CardLearn More about this Welcome Offer | How to apply for this offer.

MilesTalk Musings

Marriott Bonvoy points are very hard to earn these days due to reduced earnings on the credit cards, so you should be extra sure to maximize your Bonvoy bonuses.

This is a very solid deal if you are eligible for the card and aren’t already at the 5 credit card maximum with Amex. I had the Brilliant myself at launch, then downgraded to the $95 version, but would upgrade back to the Brilliant should Amex offer me anything to do so in the future 😉 I don’t find it hard to get the value from that 50,000 point certificate.

How to Apply for the Bonvoy Brilliant Card

You can use this link. (Rates and Fees)


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

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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.

The following American Express cards were discussed in this article: Rates and Fees for the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card | Rates and Fees for the Marriot Bonvoy(TM) Business Card from American Express
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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