marriott bonvoy brilliant

Yesterday, American Express performed a massive overhaul on their top of the line Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card.

As we already knew, the $300 annual credit for use at Marriott Bonvoy properties was being replaced with $25 monthly credits for dining (eating out or ordering in). It nets to the same $300 in credits.

But I was pretty surprised with the new benefits that will definitely make this card a keeper for many.

marriott bonvoy brilliant
Refreshed card design – Bonvoy Brilliant

Let’s go over what else they have added for the additional $200 fee:

  • Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite Status
  • 25 Elite nights per year (it used to be 15) which is combinable with either Marriott Bonvoy business credit card that awards 15 elite nights for a total jumpstart each year of 40 elite nights. That’s just 35 more elite nights needed for Marriott Bonvoy Titanium status which comes with United Silver status.
  • One Free Night Award each year after Card renewal month that can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy.
  • New Annual Earned Choice Award: Each calendar year (starting January 2023), after making $60K in purchases, Card Members can select an Earned Choice Award benefit. Selections include Five (5) Suite Night Awards, 85K Free Night Award, and mattress and box spring $750 discount from Marriott Bonvoy Boutiques. (I like that 85k award!)
  • Priority Pass Select Membership (enrollment required)
  • Application fee credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry (which comes with access to TSA PreCheck)
  • Cell phone protection

The last three don’t excite me due to redundancies with other cards.

However, automatic Platinum status which is valuable due to the fact that it confers breakfast and lounge access at full service properties, upgrades up to and including standard suites, and a guaranteed 4pm late checkout (excluding resort hotels and convention center hotels). Then you’ve got the 25 elite nights. Keep in mind you’ll only get an Annual Choice Benefit if you actually hit 50 nights in a year. And, as mentioned above, you can get that much closer to Titanium status.

Presumably the Platinum status also will count as one of the 10 years and 600 nights needed for lifetime Platinum status. I don’t see any exclusions on this in the fine print, though I don’t know what would happen if you only had the card for part of a year.

And then you’ve got the 85,000 point certificate which should be easily worth $400 if not more.

With $300 coming back to you in monthly dining credits, the question to you is if $350 more is worth it for Platinum status and the 85k certificate. I think that if you stay at Marriott a lot but struggle to keep Platinum status based on the nights needed, it may well be worthwhile – especially since the rest of the fee can be easily justified with the 85,000 point certificate.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card (Learn more or how to apply)


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