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Earn up to 150,000 bonus points and a free night award: Why now is the best time to apply for the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card

Sept. 29, 2021
6 min read
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new information.

Are huge, six-figure credit card welcome bonuses becoming the norm? It’s starting to seem that way. Now, you can add the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card to the list of cards offering increased offers that help you amass a heap of points for memorable travel experiences.

The Bonvoy Brilliant is one of Amex’s many premium travel cards with an annual fee of $450 (see rates and fees) to match. But, its long list of benefits ensures you’ll get more than enough value from the card to offset the fee.

Here’s why now is a great time to apply for the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card if you’ve never had it before. Remember, Amex has a once-per-lifetime rule, so if you’ve had this card before, you’ll likely receive a pop-up message while applying that you won’t qualify for this welcome offer.

Generous Welcome offer with up to 150,000 bonus points and free night award

Through Nov. 3, 2021, you can earn 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points and a bonus free night award (worth up to 85,000 points) after you use your new card to make $5,000 in eligible purchases within the first three months of card membership. TPG's most recent valuations rate Marriott Bonvoy points at 0.8 cents, making this offer worth up to $1,880.

We've never seen the Bonvoy Brilliant come with an offer this high — almost triple the value of the standard offer. Plus, with the bonus free night award, you could score a standard night at a Category 8 property, like the St. Regis Maldives Vommuli.

The St. Regis Maldives is a Category 8 property. (Photo courtesy of the St. Regis Maldives Vommuli)

Additional card perks

Spa pool cabanas. (Photo courtesy of JW Marriott Camelback Inn Resort and Spa)

Beyond the incredible sign-up bonus, let's take a look at the additional perks that will help Marriott loyalists justify the ongoing $450 annual fee:

  • Annual $300 statement credit: You can receive up to a $300 statement credit every card membership year for eligible purchases at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy.
  • Annual free night award: Every year after your card account anniversary, you’ll receive a free night award that can be redeemed at hotels up to 50,000 points. This award alone can be worth hundreds of dollars, depending on how you maximize it.
  • Up to $100 on-property credit: This benefit kicks in at The Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis properties when you book the special rate for a two-night minimum stay with your Bonvoy Brilliant card. You’ll receive a $100 property credit for qualifying charges, such as room service and spa treatments.
  • 15 elite night credits: These elite night credits can help put you on the path toward earning Marriott Bonvoy elite status for 2022, giving you automatic Silver elite status (10 nights needed to qualify) and a nice boost to Gold.
  • Travel benefits: A Priority Pass Select lounge membership and up to $100 for a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit.

Earning and redeeming points

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card’s regular earning rate is 6x for spending at Marriott Bonvoy hotels (or a 4.8% return), 3x at U.S. restaurants and flights booked directly with airlines (2.4% return), and 2x on all other eligible purchases (1.6% return).

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Marriott is the largest hotel brand worldwide. Pictured here is The W Rome. (Photo courtesy of Marriott)

Once you accrue enough points, there are many ways to slice and dice your Marriott Bonvoy points, whether you want to splurge on a few nights' getaway at a top-tier Category 8 hotel (70,000 off-peak, 85,000 standard, and 100,000 peak points per night) or go on an extended vacation staying at a Category 1 property (as few as 5,000 points per night on off-peak dates). That makes the card valuable even for infrequent Marriott travelers.

Use your fifth night free at a Category 4 hotel such as the Sheraton Orlando Lake Buena Vista. (Photo courtesy of Marriott)

My favorite aspect of redeeming points with Marriott Bonvoy is the fifth-night free benefit on redemptions. For example, that means 100,000 points could be enough to cover a five-night stay at a Category 4 hotel during off-peak (20,000 points per night) or standard (25,000 points per night) dates.

Should you have a need for airline miles or just don’t see yourself needing to redeem points for a hotel stay, Marriott Bonvoy points can also be transferred to most airline programs at a 3:1 ratio. And, you’ll receive a bonus of 5,000 miles for every 60,000 points you transfer.

Bottom line

This year has brought some of the best credit card welcome offers we’ve ever seen, including the best-ever offer on the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant. With an offer that comes with up to 235,000 bonus points, this is virtually unheard of in the history of welcome bonuses. As we look toward late 2021 and early 2022 travel, having these points in your arsenal can give you lots of flexibility, whether your future travel plans include a dream getaway or a weekend staycation close to home.

Official application link: Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card.

For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex, please click here.

Featured image by (Photo by The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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