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How to use the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant’s $25 monthly dining credit

Oct. 17, 2022
5 min read
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new information.

In September 2022, we saw the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card swap its simple-to-use annual Marriott Bonvoy credits for monthly dining credits. While the amount of the annual benefit remained the same — up to $300 per year — we think the change was overall negative.

Now that the benefit has changed, here's everything you need to know about using the $25 in monthly dining credits available on your Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex.

Which purchases typically trigger the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant dining credit?

Any purchase that codes as a restaurant, cafe or similar should trigger the monthly dining credits on your account. You can use the credit at restaurants both in the U.S. and worldwide.

As with other American Express statement credits, these tend to post quickly. We tried it out and in September 2022, our credits posted in two days; in October 2022, the credits posted in four days. As you can see, purchases that triggered the dining credits still qualified for earning 3 points per dollar at restaurants.

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It's also worth noting that the up-to-$300 in credits apply only once per account. All cardmembers on your account will share the $300 in dining credits. That means that any authorized users on your cardmember account do not receive their own dining credits.

How long do I have to use the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant dining credit?

The good news is that your up-to-$300 in dining credits are available as soon as you open a Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex. These credits are available for the lifetime of your account.

The bad news is that the credits require monthly use. Rather than treating yourself to a nice dinner that costs $200 on your birthday, your Bonvoy Brilliant card's dining credits are only available as up to $25 per month. If you maximize the monthly credits for a full $25 each month, you'll receive the maximum of $300 of credits per year.

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Note that credits do not roll over. That means that if you forget to use your $25 in available credits this month, the credits are gone. You can't use $50 in dining credits next month to make up for it. These credits are essentially "use it or lose it" each month.

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The card’s terms and conditions state that it could take eight to 12 weeks for the credit to appear on your statement, but it's much faster in our experience.

Related reading: Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card review

What’s not covered by the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant dining credit?

Unfortunately, the terms and conditions indicate that the credit does not apply to purchases of "gift cards or merchandise, or for purchases at non-restaurant merchants including nightclubs, convenience stores, grocery stores, or supermarkets."

Additionally, the terms and conditions provide a warning that you cannot receive the credits if your purchase does not code as a restaurant purchase. This could happen at a restaurant located inside another venue, such as inside a stadium or inside a casino.

From these terms, you may not receive your monthly credits on the Bonvoy Brilliant Amex if you make purchases at places that do not code as a restaurant on your credit card statement. The same applies if you purchase goods rather than a meal.

How to maximize these credits

Most likely, you're thinking that going to a restaurant and spending exactly $25 is the best way to use this credit every month. You can definitely do that.

You could also rearrange your wallet or set an alarm on your phone to remind you to use your Bonvoy Brilliant for your first meal at a restaurant or with a delivery order each month. Another idea for using the credit could be setting this card as the default payment method in a food delivery app where you regularly order lunch while at work.

And if you forget to use your credit until the last day of the month, what then? Loading the Chick-fil-A app or your Starbucks card can be an effective way to use whatever remaining balance you have that month. If you've used $20 already at a restaurant, adding $5 to your Starbucks card on the last day of the month can ensure you use the full amount of available dining credits each month, since the balance will not carry over to the next month.

Bottom line

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card offers up to $300 in dining credits per year on your account. The credits are available as up to $25 per month for eligible restaurant purchases.

This is just one of many changes to the Bonvoy Brilliant card that came into effect in September 2022. Other changes include additional elite night credits, elevated Platinum Elite status, a free night award now worth up to 85,000 points and a new, higher annual fee of $650 (see rates and fees).

Nevertheless, it’s up to you to determine if the replacement of the $300 annual Marriott credit is enough to lead you to cancel the card or whether the new dining credits provide value to you. Here's why TPG director of content Summer Hull actually wants to get this card as soon as possible.

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

Additional reporting by Benji Stawski, Ryan Wilcox, Madison Blancaflor and Nick Ewen.

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

Featured image by TOA HEFTIBA/UNSPLASH
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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