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Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card gets a bunch of new benefits — and a higher annual fee

Sept. 22, 2022
6 min read
mountain and overwater bungalows in crystal blue waters
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Marriott's premium credit card — the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card — is undergoing a major overhaul as Marriott revamps its credit card portfolio.

Today's update includes the previously announced shift in the card's $300 annual credit, but we're also learning about an array of additional changes. Unfortunately, these new and enhanced perks come with a higher annual fee.

That said, existing cardholders have a few more months before the new fee kicks in. For new cardholders, there's an elevated welcome offer now available.

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Here's everything you need to know about the changes to the Bonvoy Brilliant card.

New elite status and more elite nights

Previously, Bonvoy Brilliant cardmembers earned automatic Gold Elite status with Marriott Bonvoy and received 15 elite night credits per year in their accounts, helping them attain status faster. Going forward, there are two enhancements to these perks:

  • Cardholders now receive 25 elite night credits per year.
  • Cardholders now enjoy automatic Platinum Elite status.

Platinum status includes eligibility for suite upgrades at check-in and free breakfast at certain properties, among other benefits.

THE POINTS GUY

Note that reports from TPG readers and staff members indicate that the additional 10 nights are starting to post to members' accounts. So, if you're an existing cardholder, your elite night balance may just have seen a boost.

Related: 3 reasons I continue to chase Marriott Platinum status year after year

New choice benefit with spending

While the card does now come with automatic Platinum Elite status, this will not (by itself) make you eligible for Marriott's Choice Benefits. These only become available once you have reached 50 elite-qualifying nights, and you get another selection when you hit 75 nights and qualify for Titanium status.

However, the Bonvoy Brilliant card is getting its own selection of similar perks next year. Starting in 2023, when you spend at least $60,000 on the card in a calendar year, you'll become eligible for an 'Annual Earned Choice Award' — where you'd pick one of the following options:

  • Five Suite Night Awards.
  • An 85,000-point free night reward.
  • $750 off a mattress or box spring from Marriott Bonvoy Boutiques.

Again, this is separate from the Choice Benefits you'd unlock by reaching 50 and 75 elite-qualifying nights — though as noted above, it won't start until 2023.

The JW Marriott Bonnet Creek. SUMMER HULL/THE POINTS GUY

More valuable free night

The final enhancement to the Bonvoy Brilliant card involves the annual free night award you receive upon account renewal each year. Previously, this was applicable to properties that cost up to 50,000 points per night. Going forward, this will be valued for a free night at up to 85,000 points. As announced earlier this year, you will be able to top off this award with up to 15,000 points from your Marriott account. This boosts the potential value of the certificate to up to 100,000 points.

If you maximize this increased value by booking a property at exactly 85,000 points, that gives you a value of $714 based on TPG's valuations. This is particularly appealing given the final change to the card.

Higher annual fee

Of course, these changes come at a cost. The annual fee on the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant is now $650 (see rates and fees), up from $450. While this change is effective immediately for new applicants, if you're an existing cardholder, it will go into effect on your first renewal date on (or after) Jan. 1, 2023.

New welcome offer

To entice new applicants, the card has launched a new welcome offer: You'll receive 150,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months of cardmembership. This welcome offer ends on Jan. 11, 2023. TPG values Marriott Bonvoy points at 0.84 cents apiece, meaning this bonus is worth $1,260.

Our take on the changes

There will likely be some mixed reaction to this news. On the one hand, the Bonvoy Brilliant card has become more luxurious in many ways — the status is higher, the annual free night is worth more and the number of elite night credits you receive is also higher. Plus, ssince you can stack the elite night credits on personal and business cards, this means you can hold the Brilliant and a Marriott business card to automatically get 40 nights per year; this would put you just 10 nights from Platinum and 35 nights from Titanium.

However, this comes at a cost. The annual fee is increasing by $200. The easy-to-use Marriott credit (up to $300 per year) is now gone and has been replaced with a monthly dining credit that takes more effort to use.

Existing cardholders will need to consider whether the annual fee is worth it on their next account anniversary.

Bottom line

View from a suite at the Suite at the Sheraton Grande Rio. KATIE GENTER/THE POINTS GUY

Today, we're learning about a slew of further updates to the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card. This includes:

  • Automatic Platinum status (previously Gold).
  • 25 elite night credits every year (previously 15).
  • A new choice benefit after spending $60,000 in a calendar year (new, starting in 2023).
  • An increased annual fee.

Fortunately, existing cardholders won't see the higher annual fee until their first renewal on (or after) Jan. 1, 2023, so you'll have some time to enjoy these new perks before deciding whether the card is worth keeping in the long run. For those interested in applying for the card in spite of the higher fee, you now have a 150,000-point offer to sweeten the deal.

Apply here: Earn 150,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months of cardmembership on the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card. Ends Jan. 11, 2023.

Additional reporting by Ryan Smith.

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

Featured image by ZACH HONIG/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.

TPG featured card

Best card for Marriott loyalists
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 6X points
6XEarn 6 Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program.
3X3 points at Worldwide Restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines.
2X2 points on all other eligible purchases.

Intro offer

150,000 points
Earn 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy® bonus points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases on the Card within the first 3 months.

Annual Fee

$650

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express card is a good choice for those who spend time at Marriott properties. While it’s not a great choice for everyday spending, this card does earn 6x points on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program. You can also redeem Marriott rewards points at more than 7,100 Marriott locations globally.

Pros

  • Earn up to $300 in statement credits per calendar year (up to $25 per month) for eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide.
  • 1 free night award (up to 85,000 points) every year after your card renewal month.
  • Priority Pass Select membership (enrollment required)
  • Automatic Platinum status

Cons

  • $650 annual fee isn't insignificant
  • May not make sense if you don't stay at Marriott properties
  • Earn 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy® bonus points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases on the Card within the first 3 months.
  • Each Card renewal year, get up to $300 in statement credits per calendar year (up to $25 per month) for eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide.
  • A Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite member will earn 50% more points on eligible purchases at participating hotels for each U.S. dollar or the currency equivalent that is incurred and paid for by the member.
  • Earn 6 Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program. 3 points at Worldwide Restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines. 2 points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Marriott Brilliant Free Night Award: Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Award can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Each calendar year after spending $60,000 on eligible purchases, Card Members are eligible to select an Earned Choice Award benefit. Benefit options include: Five (5) Suite Night Awards, 85K Free Night Award, and mattress and box spring $750 discount from Marriott Bonvoy Boutiques.
  • $100 Luxury Property Credit: Enjoy your stay. Receive up to a $100 property credit for qualifying charges at The Ritz-Carlton® or St. Regis® when you book direct using a special rate for a two-night minimum stay using your Card.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®: Receive either a statement credit every 4 years after you apply for Global Entry ($100) or a statement credit every 4.5 years after you apply for a five-year membership through any Authorized Enrollment Provider for TSA PreCheck® (up to $85) when you pay the application fee with an eligible Card. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Each calendar year you can receive 25 Elite Night Credits toward the next level of Marriott Bonvoy Elite status. Limitations apply per Marriott Bonvoy member account. Benefit is not exclusive to Cards offered by American Express. Terms apply.
  • Enroll in Priority Pass Select, which offers unlimited access to over 1,200 lounges in over 130 countries, regardless of which carrier or class you are flying. This allows you to relax before or between flights. You can enjoy snacks, drinks, and internet access in a quiet, comfortable location.
  • Enjoy unlimited airport lounge visits when you enroll in Priority Pass™ Select membership.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on international purchases.
  • Cell phone protection: You can be reimbursed for your costs to repair or replace your damaged or Stolen cell phone up to $800, subject to a $50 deductible, for 2 approved claims per 12-month period when your prior month's wireless bill was paid utilizing an Eligible Card Account. Terms and conditions apply. Coverage is provided by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.
  • $650 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

6XEarn 6 Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program.
3X3 points at Worldwide Restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines.
2X2 points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy® bonus points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases on the Card within the first 3 months.

    150,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $650
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express card is a good choice for those who spend time at Marriott properties. While it’s not a great choice for everyday spending, this card does earn 6x points on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program. You can also redeem Marriott rewards points at more than 7,100 Marriott locations globally.

Pros

  • Earn up to $300 in statement credits per calendar year (up to $25 per month) for eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide.
  • 1 free night award (up to 85,000 points) every year after your card renewal month.
  • Priority Pass Select membership (enrollment required)
  • Automatic Platinum status

Cons

  • $650 annual fee isn't insignificant
  • May not make sense if you don't stay at Marriott properties
  • Earn 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy® bonus points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases on the Card within the first 3 months.
  • Each Card renewal year, get up to $300 in statement credits per calendar year (up to $25 per month) for eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide.
  • A Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite member will earn 50% more points on eligible purchases at participating hotels for each U.S. dollar or the currency equivalent that is incurred and paid for by the member.
  • Earn 6 Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program. 3 points at Worldwide Restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines. 2 points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Marriott Brilliant Free Night Award: Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Award can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Each calendar year after spending $60,000 on eligible purchases, Card Members are eligible to select an Earned Choice Award benefit. Benefit options include: Five (5) Suite Night Awards, 85K Free Night Award, and mattress and box spring $750 discount from Marriott Bonvoy Boutiques.
  • $100 Luxury Property Credit: Enjoy your stay. Receive up to a $100 property credit for qualifying charges at The Ritz-Carlton® or St. Regis® when you book direct using a special rate for a two-night minimum stay using your Card.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®: Receive either a statement credit every 4 years after you apply for Global Entry ($100) or a statement credit every 4.5 years after you apply for a five-year membership through any Authorized Enrollment Provider for TSA PreCheck® (up to $85) when you pay the application fee with an eligible Card. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Each calendar year you can receive 25 Elite Night Credits toward the next level of Marriott Bonvoy Elite status. Limitations apply per Marriott Bonvoy member account. Benefit is not exclusive to Cards offered by American Express. Terms apply.
  • Enroll in Priority Pass Select, which offers unlimited access to over 1,200 lounges in over 130 countries, regardless of which carrier or class you are flying. This allows you to relax before or between flights. You can enjoy snacks, drinks, and internet access in a quiet, comfortable location.
  • Enjoy unlimited airport lounge visits when you enroll in Priority Pass™ Select membership.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on international purchases.
  • Cell phone protection: You can be reimbursed for your costs to repair or replace your damaged or Stolen cell phone up to $800, subject to a $50 deductible, for 2 approved claims per 12-month period when your prior month's wireless bill was paid utilizing an Eligible Card Account. Terms and conditions apply. Coverage is provided by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.
  • $650 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees