Reminder: Bonvoy Brilliant losing $300 in Marriott credits later this month, gaining dining credits
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Editor's note: This change is now in effect, from Sep. 22, 2022.
If you’re a holder of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card, listen up. This is your last chance to use one of the card's best perks.
As of Sept. 22, 2022, the Bonvoy Brilliant will lose its annual $300 statement credit valid for eligible purchases at Marriott Bonvoy properties. Instead, it will be replaced with $25 in monthly statement credits for restaurants.
This credit was a great way to offset a large portion of the card’s $450 annual fee (see rates and fees), and while the dollar amount of the benefit is remaining the same, the shift to a monthly credit is likely unappealing to many customers.
There’s a decent amount of information to unpack with this change, so here’s everything you need to know about how to use this benefit before it goes away.
Bonvoy Brilliant losing $300 Marriott credit
Right now, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant allows cardholders to receive up to $300 in statement credits at participating Marriott Bonvoy properties each card membership year when eligible purchases are charged to their card.
Fortunately, this is a wide-ranging credit, as it applies to virtually every type of on-property transaction, including:
- Room rates.
- Resort fees.
- Spa treatments.
Unfortunately, this credit will be discontinued as of Sept. 22, 2022. That means you have until Sept. 21 to charge Marriott stays to your card if you haven’t already used the benefit — though I’d recommend doing so a few days prior to that date to ensure the transaction posts in time.
New, monthly dining credit
While it’s losing the Marriott credit, the Bonvoy Brilliant will add a new, monthly dining credit from Sept. 22, 2022. Cardmembers will receive up to $25 in statement credits each calendar month when they use their card at eligible restaurants worldwide. This equates to a total value of $300 each year. A spokesperson for American Express has confirmed that this new credit applies to worldwide restaurants, is automatically applied and does not require registration prior to using this benefit.
It’s worth noting that this is not the first time we’ve seen dining credits on the Bonvoy Brilliant. At the height of the pandemic, this card was one of many American Express products that enjoyed a limited-time opportunity to receive up to $15 in statement credits for restaurant purchases — including takeout services.
However, this is a new benefit that will begin Sept. 22, 2022 — though it’s a slightly different timeline for existing cardmembers.
What if you’ve already used the $300 Marriott credit?
One key question around this shift is how it impacts existing cardholders who have already used (or will use) their $300 Marriott credits ahead of the Sept. 22 change.
Fortunately, there’s a bit of good news here, as an American Express spokesperson provided TPG with the following statement:
“If a cardmember uses their $300 Marriott Bonvoy statement credit prior to September, they can still earn up to $25 per month in dining credits from October to December 2022.”
This actually means that existing cardmembers can essentially double dip by using both the $300 Marriott credit and the $25 in monthly dining credits until your next renewal date.
As an example, if your card renewed in March 2022, your up to $300 Marriott Bonvoy credit reset on that date. If you use all of that credit before Sept. 22, you’ll then enjoy five months of $25 dining credits — October 2022 through February 2023 — before another annual fee is due.
Overall, this is a notably negative change to a popular, easy-to-use perk on the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant. While the dollar amount of the credit will remain the same, the shift from a single, annual credit related to the hotel program to a monthly credit requires more work for the cardmember to utilize. The card does offer a bonus on eligible restaurant purchases (3 points per dollar spent). However, there are many other great options when it comes to earning rewards on dining.
It’s also interesting that American Express is moving away from incentivizing purchases at its cobranded partner on a card that earns points with that particular partner.
That said, there is one thing to note for anyone who currently holds the Bonvoy Brilliant after opening its original version (the Starwood Preferred Guest Luxury Credit Card) shortly after it launched in August 2018.
Here’s what the terms and conditions of the up to $300 Marriott credit say regarding the timing for the perk (emphasis mine):
“During each year of your Card Membership (“reward year”), you are eligible to receive up to $300 total in statement credits on your Card Account for eligible purchases made directly at hotels and timeshare ownership properties participating in Marriott Bonvoy on your Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card during that reward year. Your first reward year begins on your account opening date. Each subsequent reward year begins on the anniversary of your account opening date.”
I looked back at my old emails, and I found that my account opening date was Aug. 24, 2018 (right after the SPG Luxury Card launched). This means that I should have just under a month this year to utilize the $300 Marriott benefit before it ends. Then, I’ll have nearly a year of $25 monthly dining credits before I need to incur another annual fee.
If you’re an existing cardmember, it may be worth digging up your approval email (or calling American Express) to verify exactly when this benefit will reset for you.
If, on the other hand, you’ve been eyeing this card, it's time to act. If you apply now and can use the $300 Marriott credit prior to Sept. 22, you’ll also be eligible for $25 in monthly dining credits starting in October.
American Express is removing the up to $300 annual Marriott statement credit on the Bonvoy Brilliant American Express card as of Sept. 22, 2022, replacing it with up to $25 in monthly dining credits. This is a disappointing shift, given how straightforward it was to use the existing benefit to save up to $300 on Marriott stays each year.
Related: Why I caved and got the Bonvoy Brilliant card
The card does offer some other perks that may make it worthwhile to keep in your wallet — like an annual free-night certificate (worth up to 50,000 points-certain hotels have resort fees), Priority Pass Select membership and a fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. (Enrollment is required). However, losing a marquee benefit in favor of one that requires more work is unfortunate.
It’s nice that existing cardmembers can enjoy both the $300 statement credit and the monthly dining credits this year, but nevertheless, I’d expect this change to lead many to consider different card options for future Marriott stays. If you have the Bonvoy Brilliant card and haven't used your $300 in Marriott credits yet this year, it's time to make a plan for using them before they go away on Sept. 22, 2022.
Official application link: Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant, please click here.