Link: Apply now for the refreshed Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
Huge changes have been made to the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card (review), which is Marriott’s premium personal credit card. The card has added several awesome new perks, including Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status without any sort of a spending requirement… wow! As you’d expect, the annual fee has increased as well.
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card annual fee increases to $650
Let’s start with the bad news. The annual fee on the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card has increased from $450 to $650 (Rates & Fees). This applies immediately for new card applications.
For those who opened their account prior to September 22, 2022, the annual fee increase will take effect on renewal dates on or after January 1, 2023. So for a brief period, existing cardmembers can enjoy the new benefits without paying a higher annual fee.
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card gets awesome new benefits
While the annual fee on the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card has increased considerably, the card is also getting several new perks. There are positive changes when it comes to the ability to earn elite status, the value of free night awards, and more. Let’s cover the details of what’s changing.
Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card now offers Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status for as long as you’re a cardmember. This is huge, given the perks of Platinum Elite status, which include room upgrades (up to standard suites), breakfast or lounge access at most brands, bonus points, and much more.
This is where status with Marriott Bonvoy really starts to get valuable, and this is the easiest readily available pathway we’ve ever seen to Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status. This will understandably interest many. Even if you’re not a Marriott loyalist, Marriott has a huge footprint, so status with the group comes in handy.
25 Marriott Bonvoy elite nights toward status annually
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card now offers 25 elite nights toward status annually (previously, the card offered 15 elite nights). Now, of course you already receive Bonvoy Platinum Elite status just for having the card, but you don’t earn the elite nights that go along with it.
So if you want to earn Marriott Bonvoy Choice Benefits (like Suite Night Awards) or go for Marriott Bonvoy Titanium Elite or Marriott Bonvoy Ambassador Elite status, this could come in handy.
With this change, you can now earn up to 40 elite nights annually just for having two Marriott credit cards, as you can earn them from one personal and one business card — you can earn 25 elite nights from this card, and 15 elite nights from the Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card (review).
If you’re an existing cardmember, you may have noticed that 10 additional elite nights have already posted to your account. That’s because of this new perk, as you’re going from 15 elite nights to 25 elite nights.
Marriott free night award worth up to 85,000 Bonvoy points
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card now offers an anniversary free night certificate every year, valid at a property costing up to 85,000 Bonvoy points. On top of that, you can always top off the free night award with up to 15,000 points, to redeem at a property costing up to 100,000 points.
This is an awesome change, as previously the card’s free night certificate was valid at a property costing up to 50,000 Bonvoy points — that’s a significant difference, and means you’ll be able to redeem this at much more premium properties.
Spend $60K, earn more Marriott Bonvoy Choice Benefits
Starting in January 2023, there will be a nice additional incentive to spend money on the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card. If you make $60,000 in purchases on the card in a calendar year, you’ll be able to select an earned Choice Rewards benefit. Specifically, you’ll be able to choose one of the following:
- Five Suite Night Awards, each of which can be used to confirm a suite upgrade for one night up to five days prior to arrival
- A free night award, valid at a Marriott property costing up to 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy points
- $750 off a bed from Marriott Bonvoy boutiques
This is in addition to whatever Choice Benefits you’d ordinarily earn for crossing 50 or 75 elite nights in a year. This could be a real incentive to spend money on the card, especially when you consider the opportunity to get a free night certificate worth up to 85,000 points.
Up to $300 per year in restaurant credits
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card now offers up to $300 in statement credits per calendar year for dining purchases at restaurants worldwide. This comes in the form of a $25 credit each month. This replaces the card previously offering a $300 annual Marriott credit. Ultimately this restaurant credit should be easy enough to maximize.
What’s not changing about the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant
While a lot has changed with the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card, several things aren’t changing:
- The points earning structure on the card remains unchanged, as you can earn 6x Bonvoy points on eligible Marriott hotel purchases, 3x Bonvoy points at restaurants worldwide and on flights booked directly with airlines, and 2x points on all other eligible purchases
- You can receive a Priority Pass Select membership (enrollment required)
- You can get a statement credit for the application fee of TSA PreCheck (every 4.5 years) or Global Entry (every 4 years)
Earn 150K points with the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card
If you’re interested in picking up the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card, the card is offering a bonus of 150,000 Bonvoy points after spending $5,000 within the first three months.
Personally I value Bonvoy points at 0.7 cents each, so to me that bonus is worth a huge $1,050. And of course you can enjoy your Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite benefits when you redeem those points.
My take on Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card changes
Wow, the changes to the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card are huge. It’s really significant that you can now earn Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status just for holding onto a credit card.
Even with the annual fee on this card now being $650, I think the value here is a slam dunk. Just to do some basic “accounting” on the card:
- Most people should be able to fully utilize the $300 annual dining credit; this could be as simple as spending $25 per month at Starbucks
- I’m thrilled that the annual free night award is now valid at a property costing up to 85,000 Bonvoy points per year, with the potential to use up to 15,000 Bonvoy points to top it off, and redeem at a property costing up to 100,000 Bonvoy points; I easily value this certificate at $350, and that’s very conservative
The way I view it, those two benefits alone justify the annual fee. That doesn’t even account for the value of Platinum Elite status, the 25 elite nights toward status, the Priority Pass membership, and more.
As a Marriott Bonvoy lifetime Platinum Elite member, the Platinum Elite status as such doesn’t add much for me. However, I welcome the 25 elite nights toward status annually. Because I also have a Marriott business credit card, that means I’m earning 40 elite nights toward status annually without actually staying a night. That gets me closer to earning Choice Benefits, which I value immensely.
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card FAQs
There are some questions that I’ve been getting over and over regarding the changes to the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card, so I wanted to address those in this section. If I missed any, please let me know and I’ll get them added.
Does credit card status count toward lifetime elite status?
It’s possible to earn lifetime Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status by racking up 600 elite nights and having 10 cumulative years of Platinum Elite status or higher. Elite nights and status earned with Marriott credit cards count toward that requirement, including the Platinum Elite status offered by this card.
Are you eligible for the Bonvoy Brilliant Card bonus?
Marriott credit card application restrictions can be complicated. In addition to not being eligible for the welcome offer on the Bonvoy Brilliant Card if you’ve already had it, here are the other application restrictions to be aware of:
Welcome offer not available to applicants who (i) have or have had The Ritz-Carlton® Credit Card from JPMorgan or the J.P. Morgan Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card in the last 30 days, (ii) have acquired the Marriott Bonvoy Bountiful™ Credit Card from Chase, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card from Chase, or the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card from Chase in the last 90 days, or (iii) received a new Card Member bonus or upgrade offer for the Marriott Bonvoy Bountiful™ Credit Card from Chase, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card from Chase, or the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card from Chase in the last 24 months.
When do existing cardmembers have to pay the higher annual fee?
For those who had the Bonvoy Brilliant Card prior to September 22, 2022, the new $650 annual fee kicks in for renewals as of January 1, 2023.
When is the $25 monthly restaurant credit benefit live?
For both new and existing cardmembers, the monthly restaurant credit of up to $25 kicks in as of September 22, 2022, so you can start using this benefit.
Do Bonvoy Brilliant Card authorized users get Platinum Elite status?
You can add authorized users to the Bonvoy Brilliant Card at no extra cost. However, they don’t receive Platinum Elite status, don’t receive a Priority Pass membership, don’t receive an additional monthly dining credit, etc. Authorized users can primarily just help you rack up more points through their spending.
Is Marriott imminently devaluing Platinum Elite status?
Someone suggested that an Amex chat rep claimed that Platinum Elite members will no longer get club lounge access as of 2023. A Marriott spokesperson has confirmed to me that this isn’t true, so this was just a case of a misinformed rep. That’s not to say there won’t be program changes in the future (these programs always evolve), but there doesn’t seem to be anything imminent here.
Is anything changing to the Ritz-Carlton Credit Card?
While it’s no longer open to new applicants, back in the day Chase issued the Ritz-Carlton Credit Card. For those who still have the card, note that the annual fee won’t be changing, and cardmembers will be receiving an anniversary free night award worth up to 85,000 points, rather than one worth up to 50,000 points.
Is the Bonvoy Brilliant Card worth it for existing elite members?
The single biggest perk of the Bonvoy Brilliant Card is that it offers Platinum Elite status. So where does that pit the value proposition of the card for those who already have Platinum Elite, Titanium Elite, or Ambassador Elite status?
Everyone has to crunch the numbers for themselves. As a Titanium Elite member and a lifetime Platinum Elite member, here’s my general take:
- For me, the $300 annual restaurant credit and annual free night award more than justify the card’s annual fee; I hope to consistently redeem that free night award at properties that would cost $800+ if paying cash
- I value the 25 elite nights offered annually with the card, as that will make it easier to hit 50 or 75 elite nights on an ongoing basis, which earn me Choice Benefits, like Suite Night Awards
- While this doesn’t benefit me, others will certainly value the Priority Pass membership offered by the card, to gain airport lounge access
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card has undergone a full refresh. While the card’s annual fee has increased by $200 (to $650), the card also offers all kinds of new benefits. Cardmembers now receive Platinum Elite status for as long as they’re a cardmember, a free night award valid at a property costing up to 85,000 Bonvoy points, 25 elite nights toward status annually, and more.
In addition to this, Marriott Bonvoy is also launching two new credit cards, which I discussed in a separate post.
What do you make of these Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card changes?
The following links will direct you to the rates and fees for mentioned American Express Cards. These include: Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card (Rates & Fees).