Link: Apply now for the refreshed Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
Huge changes are being made to the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card (review), which is Marriott’s premium personal credit card. The card is adding 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 will be increasing as well.
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card annual fee increases to $650
For those who opened their account prior to September 22, 2022, the new annual fee will take effect on renewal dates on or after January 1, 2023. So for a brief period, existing cardmembers will be able to 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 will be increasingly 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.
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 elite nights posted to your account overnight. 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 card
While there’s a lot changing about the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card, there are also several things that aren’t changing:
- The points earning structure on the card remains unchanged, as you can earn 6x Bonvoy points on 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 the application fee for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry waived once every 4-4.5 years
Earn 150K points with the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card
If you’re interested in picking up the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card, there’s a limited time welcome offer. Through January 11, 2023, 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, personally I think the value here is a slam dunk. Just to do some basic “accounting” here:
- 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.
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 today, 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).