Home Hotels Bonvoy Brilliant: The Marriott Card With The Best Benefits, If You’re Willing To Take The Risk Of Being #Bonvoyed

Bonvoy Brilliant: The Marriott Card With The Best Benefits, If You’re Willing To Take The Risk Of Being #Bonvoyed

by joeheg

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card by American Express is the top-level Marriott Bonvoy card available to new applicants. Marriott points are useful because of the variety of hotels available in the Bonvoy program in addition to the other ways you can redeem points with their travel partners.

Sign Up Bonus

We have a referral link for the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card with a sign-up bonus of 75,000 Bonvoy points if you spend $3,000 in the first three months. There’s an additional $200 in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. Restaurants within the first 6 months of card membership.

If you want to apply for the card, we’d appreciate it if you used our link (for which we get a referral bonus).

There are some truly confusing rules to sign up for the Marriott Bonvoy cards since there are cards available from both Chase and American Express. First things first, American Express will show a pop-up box when you apply to let you know if they feel you’re eligible for a sign-up bonus. The Bonvoy cards have their own set of additional rules for new applications. Here’s an explanation:

Welcome offer not available to applicants who have or have had this product or the Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card. We may also consider the number of American Express Cards you have opened and closed as well as other factors in making a decision on your welcome offer eligibility.

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 Boundless Credit Card from Chase, the Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card from Chase, the Marriott Bonvoy Premier Credit Card from Chase, the Marriott Rewards®Premier Credit Card from Chase, the Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card from Chase, the Marriott Bonvoy Premier Plus Business Credit Card from Chase or the Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Business Credit Card from Chase in the last 90 days, or (iii) received a new Card Member bonus or upgrade offer for the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card from Chase, Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card from Chase, the Marriott Bonvoy Premier Credit Card from Chase, the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card from Chase, the Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card from Chase, the Marriott Bonvoy Premier Plus Business Credit Card from Chase or the Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Business Credit Card from Chase in the last 24 months.

Got all of that? Still eligible? Let’s go.

Annual Fee

There’s a $450 annual fee.

Bonus Spending Categories

When spending on the card, you earn points in the Marriott Bonvoy program as follows:

  • Earn 6 points for every dollar of eligible purchases at participating Marriott Hotels
  • Earn 3 points for every dollar spent at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines
  • Earn 2 points for all other eligible purchases

I’ll admit that’s not a very exciting list of bonus categories. Even at Marriott hotels you only earn 6X points but you can earn 3x points on all hotel spending by using either the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Citi Prestige cards.

Card Benefits

Let’s look at what benefits you get with Marriott for having the card:

  • Free in-room premium internet (when booking directly through Marriott)
  • $300 in statement credits each year of card membership for eligible purchases at Marriott Bonvoy hotels
  • Book direct using a special rate for a 2-night minimum stay at The Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis and get up to $100 in credit for qualifying charges
  • Automatic Gold Elite Status. Ability to earn Platinum Elite status if you spend $75,000 or more in eligible purchases in a calendar year
  • Receive 15 Elite Night Credits to be used to reach the next level of status
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card account anniversary. The award can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 50,000 points) at a participating hotel. Select hotels have resort fees. (In 2022, Marriott will allow you to pay an additional 15,000 points when using free night certificates to redeem at more expensive properties.)
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • Priority Pass Membership access to lounges but not good for non-lounge airport experiences.
  • Free Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check.

Ways to Use Bonvoy Points

You can use points earned with the Bonvoy Brilliant card to stay at Marriott properties. In addition, you’re able to transfer points to many different Airline Frequent Flyer programs (possibly with a bonus, depending on how many points you transfer). That’s not counting the additional options of Marriott Bonvoy Moments (which I will explain later in this post).

Hotel Stays

Points can be used for award stays at any of the Marriott hotels. They cover over 30 chains worldwide where you can spend your points:

  1. The Ritz-Carlton
  2. St. Regis
  3. JW Marriott
  4. Ritz-Carlton Reserve
  5. The Luxury Collection
  6. W Hotels
  8. Marriott Hotels
  9. Sheraton
  10. Marriott Vacation Club
  11. Delta Hotels
  12. Le Meriden
  13. Westin
  14. Renaissance Hotels
  15. Gaylord Hotels
  16. Courtyard Hotels
  17. Four Points
  18. SpringHill Suites
  19. Protea Hotels
  20. Fairfield Inn & Suites
  21. AC Hotels
  22. Aloft Hotels
  23. Moxy Hotels
  24. Marriott Executive Apartments
  25. Residence Inn
  26. TownPlace Suites
  27. element
  28. Home & Villas by Marriott International
  29. Autograph Collection
  30. Design Hotels
  31. Tribute Portfolio

Marriott Bonvoy has some remarkable properties like the ones we visited in Austria, Germany and England.

You can transfer points to the frequent flyer programs of over 30 different airlines. The transfer ratio is 3 points to 1 mile for most airlines and you get a bonus of 5,000 extra miles when you transfer 60,000 points. That means it’s best to transfer only in 60,000 point increments when your 60,000 points give you 25,000 miles. A change from the previous transfer ratio is with United Airlines. Whereas a transfer to United was previously a horrible deal, you’ll now get a 10% bonus when sending points to United.

AEGEAN Miles+Bonus 3:1
Aer Lingus AerClub 3:1
Aeroflot Bonus 3:1
Aeromexico ClubPremier 3:1
Air Canada Aeroplan 3:1
Air France-KLM Flying Blue 3:1
Air New Zealand Airpoints 200:1
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan™ 3:1
American Airlines AAdvantage® 3:1
ANA Mileage Club 3:1
Asiana Airlines Asiana Club 3:1
Avianca LifeMiles 3:1
British Airways Executive Club 3:1
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles 3:1
Copa Airlines ConnectMiles 3:1
Delta SkyMiles® 3:1
Emirates Skywards® 3:1
Etihad Guest 3:1
FRONTIER Miles 3:1
Hainan Airlines Fortune Wings Club 3:1
Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles® 3:1
Iberia Plus 3:1
InterMiles 3:1
Japan Airlines JAL Mileage Bank 3:1
Korean Air SKYPASS 3:1
LATAM Airlines LATAM Pass 3:1
MilleMiglia 3:1
Multiplus Fidelidade 3:1
Qantas Frequent Flyer 3:1
Qatar Airways Privilege Club 3:1
Saudia Alfursan 3:1
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer® 3:1
Southwest Rapid Rewards® 3:1
TAP Air Portugal Miles&Go 3:1
Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus 3:1
Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles 3:1
United MileagePlus® 3:1.1
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club 3:1
Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer 3:1
Vueling Club 3:1

Other uses for Marriott Bonvoy Points

There are also other exciting ways for you to spend your points. One of those is the Marriott Bonvoy Moments program. This program is just getting going again post COVID but in the past, they have offered dinners, concerts and sporting event tickets, often from a VIP suite.

Final Thoughts

For an ongoing basis, this card has a $450 annual fee. Earning the $300 credit at Marriott hotels is easy as all you need to do is pay for a room with your card. In fact, I used part of the credit when staying at a hotel I paid for with points. When staying at the Renaissance St. Pancras, I charged our dinner at The Booking Office and drinks at George’s Bar to our room. Shortly after our stay, we received a statement card for the charges. If I’m able to use the 50,000 point voucher at a hotel that costs more than $150 for the night, I’m going to be ahead. If I can use the card for the resort credit, I’d be making money on the card.

As far as how to use your points, I hoarded Marriott points for years. I always felt there would be some exotic destination I would want to travel to and I would transfer points to the airline for the fancy seats on the flights. With limited vacation time, I’ve realized I had enough points and it was time to start spending them. Luckily, I’ve found that using points for hotel stays can be a great value. I wish we could stay somewhere for 5 nights more often to take advantage of the fifth night free on reward stays as I did at the Sheraton New York.

One of the most common uses of this perk was to stay for five nights at the Swan or Dolphin hotels at Walt Disney World with points for the price of four nights. Marriott has caught on to the value people gave these hotels and has placed them into category 6, costing 40,000 to 60,000 points a night (previously, they only cost the equivalent of 30,000 points). Who knows what rooms here will cost when Marriott does away with award charts in 2023.


I value Marriott Bonvoy points at .667 cents per point. I usually find redemptions worth much more than that, like when I managed to get 2.25 cents per point value booking a room at the Residence Inn in New York over Thanksgiving weekend.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


Jaye Deveraux June 7, 2019 - 12:53 pm

I switched to Marriott from Hilton because when this card debuted–it had a 100k sign-up bonus. Most of my travel (so far this year) has been for work. I went from Silver to Gold just by getting the card and then had multiple weeks of travel for work, and due to their double-night promotion that only ended last weekend–I am now Titanium. I hope they do that promotion every year! 🙂
They also still have a double-points promotion that is running until September — I have no idea if all of this is targeted or what..but so far so good. The #BONVOYED meme has gotten a little out of hand–a lot of what I’ve seen complaints for were people who took advantage of IT issues and had unintendedly low booking rates for expensive properties and then got MAD that they were caught. I mean….?

joeheg June 7, 2019 - 9:20 pm

I’m glad you’re enjoying the switch to Marriott and their offers have been good if you stay frequently at their hotels. I have to differ about the #bonvoyed meme being exaggarated. It’s not only people who took advantage of issues. Many of the problems is due to the poor IT. Not being able to refund points or losing reservations is simply unacceptable. I’d say that the simpler your travels, the less likely you are to have problems. It’s only when you want to change anything that you’ll have a problem, or maybe you won’t

james June 7, 2019 - 1:29 pm

Also, you can transfer points to anyone for free.

joeheg June 7, 2019 - 9:11 pm

True. But that more a function of being a Gold member (which you get with the card) so I didn’t include because it’s not exclusive to having the card.

Vicenet June 7, 2019 - 1:55 pm

Brilliant should come with Titanium status.
Until it does, no thanks.

joeheg June 7, 2019 - 9:10 pm

OR give Gold and 30 nights credit that way there’s an advantage over having all the other cards.

Shirley Sui June 7, 2019 - 2:40 pm

Do the 15 night credits stack with Marriott rewards premier plus nights (whatever the card is called now)? I know I read the answer somewhere before but I can’t recall..

joeheg June 7, 2019 - 3:57 pm

The points do not stack. No matter how many Bonvoy cards you have, you’ll only get 15 nights credited to your account.

SHIRLEY S SUI June 9, 2019 - 12:01 pm

Thanks – that’s what I thought I had read. It’s a shame, but completely understandable from a business standpoint ha

Airportmikey November 23, 2021 - 7:45 pm

Actually, if you have a Bonvoy Business card (whether through American Express, or the grandfathered one from Chase – which is no longer open to new applicants), as well as one of the consumer cards, you CAN stack the 15 nights from each, for a maximum of 30 nights per year.

joeheg November 23, 2021 - 8:24 pm

That’s a benefit Marriott brought back from the SPG days because of COVID. We’ll see if they confinue it when things get back to normal.

airportmikey November 24, 2021 - 1:53 am

Very true!

Aggiemd July 1, 2019 - 4:37 am

Typo-if you transfer 60,000 bonvoy points to most airlines it will convert to 20,000 airline miles plus 5,000 mile bonus, NOT 65,000 miles as stated-that would be nice, though. 🙂

joeheg July 1, 2019 - 9:45 am

Thanks for catching that. Fixed.

EDUARD AZAYEV January 10, 2020 - 8:30 pm

Anyone here who stays in Marriott for own pleasure and pays from own pocket? Kind of looking for tips I can really use. What is best program for family which likes to travel and not interested in properties in Baghdad for 5,000 points, or some other exotic places. Thank you.


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