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Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card review: Top-tier Marriott perks for frequent guests

Big perks for Marriott loyalists – with a big price tag.

 /  12 min
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Bankrate rating
Rating: 4.3 stars out of 5

Bottom line

As Marriott’s premium hotel card, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant comes with high-value perks including Platinum Elite status and an annual top-level free night award. While the annual fee is high, you’ll get great value from its excellent set of perks and benefits.

  • Rewards value
    Rating: 5 stars out of 5
    5 / 5
    Rating: 3 stars out of 5
    3 / 5
    Rewards flexibility
    Rating: 2 stars out of 5
    2 / 5
    Rating: 4 stars out of 5
    4 / 5
Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Recommended Credit

Earn 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points

Intro offer



Offer valuation


2X - 6X

Rewards rate



Annual fee

20.99%-29.99% Variable


Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card overview

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express card earns Marriott Bonvoy points while providing top-of-the-line perks and benefits. This card is ideal for travelers who frequently stay at Marriott properties or want premium hotel experiences. You can use the card’s free night awards at some of the best Marriott properties in the world. Complimentary Platinum Elite status nets additional on-property perks like bonus points, upgrades and late checkout. Combining earnings from spending with points from stays offers even greater value.

However, if your brand loyalty isn’t tied to Marriott and you want flexibility with your rewards or better bonus categories, you may want to consider other hotel credit cards

  • Credit Card Cash Back


    • 6X Marriott Bonvoy points for eligible purchases made directly with participating hotels and resorts in the Marriott portfolio
    • 3X Marriott Bonvoy points for restaurant purchases worldwide and flights booked directly with airlines
    • 2X Marriott Bonvoy points for all other eligible purchases

    Expert Appraisal: Typical
    See our expert analysis

  • Rewards

    Welcome offer

    • 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy points after spending $6,000 within the first 6 months of card membership

    Expert Appraisal: Good
    See our expert analysis

  • Credit Card Search

    Rates and fees

    • Annual fee: $650
    • Foreign transaction fee:  $0
    • Regular APR: 20.99 percent to 29.99 percent variable

    Expert Appraisal: Unimpressive
    See our expert analysis 

  • Congrats

    Other cardholder perks

    • Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status and elite night credits
    • Free night rewards
    • Monthly dining credit
    • Marriott Bonvoy property credit
    • Priority Pass lounge access
    • Global Entry or TSA Precheck credit
    • Trip protection
    • Purchase protection and extended warranty
    • Cell phone protection
    • Premium internet access
    • American Express Experiences
    • Plan It
    • Amex Offers

    Expert Appraisal: Exceptional
    See our expert analysis

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card pros and cons


  • Checkmark

    You’ll get an impressive 21X point return when using this card to pay for Marriott stays (6X from the card, 10X in base points and 5X bonus points for Platinum Elite status), a great way to earn significant points for future trips.

  • Checkmark

    The free night award works for properties up to 85,000 points per night, meaning that you can try out almost any property in the Marriott network.

  • Checkmark

    The 25 annual elite night credits give you a great headstart on qualifying for higher status levels, making this a solid option for frequent Marriott guests.


  • Bonus categories outside of on-property earnings are mediocre compared to other premium hotel cards, limiting it’s everyday usefulness.

  • You can miss out on significant value using the free night certificate at a cheaper property.

  • The annual fee is among the highest for a premium card, which may be prohibitive for many people.

Why you might want the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card

This card is an excellent choice for travelers who frequent Marriott properties or want to experience some perks that come with high-end vacations. You can get a quality return with the welcome offer to jumpstart your point balance and premium perks give significant value.

Perks: Get free nights and status

This card shines while you’re on vacation. You can zip through security with TSA Precheck, visit a Priority Pass lounge before your flight, have coverage if your trip is delayed, pay for a meal along the way and use the free night award to make your most costly night free. A free night at a top property could save more than $1,000 in some cases. Ideally, use these for the most expensive nights possible, using points to add additional nights if desired.

Stacking bonus and base point earnings on stays when paying with your credit card gives a 21X return with Platinum Elite status. Combine that with a late checkout and possibly on-property credits or an upgrade, and that’s a solid return on your trip. The perks on this card give a definite edge to staying with Marriott on your premium vacations.

Welcome offer: Strong initial value

The welcome offer is generous but requires more spending than some competitors. You can earn 95,000 points for spending $6,000 in the first six months, setting you up with a decent arsenal of rewards fairly quickly. This current offer rewards less than half of the points the card's previous offer did, which rewarded cardholders with 185,000 points for the same spending requirement.

The benefit of quickly having a large balance of available points is that you can easily book stays on points at any level of Marriott property. You can get rates as low as 7,500 points or over 100,000 points per night. You’ll also get your 5th night for free, even when using points. When you use these points to your advantage, you can book any trip you desire and save significant money for every night you don’t have to pay cash rates. 

Why you might want a different hotel credit card

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express card only earns Marriott Bonvoy points, so you won't like this card if you want more flexible travel-related points. Also, the high annual fee and mediocre bonus categories might steer you away from this card.

Rates and fees: High annual fee

The steep $650 annual fee on this card is one of the highest you’ll find on any card. While you can get up to $300 in value from the monthly dining statement credits, you’ll need to ensure you get that remaining value from utilizing the perks and strategically applying your free night award. With bonus categories that don’t command additional spending, breaking even on this card is much more challenging than with some competing cards.

Like with any credit card, you should always evaluate the perks, earnings and benefits to determine whether paying the annual fee is worth it.

Rewards: Doesn’t measure up to other cards 

While you’ll get a great return while staying on Marriott properties, the card isn’t great for everyday use. According to our points and miles valuations, Marriott Bonvoy points are worth 0.7 cents. That pales in comparison to what you’ll get with many other cards. Also, the only additional bonus categories are for restaurants and airfare at a paltry 3X, which is weak compared to other cards with those bonus categories. 

There is very little reason or incentive to spend on this card besides paying for Marriott-related expenses, using the monthly dining credit or any short-term promotional offers. Spending $60,000 to unlock another free night award isn’t a great value, considering how much more you could earn from opening other cards or meeting other incentives elsewhere.

We tried it: Here’s what our experts say

Bankrate credit cards writer Ryan Flanigan uses his Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card for added value on luxury travel.

I’ll stay at top-end Marriott properties at least a few times a year. The top-level free night helps defray the annual fee and provides extra value on luxury travel. The card gives me nights to maintain my status, and the monthly dining credit is very flexible. The welcome bonus is an excellent initial value. While it’s not a card I use every day, the outsized value for my Marriott stays keeps it in my wallet long-term.

— Ryan Flanigan, Writer, Credit Cards

How the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card compares to other travel cards

Brand loyalty is a significant factor when deciding whether the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card is right for you. Most major chains offer co-branded credit cards, and the reward structure is relatively similar: high earnings on-property, a few bonus categories and a set of perks and benefits. Consider your travel and spending needs along with the desirability of the benefits offered when making your choice. You may want to consider other options if you aren’t a regular Marriott guest.

Image of Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card
Bankrate Score
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on American Express's secure site

Annual fee


Intro offer

Earn 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points

Rewards rate

2X - 6X

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Image of Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

Annual fee


Intro offer


Rewards rate

3X - 14X

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Image of Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card

Bankrate Score
Rating: 3.8 stars out of 5

Annual fee


Intro offer

Earn 3 Free Night Awards

Rewards rate

2X - 17X

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)

Who is the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card right for?

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card is best suited for travelers who prefer Marriott properties, especially for higher-end stays. Frequent guests will get outsized value from the excellent perks, which can compensate for the high annual fee. 

Bankrate’s Take — Is the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card worth it?

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card is ideal for people who want maximum value from staying at Marriott properties, whether for frequent or high-end luxury travel. 

The welcome offer is generous despite the high spending requirement. And the annual fee, while steep, could be worth it in exchange for the top-tier perks and benefits.

Still, some premium hotel cards offer better overall value for their brands. If this card's high annual fee and overly premium nature don’t work for you, consider one of the many other Marriott credit cards that might better meet your specific needs. Also, if your travel needs don’t align with Marriott, or you don’t value the additional perks, you’ll want to explore other options that will better meet your needs. But, if you are a regular Marriott guest, you should be able to get excellent value from this card.

How we rated this card

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Credit Card Reviews
perks evaluated

We rate credit cards using a proprietary card scoring system that ranks each card’s estimated average rewards rate, estimated annual earnings, welcome bonus value, APR, fees, perks and more against those of other cards in its primary category.

Each card feature is assigned a weighting based on how important it is to people looking for a card in a given category. These features are then scored based on how they rank relative to the features on other cards in the category. Based on these calculations, each card receives an overall rating of 1-5 stars (with 5 being the highest possible score and 1 being the lowest). 

We analyzed over 150 of the most popular rewards and cash back cards to determine where each stacked up based on their value, cost, benefits and more. Here are some of the key factors that influenced this card’s overall score and how the score influenced our review:

Frequently asked questions

* See the online application for details about terms and conditions for these offers. Every reasonable effort has been made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. After you click on the offer you desire you will be directed to the credit card issuer's web site where you can review the terms and conditions for your selected offer.

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, is accurate as of the publish date. All products or services are presented without warranty. Check the bank’s website for the most current information.