Coupon book model infects Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant: hotel credit changing to $25 monthly dining credit

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One of the key benefits of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card (at the time of writing) is a $300 annual statement credit for purchases at Marriott properties. Effective 9/22/22, that $300 Marriott credit (which can currently be used in a lump sum) is being replaced with a monthly $25 credit for dining purchases. Some people may prefer that, though I think this is a disappointing change for Marriott and credit card rewards enthusiasts.

 From premium hotel card to the latest coupon book

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card currently offers up to $300 in statement credits annually for Marriott purchases. That’s a cumulative total which can be used with a single stay/purchase or multiple purchases. The key limitation of the credit is that it has to be used at Marriott hotels and resorts. Of course, those who would consider paying a $450 annual fee for a Marriott credit credit presumably spend more than $300 per year at Marriott properties, so I wouldn’t view that as a limitation but rather a nearly cash-like benefit.

In recent years, Amex has increasingly moved away from one-time lump-sum credits and toward monthly dribs-and-drabs credits. That is no doubt intended both to increase breakage (people forgetting to take advantage of the benefit) and to make it impossible to take advantage of a full year’s benefit without keeping the card for a full year. I understand why a change like this is being rolled out, but I don’t like it. I’d much rather have a credit that can be used in one shot than have to try to remember to use the card once a month for a $25 restaurant charge (and sacrificing some rewards while I’m at it). I regularly spend more than $25 per month at restaurants, I just wouldn’t want to need to track it for the purposes of making sure I triggered the credit. I would much rather be able to spend $300 on a single Marriott stay.

Is the card still worthwhile?

While I don’t have the Bonvoy Brilliant card, I don’t think it is difficult to justify its annual fee. The combination of the $300 annual Marriott credit (at the time of writing) and the 50K free night certificate could easily exceed the value of the annual fee for someone who regularly spends more than $300 per year at Marriott hotels (keep in mind that some people qualify for Ambassador status with more than $20K per year in spend at Marriott properties).

With the change to a dining credit, the extra hassle of being sure to use the credit each month makes it a slightly more questionable value in my opinion. It certainly wouldn’t be impossible to get enough value to justify the fee, it’s just more hassle than I’d prefer on an ultra-premium card. I think this change in the credit makes the Ritz card a clearly superior long-term choice.

Bottom line

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card still comes with an annual $300 credit for purchases at Marriott properties, but starting on 9/22/22 that credit will become up to $25 per month in statement credits for purchases at restaurants worldwide. I believe that if you applied before 9/22/22 you would be able to take advantage of the $300 Marriott credit this year provided you do so before 9/22/22 and then also get a year’s worth of $25 dining credits. While I still don’t love the hassle, that would add a nice little boost on top of the card’s welcome offer and might make it worth considering in the short-term — I just think this card is now harder to justify in the long term.

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VIS

I think the $25 monthly credit will be cumulative for the month like last year. Not too shabby !

Sergey

I hope that Hilton Aspire is not next

VIS

Time to flood AMEX retention department with calls and chats.

PoorChurner

I double dipped the $300 credits for one AF and will downgrade the card to the $95 card. My renewal was this week so I used this as the perfect opportunity for retention – nope. Amex dgaf. Downgrade this year and see how difficult a 35k award night is to redeem and if it’s bad dump it next year.

SamBam

Don’t touch my Ritz card, mr chase!!!

BamBam

I would also prefer the $300 Marriott but as long as I use the restaurant credit, I will keep the card. I have found the easiest way for me to use a monthly restaurant credit is to add the credit card to my Chick-fil-a app and send myself a monthly reminder to add $25 to my account balance.

stvr

Can this only be used at restaurants in Marriotts?

John

Yeah, I agree with you brother. I don’t like having to remember all of these ridiculous little amounts that I have to spend on a monthly basis. I’m grateful for the credit, but it’s extremely annoying.

Hope

Will they apply $25 credit if you charge the total bill on the credit card or do you need to run card twice- $25 and excess amount.

Bobby

So are we still hoping for platinum status and/or 85k cert as part of a refresh?

Christian

While Marriott has been phenomenal at devaluing Bonvoy and showing contempt for involved members, this change makes no sense because it directly disincentivizes cardholders from staying at a Marriott hotel. Isn’t getting cardholders to stay at your hotel chain kind of the most basic premise of having a Marriott co-branded card?

John

Haha! This comment is great! Exactly how I feel!

Stefan Krasowski (@rapidtravelchai)

Probably was too high of usage, nearly every cardholder likely to spend $300+ on Marriott stays with the card in a year, and not enough breakage for their economics.

Gene

Yeah, breakage was less than 100%.

T. Jones

I always found the $300 hotel credit easy to use. Similarly, a $25/month dining credit will be easy for me to use. So the change for me is mostly…meh *shrug*
However, I often found that just having the $300 hotel credit to spend encouraged me to occasionally pay for a little more than I otherwise would have. This simply because the credit was there to help cover the cost. Not strictly logical. Certainly primed the pump for additional spending.
The dining credit will be easier on my occasional poor impulse control, and may actually save me a few bucks here and there instead of overpaying for something I didn’t really need in the first place.
So mostly meh, but probably a little better for me in the long run.

Gwen

My annual fee just hit and I was considering downgrading to the $95 card,but if I am able to use the $300 Marriott credit and get some of those $25 credits its worth it to keep one more year. Long term I am not interested in remembering to use the $25 monthly.

Free3

Why not use the $300 credit relatively early in your cardmember year, then downgrade and get an AF refund for the rest of the year?

Jules

Will there be a $25 credit offered for September 2022? (i.e. if we make a restaurant purchase between Sep 23-30)

VIS

No. It will be start October 1st for existing card holders.

VIS

Looks like our choices are getting limited. I have Aspire, Brilliant and Chase Hyatt card. Hilton has become worthless, no upgrade last few stays, no breakfast credit as a Diamond. Marriott monthly $25, too much to keep up. Oh well, I will milk them as much as I can and re evaluate next Spring when the renewals come up.

William

I know last year I was able to use the $300 credit towards gift cards purchased on the Marriott site. Is that option still working?

WR2

This card was always garbage. You guys way overvalue FN certs and prepaid credits. Get the SUB, hold a year, then cancel.

Sco

I don’t normally stay at Marriott enough for this card to make sense, but I do have a stay planned in early September that could make this an easy small win to get the card for a year. A couple questions:

– The 50k annual free cert is listed as “upon renewal”, so there’s no free cert the first year, right?

– If I book a pre-paid non-refundable rate on the marriott website, will that trigger the credit, or do I need to book a rate where I pay at the front desk?

Corey

No cert in the first year. Prepaid rates will trigger the credit.

VIS

What’s special about 9/22 ? I understand the monthly credit starts October 1 so no double dip in September ? I guess my wedding anniversary will come one month early this year.
“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.”

Last edited 5 days ago by VIS
Amexguy

I think this might be nothing but Sep 22 is the day when AMEX released a new better bonus for the card. I know this because I missed out on it by a week or so. I guess now I can double dip both the benefits for a year

Last edited 5 days ago by Amexguy
Darin

Is it possible to just add $25 to your wallet from UberEats each month? Not 100% sure that adding to your Uber wallet from UE will code as dining, but I’m going to test it unless someone already knows. If you’re getting credits there already from Amex Plat cards, this becomes pretty easy and useful. Don’t think this will work on Grubhub as they use Cashstar, so no adding to your Gold credits.

Zzz

I suppose this would be a way to easily bank the credit for later, but IMO this would be value destroying if one doesn’t Uber frequently. Better to just store the card in the browser and use it for takeout once a month.

Grant

Hey Nick, I totally agree with you here –> “I think this change in the credit makes the Ritz card a clearly superior long-term choice.” Just wish Marriott would let me have both a Ritz Carlton CC and an AMEX Marriott (Brilliant or Business) 🙂

T. Jones

I don’t think there’s anything explicitly preventing someone from holding all those cards, but the SUB… well they won’t let you have more than one of those.

A H

Making a Bonvoy card annoying is pretty “on point” for their brand.

Annoying to remember to use it…
Annoying to tell a waiter “Um, could you please run $25 on this card, and the rest on this other card.”
Annoying to now have to use your cash or another method when you’re used to having a single credit.

Jim Lovejoy

Why do that? Just to get 3 Ultimate Reward points on the balance instead of 3 Marriott points?
I don’t think it’s worth it. By my valuation, I’m losing 45 cents if I pay for a $75 dollar meal with the Brilliant card instead of $25 with the Brilliant and $50 with a Chase Sapphire.
I go to enough restaurants that some of my spend will be at a relatively inexpensive one where 3 Marriott points per $ would be good enough.

whocares

when it rains, it pours

Esquiar

Ugh, my honeymoon is in October and we’re staying at some Bonvoy properties on points, so going to have to manufacture a $300 Bonvoy purchase in early Sept. Why can’t the credit apply to Bonvoy hotels or dining, so dumb

Tony

Any idea if you can go buy a $25 marriott gift card for those months u dont utilize the credit versus loosing it all together ?

Tony

Aahh ok. so it doesnt have to be at a restaurant at Marriott property. its $25 every month at a place that codes as a reataurant, globally ? so includes FX purchases ?

Drew

You answered your own question.

Zzz

Cracker Barrel sells gift cards and is a restaurant

Free3

It could be worse – at least a it’s not a $25 monthly Marriott credit. Ok, so can I still downgrade to the no-AF Amex Marriott card that had the funky art on it?

Last edited 5 days ago by Free3
Travelin'Dandy

Along those lines, do you think its worth it to downgrade if you already have the $95 AF card? Generally prefer Hyatt but Marriott does have a couple of properties I like. Is $190 dollars for two 35K (top-offable to 50) worth it?

Glad I got last year’s SUB and am cashing it out this summer. Either way I’ll get rid of the Brilliant.

Last edited 5 days ago by Travelin'Dandy
Gubmintmole

I picked up this card to use to visit my daughter in college. I could normally get at least 3 stays over a year with the $300 credit and certificate. Not max value but made the card cost free to me. Will be dropping this card at end of the year and switching to either the Hyatt network or Marriott Boundless card. Card no longer has what I need.

Gene

Well, that’s a HUGE devaluation. As always, I am so glad that I don’t do business with Marriott.

Jim Lovejoy

If you don’t do business with Marriott it’s no devaluation at all for you.
Before the card was worth nothing to you, now it’s worth somewhat more.
(A free night that you wouldn’t use and a $300 dollar credit for a hotel chain that you wouldn’t stay at would be worth zero.)