New Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant welcome offer with big free night certificate

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American Express just released a new limited-time welcome offer for the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card and it’s a good one, combining traditional points with a monstrous 85K free night certificate. There was similar offer at the end of last year (that my wife jumped at) offering the same certificate and 150k points.

 

The Offer & Key Card Details

Card Offer and Details
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
75K points
75K points after $3K in the first 3 months. Terms apply. (Rates & Fees)

$450 Annual Fee

Recent better offer: 100K + 1 free night award after $5K spend in 3 months [Expired 5/18/22]

FM Mini Review: Decent ultra-premium option for Marriott fans, but Hilton fans may prefer the ultra-premium Hilton Aspire card.


Card Type: Amex Credit Card

Base
Travel
Dine
Brand

Earning rate: 3X airfare charged by airline; 3X US restaurants, 6X Marriott; 2X on all other eligible purchases

Big spend bonus: Platinum Elite status with $75K calendar year spend

Noteworthy perks: ⚬ 50K Free Night Award each year upon renewal ⚬ $300 Marriott statement credit per membership year ⚬ Gold Elite status ⚬ 15 elite nights credit ⚬ Priority Pass Select with 2 free guests ⚬ Global Entry fee credit ⚬ Free premium internet at Marriott properties

See also: Marriott Bonvoy Complete Guide

Quick Thoughts

Many readers have committed to swearing off Marriott completely after their recent change to dynamic pricing.  The change itself was a mixed bag. Although we actually raised our reasonable redemption value for Marriott points to .75cpp, that doesn’t tell the complete story as many sought-after properties went up in cost significantly-to-astronomically.

Within that context, this new welcome offer on the Bonvoy Brilliant is very good, if not spectacular. While the points bonus in and of itself isn’t particularly exciting, adding the 85K free night certificate does make it pop. It will soon be possible to use that certifcate at a property that costs up to 100,000 points with Marriott’s new top-up feature (supposedly arriving this month), putting the entire portfolio in play. That said, just writing that a Marriott property costs 100,000 points makes my head spin a little and says something about the points inflation at the top end of the award chart.

Although the card comes with a hefty $450 annual fee, there is a $300 statement credit that can be applied to any charges at a Marriott property (including room rate). Assuming you can use that easily, it brings the yearly cost closer to $150-200 (depending on how much you value the credit). Using our calculator, and even with the annual fee, the card brings in over $1000 first-year value.

My wife got this card at the end of last year, when we saw the best-ever bonus with the same 85K certificate. While the 85K certificate sounds nice, we haven’t redeemed it yet. First off, since we haven’t yet been able to top-off the cert, many of the properties we were interested in redeeming at were actually out of reach due to peak pricing (100K). Secondly, it’s only one certificate and I’m not crazy about forking over another 85K+ for a second or third night. Marriott points earning hasn’t really kept up with the inflation of points burning (unlike Hilton, for instance) and it makes these high-end properties a larger chunk of my points balance than I’m comfortable parting with…but that’s a topic for another post.

Will we ever see the 150K offer come back again? My guess is that, while it won’t be in our immediate future, the Marriott cards will have to start inching closer to Hilton-level welcome offers (100-150K) simply to remain appealing given where aspirational redemption rates are. That said, this is good offer for first-year value and worth taking a look at if you have a use for the cert and need to top off your points balance.

Are you eligible for a Amex Bonvoy Brilliant card?

In true Bonvoy fashion, Marriott has a labrynthine process for determining whether or not you get a welcome bonus on a given card. It’s like it’s free breakfast or something.

Navigate this chart to figure out if you qualify (see Greg’s full post here).  If you answer “No,” to all of the following questions then you should be eligible for the bonus on the Bonvoy Brilliant

All-in-one Eligibility Matrix

Here’s Greg’s helpful chart for deciphering the Marriott eligibility rules:

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Amanofwords

Does anyone know: Is Marriott continuing its pandemic-era practice of giving you 15 elite nights for a personal card and another 15 for a business card? Just before the pandemic, it was 15 maximum no matter what the card mix.

The extra 15 nights would make this card much more appealing to me.

bluecat

Recent better offer: None. This is the best offer we’ve seen.”

Come again?

bluecat

(Meaning that you said that wife had a much better offer.)

Brutus

What’s the current Frequent Miler prediction for the rumored Bonvoy Brilliant card that everyone was talking about last year? If it were ever going to happen, it seems like this would have been a good time to introduce it.

Sayeed

I wonder if there will be an upgrade offer from the old SPG turned Bonvoy card. I have not seen any such offers in a LONG time.

Brutus

You’re going to need every one of those 85K next year when each Bonvoy point will be valued at .6 cents per point.