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On Feb 13, 2019, Marriott refreshed the Amex SPG Luxury card to the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card. The card comes with a handful of benefits like a free anniversary night  and up to $300 Marriott Bonvoy statement credits. Is the card right for you?

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Key Features

- Up to $300 Marriott Bonvoy statement credit each card member year for eligible purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels

- Free night award (worth up to 50,000 points) each card account anniversary. Expires 12 months from issuance, and the stay must occur before the certificate expires.  

- Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status

Spending Multipliers:

  • Earn 6X Marriott Bonvoy points on eligible purchases at Marriott Bonvoy hotels
  • Earn 3X Marriott Bonvoy points at U.S. restaurants and flights booked directly with airlines
  • Earn 2X Marriott Bonvoy points on all other purchases
  • Unlimited airport lounge access via Priority Pass Select (enrollment required)
  • Visits for you and up to two guests per visit

- Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®  credit (every 4 years)

- No foreign transaction fees

- Terms apply.

Welcome Offer and Eligibility

There are a few application rules to be aware of for the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card:

  • Amex “Once in a Lifetime” Rule: If you have/had the Amex SPG Luxury (it’s effectively the same card), you will not qualify for the welcome offer.
  • The “One Lane Rule” applies to all of the refreshed Marriott Bonvoy cards. You won’t qualify for a welcome offer if:
  • Have/had in last 30 days =  Chase Ritz-Carlton
  • Added in the last 90 days = * Chase 6 card list
  • Welcome / upgrade bonus last 24 months = * Chase 6 card list

* Chase 6 card list:

  • Marriott Bonvoy Premier + Marriott Bonvoy Boundless
  • Marriott Bonvoy Premier + Marriott Rewards Premier Plus
  • Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Business + Marriott Bonvoy Premier Business

Effective Annual Fee

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card has a $450 annual fee, but it also comes with a $300 hotel credit. The Bonvoy credit can be used for anything that goes into your bill including room rate, dining, activities, spa services, etc.

The effective annual fee, assuming that you use the full $300 credit, is $150.

  • $450 - $300 = $150

What are Marriott Bonvoy Points Worth?

The expected value of Marriott Bonvoy points depends on how you plan to redeem them. Points can be redeemed towards hotel stays or transfer to airline partners.

Marriott Bonvoy Points Valuation: Airlines

The airline transfer rate for Marriott Bonvoy points is 60,000 Bonvoy points to 25,000 airline points.

  • Marriott Bonvoy transfer rate: 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points = 25,000 airline points

The best airline transfer partners (to me) are ones you can’t earn points for:

  • Korean Air
  • Japan Airlines (JAL)
  • Alaska Airlines

To maximize the value of points, the optimal strategy would be to redeem points for business or first class flights on the above partner airlines.

Marriott Bonvoy Points Valuation: Hotels

The point valuation for hotels will be different for everyone because it depends on where you plan to redeem them.

View the Marriott redemption chart here: https://points-redemption.marriott.com/category-change

Hotel Point Valuation Formula:

  • Total cost (with taxes) / total points = cents per point

2 night example:

= 2 nights * $500 / 2 nights * 50k Bonvoy
= $1,000 / 100k Bonvoy
= 0.01 * 100 = 1 CPP

5th night free example:

= 5 nights * $500 / 200k Bonvoy
= $2,500 / 200k = 1.25 CPP

Where To Redeem the Free Night Award

Cardmembers will receive a free night award on their account anniversary. The free night award can be redeemed on properties worth up to 50,000 points.

View the Marriott properties here: https://points-redemption.marriott.com/category-change

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