AmEx Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Credit Card Review (Formerly AmEx SPG Luxury) (2019.2 Update: 100k Offer)

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card (Formerly Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury Card) Review

2019.2 Update: The AmEx SPG Luxury card is now rebranded as AmEx Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card, and the benefits remain the same. At the same time, the offer is raised to 100k, and the deadline is 2019.04.24.

Application Link

Benefits

    1. 100k offer: earn 100,000 Marriott points after you make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  1. Marriott point is now the most flexible points (after the merger with SPG). We estimate that Marriott points are worth about 0.8 cents/point, see below for a brief introduction.
  2. Earn 6x Marriott points at Marriott hotels (including Marriott, Ritz-Carlton and SPG brands). Earn 3x Marriott points at airlines and restaurants. Earn 2x Marriott points on everything else.
  3. $300 Marriott statement credit every card membership year. You can use this for eligible purchases made directly at participating Marriott hotels (including Marriott, Ritz-Carlton and SPG brands), including the room rate itself.
  4. 15 Elite Night Credits every card membership year toward Marriott elite status. (They are not free night certificates!)  You will receive a maximum of 15 Elite Night credits per calendar year even if you have more than one Marriott/SPG/Ritz-Carlton credit cards.
  5. Receive an annual free night that can be used in a Marriott hotel with a redemption level up to 50k Marriott points.
  6. Complimentary Marriott Gold membership. Spend $75,000 in a calendar year to upgrade to Marriott Platinum membership.
  7. Complimentary Priority Pass Select (PPS) card for the primary cardholder. You can bring 2 guests for free.
  8. With this credit card, you can get access to Amex Offers, which often offers very good discounts at some stores. In the past we have seen offers like: Spend $15 or more and get $5 back at Walmart; Spend $75 or more and get $25 back on Amazon.com.
  9. Up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre application fee.
  10. Complimentary Boingo Wi-Fi on up to four devices worldwide.
  11. No foreign transaction fee.
  12. Refer a friend: You can earn 20,000 bonus Marriott points for every approved account you refer, up to 55,000 Marriott points per calendar year.

Disadvantages

  1. $450 annual fee. Note that the annual fee does not count towards the minimum spending requirement (and this is true for all credit cards)!

Introduction to Marriott Points

  • Marriott points are the most flexible transferable points (After the merging with SPG, Marriott obtained all its airline partners).
  • You can earn Marriott points with AmEx SPG, AmEx SPG Luxury, Chase Marriott Premier Plus, AmEx SPG Business, Chase Marriott Business, and a few recently discontinued cards.
  • Marriott points are stored in your Marriott account, not in your credit cards, so you won't lose your points by canceling the credit cards.
  • Your Marriott points will expire if you don't earn or spend any Marriott points in 24 months. As long as you earn make a purchase with the corresponding credit cards or stay in a hotel, or you redeem some points during the time frame, the point expiration date will be postponed accordingly.
  • Marriott points can be transferred to a lot of airlines miles (you don't have to have a Marriott related credit card to make the transfer), and the ratio is 3:1.25 (i.e. 3:1 transfer rate, plus you get 5k bonus miles for every 60k Marriott points you transfer at a time). The good options are: Alaska Airlines (AS) (Non-alliance), Japan Airlines (JL) (Oneworld), United Airlines (UA) (Star Alliance), American Airlines (AA) (Oneworld), All Nippon Airways (ANA, NH) (Star Alliance), Korean Air (KE) (SkyTeam), etc. If you use Marriott points in this way, the value is about 0.7 cents/point.
  • Marriott points can also be redeemed for hotel stays obviously. Here's the redemption chart: Marriott redemption chart. Generally speaking, you can get a better redemption value from lowest categories. If you use Marriott points in this way, the value is about 0.8 cents/point.
  • In summary, we estimate that Marriott points are worth about 0.8 cents/point.

Recommended Application Time

  1. You can only get the sign-up bonus once in a lifetime, so be sure to apply when the historical highest offer appears.
  2. [New] Welcome offer not available to applicants who
    1. have or have had The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card from JP Morgan in the last 30 days,
    2. have acquired The Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card from Chase, The Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card from Chase, or The Marriott Rewards Premier Business Credit Card from Chase in the last 90 days,
    3. or received a welcome or upgrade offer for The Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card from Chase, The Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card from Chase, or The Marriott Rewards Premier Business Credit Card from Chase in the last 24 months.
  3. AmEx doesn’t typically care about the number of hard pulls.
  4. You can try to apply for it when you have a credit history of 6 months.
  5. Only 2 AmEx credit cards can be approved within 90 days, but this rule does not apply to charge cards. Multiple cards approved in the same day will only have one Hard Pull.
  6. You can keep at most 5 AmEx credit cards, but this rule does not apply to charge cards.

Summary

100k bonus offer is ok but not that attractive for a $450 annual fee card. As a $450 annual fee card, the earning rate is not so good, especially comparing to the old SPG card. Subtracting the $300 Marriott annual credit, the equivalent annual fee is $150, and what you get is an up to 50k free night. Is it worth it? 50k Marriott hotels can be very good ones, you can also have enough choices even in big cities in the US. I think this free night can be easily worth at least $200.

Related Credit Cards

Recommended Downgrade Options

  • You can not downgrade this card to any card with no annual fee, so I suggest you close it when you don’t want to keep it any longer.

After Applying

  • Click here to check AmEx application status.
  • AmEx reconsideration backdoor number: 877-399-3083. The “real” backdoor number of Amex is well protected. Different from Chase, the representatives from this AmEx reconsideration backdoor number only have the right to help you submit requests.

Historical Offers Chart

Application Link


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