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A Brilliant Move – Why Now May Be The Time to Obtain This Amex Card

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Disclosure: Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. Links in this post may provide us with a commission.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex

Pick Up The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex Now

A bunch out there freaked out last week when it was announced that the annual $300 Marriott credit will be removed from the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card and replaced with a $25 monthly dining credit.  DDG touched on the change here.  Lovers of the term “coupon book” couldn’t wait to unleash that moniker on the Brilliant.  Indeed, it’s easier just to issue a broad devaluation opinion.  But, some who take a bit of more time to evaluate the situation may decide the time’s right to apply for the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex.  I’ll review the upcoming credit changes and other Brilliant benefits to make the case.  Then, I’ll describe my no-brainer decision why I decided to pick up the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex now.

Why To Pick Up the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex Now

Credit Changes

Effective 22 September 2022, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card‘s $300 Marriott credit will be replaced with a $25 monthly dining credit.  The credit is the same $300 annual amount but entails a cardholder to spend $25 monthly on dining purchases or lose that month’s credit.  Some preferred the simplicity of entirely using the previous Marriott credit with one or two stays.  On the other hand, certain people may prefer the broader applicability of the dining credit even with the extra attention it requires (i.e. non Marriott loyalists).

Those who are currently eligible for a Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex welcome offer are also able to take advantage of a lucrative, time-sensitive opportunity.  Cardholders (new and existing) can use the current year’s $300 Marriott credit prior to 22 September and also obtain the $25 monthly dining credit once it starts.  (I recommend not waiting until 21 September to use the Marriott credit, just to be safe.)  For those who can maximize these benefits and apply now, that’s a minimum of $550 (likely $575) in credits in the first cardmember year, easily outweighing the $450 annual fee.

This is particularly good because the $300 Marriott credit is per cardmember year, NOT calendar year. This means you couldn’t double dip it for $600 in the first year like you can with airline incidental credits etc.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex

Other Card Benefits Remain

So the credits alone more than cancel out the annual fee.  And all other Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex benefits remain.  The welcome offer, while not currently elevated, will still be attractive enough to many.  Let’s take a look:

  • Current Welcome Offer:  Earn 75k Marriott Bonvoy points after spending $3k on the card within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 6x Bonvoy points at Marriott properties, 3x at U.S. restaurants, 3x on flights booked directly with airlines, and 2x everywhere else.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award annually after your card renews. This award is redeemable at any Marriott property at the 50k point redemption level or under.
  • Priority Pass Select membership.
  • Gold elite status.
  • Platinum status with $75k annual spend.
  • 15 elite night credits each year.
  • $100 credit when you book a two night stay at a St. Regis or Ritz Carlton when you book an eligible rate.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.

Remember Player Two!

Those active in the hobby with a spouse or domestic partner can do even better.  Your spouse can refer you for the Brilliant and earn a referral bonus when you’re approved, and vice versa (or both)!  Bonuses vary for each cardmember and the card they refer from, but many can easily obtain 20-30k Membership Rewards with one referral.  The referral bonus, the welcome offer, and double-dipping the Marriott and dining credits tower over the $450 annual fee this year.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex

My No-Brainer Decision

Last month, both my wife and I applied for the Brilliant knowing that we would most likely be denied.  (We were correct.)  The reason we did so is we wanted to get applications in under the welcome offer at the time (100k points and a 85k free night award) while also leaving us flexibility to pursue the next welcome offer if it was better.

We subsequently discovered that the now-current welcome offer is inferior to the previous one.  That encouraged us to reconsider our applications now that we were each under the Amex five credit card limit.  Additionally, the credit news and the opportunity to double-dip made our decision even easier.  We each called into reconsideration today and received approvals in less than five minutes.  This is a good way to potentially lock in the better offer and get it later since you have 60 days for reconsideration.


The value of the dining versus Marriott credits will be debated in perpetuity.  People in our hobby have a thing for that, myself included.  Right now, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant is a one-year lucrative rental for me.  I’ll reevaluate once the second year annual fee hits to determine if it’s worth holding onto; I’ll definitely consider retention offers.  I suspect many of you can do similarly well with the Brilliant in year one, so it may be worth considering an application ASAP.  What’s your view on the Brilliant changes and its long term value?

Disclosure: Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

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Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.
Benjy Harmon
Benjy Harmon
Benjy focuses on the intersection of points, travel, and financial independence (FI). An experienced world traveler, husband, and father, he currently roams throughout the USA close to expense-free. Benjy enjoys helping others achieve their FI and travel goals.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


  1. Yeah, well, I already have this card, so it is becoming just another AMEX card coupon book that lost its branding and direction (I’m referring to you AMEX Platinum/Walmart abomination).


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