American Express US is a making a wealth of changes to the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card.
The card will now be complimentary Platinum Elite status, 25 elite night credits, and the annual Free Night Award will now be worth 85,000 points – while the annual fee will be increasing from $450 to $650 (all figures in USD).
Meanwhile, there’s also a brand-new products being introduced at the $250/year level: the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy American Express Card, with several unique benefits of its own.
Let’s take a closer look at all of the changes.
Changes to the Amex US Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card
As of today, the Amex US Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card will be making a plethora of changes.
Platinum Elite Status
The Bonvoy Brilliant Card will now offer complimentary Platinum Elite status with Marriott Bonvoy as part of the cardholder benefits.
As a reminder, Platinum Elite status comes with free breakfast, lounge access, suite upgrades, and a guaranteed 4pm late checkout, among many other benefits.
Note that members are only offered an Annual Choice Benefit upon earning 50 elite qualifying nights during a calendar year, and not due to the automatic granting of Platinum Elite status via a credit card such as the Bonvoy Brilliant.
25 Elite Qualifying Nights
The Bonvoy Brilliant Card will now offer 25 elite qualifying nights instead of the previous 15.
Earning 25 elite night credits from this card alone, combinable with the 15 elite nights on the Amex US Marriott Bonvoy Business Card, makes for a total of 40 elite nights just for holding the two credit cards.
As a result, only 35 nights are required to reach Marriott Bonvoy Titanium Elite status, which offers stronger benefits and an additional Annual Choice Benefit over and above Platinum Elite status.
For existing Bonvoy Brilliant cardholders, the additional 10 elite nights have already been added to your account, which you’ll see upon logging in the Marriott website or checking the Marriott Bonvoy mobile app.
Anniversary Free Night Award Worth 85,000 Points
The anniversary Free Night Award that comes as part of the Bonvoy Brilliant Card will now be worth 85,000 Bonvoy points rather than 50,000 points previously.
The Free Night Award can be topped with up to 15,000 points to book hotel that cost up to 100,000 Bonvoy points per night.
Brilliant Earned Choice Award Upon Spending $60,000/Year
Starting January 2023, cardholders who spend $60,000 on the Bonvoy Brilliant Card during a calendar year will be rewarded with a Brilliant Earned Choice Award, which allows them to select one of the following three benefits:
- 5 additional Suite Night Awards
- $750 discount on mattress and box spring from Marriott retail brands
- Free Night Award worth 85,000 Bonvoy points
Annual Fee Increasing to $650
To balance out the positive changes to the card, the annual fee will be increasing from $450 to $650.
12 × $25 Monthly Dining Credits
As announced back in June 2022, the card’s previous annual US$300 Marriott credit has now been replaced by 12 × $25 monthly dining credits applicable at restaurants worldwide.
Welcome Bonus of 150,000 Bonvoy Points
To coincide with the Bonvoy Brilliant Card’s relaunch, the card is offering a new welcome bonus of 150,000 Bonvoy points upon spending $5,000 in the first three months.
This is quite a competitive welcome bonus, and if the new annual fee and benefits package are palatable to you, I wouldn’t hesitate to pick up this card and earn 150,000 Bonvoy points.
New Amex US Marriott Bonvoy Bevy Card
The new Amex US Marriott Bonvoy Bevy Card comes with an annual fee of $250 and a wide array of cardholder benefits.
Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status
The Bonvoy Bevy Card will offer automatic Gold Elite status with Marriott Bonvoy, entitling the cardholder to a room upgrade, bonus points, and 2pm late checkout subject to availability.
1,000 Bonus Points Per Stay
Bonvoy Bevy cardholders will earn 1,000 extra Bonvoy points for every eligible paid stay they make at Marriott hotels.
We currently value Bonvoy points at 0.7¢ apiece, so this is equivalent to getting a ~$7 rebate on each stay.
Free Night Award Worth 50,000 Points Upon Spending $15,000
Cardholders who spend $15,000 in a calendar year on the Bonvoy Bevy Card will earn a Free Night Award worth 50,000 points.
The Free Night Award can be topped with up to 15,000 points to book hotel that cost up to 65,000 Bonvoy points per night.
15 Elite Qualifying Nights
Like the old Bonvoy Brilliant Card, the Bonvoy Bevy Card will offer 15 elite qualifying nights as a cardholder perk.
By holding the Bonvoy Bevy Card in conjunction with the Amex US Bonvoy Business Card, you’d be able to earn 30 elite qualifying nights in total.
6/4/4/2 Earning Rates
The Marriott Bonvoy Bevy Card has a 6-4-4-2 earning rate as follows:
- 6 points per dollar spent at Marriott properties
- 4 points per dollar spent on dining worldwide
- 4 points per dollar spent on groceries at US supermarkets
- 2 points per dollar spent on all other purchases
Notice this is actually a stronger earning structure than the more expensive Bonvoy Brilliant Card, as you’ll earn 4x points on dining vs. 3x on the Bonvoy Brilliant, and the Bonvoy Brilliant also has no accelerated earnings on grocery purchases.
Welcome Bonus of 125,000 Bonvoy Points
The Amex US Bonvoy Bevy Card debuts with a welcome bonus of 125,000 Bonvoy points upon spending $4,000 in the first three months.
Compared to the Bonvoy Brilliant Card, the Bonvoy Bevy Card’s welcome bonus may well be more attractive.
The Bonvoy Bevy earns 25,000 fewer points (125,000 points vs. 150,000 points), but requires $1,000 less in spending ($4,000 vs. $5,000) and $400 less in annual fees ($250 vs. $650).
A Refreshed Amex US Marriott Bonvoy Credit Card Lineup
The changes to the Amex US Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card can be viewed as positive, negative, or a net-zero depending on your stay patterns with Marriott hotels.
For example, if you’re a value-conscious traveller who likes to pursue discounted luxury hotel stays, you may place a greater weight on the instant Platinum Elite status and the strengthening of the Free Night Award from 50,000 to 85,000 points compared to the US$200 increase in annual fee.
However, if you’re a frequent traveller who earns Platinum Elite status organically, then this round of changes are less of a value-add.
In fact, you may even be annoyed that Platinum Elite status is being handed out like candy, thus potentially diluting suite upgrade availability or contributing to overcrowded lounges. One has to wonder how sustainable the upcoming swelling of Platinum Elite ranks will be.
Nevertheless, the Bonvoy Brilliant is taking a step up into the ultra-luxury credit card category with a new $650 annual fee, and that’s sure to put off many cardholders who had previously justified only a $150 effective annual fee on this card (when the $450 fee had been offset by an easily redeemable $300 Marriott credit).
Ostensibly, those cardholders represent the target market for the new $250 Bonvoy Bevy Card, which comes with a range of benefits that appear to be respectable but not overly rewarding.
In my view, the lack of an anniversary Free Night Award on the Bonvoy Bevy Card makes it less appealing than a card in the $250 range ought to be.
It’s absolutely worth applying for this brand-new product to nab the welcome bonus of 125,000 Bonvoy points, but the case for holding the card in the long term is weaker, especially when you consider that the legacy $95 Amex Bonvoy Card – which comes with an anniversary Free Night Award worth 35,000 Bonvoy points and the same 15 elite qualifying nights – may well be available as a downgrade option.
Lastly, it’s interesting to note that the Bonvoy Brilliant Card, though significantly more expensive than the Bonvoy Bevy, comes with a weaker earning structure.
This seems to mirror Amex US’s approach to the Platinum Card and the Gold Card: the higher-end card is geared towards travel benefits for frequent travellers, while the cheaper card comes with greater mass-market appeal by way of its earning rates – although savvy points collectors will know that there’s little reason to earn Bonvoy points on spending compared to the stronger points currencies in the market.
For me, although there’s undeniable appeal in the Bonvoy Bevy Card’s launch bonus of 125,000 Bonvoy points, it still appears to be a better deal to hold the Bonvoy Brilliant Card for $650 than the Bonvoy Bevy Card for $250 in the long run.
The American Express US Marriott Bonvoy credit cards are receiving major updates effective as of today.
The Bonvoy Brilliant Card will have an increased annual fee of $650, but will provide Marriott Platinum Elite status, an anniversary Free Night Award worth 85,000 points, 25 elite qualifying nights, and more.
The new Bonvoy Bevy Card will be a mid-tier Amex offering that comes with Gold Elite status, 15 elite qualifying nights, and a Free Night Award worth 50,000 points upon spending $15,000 per calendar year.
There’s quite a wide range of ups and downs mixed in with these changes, and whether these changes are beneficial to you and the resultant optimal strategy will vary greatly based on your personal travel patterns and your loyalty to Marriott.