The Platinum Card from American Express was the only major rewards credit card that cost more than $100 annually. If you wanted to get into a lounge that was in a league of its own, you had to be at home.

At that time, that was the case. The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express® Card increased its annual fee from $450 to $650, making it the most expensive Marriott credit card.

The $200 increase for a hotel credit card is crazy, but I want the card even more.

This is not because I want to have the most expensive credit cards in my wallet. It would save me more money than before.

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant is something I want to get my hands on.

Instant Marriott Platinum status

I don't live for months of the year on the road because of my remote job, two kids, a spouse, dog, and cat. Keeping elite status in multiple programs is impossible because of this. The qualification criteria were relaxed during the heart of the Pandemic, but as that phase is ending, it's become more difficult.

Marriott requires 50 nights in a hotel per year to achieve Platinum status. The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card can be used to get a 15- to 25-night head-start on elite status by having a personal Marriott card.


I only get 15 nights per year credited on my Marriott credit card because it's a small business card, and I need 50 nights per year. I'm at 30 nights out of 50 needed to get 15 nights from one of my cards and the other 15 from paid stays, so I'm just at the halfway point. I don't know how I'm going to close the gap without spending money and time on stays. If I have to I will try and find a way to get off the hamster wheel.

My Marriott elite status work would be done every year if I added the Bonvoy Brilliant to my arsenal.

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Marriott Platinum is valued at $2,475. I think I get over $1,000 in tangible value out of having the status every year between the additional points earned on paid stays, the breakfast benefit, lounge access and suite upgrades.

Marriott Platinum status is something I want to keep for as long as possible.

Marriott Platinum status doesn't mean much at a random Fairfield Inn, but it does mean a lot at places like the St. Regis New York or the Swan Reserve at Disney World. I don't stay at Marriott all the time, but I do have a few years where status makes a big difference in terms of amenities.


I know I'll get my money back from the elite benefits, so I don't have to worry about earning it.

I think it's worth $1,000.

$300 in dining credits

$650 is a lot of cash each year for one credit card, even if it unlocks Platinum perks.

If you use the built-in $300 in dining credits, it's not that expensive. As long as you have a system to remember to spend $25 on dining each month on the card, it drops the true out-, even though these are not as easy to use as the Marriott credits that could be used all at once.

The easiest way to use these dining credits is to use the app for $25 each month. We are good to go when we get the nuggets for school parties or when we just want some chick-n-minis.

If you want, you could also do it with Starbucks. Don't forget to use the card when you eat.

I think it's worth $300.

An annual night worth 85,000 points

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card now has an award night that is worth 85,000 points, which is more than the previous 50,000 points. Marriott's program is now charging more for some properties than it used to, so you probably need a higher value certificate just to book what you want.

I would love to receive a Marriott 85,000 point certificate. If you add up 15,000 Marriott points to a certificate, you can choose from most Marriott properties around the world that cost up to 100,000 points with the certificate and a "top off."


I would try to find nights where I could use the certificate at a hotel such as the new Ritz-Carlton New York, NoMad which otherwise would be out of my price range. It's more than getting your money's worth if you can cash in for it. Ritz-Carlton is not very strong when it comes to Marriott perks.

I think it's worth $400 to me.

150,000 bonus Marriott points

If you spend $5,000 on the Amex Bonvoy Brilliant card in the first three months, you will receive a Marriott welcome bonus of 150,000 points. That shot of points can be used in so many different ways.

I'd use them for either a return to the Maldives or a big round number birthday, or for a Disney trip with a stay at the Disney World Swan. There are many ways to use bonus points.


I bought Marriott points at 0.83 cents each and I think the valuation of 0.84 cents each is right for this one.

There is a value to me.

Bottom line

I think I'd get over $2,900 in value from having this card in the first year, with the welcome bonus points, because I'm pretty realistic about what these perks are worth now. Since it's a one-and-done opportunity, I wouldn't say thank you very much for the 150,000 bonus points.

I would keep the card for the $1,700 in ongoing real-world value that I assign to the benefits. It would be nice to not have to worry about Marriott Platinum status.

I would love to get the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant if I could get my next credit card. The fee has gone up by a lot. It is a better overall deal for me.

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex has 150,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 in the first three months.

Click here to find the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex's rates and fees.