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2021 Review: Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card – Best for Hotels?

Updated Oct 18, 2021 | Published Sep 06, 201813 min read

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Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

Min Credit Level Good
Annual Fee $450
Regular APR 15.74% - 24.74% Variable
At a glance

The Brilliant is Marriott’s premier credit card, with excellent perks like more points for Marriott Bonvoy stays, an annual Free Night Award, a $300 hotel credit, and complimentary Gold status.

Credit Card Insider receives compensation from advertisers whose products may be mentioned on this page. Advertiser relationships do not affect card evaluations. Advertising partners do not edit or endorse our editorial content. Content is accurate to the best of our knowledge when it's published. Learn more in our Editorial Guidelines.

The information related to Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

Our Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars

We give the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card card 5 out of 5 Stars for being a premium hotel card, with high spending rewards and cost-saving extra benefits.

Why We Like It

  • 6X points per dollar at Marriott Bonvoy properties
  • 3X points at restaurants and for airfare
  • 150,000 Bonus points and a bonus Free Night Award for spending $5,000 in the first 3 months. Resort fees may apply. Terms apply. Offer expires 11/3/2021.
  • $300 Marriott Bonvoy statement hotel credit
  • Priority Pass Select membership (excludes non-lounge experiences)
  • Free Night Award each year after your cardmember anniversary
  • Complimentary Gold Elite member status
  • Application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck

Why It Could Be Better

  • $450 annual fee
  • Point redemption values are highly variable
  • Only provides Gold Elite membership, not Platinum
  • Free Night Award only starts after the first year
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Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
Apply Now

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  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$450
  • Purchase APR15.74% - 24.74% Variable

Rates & Fees

American Express is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant, issued by American Express, is a high-end hotel credit card designed for Marriott Bonvoy properties.

Cardholders earn 18.5X points per dollar at Marriott Bonvoy hotels and resorts – 6X from the card, and 12.5X from being a Marriott Gold Elite member. 3X points are awarded at restaurants and for airfare purchased from airlines, with 2X points for every other eligible purchase.

You can earn an excellent welcome bonus, which isn’t unusual for expensive cards like this. Take note that you may not be eligible for this bonus if you’ve had other Marriott co-branded cards in the past.

There are quite a few valuable perks, including a $300 hotel credit, Priority Pass Select membership (though it excludes non-lounge experiences, like restaurants), a Free Night Award every year after your account anniversary, and an application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card costs $450 per year, so it’s not for every casual traveler. There are no foreign transaction fees. (Rates & Fees)

There are currently four cards in the Marriott Bonvoy card family, with three designed for personal use and one for business.

The Bonvoy Brilliant card is a good choice for anyone who stays at Marriott Bonvoy hotels frequently. But if you prefer other hotel brands, or tend to stay at a variety of hotels, you might want to check out some alternative cards.

Insider Advice: Getting the Most Out of Your Card

  • For spending at Marriott Bonvoy hotels: Pay with the Bonvoy Brilliant card to earn 18.5X points — 6X points from the card, and 12.5X points from your Gold Elite member status.
  • Get the introductory bonus: Be sure to spend enough in the first few months to get the introductory bonus, which will provide a wealth of points you can use for your next trip.
  • Save up for a good redemption value: Don’t jump to use your points at the first opportunity. Make sure you’re getting a relatively good redemption value, or just pay with your card as normal to earn points.
  • Plan on getting your travel credits: Every year you’ll get $300 in credits for purchases at Marriott Bonvoy hotels, including room bookings, so plan accordingly.
  • Use your Free Night Awards: After your account anniversary you’ll get one Free Night Award every year, good for redemption levels up to 50,000 points.
  • Access Priority Pass lounges: Relax with free access to participating airport lounges for you and up to two guests with your Priority Pass Select membership. This membership excludes non-lounge experiences, like credits for restaurants and bars.
  • Apply for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck: Your application fee for either program will be refunded in the form of a statement credit (available once every four years).

The Rewards

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant cardholders can earn a cash back equivalent of about 18.5%–37% at Marriott Bonvoy properties, depending on the redemption point value. A 3%–6% cash back equivalent can be earned for flights and at restaurants, with 2%–4% back everywhere else.

Earning

Spending Rewards
  • 6X Marriott Bonvoy Bonus points per dollar for eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels
  • 3X Marriott Bonvoy points per dollar:
    • U.S. restaurants
    • Flights booked directly with airlines
  • 2X Marriott Bonvoy points per dollar on other eligible purchases
Introductory Bonus
  • 150,000 Bonus points and a bonus Free Night Award for spending $5,000 in the first 3 months. Resort fees may apply. Terms apply. Offer expires 11/3/2021.

You’ll earn points in two different ways when you spend money at hotels: from the Bonvoy Brilliant card itself, and from your Marriott member status.

This card provides 6X Bonus points at Marriott Bonvoy properties, and your member status will provide 12.5X Base points at most properties (there are some exceptions, given below). 10X Base points per dollar are awarded for normal members, but as a Bonvoy Brilliant cardholder you’ll get Gold Elite status, which comes with a 25% point bonus. If you raise your member status higher than that you’ll get a bigger bonus.

Most properties within the Marriott Bonvoy brand portfolio provide 10X Base points per dollar, but there are a few exceptions.

Participating Hotels & Resorts

10X Base Points
AC Hotels Aloft Autograph Collection Hotels
Courtyard Delta Hotels Design Hotels
EDITION Fairfield by Marriott Four Points
Gaylord Hotels JW Marriott Le Méridien
Marriott Hotels Marriott Vacation Club Moxy Hotels
Protea Hotels Renaissance Hotels Sheraton
SpringHill Suites St. Regis The Luxury Collection
The Ritz-Carlton Tribute Portfolio W Hotels
Westin
5X Base Points
Residence Inn TownePlace Suites Element
2.5X Base Points
Marriott Executive Apartments ExecuStay

Redeeming

There are many ways to redeem your points, and the overall value you earn will depend on how you redeem and how much you get per point.

If you assume a value of 0.8–2 cents per point, which is about the range you’ll find, that will give you a cash back equivalent of 18.5–37% at Marriott Bonvoy properties. Purchases in the 3X categories will get a 3–6% cash back equivalent, while other purchases get 2–4% back.

You may be overwhelmed by all the different redemption options available with the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card. But you can simplify the situation by focusing on hotel reservations, which will generally give you the highest value per point.

The redemption options include:

  • Hotel reservations
  • Point transfers to a variety of airline loyalty partners
  • Exclusive Moments and Experiences
  • Vacation packages
  • Gift cards
  • Merchandise

Hotel reservations of some kind are usually your best bet, but there are quite a few different ways to use your points at hotels:

  • Standard room reservations
  • PointSavers reservations
  • Cash + Points reservations
  • Fifth night free on standard award stays
  • Room upgrades
  • Purchases charged to rooms

The higher the hotel category, the more points required for a night’s stay.

Hotel Category Standard Requirement Off-Peak Peak
1 7,500 5,000 10,000
2 12,500 10,000 15,000
3 17,500 15,000 20,000
4 25,000 20,000 30,000
5 35,000 30,000 40,000
6 50,000 40,000 60,000
7 60,000 50,000 70,000
8 85,000 70,000 100,000

You can browse the full list of 6,700 Marriott Bonvoy properties, including their categories and point requirements.

In general, you can expect to get a better value for your points when redeeming at either low or high category hotels. If you’re willing to scrape the bottom of the barrel or splurge on a room, you’ll often end up getting a better deal. The middle categories tend to give the worst redemption values.

We’ll go over two of the most valuable hotel redemption options: PointSavers reservations and fifth night free on award stays.

Pointsavers Reservations

PointSavers reservations are probably the best option for most people because you’ll get a discount of 1,500 to 10,000 points, depending on the hotel category.

This means you’ll get a better value per point, compared to standard reservations. You may not always find a PointSavers option when traveling, but they’re worth looking for when booking rooms.

The redemption requirements for PointSavers reservations are as follows:

Hotel Category PointSavers Requirement Off-Peak Peak
1 6,000 4,000 8,500
2 11,000 8,000 13,000
3 16,000 12,000 18,000
4 22,500 17,500 27,500
5 32,500 27,500 37,500
6 45,000 35,000 55,000
7 55,000 45,000 65,000
8 80,000 65,000 90,000

So, what does a PointSavers reservation look like?

Let’s say you want to reserve a room at the Aloft Cleveland Airport, in Ohio. This is a category 1 hotel, so a night would usually cost 7,500 points. But if you find a PointSavers deal you can book a room for just 6,000 points.

That same room would normally cost $123 for non-Marriott members, after taxes and fees. What are your points worth in this example?

Reservation Type Cash Price Points Required Point Value (cents) Cash Back Equivalent
Standard Reservation $123 7,500 1.64 30.30%
PointSavers Reservation $123 6,000 2.05 37.85%

In this case you’d be getting 2.05 cents per point, which is an excellent value. The cash back equivalents above assume you’re making purchases at Marriott Bonvoy hotels, earning 18.5X points per dollar (6X points from the card and 12.5X points from Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status).

This is probably one of the highest valuations you’re likely to find for Marriott points, and that’s because we’re looking at a category 1 hotel. You may find similar point values with hotels in the highest categories, although those will obviously require many more points to book.

Fifth Night Free on Award Stays

You’ll get your fifth night for free when redeeming points for five nights or more. You must book at least five award nights to get the fifth free. If you book ten nights, you’ll get the fifth and tenth nights free.

You only need enough points to book four nights — when you book five or more nights with points, one night will be discounted automatically. Only standard room reservations are eligible for this offer.

Let’s use two hotels for this example:

Category 4 hotels require 25,000 points per night, so five nights would require a total of 100,000 points (because you only need enough points for four nights). And category 7 hotels require 60,000 points per night, so you’d need 240,000 points to book five nights.

We’ll use standard room prices for non-Marriott members to calculate the point values for five nights, after taxes and fees.

Hotel Cash Price Points Required Point Value (cents) Cash Back Equivalent
Courtyard Lake Placid (Cat 4) $871.35 100,000 0.87 16.10%
JW Marriott Nashville (Cat 7) $2,196.50 240,000 0.92 17.02%

These point values are not bad, probably around the average you can expect. Keep in mind that the hotel category, location, and time of year will all play a role in determining the value of your points when redeeming.

The Benefits

  • $300 Marriott Bonvoy hotel credit: Each cardmember year, you’ll get up to $300 in statement credits for eligible purchases at Marriott Bonvoy properties, including room reservations.
  • Free Night Award: You’ll get one Free Night Award every year after your card membership anniversary, after paying the annual fee and renewing your Brilliant card. That means you’ll need to wait a full year before getting your first free night.
  • $100 property credit: Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant cardholders can earn up to $100 in property credits per stay at The Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis by booking at least two nights direct using a special rate code.
  • Complimentary Priority Pass Select membership: Cardholders get complimentary Priority Pass Select membership. You and up to two guests can relax in over 1,000 Priority Pass airport lounges around the world. Additional guests will cost the standard guest fee.
  • Application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓: Cardholders will receive a statement credit for the application fee of either Global Entry ($100 every four years) or TSA Pre✓ ($85 every four-and-a-half years).
  • Complimentary Gold Elite hotel status: Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant cardholders get complimentary Gold Elite status with Marriott Bonvoy, which comes with a variety of perks.
  • Fast track to Platinum Elite status: Spend $75,000 on eligible purchases in a calendar year with your Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card to earn Platinum Elite member status with Marriott Bonvoy.
  • 15 Elite Night credits: Each year you’ll get 15 Elite Night credits towards a higher member status.
  • Bonus points when transferring to airlines: You can transfer your points to over 40 airline loyalty programs, where you may find a better value for them. Marriott will add 5,000 bonus points for every 60,000 points you transfer.
  • Unlimited Boingo WiFi: Cardholders get complimentary access to over one million land-based Boingo WiFi hotspots around the world. Up to four devices can be connected at once.
  • Lowest Hotel Rate Guarantee: For reservations purchased on amextravel.com.
  • No blackout dates: On award redemptions.
  • ShopRunner membership: Free two-day shipping and returns at select retailers.
  • Entertainment Access: Discounts to cardmember-only events, concerts, sporting events, and shows.
  • Instant card number: Use your new card account instantly if Amex can verify your identity (you may not have access to the full credit line).
  • Purchase Protection: Eligible items are covered against damage and theft for 120 days (90 days for NY residents).
  • Extended Warranty: Warranties of five years or less can be doubled by up to two additional years.
  • Return Protection: Provides a refund for eligible purchases if the merchant refuses to accept a return.
  • Premium Roadside Assistance: Call for help with roadside problems, like flat tires or dead batteries. No fee for the first four occasions.
  • Premium Global Assist Hotline: Help with travel accidents and emergencies. Some costs may be covered.
  • Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance: If your trip is interrupted or canceled by a covered event, which includes accidental bodily harm or sickness, you could be reimbursed for the cost.
  • Trip Delay Insurance: If your trip is delayed by more than six hours, you could be reimbursed by up to $500 for certain purchases. Up to a maximum of 2 claims per year.
  • Baggage Insurance Plan: Covers your lost, stolen, or damaged bags, up to $2,000 for checked bags and up to $3,000 for checked and carry-on bags.
  • Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance: Eligible rental vehicles are covered against damage and theft, as long as you decline the rental company’s own insurance.

The Terms & Fees

Purchase APR Balance Transfer APR Cash Advance APR
15.74% - 24.74% Variable None 25.24% Variable
Annual Fee Foreign Transaction Fee
$450 None
Balance Transfer Fee Cash Advance Fee
None Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
Penalty APR Late Fee Returned Payment Fee
29.99% Variable Up to $40 Up to $40

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card has a lot of fancy features but the terms and fees are very simple, like most credit cards.

There are no foreign transaction fees, which is expected for travel cards (especially expensive travel cards like this).

The Bottom Line

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card is your high-end option for Marriott Bonvoy stays, and if you spend a lot of money with these hotel brands it should be a strong contender.

You’ll be getting 6X more bonus points per dollar than a normal Marriott member, plus the status boost to Gold Elite for 12.5X more points per dollar. You may want to consider a different rewards card for other purchases to get a better value, although the 3X rate for airfare and at restaurants is pretty good too.

The $300 travel credit goes a long way towards offsetting the $450 annual fee. And when you consider the Free Night Award and other perks, like airport lounge access, you may conclude that the fee is actually on the cheap side.

There are some other cards designed for Marriott Bonvoy spending, along with cards that are co-branded with other hotel chains. And then there are general travel cards you can use with any hotel brand, and with airlines too. Check out some of those alternatives to the Bonvoy Brilliant card below.

How Do I Apply for the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card?

Follow the link below to be directed to the credit card issuer’s website where you can fill out an application. Most applicants will get an instant decision, although in some cases it can take longer. American Express may request more information to process the application, like income verification.

What is the Credit Limit of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card?

There is no specific minimum or maximum credit limit for the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant. Your credit line will be based on your overall creditworthiness, including your credit scores and other finances (especially income).

You can request a credit limit increase from American Express whenever you’d like. If you want higher limits we recommend requesting an increase once every six to 12 months or so.

What Credit Scores Do I Need to Qualify for the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card?

It’s recommended you have good credit before applying.

In order to qualify for good credit, your FICO scores would have to be at least 670, or your VantageScores would need to be at least 700.

But keep in mind credit card issuers consider more than credit scores when weighing your creditworthiness. Issuers consider income as well as monthly rent or mortgage payments, among other things. The additional information could lead to your approval, despite having lower scores than what’s recommended. However, that also means you could still be denied even if your scores are high enough.

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Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
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  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$450
  • Purchase APR15.74% - 24.74% Variable

Rates & Fees

American Express is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.

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Alternatives to the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card

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  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$95
  • Purchase APR15.99% - 22.99% Variable
  • Earn 3 Free Nights (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after qualifying purchases + 10X total points on eligible purchases in select categories.
  • 1 Free Night Award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary.
  • Earn up to 17X total Bonvoy points per $1 spent at over 7,000 hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy™.
  • 2X Bonvoy points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Automatic Silver Elite Status each account anniversary year. Path to Gold Status when you spend $35,000 on purchases each account year.
  • 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Earn unlimited Marriott Bonvoy points and get Free Night Stays faster.
Why We Picked It

The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card (Review) is another option for spending at Marriott Bonvoy hotels, but this card is issued by Chase instead of American Express. It’s also much less expensive than the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card.

The Boundless provides complimentary Silver Elite status, rather than Gold Elite like the Brilliant. So you’ll earn slightly fewer Base points at Marriott Bonvoy properties, although it doesn’t make a huge difference.

You won’t get all the cost-saving perks of the Brilliant, but the Boundless does have a few nice benefits that travelers can take advantage of.

As a less expensive card, it’s better for people who don’t travel as much. But remember that the annual travel credit and Free Night Award can go a long way towards offsetting the Brilliant card’s fee, with the potential to completely nullify it.

Rewards
Spending Rewards
  • 17X Marriott Rewards points per dollar at Marriott Bonvoy hotels
    • 6X Bonus points per dollar from the card
    • 11X Base points per dollar for Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status
  • 2X Bonus points per dollar on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus
  • 125,000 Bonus points + 1 Free Night (valued up to 50,000 points) for spending $5,000 in the first 3 months

Take note that you won’t be eligible for this card’s introductory bonus if you’ve had any other Marriott co-branded cards recently, similar to the restrictions on the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card.

Key Features
  • Free Night Award: You’ll get one Free Night Award every year, beginning after your first account anniversary.
  • Complimentary Silver Elite status: As a cardholder you’ll get complimentary Silver Elite status with Marriott. Normally you’d need to spend 10 qualifying nights at Marriott properties for this status level. This grants you perks like a 10% bonus on Marriott Bonvoy Base points and priority late check-in.
  • Path to Gold Elite status: Cardholders get a fast track to Marriott Gold Elite status by spending $35,000 in an account year. Usually it would take 25 qualifying night stays to reach this level.
  • 15 Elite Night Credits annually: You’ll receive 15 Elite Night Credits every year, on or before March 1. Elite Night Credits count towards your Elite status with Marriott.
  • Visa Signature Concierge Service: Call 1-800-953-7392 at any time to reach your personal assistant, who can help with non-emergency tasks.
  • Complimentary premium in-room WiFi: Cardholders get premium on-property WiFi internet access at participating locations. You must provide your loyalty member account number when checking in.
  • Premier Experience Events: Cardholders will occasionally get invitations to exclusive events through the Premier Experience Events program. There are a variety of events, like high-class dining and cooking lessons, rounds of golf, and meetings with exciting people.
  • Travel protections: Travel and Emergency Assistance Service, Lost Luggage Reimbursement, Trip Delay Reimbursement, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver
  • Shopping protections: Purchase Protection, Extended Warranty Protection
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $95
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  • Min. credit levelExcellent
  • Annual Fee$450
  • Purchase APR15.74%-24.74% (Variable)

Rates & Fees

  • Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card after you use your new Card to make $4,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Plus, enjoy a free Weekend Night Reward within your first year and every year after renewal.
  • Earn 14X Hilton Bonus Points when you make eligible purchases on your Card at participating hotels or resorts within the Hilton Portfolio.
  • Earn 7X Bonus Points for eligible purchases: on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com, on car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies & at U.S. restaurants.
  • Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.
  • Enjoy up to $250 in Hilton Resort Credits on your Card each anniversary year, when you stay at participating resorts within the Hilton portfolio.
  • Enjoy complimentary Diamond status with your Hilton Honors Aspire Card.
  • $450 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
Why We Picked It

The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is the premium card for Hilton hotels, with top-notch spending rewards and benefits. If you prefer Hilton properties to those in the Marriott Bonvoy portfolio, this might be the card for you.

The Aspire has some excellent benefits which make the annual fee seem not so high after all.

You automatically get the highest possible member status with Hilton, whereas the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card only gives you Gold with Marriott, a medium-level status. There’s also more potential value from travel credits, and you don’t have to wait a full year before getting your free night award.

These cards are similar in many ways, with the main difference being where they provide their rewards and benefits. If you’re wondering which would be right for you, ask yourself which hotel brands you tend to spend the most money and time with.

Rewards
Spending Rewards
  • 14X Hilton Honors Bonus points per dollar for eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a hotel or resort in the Hilton portfolio
  • 7X Hilton Honors points per dollar for:
    • Flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com
    • Car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies
    • U.S. restaurants
  • 3X Hilton Honors points per dollar on other eligible purchases
Introductory Bonus
  • 150,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening

You’ll be earning a massive number of points at Hilton properties — 34X per dollar! But take note that Hilton points aren’t typically as valuable as Marriott Bonvoy points, and you may be lucky to get 1 cent per point when redeeming.

Even so, you’ll be getting a 13.6%–34% cash back equivalent at Hilton with this card, assuming 0.4–1 cent per point. That’s a bit less than the range you’ll be getting with the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant, but still a good rate.

The Aspire card’s 7X categories are similar to the Brilliant card’s 3X categories, except that it also includes car rentals.

Key Features
  • Hilton Honors Diamond status: Includes a 100% bonus on Base points earned, room upgrades to suites when available, executive lounge access, a 48-hour room guarantee, and more
  • Annual free Weekend Night Award: One free night every year, and earn another free weekend night by spending $60,000 in a calendar year
  • Annual $250 Hilton resort statement credit: Get up to $250 in Hilton Resort Credits on your Card each anniversary year, when you stay at participating resorts within the Hilton portfolio
  • Annual $250 airline fee statement credit: For incidental fees only
  • $100 Hilton on-property credit: Good for every eligible stay of two nights or more at Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts and Conrad Hotels & Resorts, valid for incidental fees only
  • Priority Pass Select membership: Complimentary access to Priority Pass airport lounges (excludes non-lounge experiences)
  • American Express Concierge: Call for help with select services, like buying event tickets, making dining and other reservations, and finding hard-to-find items.
  • Shopping and travel protections: Purchase Protection; Extended Warranty; Return Protection; Baggage Insurance Plan; Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance; Trip Delay Insurance; Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $450

Enrollment required for select benefits; terms and limitations apply.

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card (Rates & Fees)

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The information related to Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

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  • Min. credit levelExcellent
  • Annual Fee$550
  • Purchase APR16.99% - 23.99% Variable
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year. Through December 31, 2021, gas station & grocery store purchases will also count towards earning your Travel Credit
  • Earn 5X total points on air travel and 10X total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3X points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 50% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
Why We Picked It

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® (Review) earns points for a range of travel expenses, including any hotel or airline. Unlike the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card, the Reserve has a $550 annual fee, and most of the perks are different.

This card’s rewards program is much more flexible than the Brilliant’s. You won’t be limited to just Marriott Bonvoy hotels for the best earn rates. Instead you’ll be free to spend at any hotel, airline, car rental, travel agency, and parking garage, among other travel-related merchants.

The Sapphire Reserve has an excellent travel credit, which can be applied to many different types of purchases. Cardholders also get the same Priority Pass Select access, and the Global Entry/TSA Pre✓ credit.

Rewards
Spending Rewards
  • 10X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar:
    • Chase Dining through Ultimate Rewards
    • Hotel stays and Car rentals through Ultimate Rewards (after the full travel credit is used)
    • Lyft rides (through 3/31/22)
  • 5X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on Air travel through Ultimate Rewards (after the full travel credit is used)
  • 3X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar:
    • Travel (after the full travel credit is used)
    • Dining
  • 1X Ultimate Rewards point per dollar on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus
  • 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months

UR points are normally worth 1 cent each, or even less in some cases. But they can be redeemed through Ultimate Rewards for travel expenses for a 50% bonus, which would make them worth 1.5 cents each.

At that point value, the Reserve would earn a cash back equivalent of 7.5% for airfare purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, if you’ve used the full travel credit.

You’d see a cash back equivalent of 15% for dining and hotels booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, and an equivalent of 4.5% for its 3X point categories.
But the Sapphire Reserve also lets you transfer your points to a variety of airline and hotel partners at a 1:1 rate (Marriott Bonvoy is actually included among the partners). That means you could get an even better value for your points, as much as 2 cents per point or perhaps more.

At 2 cents per point you’d increase the cash back equivalents to 10%, 20%, and 6% respectively.

Key Features
  • $300 annual travel credit: You’ll get a $300 travel credit every year that will be automatically applied to any travel-related expenses you charge to your card.
  • Priority Pass Select membership: Cardholders get complimentary Priority Pass Select membership, which provides access to over 1,000 airport lounges and restaurants worldwide. You must manually activate this benefit, and you’ll receive a Priority Pass Select member card in the mail.
  • Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit: Every four years you’ll get up to a $100 credit towards the application fee for either Global Entry ($100) or TSA PreCheck ($85).
  • Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection: The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection provides some complimentary services and benefits at participating hotels and resorts.
  • Elite hotel benefits at Relais & Châteaux: Cardholders get accelerated progress towards Club 5C member status with Relais & Châteaux luxury hotel and resort properties; just stay two nights at qualifying properties in a 12-month period. Club 5C status provides benefits like a VIP welcome, room upgrades, access to a unique experience at each property, and invitations to exclusive events. You must book using the Visa Infinite Concierge.
  • $120 Peloton credit: Enroll to get up to $120 back for an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership (through 2021). No fitness equipment is required.
  • Visa Infinite Concierge: Call 1-877-660-0905 for non-emergency help of all kinds, like making dinner reservations or finding good tickets to a show. You can also ask for travel recommendations, for flights, tourist attractions, the best shopping spots, restaurants, night clubs, etc. This benefit is probably most useful when visiting a new city.
  • Special car rental privileges: You can access your special car rental privileges by logging in to Chase Ultimate Rewards and following the instructions to enroll. You’ll get perks at Avis, Silvercar, and National Car Rental like rental upgrades, discounts, and occasional promotional offers.
  • Lyft Pink membership: One-year exclusive saving opportunities with Lyft Pink membership, providing 15% off rides, relaxed cancellation fees, priority dispatch at airports, and more
  • DoorDash membership, $60 annual DoorDash credit: Chase will pay for a DoorDash subscription for two years (a DashPass). You’ll also get $60 in DoorDash credits in 2020, and $60 in 2021 (learn more about Chase DoorDash benefits).
  • Shopping protections: Purchase Protection; Extended Warranty Protection; Return Protection
  • Travel protections: Primary Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver; Roadside Assistance; Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance; Baggage Delay Insurance; Travel Accident Insurance; Trip Delay Reimbursement; Lost Luggage Reimbursement; Travel and Emergency Assistance; Emergency Evacuation & Transportation
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $550
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$450
  • Purchase APR15.74% - 24.74% Variable

Rates & Fees

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Not a fan of Marriott Bonvoy properties? See some other great hotel cards. Best Hotel Credit Cards

For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, please click here.

Written by

Brendan Harkness

Brendan has been writing about personal finance for over eight years, and is now taking on the challenge of bringing high-quality credit education to the masses. He makes sure that Credit Card Insider is covering the most important credit topics transparently and precisely, and that we have up-to-date reviews of credit cards so you can find cards that are right for you.

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