Update 3/5/2020: Starting May 2020, this may no longer be an option as American Express has added terms to limit this (see here).

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card from American Express isn’t my favorite luxury credit card. I personally think the $450 annual fee is too high for the limited benefits it provides. One of the best benefits, however, is the $300 annual Marriott statement credit which can be redeemed each cardmember year. If you play it right, this credit alone can pay for the annual fee.

The credit is intended to cover all types of purchases during your stay even room rates! Basically anything that will be billed to your room is fair game. Last year, I got married at the Ritz-Carlton Boston and was able to get the $300 credit after paying one of the bills.

If you don’t have a Marriott stay coming up, it is possible to buy a gift card for a future stay. To do this, I recommend going to your nearest Marriott and purchasing a $300 gift card at the front desk. Within a few days, the credit should post to your Amex account. I tried this out at the Marriott Copley in Boston last week and had no issues. I even got a bonus $25 since Marriott was offering the statement credit for Marriott purchases as a cardmember “anniversary gift”. Also, this purchase earned 6x Marriott points. Not bad!

Final Thoughts

My tip for getting the most out of the Amex Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant is to make sure you get the $300 credit twice: once upon opening the card and a second time at the start of your second cardmember. After you get the $300 credit a second time, you’re free to cancel the card before having to pay the annual fee a second time.

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