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When a travel credit card welcome offer is above 100,000 bonus points, it’s extremely valuable—and right now Marriott has two such offers among its Bonvoy credit cards. Earlier this month, the world’s largest hotel company unveiled a welcome offer that awards five free nights, worth up to 250,000 Bonvoy points. And now, the chain is back with another lofty co-branded card offer too good to ignore.
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant, issued by American Express, is offering new cardmembers 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy points after spending $5,000 in the first three months after account opening, plus an additional 25,000 points after the first card membership anniversary.
The collective 125,000-point offer is one of the highest we’ve seen this year, and the initial 100,000 points would make a substantial nest egg for any travel goals in 2021. According to Marriott’s award redemption chart—which is divided by the level of the hotel (called categories) and peak, standard, and off-peak price points—the bonus points would be enough to cash in for stays at the company’s top hotel brands.
The total 125,000 points would be enough to book two standard nights in a category six hotel (which go for 50,000 points per night, or a category seven hotel (which are 60,000 points per night). Among the company’s category seven properties are Ritz-Carlton locations like The Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage in Palm Springs, The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay on Northern California’s coastline, or The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans, which sits on its own city block in the center of the Big Easy. Several Edition hotels also rank as category sevens, like the ultra-chic Barcelona Edition or the just-opened West Hollywood Edition, a favorite of Condé Nast Traveler readers.
If you’re looking to stretch those points, try a category six property—like the JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort and Spa in Costa Rica or the Kauai Marriott on Hawaii’s Garden Isle—or even a category five hotel, which requires 35,000 points for a standard night. That means the offer would be enough for three nights at a property like the oceanfront Sheraton Grand Los Cabos Hacienda del Mar in Mexico; the Sheraton Grand Danang Resort in Vietnam, or the JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort and Spa—with a solid amount of points left to spare.
Those who want to splurge can use the welcome offer to splash out for one night in a property with a category eight ranking—Marriott’s highest tier that clocks in at 85,000 points for a standard night. The high redemption cost might be worth it, as this tier includes some of the company’s most opulent properties, like The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort, and the iconic St. Regis New York.
Aside from the tempting welcome offer, the Bonvoy Brilliant has plenty of other perks that more than balance out the $450 annual fee. Cardmembers can earn up to $300 statement credits to put toward Marriott purchases, including room rates or incidentals like meals and spa services, and they also receive a free night every year after the card account’s anniversary. The card also includes unlimited airport lounge visits when you enroll in Priority Pass Select membership.
New cardmembers who apply before January 13, 2021, will receive complimentary Platinum Elite status with Marriott for the 2021 status year. Having Platinum Elite unlocks a host of benefits, like guaranteed room upgrades, 4 p.m. checkout, 50 percent bonus points on Marriott purchases, and access to hotel lounges with complimentary breakfast. The card also comes with a Priority Pass Select membership for unlimited access to airport lounges for the cardmember, plus two guests.
The Brilliant is great for travel overall: It earns a whopping six Marriott Bonvoy points per dollar on purchases at Marriott hotels, three points at U.S. restaurants, three points on flights booked directly with airlines, and two points on other purchases.
Learn more about applying for the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card here.
Condé Nast Traveler has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Condé Nast Traveler and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.