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Amex Bonvoy Brilliant Change

godslaf

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I'd heard rumors about this before, but it's now happening. Seems that by late September, the $300 credit will be replaced with $25 monthly dining credits. It was so nice to be able to pay my maintenance fees and that help offset the cost of the card's annual fee. Curious for those who have the card, still planning to keep it once the change happens?
 

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jabberwocky

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Huge downgrade. Only real benefit now is the 15 elite night credits and the certificate. I can’t justify the cost on this basis. The $300 hotel credit was much easier to use.

Coupled with the devaluation to Bonvoy it’s getting harder to stick with Marriott.
 

GetawaysRus

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I'm not happy with this change.

To keep or not to keep, that is the question. I can only see a few slivers of hope for keeping this card.

---------------------------------------

https://thepointsguy.com/news/marriott-bonvoy-brilliant-new-dining-credit/

Be sure to read this section of that blog post:
Fortunately, there’s a bit of good news here, as an American Express spokesperson provided TPG with the following statement:

“If a cardmember uses their $300 Marriott Bonvoy statement credit prior to September, they can still earn up to $25 per month in dining credits from October to December 2022.”
This actually means that existing cardmembers can essentially double dip by using both the $300 Marriott credit and the $25 in monthly dining credits until your next renewal date.

As an example, if your card renewed in March 2022, your $300 Marriott Bonvoy credit reset on that date. If you use all of that credit before Sept. 22, you’ll then enjoy five months of $25 dining credits — Oct. 2022 through Feb. 2023 — before another annual fee is due.

I looked back at my old emails, and I found that my account opening date was Aug. 24, 2018 (right after the SPG Luxury Card launched). This means that I should have just under a month this year to utilize the $300 Marriott benefit before it ends. Then, I’ll have nearly a year of $25 monthly dining credits before I need to incur another annual fee.

If you’re an existing cardmember, it may be worth digging up your approval email (or calling American Express) to verify exactly when this benefit will reset for you.

---------------------------------------

So yes, The Points Guy article is correct. My sign-up date was Aug 23, 2018 according to my records. This should allow me to pre-pay $300 of Marriott timeshare maintenance fees in late August (or perhaps early September?) and then also get the restaurant credit benefit once it begins. So I'm good at least until my August 2023 anniversary date.

The other things I'd weigh in deciding whether to keep this card:
  • the value I get from AmEx offers (especially in comparison to the standard AmEx Bonvoy card). This is very hard for me to gauge, however.
  • the value of the 50K free night certificate - this would have to be compared to the free night certificate from the standard AmEx Bonvoy card, which I believe is 35K
  • the Global Entry $100 credit - but I just used that this past month, so that won't help me until I'm due to renew in 5 more years
  • the 15 annual Bonvoy elite night credits - that doesn't help me either because I already have a Chase personal Marriott credit card
 
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CalGalTraveler

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An odd change given this is a hotel card.

This is definitely a devaluation because paying the MF was easy. Too many chances for breakage. What restaurant costs just $25 these days? You would have to remember to split the tab across multiple credit cards to maximize. What a pain.

The Amex offers for MF were an added bonus but hasn't that now gone away too?

Does the Gold Elite from the card add any value to Sheraton Vacation Club stays with Bonvoy points? We were thinking of downgrading the card after we received the latest 50k cert but we have one last Bonvoy point stay booked next winter with the last of our SPG points. Would Gold Elite level provide any chance of an upgrade or perk at Sheraton Steamboat?

Thanks @GetawaysRus for the pointer. It may be worth keeping the card for one more year to double-dip then downgrade right after the next 50k cert is issued.
 

Moparman42

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Wow, that sucks. I have both bonvoy cards. the regular one isn't worth much, as the free nights are such low points, but the brilliant card was mainly for the credit for maintenance fees. I guess it's time to find a new card. any thoughts on a good replacement? Amex gold? chase or others?
 

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Amex piloted this "benefit" with one of their sign up offers over a year ago. We used it, but some credits took a while to show up and it was kind of a hassle to keep track of, so we will evaluate it when the change happens. I am not very happy about it.
Our go to for travel has been the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Big benefit was as the first payer on car rental insurance. Someone backed into the car on our last day of vacation last year in Hawaii. Applied for the coverage online and Chase took care of all of it. Our insurance company was never involved. It was an $1100 bill.
 

CalGalTraveler

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+1 Negma. So in addition to remembering to use the monthly $25, AMEX sometimes doesn't always give you the credit. That happened to us at least once last year and had to follow up. They are not set up to execute this benefit flawlessly. What a pain.

I like the analogy of the Platinum being an expensive coupon book.

This card pays the same Marriott Bonvoy 6x as the lower level cards so not worth the extra $. IMHO we have been planning to downgrade this card for a while. Was waiting on our 50k cert. I'd rather collect Chase Rewards with our CSRs than Bonvoy. This new change seals the deal to downgrade. Just need to figure out when given the chance to double-dip.
 

godslaf

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GetawaysRus, thanks for the additional info! I also have to look back in my records for sign up - I'm thinking that the date of my annual fee and the date when I opened the card should be the same, but I'll double check. I'll take advantage of the double dip and then probably downgrade
 

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Yes thanks for the info - mine renews in Aug as well so probably keeping it one more year makes sense. Will also let me see if I actually get the full benefit of restaurant credit based on my normal usage. Maybe would consider keeping if I get the $300 in restaurant credit - in the end, $300 is $300 if I didn't have to go too far out of my way to utilize.

re: how many restaurants are $25? - well how many MF are $300? haha. spend more and still get the full credit. The annoyance is having to spend 12 times spaced evenly throughout the year. Even the best of us at tracking may miss a month or get caught by a restaurant not coded correctly in AMEX or something. I remember the $20 credits last year or whenever generally were instantaneous and confirmed via email but perhaps some were delayed and some I thought should count didn't.
 

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Does anyone know how to find out what the “eligible purchases” actually are?
 

jabberwocky

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Does the dining credit only work for restaurants located within the US, or does it apply globally? Is it only one credit per billing cycle?

I’m in the US frequently, but not every month.
 

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I don't have the Brilliant card but had thought about getting one (I have the Bonvoy Business Amex) but only because the $300 Marriott credit would pay for most of the annual fee. Between the elimination of that credit and the fact that I shouldn't need extra elite night credits to maintain Titanium (and I should be getting Titanium automatically in the future through the revised MVC elite program) and basically all my reasons for opening this account have dried up.

The $25/month restaurant credit would be easy to use, I've had no problem using the credits I get on another Amex card I have (I just make sure I order some food through Grubhub once a month) but it isn't sufficient by itself to motivate me to open another account and keep track of the benefits of another card.

I'll add my voice to those recommending Chase Sapphire Reserve, it's my go-to card and the lounge benefit alone pays for the card. You get $28/person meal credits in many airport restaurants, which means that every time we fly somewhere we enjoy $56 in free food and beverage, sometimes double that if we connect somewhere and need to eat again. The reward points are easy to use for travel and other stuff, and you earn bonus points if you book flights through Chase's web site, which is easy to do. There are several other benefits I also find worthwhile.
 

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Last year my fee hit Sept 14 with my statement due date on the 10th. Do you think that will give me enough time for the statement credit? I have no problem prepaying $300 on on Sept 5 and another $300 on Sept 16th but don't want to renew if I won't get a credit on either of those.
 

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Do you get $300 travel credit on the Chase Sapphire Rewards Card if you pay your maintenance fees with it? That is, will the maintenance fees be considered travel?

CSR seems quite a bit more expensive than the Brilliant card at $550 plus $75 for additional cards. Are there other semi automatic benefits that make it pay for itself like the Brilliant card did with the $300 credit for maintenance fees plus the 50k free night certificate?
 

jabberwocky

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I don't have the Brilliant card but had thought about getting one (I have the Bonvoy Business Amex) but only because the $300 Marriott credit would pay for most of the annual fee. Between the elimination of that credit and the fact that I shouldn't need extra elite night credits to maintain Titanium (and I should be getting Titanium automatically in the future through the revised MVC elite program) and basically all my reasons for opening this account have dried up.
Good insight. As a 3* that should give me platinum status. Personally, I don't see much difference between Titanium and Platinum other than some pretty useless upgrade certificates (vs. Hyatt where I have been auto-upgraded 11 out of 12 times this year as a Globalist). I think I'll just cancel the card and then put the spend on one of my other cards. I'll shift all of my business travel to Hyatt to maintain status there. It really stinks given my extensive history with SPG, but Marriott is quickly becoming pretty useless to me now.
 

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Do you get $300 travel credit on the Chase Sapphire Rewards Card if you pay your maintenance fees with it? That is, will the maintenance fees be considered travel?

CSR seems quite a bit more expensive than the Brilliant card at $550 plus $75 for additional cards. Are there other semi automatic benefits that make it pay for itself like the Brilliant card did with the $300 credit for maintenance fees plus the 50k free night certificate?
Yes. I just double checked. That is where we have usually received the $300, with MF. There are a lot of extra perks but you should look online because they may not be of interest to you and your spending.
 

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Do you get $300 travel credit on the Chase Sapphire Rewards Card if you pay your maintenance fees with it? That is, will the maintenance fees be considered travel?

CSR seems quite a bit more expensive than the Brilliant card at $550 plus $75 for additional cards. Are there other semi automatic benefits that make it pay for itself like the Brilliant card did with the $300 credit for maintenance fees plus the 50k free night certificate?
Yes. You get an annual $300 travel credit which they apply automatically, I usually have something that qualifies right away every year, so I get $300 back almost instantly. I don't know if maintenance fees will trigger that credit but I imagine they would, it's quite broad.

You get free "DashPass" for Doordash which saves a lot of money if you ever use Doordash for food ordering.

You get free enrollment/renewal in TSA Pre or Global Entry.

You get free PriorityPass membership which (for me, at least) is worth hundreds per year in lounge access and food credits at airport restaurants.

And then there is the travel points you earn which can be used in all kinds of ways. For me this card delivers genuine value.

 

CalGalTraveler

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The Sapphire Reserve also has $100,000 travel evacuation and travel cancellation insurance. You only need part of the trip on the card to qualify. I am not sure if the Bonvoy has all of that.
 

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Thanks for the details. The program seems to have a bit of value, but also a lot of nuances.

I see some things that are useful, like primary coverage for the CDW portion of a car rental and other travel insurance. However, it doesn't pay for itself as quickly as the current Bonvoy Brilliant does for me. A maintenance fee payment and the free night certificate does it for me, without a single other spend. I was hoping the CSR card would have something like that and the other perks would be the icing that made it special.

For my wife and I the CSR card would cost $625, if I understand the charges right. Of that, $300 would come back quickly. The travel rewards would be more flexile, since they are not just Marriott points, but I have gotten quite a lot of value out of Bonvoy points and would miss getting them from the Brilliant card. It might be better for me to get them through the regular Bonvoy card, though.An option for me would be to just downgrade the Bonvoy card or get the Marriott Visa.

Are airline tickets better priced buying them through Ultimate Rewards than the web fares the airlines offer online? I don't use other card's shopping programs if they are limited to certain establishments or dining options. Many of the benefits mention using Ultimate Rewards in order to get them. I don't know how easy it is to use Ultimate Rewards for going out to dinner (to get 10X points) or to buy travel. I have very good corporate discounts for rental cars. Can I use them if I book through Ultimate Rewards?

The Priority Pass lounges I've visited have always been way overcrowded so I've turned around and not used them. I get access though some other program (maybe the Brilliant card?). I'd rather get an Admiral's Club membership with the American Airlines credit card since where I live AA usually has the best connections. I've never used Doordash and likely won't any time soon. I had never even heard of Gopuff. I probably won't use it either.
 

dioxide45

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Does the dining credit only work for restaurants located within the US, or does it apply globally? Is it only one credit per billing cycle?

I’m in the US frequently, but not every month.
The screen shot in post #1 says "worldwide".
 

remowidget

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Good insight. As a 3* that should give me platinum status. Personally, I don't see much difference between Titanium and Platinum other than some pretty useless upgrade certificates (vs. Hyatt where I have been auto-upgraded 11 out of 12 times this year as a Globalist). I think I'll just cancel the card and then put the spend on one of my other cards. I'll shift all of my business travel to Hyatt to maintain status there. It really stinks given my extensive history with SPG, but Marriott is quickly becoming pretty useless to me now.
If I had travel spend, I would get the Amex Platinum. I'd love to have their lounge access. I think you get 5 points per $ travel spend booked through Amex on the Platinum. Those points can be transferred to Marriott & Hilton and other places. Also, they have a lot of smaller hotels that you can book for points. Occasionally, they give you bonus points for transferring to different partners like Marriott.
 

CalGalTraveler

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Thanks for the details. The program seems to have a bit of value, but also a lot of nuances.

Are airline tickets better priced buying them through Ultimate Rewards than the web fares the airlines offer online? I don't use other card's shopping programs if they are limited to certain establishments or dining options. Many of the benefits mention using Ultimate Rewards in order to get them. I don't know how easy it is to use Ultimate Rewards for going out to dinner (to get 10X points) or to buy travel. I have very good corporate discounts for rental cars. Can I use them if I book through Ultimate Rewards?
Airline tickets are not better priced but if you are trying to use points on United or other airlines sometimes you can save if the cash price dips. For example, we recently purchased United Premium Economy seats for LHR. The points cost on the United site RT was 160,000 but because the cash priced had dipped and Chase rewards tied to 1.5 per cash price the points came out to about 90k RT. You can also apply points and cash if you don't have enough points. United is all or nothing.

The Chase rewards point ticket transfers to United as a cash purchase so when you pull the ticket into your United account, you are then eligible to apply points and cash for an upgrade to first class. in my case it was 20k miles + $425. You can transfer 20k miles from Chase to cover if needed. If you pay with United points you cannot upgrade. I also will receive United points and Elite credit for the purchase.

My only caveat is if you might want to change or cancel the ticket the Chase portal can be difficult to understand the terms and no one knows fees when you call.
 

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Thanks! This seems to provide extra flexibility without much of a downside.
 

jabberwocky

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If I had travel spend, I would get the Amex Platinum. I'd love to have their lounge access. I think you get 5 points per $ travel spend booked through Amex on the Platinum. Those points can be transferred to Marriott & Hilton and other places. Also, they have a lot of smaller hotels that you can book for points. Occasionally, they give you bonus points for transferring to different partners like Marriott.
I did have one, but I just switched my Canadian Amex Platinum to the Gold Amex. The earn rate is pretty much the same, but I don’t get lounge access.

With the Platinum you used to get the highest tier status after only five stays with the fairmont chain of hotels. That was cancelled after Accor took over fairmont. Then they cut the earn rate and cut other perks.

I did like having the Centurion lounge access in HKG and LAS; however, I haven’t been across the pacific since December 2019 (is used to fly there 5-6 times per year). All other North American travel I will have lounge access given airline status. I really can’t justify paying such a high fee for a couple of centurion lounge visits per year (I think they also are not allowing guests to join you in the lounge).
 
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