On the surface, the Ritz-Carlton™ Credit Card and the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card are very similar credit cards. The obvious difference is that the latter card is available to new applicants.
Cardholders with the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card earn 6 Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program. 3 points at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines. 2 points on all other eligible purchases.
There’s also a welcome offer: 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases on the Card within the first 3 months.
Like the Ritz-Carlton™ Credit Card, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card charges a hefty $450 annual fee, but comes with significant travel benefits that make it worthwhile.
For one thing, cardholders with the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card can take advantage of up to $300 in statement credits annually for eligible purchases at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy. Note, effective 9/22/22, the $300 Marriott Bonvoy statement credit benefit will no longer be available. You’ll also receive a Free Night Award (redeemable for a one-night stay at a property worth 50,000 points or fewer) every year after your renewal month. And, when you use your card to book a stay of two nights or more at the Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis hotels, enjoy a Marriott Bonvoy property credit of up to $100.
That’s not all. You’ll also get a Priority Pass Select membership (enrollment required) which lets you access Priority Pass airport lounges regardless of which carrier or class you’re flying. In addition, get complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status and a fee credit of up to $100 for Global Entry or TSA Precheck.
Plus, you don’t have to worry about a foreign transaction fee, because there is none.
There are additional benefits with the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, too:
- 15 Elite Night Credits each year toward the next level of Marriott Bonvoy Elite status
- Car rental loss and damage insurance (secondary coverage)
- Premium Global Assist® Hotline when traveling more than 100 miles from home
- Trip cancellation and interruption insurance
- Baggage insurance plan
- Trip delay insurance
- Return protection
- Purchase protection
- Extended warranty
- Access to ticket presales and special events with American Express® Experiences
- *Terms apply
So, what’s the point of getting the Ritz-Carlton™ Credit Card through a product change rather than just getting the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card? For one thing, the Ritz-Carlton™ Credit Card is a Visa, and Visa cards are more widely accepted in some countries than American Express cards.
For another, note that the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card restricts its elevated rewards rate on dining to U.S. purchases, while the Ritz-Carlton™ Credit Card does not. For the frequent international traveler, earning more rewards when dining abroad could be an important difference.
Lastly, for consumers who care about prestige, the Ritz-Carlton™ Credit Card is a Visa Infinite credit card, which is one step above Visa Signature. Visa Infinite cards are rare, and tend to come with high annual fees and premium benefits. Along with the Ritz-Carlton™ Credit Card, the noteworthy Visa Infinite cards available in the U.S. are the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and the UBS Visa Infinite Credit Card.
To see rates and fees for the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card please click here.