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Done with Bonvoy Brilliant

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Ricky_D
Contributor

Done with Bonvoy Brilliant

Will never forget the night I checked my Amex cards in the app and the graphic changed on the Brilliant card. Called Amex about it and the rep said, "We just changed the card 10 minutes ago. Check tomorrow and you'll see exciting new benefits".  

Um, okay.

 

Next day:

1 Annual fee increase. To $650?!!

2. Full use statement credit gone, replaced with UP TO $25 a month credit towards a restaurant with conditions. F.Y.I.READ them.

3. Platinum status. Why not top level? $650!!!

Plus more "benefits"

 

So, tried to book my free night stay at one  of my usual places that I've stayed before. 

No suites available with cert anymore. Only 40,000, 50,000 point rooms with less desirable views. The new 85,000 point value goes really nowhere. No free or discounted parking anymore even with upgrade to platinum. Tried to book 5 other places stayed in the past with the free night cert. Even tried different dates. lesser rooms only.

 

Used the card at a restaurant on 11/10 and it coded as "other, misc".   Called Amex and was told "We don't know when the credit will show and if you will get it or not. It can take up to eight weeks."  What?!!! My bill closes 12/2. Again, read the statement credit conditions. 

 

Hilton gives you top status, Any room / suite view if available, a lot of properties have preferred Diamond member free parking or free valet. Generous points, easy to use. 

My only gripe with Hilton is they try to sell you on timeshares from time to time offering a ton of points if you'll listen. 

 

I have Plat, Gold, Aspire, Brilliant, Delta Res, and Blue Cash. Plat, Gold, Hilton, and Delta credits come quick. Not a big spender on cards, not chasing points either. I pay the annual fees for perks which I use alot. But I see no value in Brilliant @$650 anymore for me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Message 1 of 20
19 REPLIES 19
BronzeTrader
Valued Contributor

Re: Done with Bonvoy Brilliant

Interesting.

 

Message 2 of 20
Aim_High
Senior Contributor

Re: Done with Bonvoy Brilliant

We all have to make our own decisions about the cards that are right for us, @Ricky_D, especially those with high AFs.  Sorry to hear of your frustrations!  I hear you about the changes not working for you. I had some initial concerns but so far haven't had problems justifying the higher AF.  I was able to come closer to using most of my 85K points on a high-priced big city hotel room, used complimentary Platinum breakfast for two a couple of times already, and had no problem getting the first $25 credited for dining out.  So in my case, I still find the Brilliant a great value. I wrote a longer review with my experience at >this thread< for anyone who cares to read more. 

Thanks for sharing your perspective!



Length of Credit > 39 years; Total Credit Limits > $700K
AoOA > 29 years (Jun 1993); AoYA (Oct 2022)
* Hover cursor over cards to see name & CL, or press & hold on mobile app.
Message 3 of 20
wasCB14
Super Contributor

Re: Done with Bonvoy Brilliant

I hadn't given much thought to the "basic rooms only" limitation. So I can see the appeal being limited unless the property has a high standard for a "basic room".

 

I'd re-upgrade my $95 card if they'd give me 150k points or something like that. That $95 card does not seem to be a card that gets a lot of upgrade offers, though...at least compared to BCE, ED, charge cards, and Delta cards. Nothing since I downgraded in I think early 2020. But without an upgrade incentive I'm happy to keep my AF cost limited and actually use up a lot of accumulated points.

 

In general, I've had a pretty good experience with getting merchant-specific and category-specific Amex credits.

 

Keep in mind the adage that if everyone has status, no one has status. If "free breakfast" is standard for anyone willing to pay a few hundred dollars in annual fees (as opposed to $10k+ in hotel chain spend) then eventually the hotel prices are going to reflect that "free" breakfast in the price because a large share of their customers will be getting it.

Personal spend: Amex Gold, Amex Schwab Plat., BofA PR+CCR(x2), Costco
Business use: Amex Bus. Plat., BBP, Lowes Amex AU, CFU AU
Perks: Delta Plat., United Explorer, IHG49, Hyatt, "Old SPG"
Mostly SD: Freedom Flex, Freedom, Arrival
Upgrade/Downgrade games: EDP, BCE


Mostly earning MRs and cash back as I use up hotel and airline points spread across several programs.
Message 4 of 20
RehabbingANDBlabbing
Established Contributor

Re: Done with Bonvoy Brilliant

I recently got this card.

 

The dining credit takes longer to post than the other cards. I'd say closer to 7-10 days. But my credit finally showed up for a $30 Starbucks card reload after waiting a while. So to me, the dining credit is fine because I can definitely use it each month, since it applies to most restaurants. You just had some bad luck with the one you went to not coding, because I rarely/never run into that issue with AmEx. I say stick with it.

 

As for the benefits of the free night and Platinum status, this is my first foray into Marriott. I've been loyal to Hilton for a while and I have Diamond status and the Hilton Business AmEx card. It's been a pretty good value proposition for me. Hilton benefits are pretty good, so I am excited to see how it goes with Marriott. But even if I don't get a suite with my certificate, I should still be able to recoup the annual fee by booking a room that costs more than $400 in cash. Not optimal, but tenable.

Message 5 of 20
iced
Valued Contributor

Re: Done with Bonvoy Brilliant


@Ricky_D wrote:

Will never forget the night I checked my Amex cards in the app and the graphic changed on the Brilliant card. Called Amex about it and the rep said, "We just changed the card 10 minutes ago. Check tomorrow and you'll see exciting new benefits".  

Um, okay.

 

Next day:

1 Annual fee increase. To $650?!!

2. Full use statement credit gone, replaced with UP TO $25 a month credit towards a restaurant with conditions. F.Y.I.READ them.

3. Platinum status. Why not top level? $650!!!

Plus more "benefits"

 

So, tried to book my free night stay at one  of my usual places that I've stayed before. 

No suites available with cert anymore. Only 40,000, 50,000 point rooms with less desirable views. The new 85,000 point value goes really nowhere. No free or discounted parking anymore even with upgrade to platinum. Tried to book 5 other places stayed in the past with the free night cert. Even tried different dates. lesser rooms only.

 

Used the card at a restaurant on 11/10 and it coded as "other, misc".   Called Amex and was told "We don't know when the credit will show and if you will get it or not. It can take up to eight weeks."  What?!!! My bill closes 12/2. Again, read the statement credit conditions. 

 

Hilton gives you top status, Any room / suite view if available, a lot of properties have preferred Diamond member free parking or free valet. Generous points, easy to use. 

My only gripe with Hilton is they try to sell you on timeshares from time to time offering a ton of points if you'll listen. 

 

I have Plat, Gold, Aspire, Brilliant, Delta Res, and Blue Cash. Plat, Gold, Hilton, and Delta credits come quick. Not a big spender on cards, not chasing points either. I pay the annual fees for perks which I use alot. But I see no value in Brilliant @$650 anymore for me.


Titanium and Ambassador status are worth more than $650/year. It would be an offense to those who got to those tiers the hard way to sell it for that little. You might not see that value, and that's fine. Others would in a heartbeat, so placing it at Platinum was the right level.

Message 6 of 20
MrDisco99
Valued Contributor

Re: Done with Bonvoy Brilliant

Eery once in a while when I feel like looking for new cards, I glance at the Bonvoy cards, but they just don't seem that attractive compared to the Hilton cards.  Seems the Brilliant got a nerf and the Bevy is just puzzling.

Message 7 of 20
BronzeTrader
Valued Contributor

Re: Done with Bonvoy Brilliant


@MrDisco99 wrote:

Eery once in a while when I feel like looking for new cards, I glance at the Bonvoy cards, but they just don't seem that attractive compared to the Hilton cards.  Seems the Brilliant got a nerf and the Bevy is just puzzling.


Hilton?

 

I've not stepped into any Hilton for at least a couple of years.  The last time it was prior to Covid.  We stayed at the Hampton Inn Sedonia, AZ.  That was a bad property.

 

Hilton has the serious over-crowding issue.  When everyone can pay for the top Diamond status, then status has no meaning.  

 

Message 8 of 20
Ricky_D
Contributor

Re: Done with Bonvoy Brilliant

Sooo... I paid my charge today and lo and behold, the $25 credit applied a minute later. 

Hmmm.

 

 

Message 9 of 20
iced
Valued Contributor

Re: Done with Bonvoy Brilliant


@BronzeTrader wrote:


Hilton?

 

I've not stepped into any Hilton for at least a couple of years.  The last time it was prior to Covid.  We stayed at the Hampton Inn Sedonia, AZ.  That was a bad property.

 

Hilton has the serious over-crowding issue.  When everyone can pay for the top Diamond status, then status has no meaning.  

 


This. Diamond started swirling down the bowl around 2015 when they started handing it out like candy to credit card owners. Upgrades dissipated and they flooded the market with alternative ways to earn points so devaluation came swiftly afterward. It's no cooincidence that was the year I jumped ship to Marriott.

 

The parking spots can be an 'amenity' at the lower-tier properties like Hampton or Garden Inn (when it's even enforced -- when's the last time they asked you for a plate number to verify that car parked there is yours?), but it's nearly non-existent at the upper-tier properties, and useless at the few that do have it (valets got it covered).

 

Today HHonors in general has become so diluted that I ended up finding that the only semi-worthwhile means ot burning through 500k points was to use them at low-end properties during peak times. At upper end properties, 500k points might pay for a day or two, if that. To be fair, Marriott's slowly devaluing too, but there's still really good options (including international) where 500k points can still stretch into almost a week.

 

MrDisco isn't wrong, though. Hilton went so far to embed credit cards into the HHonors program that it's now the majority source of their program, so things look more enticing on the cards even if it translates into a less impressive program overall. They're like the Centurion Lounge of hotels now.

Message 10 of 20
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