Bye Bye Bonvoy Brilliant AMEX Card!

by joeheg

We kept the Bonvoy Brilliant AMEX card because the benefits outweighed the annual fee. We upgraded when the Bonvoy Brilliant was still the SPG Luxury Card and every year we received more value than we paid. That was, until this year, when AMEX raised the annual fee for the Bonvoy Brilliant Card to $650. Like all of our cards, I look at the value proposition when the annual fee hits our account.

Originally the card cost $450 per year and you received a $300 yearly Marriott credit and 1 free night. In September 2022 the Marriott annual credit was replaced with a $25 monthly restaurant credit. At first, I thought it was a dealbreaker, but I decided I could navigate the new terms and still end up ahead.

Then in October 2022, AMEX and Marriott “reinvented” the Bonvoy Brilliant card. While it had some increased benefits, it also came with a $650 annual fee. Once again I evaluated the new terms and decided it wasn’t worth it.

The $650 annual fee finally hit the account. I logged into AMEX and started a chat session to close the card.

The rep was friendly and asked why I wanted to close the Bonvoy Brilliant card. I replied I don’t think I’ll get enough benefits to justify paying the new $650 annual fee.

Their reply was to say they understood and provided me with the terms of cancellation. There was no pitch about the new great things or how much value I’ve received. They were happy to let me go.

I replied that before closing the card, were there any retention offers available to help me to rationalize paying the fee another year?

Waiting…….. Sorry, there are no offers available on your card.

I honestly don’t know if any offer, besides lowering the annual fee back to $450, would have enticed me to keep the card. With 40 nights credited to our Bonvoy account from credit cards, we’ll easily re-qualify for Platinum status in 2023, which will last until the start of 2025.

I’d have to get a minimum of $350 value for a single 85,000 free night certificate to break even. We don’t stay at hotels costing that many points; if we do, it’s for more than 1 night.

I agreed to the terms of cancellation and we were done. We are Bonvoy Brilliant cardholders no more.

Before closing the chat, I confirmed I’d receive a refund of the $650 annual fee. AMEX has a 30-day period where you can cancel your card and receive a full refund. That’s one reason I like to cancel or downgrade a card via chat instead of on the phone. There’s always a record of the conversation.

Final Thoughts

The Bonvoy Brilliant annual fee increase to $650 without a corresponding increase in benefits I value made it easy to let this card go. It also frees up an AMEX slot for when an excellent sign-up bonus comes along.

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Boraxo April 25, 2023 - 4:34 pm

Concur. Plus I hate the monthly coupon book credits. The card was tolerable when it included $300 in Marriott cash. Not anymore.

Billy Bob April 25, 2023 - 11:27 pm

Exactly the same thing today (25th). The fee hit around a week ago. I called and got nowhere. However, I am going to keep the card into May and hit that $25 dining credit one more time, pay it off quickly, and then cancel and get my $650 fee erased.
I have the Ritz card and the Chase Business card, so there’s my 40 nights (I hope). I am two years away from lifetime plat too.

Billy Bob April 25, 2023 - 11:37 pm

Edit: 30 nights, not 40. In any case I’ll get to 50 for the next two years.

bye bye brilliant May 19, 2023 - 7:29 am

The card lost it’s focus. It is a Marriott card, not a dinner card. The $300 credit would be a better fit with an upgraded Gold card. In the back of my mind I have this fear that they will destroy the Platinum card just as they did their bonvoy brilliant.


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