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9 things to do once you get the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex to enjoy benefits like free hotel status and over $400 in statement credits

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Exterior evening view of the St. Regis Bahia Beach in Puerto Rico with a reflecting pond surrounded by palm trees.
You can redeem points from the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant at the luxurious St. Regis Bahia Beach, Puerto Rico.

Marriott Bonvoy

  • If you stay with Marriott frequently, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card is worth considering.

  • It comes with premium benefits including statement credits, elite status, and airport lounge access.

  • You'll get the most value from the card when you take advantage of its perks, but some require activation.

  • Read Insider's guide to the best Marriott credit cards.

Amex is an Insider advertising partner.

If you're in the market for a premium rewards card and Marriott is your hotel brand of choice, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card may just fit the bill. The card comes with a substantial welcome bonus and lots of recurring travel benefits to make the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card annual fee Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card - Rates & Fees worthwhile.

These include up to $300 in statement credits toward Marriott purchases each year, Priority Pass airport lounge access**, and a free night certificate worth up to 50,000 points after each card anniversary. Cardholders also get automatic Marriott Gold elite status and a slew of travel and purchase protections that can save a lot of money.

However, none of those perks are worth anything if you don't take full advantage of them — and some of them require activation. Here are nine things to do when you get a Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card to make sure you're getting maximum value from the card.

1. Complete the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant minimum spending requirement

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card comes with a welcome bonus of Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card. To unlock the bonus, you'll have to spend an average of $1,667 per month, which most people can accomplish by putting all of their spending on this card. Aside from daily spending on gas, groceries, and dining, you can also charge things like insurance premiums and utility bills to this card.

If you're still short of completing the spending requirement, you might consider prepaying essential bills. For example, you can pre-pay your cell phone bill or six-month car insurance premium to get the spending requirement done. Some people like to buy gift cards that they can use to budget their spending for the next few months. If you can float the money, this is one way to get the spending requirement out of the way fast.

2. Confirm your Marriott elite status

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card comes with automatic Marriott Gold elite status, which gets you perks like room upgrades, bonus points on paid stays, and late checkout. These are valuable benefits if you're staying at Marriott hotels, so be sure to check that your status is updated after you've received your card.

Big spenders can also unlock Marriott Platinum elite status when they spend at least $75,000 in eligible purchases on the card in a calendar year. Platinum status includes even more benefits, including hotel lounge access, better upgrades, and a bigger points bonus on paid stays.

3. Activate your Priority Pass Select membership

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card comes with Priority Pass Select membership, which gets you access to over 1,300 airport lounges around the world. This is incredibly useful during long layovers, delays, and those times when you don't want to pay out of pocket for sub-standard airport food. Access to a Priority Pass lounge can make your time at the airport more pleasant. However, this membership isn't automatically granted.

To claim your free membership, log in to your American Express account and click on the "Benefits" tab. Scroll down until you see the Priority Pass Select box and click "enroll."

You'll get a Priority Pass Select card in the mail, but the best way to access this benefit immediately is by downloading the Priority Pass mobile app and logging in with your new credentials. When you're ready to use it, simply show your digital card at the lounge check-in desk and you're all set.

4. Claim your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit

Global Entry is incredibly useful for helping you skip the long customs/immigration line on your way home from a trip abroad. TSA PreCheck is great for speeding through security on domestic flights. You can get enrolled in both of these programs by getting approved for Global Entry. The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card will even cover your $100 application fee every four years.

Complete the application online, pay with your Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, and you should see the credit within eight weeks. Don't let that number scare you off — most people get their credit reimbursed within a couple of days. Since this credit is issued every four years, it's important to take full advantage by claiming it as soon as your card arrives. After all, you're paying a Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card annual fee on the card and should get your money's worth.

5. Read up on your Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card benefits

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card comes with several travel protections that can come in handy. It's important to know what's covered so you can determine whether putting your purchases on this card will get you the best protection possible.

When you use your card to pay for your travel or purchase, you'll receive benefits that include:

  • Car rental loss and damage insurance: Secondary coverage against rental car damage due to theft or collision
  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance: Up to $10,000 per trip and up to $20,000 per card per consecutive 12-month period
  • Trip delay insurance: Up to $500 for meals, lodging, toiletries, medication, and other personal items if your covered trip is delayed by six hours or more, up to two times per consecutive 12-month period.
  • Baggage insurance plan: Up to $3,000 in coverage for lost, damaged, or stolen baggage
  • Travel accident insurance: Up to $500,000 in death and dismemberment insurance
  • Purchase protection: Eligible purchases are covered against accidental damage or theft for 120 days, up to $10,000 per claim and up to $50,000 per account. 
  • Extended warranty: Up to one additional year added to eligible US manufacturer's warranties of five years or less.
  • Premium global assist hotline: Assistance with things like passport replacement, medical referrals, and translation services (third-party costs are the cardholder's responsibility). Amex may provide emergency medical transportation assistance at no cost if it's approved and coordinated by Premium Global Assist Hotline.

6. Plan your next Marriott stay

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card comes with up to $300 in annual statement credits toward purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels. Whether you want to treat yourself to a spa day or room service for a Netflix and chill night, simply charge it to your room and pay with the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, and the $300 credit will automatically be applied. This is an important perk that resets each card anniversary year, so be sure to make note of this date and use the credit before it expires every year.

If you frequently find yourself staying at Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis Hotels properties for two or more nights, you'll want to look into the $100 credit offered to Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card cardholders. Book your stay through the Marriott Bonvoy website using the "$100 Property Credit, Luxury Credit Card Rate" and you'll get a $100 credit on qualifying two-night stays.

7. Look for deals at Marriott and other merchants on Amex Offers

Aside from all the Marriott-centric benefits, cardholders are also eligible for Amex Offers**. These are limited-time promotions offering bonus points and statement credits on everything from travel to retail and even utility payments — and it's possible to save hundreds a year on purchases you'd make anyway.

You don't even have to wait for your Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card to arrive. Once your web account is set up, log in and scroll down to the "Amex Offers" section of your dashboard. There, you'll periodically see new offers you can simply "Add to Card." You may even end up saving on your next Marriott stay thanks to Amex Offers.

8. Use your Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant welcome bonus

After you've banked the welcome bonus, it's time to put the points to good use. While they're not going to expire as long as you keep using your Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, they could possibly devalue if you sit on them for too long.

Marriott recently removed its award charts and moved to a dynamic pricing model, which means the price of an award night can vary depending on demand, paid price, time of year, and other factors. Prices range from 5,000 to 120,000 points per night, and you can redeem your points at brands ranging from family-friendly Residence Inns to luxury St. Regis and Ritz-Carlton resorts.

You can also transfer Marriott points to over 40 airline partners, mostly at a 3:1 ratio. You'll receive 1,000 airline miles for every 3,000 points transferred, with a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 points (so 60,000 points becomes 25,000 airline miles). Here's Insider's guide to earning and redeeming Marriott points for all your options.

9. Consider adding an authorized user

Whether you're looking to complete the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card's spending requirement, earn Platinum elite status with Marriott, or just stock up on extra points, adding an authorized user is a great way to get this done.

Adding a friend or family member to your card can get you a lot close to your travel goals than using the card for your own daily spending, because you'll earn points on their spending as well. But you'll also be on the hook for paying off their charges, so only add an authorized user you trust.

Read the original article on Business Insider