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- If you stay with Marriott frequently, the
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Cardis 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
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
1. Complete the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant minimum spending requirement
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
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
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
Complete the application online, pay with your
5. Read up on your Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card benefits
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
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
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
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 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
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.