Amex Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Military | Annual Fee Waived

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The Platinum Card® from American Express card is annual fee waived for military. Terms apply.

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The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card annual fee is waived for US military servicemembers and their spouses.

Amex Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Free for Military
  • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card – learn how to apply
  • Earn 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy® bonus points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases on the Card within the first 3 months.
  • Each Card renewal year, get up to $300 in statement credits per calendar year (up to $25 per month) for eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide.
  • A Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite member will earn 50% more points on eligible purchases at participating hotels for each U.S. dollar or the currency equivalent that is incurred and paid for by the member.
  • Earn 6 Marriott Bonvoy® points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy(TM) program. 3 points at Worldwide Restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines. 2 points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Marriott Brilliant Free Night Award: Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Award can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Each calendar year after spending $60,000 on eligible purchases, Card Members are eligible to select an Earned Choice Award benefit. Benefit options include: Five (5) Suite Night Awards, 85K Free Night Award, and mattress and box spring $750 discount from Marriott Bonvoy Boutiques.
  • $100 Luxury Property Credit: Enjoy your stay. Receive up to a $100 property credit for qualifying charges at The Ritz-Carlton® or St. Regis® when you book direct using a special rate for a two-night minimum stay using your Card.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®: Receive either a statement credit every 4 years after you apply for Global Entry ($100) or a statement credit every 4.5 years after you apply for a five-year membership through any Authorized Enrollment Provider for TSA PreCheck® (up to $85) when you pay the application fee with an eligible Card. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Each calendar year you can receive 25 Elite Night Credits toward the next level of Marriott Bonvoy Elite status. Limitations apply per Marriott Bonvoy member account. Benefit is not exclusive to Cards offered by American Express. Terms apply.
  • Enroll in Priority Pass Select, which offers unlimited access to over 1,200 lounges in over 130 countries, regardless of which carrier or class you are flying.
  • This allows you to relax before or between flights. You can enjoy snacks, drinks, and internet access in a quiet, comfortable location.
  • Enjoy unlimited airport lounge visits when you enroll in Priority Pass(TM) Select membership.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on international purchases.
  • Cell phone protection: You can be reimbursed for your costs to repair or replace your damaged or stolen cell phone up to $800, subject to a $50 deductible, for 2 approved claims per 12-month period when your prior month's wireless bill was paid utilizing an Eligible Card Account. Terms and conditions apply. Coverage is provided by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.
  • $650 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.

All annual fees are waived on these 3 Marriott credit cards for US military personnel and their eligible spouses, thanks to the Chase MLA and Amex MLA policies. Marriott Hotels has 3 personal cards in partnership with American Express and Chase.

I typically try to get 1 cent per Marriott point, so a 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy point hotel stay would be worth at least $1,500 of hotel stays.

For example, I booked a stay on Marriott Bonvoy points at the Kyoto Ritz Carlton, one of the most luxurious hotels in the world.

Two nights and 2 rooms would have been $3500, but I only paid 280,000 Marriott Bonvoy points, giving me over 1.25 cent per point of value.

$3,564.21 USD for 2 rooms, 2 nights at Kyoto Ritz Carlton

Or 280,000 Marriott Bonvoy Points and $73 USD for the same rooms!

Marriott has re-branded the Marriott Rewards, Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) Rewards into “Marriott Bonvoy.” With the re-branding comes some excellent card opportunities.

The 3 best Marriott Chase and Amex cards for military personnel are:

Best Marriott Cards for MilitaryAnnual Fee Waived for Military
Amex Marriott Bonvoy BrilliantYES
Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® CardYES
Chase Marriott Bonvoy BoundlessYES
Chase Marriott Bonvoy Bold YES

Active duty US military personnel can get their annual fees waived on all personal Amex cards and all personal Chase cards opened on or after 2018. Activated reservists and guard on Title 10 orders should also be eligible.

I recommend you pick up all 4 of the best hotel credit cards for military. All of them waive the annual fee for military and spouses and all come with a free annual night. That's 4 free nights a year for no annual fees!

Amex Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ for Military

This is my top recommend Marriott card for US military personnel. It really is a complete no-brainer. Let's review the benefits.

First and foremost, you get earn automatic Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status. That means room upgrades, free breakfast at some properties, lounge access, and 4pm late checkout.

Secondly, you get the annual fee waived if you qualify for Amex MLA or SCRA benefits. Active duty military, military spouses, and Guard and Reserve on active orders over 30 days all quality for MLA and SCRA benefits.

You also get an annual free night at any Marriott property up to 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. Here's the details:

Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Award can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.

That means you could stay 1 night at a Category 7 hotel, like the St. Regis Deer Valley or the Moana Surfrider on Honolulu's Waikiki Beach for free during off-peak season. Every year you have the card open!

What are you waiting for? If you are in the military or married to a military servicemember, get this card.

Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless®

  • Learn how to apply for the Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card
  • $95 annual fee waived for active duty US military
  • Limited Time Offer! Earn 100,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 3X Bonvoy points per $1 on the first $6,000 spent in combined purchases each year on grocery stores, gas stations, and dining.
  • Earn 1 Elite Night Credit towards Elite Status for every $5,000 you spend.
  • 1 Free Night Award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary.
  • Earn up to 17X total points per $1 spent at over 7,000 hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy(R) with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Card.
  • 2X points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Receive 15 Elite Night Credits annually, automatic Silver Elite Status each account anniversary year, and path to Gold Status when you spend $35,000 on purchases each calendar year.
  • No foreign transaction fees.

Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card

Amex Marriott Bonvoy Business
  • Learn how to apply for the Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card
  • $125 annual fee
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases on your new Amex Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy(R) points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy(R). Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Terms apply.

Chase Marriott Bonvoy Bold for Military

Chase Marriott Bonvoy Bold credit card for Military
  • Learn how to apply for the Chase Marriott Bonvoy® Bold Credit Card
  • Limited Time Offer! Earn 60,000 Bonus Points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn up to 14X total points per $1 spent at over 7,000 hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy® with the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Card.
  • 2X points for every $1 spent on other travel purchases (from airfare to taxis and trains).
  • 15 Elite Night Credits every calendar year
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No annual fee, terms apply

While this card may be a good starter travel card since it has no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, and gives you a big Bonvoy bonus after meeting the minimum spend, military servicemembers are better off getting any of the other Marriott Bonvoy credit cards above.

Military servicemembers should especially be focused on the Amex Bonvoy Brilliant (I have 2), since the huge annual fee is 100% waived under Amex's MLA and SCRA policy.

amex marriott bonvoy bevy military
  • Learn how to apply for the The Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card
  • Earn 125,000 Marriott Bonvoy(R) bonus points after you use your new Card to make $4,000 in purchases on the Card within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 6 Marriott Bonvoy(R) points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy.
  • Earn 4X points at restaurants worldwide and U.S. supermarkets (on up to $15,000 in combined purchases at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets per calendar year, then 2 points).
  • Earn 2X points on all other eligible purchases.
  • 1K Bonus Points Per Stay: Earn 1,000 Marriott Bonvoy(R) bonus points per paid eligible stay booked directly with Marriott for properties participating in Marriott Bonvoy.
  • Enjoy complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status with your Card. A Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite member will earn 25% more points on eligible purchases at participating hotels for each U.S. dollar or the currency equivalent that is incurred and paid for by the member.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Bevy Free Night Award: Earn 1 Free Night Award after spending $15,000 on eligible purchases on your Marriott Bonvoy Bevy(TM) Card in a calendar year. Award can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy(R) points) at a participating hotel. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • 15 Elite Night Credits: Each calendar year you can receive 15 Elite Night Credits toward the next level of Marriott Bonvoy(R) Elite status. Limitations apply per Marriott Bonvoy member account. Benefit is not exclusive to Cards offered by American Express. Terms apply.
  • Plan It(R) is a payment option that lets you split up purchases of $100 or more into equal monthly installments with a fixed fee. Plus, you'll still earn rewards the way you usually do.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms apply.

Marriott Bonvoy Redemption Chart

Here is the redemption chart or free night award chart for the Marriott Bonvoy program.

It ranges from 5000 points for a category 1 hotel off-peak to 100,000 points for a category 8 peak redemption.

For instance, you could book the Ritz Carlton Al Hamra Beach Resort near Dubai for 60,000 points or a 1.4 cents per point value. This is a Category 7 hotel, soon to be upgraded to Category 8. See the screenshot below:

I usually try to get at least 1 cent per point on my redemption. If a room is $100 per night or more I'm willing to part with 10,000 points or less to get it. Most travel points enthusiasts value Marriott points from .5 cents to 1 cent.

Marriott Credit Cards Military Advantages

Opening all of these cards and meeting the minimum spend would unlock at least 250,000+ Marriott Bonvoy points just in the welcome bonuses alone. That's enough for a free week's stay at some of the best hotels in the world.

Additionally, with these cards, you can get multiple free nights stay every year.

Since you are paying no annual fees, it makes sense to hold on to these cards as long as you are in the military.

If you go TDY frequently, chances are you will end up staying in a few Marriott hotels. Since the Amex Bonvoy Brilliant gives you automatic Platinum Elite status, you can usually earn Titanium Elite status pretty quickly.

A day off while TDY in Cairo. Poolside at the Cairo Marriott Hotel on Zemalek Island in the middle of the Nile River.

I earned Platinum Elite status with a single 2 week stay in Egypt in 2018. We stayed at the Cairo Marriott Hotel & Omar Khayyam Casino. It was a lovely spot, with great food, clean and quiet rooms, and literally on an island in the Nile river.

Watch out for Marriott “Elite Status Challenges.” This is an easy way to earn elite status with only a few stays. Thanks to this TDY, I'm now Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite for the rest of 2019.

How I Use Marriott Bonvoy Points

Marriott points are great to have stored up, as whenever you need to travel, whether it's for work or pleasure, chances are there is a Marriott nearby. For instance, if you have to go to your brother's college graduation, rather then shelling out $300 for a hotel you can just cash in some points.

My wife and I are catching a 6AM international flight out of an airport 1.5 hours away. Rather than get up at 2AM to get there 2.5 hours prior to takeoff, we are checking into an Aloft Hotel right by the airport the night before.

Now we'll get a good nights sleep, get up at a more reasonable 4AM, and it only cost us 17,500 points. The cash rate was $102 before taxes and fees, so we only got .6 cents per point, but it's better than paying cash!

If you are interested in getting more than one of these Bonvoy cards, just check this handy chart below from Frequent Miler, explaining the Chase and AMEX Marriott Bonvoy credit card rules:

I recommend you learn how to apply for the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant. This is the best Marriott Bonvoy credit card for all military servicemembers. If you are in the military, the no annual fee benefits of this card make it too good to pass up.

Marriott Properties List

Here is a list of all of Marriott Bonvoy's brands. They have over 7000 hotels and resorts worldwide, so there's probably one where ever you go!

The Ritz Carlton, Edition, W Hotels, The Luxury Collection, St. Regis Hotels and Resorts, JW Marriott, BULGARI Hotels and Resorts, Sheraton, Marriott, Marriott Vacation Club, Delta Hotels, Westin Hotels and Resorts, Le Meridien, Renaissance Hotels, Autograph Collection Hotels, Tribute Portfolio, Design Hotels, Gaylord Hotels, Courtyard by Marriott, Springhill Suites by Marriott, Four Points by Sheraton, Fairfield by Marriott, Protea Hotels, AC Hotels, Aloft Hotels, Moxy Hotels, Residence Inn, Townplace Suites, Marriott Executive Apartments, element by Westin

Marriott Bonvoy Brands

After opening a Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card, I recommend you check out the other hotel credit cards for military.

Amex Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Free for Military
  • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card – learn how to apply
  • Earn 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy® bonus points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases on the Card within the first 3 months.
  • Each Card renewal year, get up to $300 in statement credits per calendar year (up to $25 per month) for eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide.
  • A Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite member will earn 50% more points on eligible purchases at participating hotels for each U.S. dollar or the currency equivalent that is incurred and paid for by the member.
  • Earn 6 Marriott Bonvoy® points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy(TM) program. 3 points at Worldwide Restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines. 2 points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Marriott Brilliant Free Night Award: Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Award can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Each calendar year after spending $60,000 on eligible purchases, Card Members are eligible to select an Earned Choice Award benefit. Benefit options include: Five (5) Suite Night Awards, 85K Free Night Award, and mattress and box spring $750 discount from Marriott Bonvoy Boutiques.
  • $100 Luxury Property Credit: Enjoy your stay. Receive up to a $100 property credit for qualifying charges at The Ritz-Carlton® or St. Regis® when you book direct using a special rate for a two-night minimum stay using your Card.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®: Receive either a statement credit every 4 years after you apply for Global Entry ($100) or a statement credit every 4.5 years after you apply for a five-year membership through any Authorized Enrollment Provider for TSA PreCheck® (up to $85) when you pay the application fee with an eligible Card. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Each calendar year you can receive 25 Elite Night Credits toward the next level of Marriott Bonvoy Elite status. Limitations apply per Marriott Bonvoy member account. Benefit is not exclusive to Cards offered by American Express. Terms apply.
  • Enroll in Priority Pass Select, which offers unlimited access to over 1,200 lounges in over 130 countries, regardless of which carrier or class you are flying.
  • This allows you to relax before or between flights. You can enjoy snacks, drinks, and internet access in a quiet, comfortable location.
  • Enjoy unlimited airport lounge visits when you enroll in Priority Pass(TM) Select membership.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on international purchases.
  • Cell phone protection: You can be reimbursed for your costs to repair or replace your damaged or stolen cell phone up to $800, subject to a $50 deductible, for 2 approved claims per 12-month period when your prior month's wireless bill was paid utilizing an Eligible Card Account. Terms and conditions apply. Coverage is provided by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.
  • $650 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.

10 thoughts on “Amex Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Military | Annual Fee Waived”

  1. I’ve been in the AMEX pop-up jail for some time now (no carried debt and transactions spread out over several AMEX cards). Should I just pull the trigger and open this card and forgo the 75k in points? The perks seem well worth it and I keep finding myself in a Marriott while on TAD (tough life haha). Starting to think it may be worth just opening the card and giving up on the SUB

    Reply
  2. Quick clarification question for you-the AMEX Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card- does that offer Gold Elite or Platinum Elite status? I think there may be a typo in that section of this article/table, thank you!

    Reply
  3. Another of your posts discusses new AMEX business cards as no longer qualifying as annual fee waived for military. If valid, recommend this post be updated to reflect this (or remove the references to the AMEX Marriott Bonvoy Business as “$125 annual fee waived for military”) as readers are trying to understand the pros/cons of new card membership.

    REF first comment @ https://militarymoneymanual.com/american-express-waives-all-card-holder-fees-for-active-duty-military/

    Reply
    • Mike, you are correct, Amex no longer waives business card fees on new cards opened. I will update the post, thanks!

      Reply
    • I upgraded an old SPG card (not available anymore) to Bonvoy Brilliant. Or, open another Bonvoy Brilliant but you won’t be eligible for the welcome bonus.

      Reply
  4. I love Amex credit cards!They are the most military friendly company particularly their credit cards, their customer service is amazing, their website is easy to navigate and they are easier to get approved as long as your credit score is good. However, I’m scared of applying for too many cards and ruin my good relationship with Amex. Is there a limit of the number of cards that you can have at once? I currently have 2 charge cards, 4 credit cards and 1 business credit card.

    Reply
    • AMEX allows a maximum of 5 credit cards per person and unlimited charge cards. I currently have 2 Bonvoy Brilliant, 2 Hilton Honors cards, 1 Bonvoy Business, and 6 charge cards with them (Green, Gold, Platinum).

      You won’t ruin your relationship with AMEX by applying for too many cards: that’s what they want! They want you to apply for as many cards as you can!

      Reply

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