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Does $450 Brilliant make more sense than two $95 Bonvoys?

Does $450 Brilliant make more sense than two $95 Bonvoys?

Old Feb 8, 20, 5:48 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: Apr 2018
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Does $450 Brilliant make more sense than two $95 Bonvoys?

I have two regular, $95 Bonvoy cards, one Amex and one Chase, as a result of the merger and my SPG being converted. After the recent re-categorizing, I'm wondering if getting rid of those and replacing them with the Brilliant might make more sense for me. I'd be replacing two $95 cards, with 35K FNAs, with one $450 card with one 50K FNA and a $300 hotel credit, and it seems like the latter scenario would be easier to redeem than to try to find 35Ks. I'd still get the 6x multiplier, and while Amex isn't as widely accepted in Europe, most of my stays would be in the US anyway.

Am I missing something, or does in this case having one $450 card actually make things easier than two $95 cards?
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Old Feb 8, 20, 6:01 pm
  #2  
 
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Until recently you could stay at Ritz Carltons with a 50K FNA. I do not think you can find any Ritz or St Regis on 30K anymore.
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Old Feb 8, 20, 8:34 pm
  #3  
LAX
 
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Originally Posted by surfmonkey89 View Post
I have two regular, $95 Bonvoy cards, one Amex and one Chase, as a result of the merger and my SPG being converted. After the recent re-categorizing, I'm wondering if getting rid of those and replacing them with the Brilliant might make more sense for me. I'd be replacing two $95 cards, with 35K FNAs, with one $450 card with one 50K FNA and a $300 hotel credit, and it seems like the latter scenario would be easier to redeem than to try to find 35Ks. I'd still get the 6x multiplier, and while Amex isn't as widely accepted in Europe, most of my stays would be in the US anyway.

Am I missing something, or does in this case having one $450 card actually make things easier than two $95 cards?
I am no expert when it comes to hotel programs, but it depends what type of properties you typically stay. 35K eligible properties are not terribly hard to find if you are not picky about quality or prime location. You get 2 nights at those properties for $190 in AF. On the other hand, you get only one night at a more decent property for an effective $150 AF. I personally have two $95 cards (actually one of them is going up to $125 at renewal) and would likely keep both if the Amex (business) is not going up in AF. I am okay with an occasion stay in a Cat 2/3 property for $95, but not $125.

LAX
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Old Feb 9, 20, 10:19 am
  #4  
 
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Originally Posted by LAX View Post
I am no expert when it comes to hotel programs, but it depends what type of properties you typically stay. 35K eligible properties are not terribly hard to find if you are not picky about quality or prime location. You get 2 nights at those properties for $190 in AF. On the other hand, you get only one night at a more decent property for an effective $150 AF. I personally have two $95 cards (actually one of them is going up to $125 at renewal) and would likely keep both if the Amex (business) is not going up in AF. I am okay with an occasion stay in a Cat 2/3 property for $95, but not $125.

LAX
I think the OP is thinking about in in terms of being able to say book two nights at a hotel that may cost $300 a night - one could be booked with the $50k cert, the other with cash. So it is really two nights annually for $450 annual fee, and the higher cert value and Marriott credit give him more flexibility and access to better hotels

The 35K cert continues to be valuable for Courtyard, Residence Inn, AC, etc in most markets (though it is kind of funny that Moxy properties in many markets went up beyond the 35K value). But a lot of people donít seem to want to use certs that way
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Old Feb 9, 20, 12:59 pm
  #5  
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Yes, that’s exactly right. Seems like I’d have more flexibility, and really have two free nights, with one of them in an real-life currency that can’t be arbitrarily devalued by Marriott.
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Old Feb 10, 20, 12:35 am
  #6  
LAX
 
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Originally Posted by surfmonkey89 View Post
Yes, thatís exactly right. Seems like Iíd have more flexibility, and really have two free nights, with one of them in an real-life currency that canít be arbitrarily devalued by Marriott.
Technically, neither of the nights is free. For one night, you prepay $300 in AF for $300 credit. For the other night, you pay $150 in AF for it. However, for the 50K cert you get for $150 AF, you can probably get more than $150 value in the stay. If you prefer to stay in higher end properties, the Brilliant makes more sense for you. However, it's not necessarily a better "value."

LAX
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Old Feb 10, 20, 7:47 am
  #7  
 
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The coming, march 4, annual Marriott Category adjustments list show a particularly hard hit to desirable 35k properties being moved up from Cat 5 to cat 6. This likely has a lot to do with these CC certificates since in large part Marriott categories are set by redemption and not cash booking demand.

itís show a particularly hard it to NYC properties available to 35k Certificates and Resorts.

Peak points pricing has also had somewhat of an effect.

what Iíve found is though it looks like Iíll get at least $95 in value out of the certificate. Itíll be much more questionable that Iíd get the $125 value out of the certificate that come with my business Bonvoy card

for now my Brilliant gives very good value but that mostly from the cash back on Marriott spending from AmEx offers and the retention bonus points I received last year.
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Old Feb 10, 20, 7:51 am
  #8  
 
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It's a matter of opinion. Depends what kind of stays you are looking at. Sure you can use the 2 free nights on properties that could cost more than $95, if that's what you really want. You could also make the Brilliant pay off too if you want.

For me, I've lost interest in the lower tier "free nights". Sure I can get one over by "saving" $50-$100 on a generic room. At the end of the day, there are often other options available to do something similar, and I find myself no longer trying to align the planets and forcing myself to stay at places I had no interest in staying at. I'd go with the Brilliant.
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Old Feb 10, 20, 7:29 pm
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For me it's generally neutral as $300 of the fee is a wash (money I would have spent at Marriott hotels directly versus to Amex). With the remaining $150 of AF, I can definitely get more value out of the free night cert than $150 so it's a bit of savings. Not a massive savings, but the extra points on Marriott spending are also nice. I don't actually use this card for anything else than Marriott spending. If/when the rooms available for the free night become too difficult to use to get a value, I would consider dropping this card. The $300 credit/offset is a better arrangement than the Amex Hilton Aspire where it's only usable at "resort" hotels.
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Old Feb 12, 20, 6:40 pm
  #10  
 
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Originally Posted by surfmonkey89 View Post
I have two regular, $95 Bonvoy cards, one Amex and one Chase, as a result of the merger and my SPG being converted. After the recent re-categorizing, I'm wondering if getting rid of those and replacing them with the Brilliant might make more sense for me. I'd be replacing two $95 cards, with 35K FNAs, with one $450 card with one 50K FNA and a $300 hotel credit, and it seems like the latter scenario would be easier to redeem than to try to find 35Ks. I'd still get the 6x multiplier, and while Amex isn't as widely accepted in Europe, most of my stays would be in the US anyway.

Am I missing something, or does in this case having one $450 card actually make things easier than two $95 cards?
Originally Posted by surfmonkey89 View Post
Yes, thatís exactly right. Seems like Iíd have more flexibility, and really have two free nights, with one of them in an real-life currency that canít be arbitrarily devalued by Marriott.
This is absolutely brilliant. It does provide more flexibility; as oppose to just focusing on two nights, one might be able to stretch the $300 to two nights (or close there of such as 1-1/2 nights) and adding the FNA, then will have a 3-night stay. Some may balk at using FNA for $150 night but that is at least break-even. I will admit that is not great as one is prepaying, but by having the card, there can be possibilities of out size value (just not every time which is fine by me).

As I have both the AMEX Marriott personal and business, this approach (having just Brilliant) might work out better. It will defiently open up an AMEX 5 credit card slot.
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