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VS

Compare the Features and Benefits of Chase Freedom Unlimited® and
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card

Detailed Comparison Overview

Key Facts
Annual Fee
Avg. Min. Credit Score
APR on purchases
APR on balance transfers
Ongoing APR
Balance transfers fees
Best Multiplier
Avg. Point Value
(Learn More)
Bonus Offer
Rating
Review
Key features
Unique Card Benefits
Secondary Car Rental CDW Waiver
Purchase Protection
Extended Warranty
Trip Protections
0% Intro APR on Purchases
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers
Free Access to Credit Score
Annual Statement Credits
Grants Hotel Status
Free Annual Hotel Night
Earns Transferable Points
Airport Lounge Access
Global Entry / TSA PreCheck Reimbursement
No Foreign Transaction Fees
Return Protection
Travel and Emergency Assistance Services
No Fees for Authorized Users
Metal Card
Amex Offers
Annual Fee
$0
Avg. Min. Credit Score
670-850 *
APR on purchases
0% Intro APR (on purchases for 15 months, 20.49%-29.24% thereafter)
APR on balance transfers
0% Intro APR (on balance transfers for 15 months, 20.49%-29.24% thereafter)
Ongoing APR
20.49%-29.24% (Variable)
Balance transfers fees
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Best Multiplier
5x Airfare

Earn this multiplier when you purchase via Chase Travel. If you purchase any other way, you will earn 1.5X points.

5x Car Rentals

Earn this multiplier when you purchase via Chase Travel. If you purchase any other way, you will earn 1.5X points.

5x Hotels

Earn this multiplier when you purchase via Chase Travel. If you purchase any other way, you will earn 1.5X points.

5x Lyft
3x Dining Out / Food Delivery
3x Drugstores
1.5x Everything Else
Avg. Point Value
(Learn More)
$0.01 - $0.0175
Bonus Offer
INTRO OFFER: Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!
Rating
YBCC Card Rate Stars Filled
YBCC Card Rate Stars Empty
(4.25) Our Review

Our ratings are determined by the authors and editors on our team. Each individual card feature is compared against all other cards we offer and the total score is an average of those 4 ratings.

Review

This is a staple card in the Chase Trifecta, which includes a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve, a Chase Freedom Flex, and this card, the Chase Freedom Unlimited.

The primary benefit of this card, from a bonus category perspective, is the ability to earn 1.5% on all purchases that don’t have a bonus category. So while you earn 3% on dining and drugstore purchases with the Freedom Unlimited, you’ll earn 1.5% cash back on anything else, like insurance or utilities.

drugstores-chase-freedom-unlimited

But since the Chase Freedom Unlimited is a pure cash back credit card unless you also have a Chase Sapphire Preferred®, Sapphire Reserve®, or Ink Business Preferred® with which to combine your Chase Ultimate Rewards points, it’s ideally used as a combo.

When you hold one of these premium Ultimate Rewards-earning credit cards, you can transfer points earned on the Freedom Unlimited to the premium card. Once you’ve moved the Ultimate Rewards over to the premium credit card, you can take advantage of points transfers to 12 Chase airline and hotel partners or book travel through the travel portal.

If you book through Chase Travel℠ and have a Sapphire Reserve, your points redeem for 1.5 cents each, meaning that you earn 1.5X points or cash back per dollar and redeem them for 1.5X, giving you an effective 2.25% return on your spend.

If you book through Chase Travel and have a Sapphire Preferred, or Ink Business Preferred, your points redeem for 1.25 cents each, meaning that you earn 1.5X per dollar and redeem for 1.5X, giving you an effective 1.875% return on your spend.

But our absolute favorite way to redeem is always via airline and hotel transfer partners. The easiest high-value redemption is usually Hyatt. We often get better than 2 cents per World of Hyatt point. Keep in mind that Hyatt doesn’t charge any resort fees when you stay on a free night award. So let’s say you are looking at a hotel with a cash price of $259 and a $25 a night resort fee and 8% tax. That would come to $307 a night. But if that same room costs 8,000 or 12,000 Hyatt points, you could be using your points (which transfer at an even 1:1 ratio to all airline and hotel partners) with a rate of return of 3 – 4 cents.

That said, even without a card combo, it’s still a solid card to earn 1.5% cash back (plus 3% on dining, including takeout and eligible delivery services, and drugstores) since it has no annual fee. Best of all, you can accrue cash back on this card and decide to add a Chase Sapphire Preferred®, Sapphire Reserve®, or Ink Business Preferred® later on – if you suddenly decide that you’d like to delve into the world of credit card rewards that transfer to frequent flyer and hotel programs to book free award flights and hotel nights.

It comes with a solid range of benefits for a card with no annual fee, too. You’ll get Purchase Protection and Extended Warranty on the shopping side and you’ll be taken care of on canceled or shortened pre-paid trips if a covered reason arises. with the included Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance.

Read more
Unique Card Benefits
yes
Secondary Car Rental CDW Waiver
yes
Purchase Protection
yes
Extended Warranty
yes
Trip Protections
yes
0% Intro APR on Purchases
yes
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers
yes
Free Access to Credit Score
yes
Annual Statement Credits
no
Grants Hotel Status
no
Free Annual Hotel Night
no
Earns Transferable Points
no
Airport Lounge Access
no
Global Entry / TSA PreCheck Reimbursement
no
No Foreign Transaction Fees
no
Return Protection
no
Travel and Emergency Assistance Services
no
No Fees for Authorized Users
no
Metal Card
no
Amex Offers
no
Annual Fee
$650 (Rates and fees)
Avg. Min. Credit Score
670-850 *
APR on purchases
-
APR on balance transfers
-
Ongoing APR
20.99%-29.99% (Variable)
Balance transfers fees
-
Best Multiplier
6x Hotels

6X points only applies to Marriott Bonvoy hotels and resorts booked directly through Marriott. Otherwise, earn 2X

3x Airfare
3x Dining Out / Food Delivery
2x Everything Else
Avg. Point Value
(Learn More)
$0.006
Bonus Offer
Earn 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $6,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of Card Membership. Terms apply.
Rating
YBCC Card Rate Stars Filled
YBCC Card Rate Stars Empty
(3.7) Our Review

Our ratings are determined by the authors and editors on our team. Each individual card feature is compared against all other cards we offer and the total score is an average of those 4 ratings.

Review

The Marriott Bonvoy program offers five different co-branded credit card options, from both American Express and Chase. If we start from the top, there’s the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card, with a considerable $650 annual fee. But the luxury hotel card comes with a substantial number of perks that make sense for the ultra-Marriott loyalist.

For starters, the card offers complimentary Platinum elite status, which typically requires 50+ nights at Marriott hotels per year. At this elite tier level, you’ll enjoy 50% bonus points at Marriott hotels (on top of the card’s earning rate), room upgrades up to select suites upon availability at most brands, and a welcome gift like amenities, points, or even breakfast. Enjoy a guaranteed late checkout of 4pm at most properties (resorts and convention centers are excluded). You’ll also get 25 annual elite night credits which can help you qualify for that next tier of Marriott status — Titanium or Ambassador Elite, anyone?

Even more interesting is that if you also have the Marriott Bonvoy Business® Card, you’ll earn 15 more elite nights on that card for a total of 40 elite night credits. With Titanium status, which also confers United Airlines Silver elite status, available at 75 nights, you’ll need to stay just 35 nights to achieve it.

As you can expect, this card is quite rewarding for hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy, offering 6x points at Bonvoy properties. The card’s rewards rate is easy to memorize as it also provides 3x points at restaurants worldwide and 2x points on all other eligible purchases, but unfortunately it falls flat compared to other luxury cards on the market with those rates, given that we peg the value of a Bonvoy point around 0.6 cents each.

Still, if you’re a heavy spender, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card offers another unique benefit. Once you spend $60,000+ on the card per calendar year, you’ll get access to the Earned Choice Award Benefit. From here, there are some incredibly valuable options like 5 Suite Night Awards, an additional free night award (worth up to 85,000 points), or a $1,000 off a bed from Marriott Bonvoy Boutiques. Perhaps the most lucrative awards are the former two options, as the suite night awards and free night certificate can be of excellent use at some of Marriott’s most bespoke properties.

Even if you don’t anticipate $60,000+ of card spend per year, don’t fret. You’ll still get a free night award just by renewing the card and paying the annual fee on your account anniversary. This free night award will land in your account after the card renewal month, and is worth up to 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. You can “top off” with up to 15,000 more points from your account if you want to book a night that costs between 85,000 and 100,000 points.

As mentioned above, we estimate Marriott Bonvoy points to be worth about 0.6 cents each so with the 85,000 point certificate, you’re expected to receive at least a $510 value (or more!) for a property of your choice. Use your free night awards wisely, and you can land free nights at some of the most luxurious properties in Marriott’s expansive portfolio.

Not to mention, the card also comes with an up to $300 dining credit, which is distributed in up to $25 monthly credits. You’ll get a reimbursement for restaurants worldwide, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be getting this $300 rebate on your favorite eateries. (Terms apply.)

Bonvoy Brilliant Dining Credit

Finally, the Bonvoy Brilliant card comes with a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application credit (terms apply), up to a $100 Marriott property credit for eligible stays (terms apply), and a swathe of essential travel and purchase protections to boot.

Simply put, if you have a Marriott Bonvoy member account and want top-notch perks when staying at Marriott properties, look no further than the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card.

Rates and Fees for the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card

Read more
Unique Card Benefits
yes
Secondary Car Rental CDW Waiver
yes
Purchase Protection
yes
Extended Warranty
yes
Trip Protections
yes
0% Intro APR on Purchases
no
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers
no
Free Access to Credit Score
no
Annual Statement Credits
yes
Grants Hotel Status
yes
Free Annual Hotel Night
yes
Earns Transferable Points
yes
Airport Lounge Access
yes
Global Entry / TSA PreCheck Reimbursement
yes
No Foreign Transaction Fees
yes
Return Protection
yes
Travel and Emergency Assistance Services
yes
No Fees for Authorized Users
yes
Metal Card
yes
Amex Offers
yes

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