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VS

Compare the Features and Benefits of Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card and
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card

Detailed Comparison Overview

Key Facts
Annual Fee
Avg. Min. Credit Score
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
Extended Warranty
Purchase Protection
Trip Protections
Travel and Emergency Assistance Services
No Fees for Authorized Users
Free Checked Bags
Roadside Assistance
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
Metal Card
Amex Offers
Annual Fee
$69
Avg. Min. Credit Score
670-850 *
Ongoing APR
21.49%-28.49% (Variable)
Balance transfers fees
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Best Multiplier
3x Airfare

Applies only to tickets purchased directly from Southwest. Other airfare earns 1X.

2x Transit
2x Cable / Internet / VOIP Phone
2x Cellular Phone Service
2x Streaming Services
1x Everything Else
Avg. Point Value
(Learn More)
$0.014
Bonus Offer

Limited-time offer: Earn Companion Pass® good through 2/28/25 plus 30,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Offer ends 3/11/24.

Rating
YBCC Card Rate Stars Filled
YBCC Card Rate Stars Empty
(3.73) 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 Southwest Plus Card charges the lowest annual fee of any Southwest credit card, making it a tempting option for travelers that enjoy flying Southwest.

In exchange for the modest $69 annual fee, cardholders will be reimbursed for up to two EarlyBird Check-In purchases each year, get 25% back on inflight purchases on Southwest Airlines, plus get 3,000 bonus points each card anniversary.

Get 25% back on Southwest inflight purchases.

Cardholders earn 2 Southwest points per dollar spent in a range of spending categories, including Southwest purchases (including inflight purchases), Southwest Rapid Rewards hotel and car partners, local transit, commuting, rideshare, internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming services.

Points earned count toward earning the Southwest Companion Pass. However, Southwest Plus Credit cardholders won’t get Tier Qualifying Points toward earning A-List Status. If you want to earn Tier Qualifying Points, you’ll need to get the Southwest Priority or Premier Credit Card instead.

Southwest Plus cardholders can't earn Tier Qualifying Points on purchases

In addition, the Southwest Plus credit card charges foreign transaction fees on overseas purchases. While that might not be a problem for some travelers, international flyers may want to get the Priority or Premier Card instead.

Frequent Southwest flyers should consider the Southwest Priority Credit Card instead. Although it charges the highest annual fee of any Southwest credit card, the card offers a $75 Southwest annual travel credit, four Upgraded Boardings every cardmember anniversary, and a 7,500-point anniversary bonus. Plus, the card doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee. Those perks more than offset the additional annual fee.

Lastly, this card is great for getting a large piece of the to a Southwest Companion Pass with the bonus offer, since the points earned from the signup bonus count. Read our guide on earning a Southwest Companion Pass for up to two years via new account bonuses.

Read more
Unique Card Benefits
yes
Secondary Car Rental CDW Waiver
yes
Extended Warranty
yes
Purchase Protection
yes
Trip Protections
yes
Travel and Emergency Assistance Services
yes
No Fees for Authorized Users
yes
Free Checked Bags
yes
Roadside Assistance
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
Metal Card
no
Amex Offers
no
Annual Fee
$650 (Rates and fees)
Avg. Min. Credit Score
670-850 *
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 185,000 Marriott Bonvoy points after spending $6,000 in eligible purchases on your Card within the first six 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
Extended Warranty
yes
Purchase Protection
yes
Trip Protections
yes
Travel and Emergency Assistance Services
yes
No Fees for Authorized Users
yes
Free Checked Bags
no
Roadside Assistance
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
Metal Card
yes
Amex Offers
yes

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