Earn 5 free nights and solid perks: Marriott Bonvoy Boundless credit card review
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new information.
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card overview
Even if you aren’t a Marriott loyalist, it may be worth seriously considering the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card while it has a welcome offer of five free night awards (each night valued at up to 50,000 points) after you spend $5,000 on purchases in your first three months from your account opening. That’s the best offer we’ve seen on this card yet. Card Rating*: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
*Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG’s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
Marriott offers a diverse credit card portfolio issued by both Chase and American Express. However, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card from Chase is the only entry-level, mid-market personal Marriott Bonvoy card available to new applicants.
The Bonvoy Boundless card is currently offering a welcome bonus of five free night awards (each night valued at up to 50,000 points) after you spend $5,000 on purchases in your first three months. That’s more than enough points to kick-start a great vacation, but the welcome offer isn’t the only reason to consider the Bonvoy Boundless card, which is also great for its ongoing benefits.
New to The Points Guy? Sign up for our daily newsletter and check out our beginner’s guide.
For example, TPG’s Katie Genter added the Bonvoy Boundless card to her wallet in a push to earn Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status using the card’s 15 elite night credits.
Let’s take a closer look at whether the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless deserves a spot in your wallet.
Application link: Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card with a welcome offer of five free night awards (each night valued at up to 50,000 points) after you spend $5,000 on purchases in your first three months from your account opening.
Who is this card for?
Although the current offer on the Bonvoy Boundless card is enticing, Chase’s 5/24 rule means the issuer likely won’t approve you for the card if you’ve opened five or more credit cards across all issuers in the last 24 months.
That means you’re potentially choosing the Bonvoy Boundless over another Chase card if you plan to apply for multiple rewards cards per year. Therefore, you should have a strategy for how you’re going to use this specific card and its welcome offer before you apply.
If you’re a Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite or higher, though, this bonus can get you much more value than its points’ worth alone. After all, as a high-level elite, you might be able to leverage perks such as suite upgrades and free breakfast to maximize your stays even more.
Finally, this card can also be an excellent addition to your wallet for purposes beyond hotel stays since you can transfer Marriott points to valuable airline partners such as Korean Air, Alaska Airlines, and Japan Airlines.
Welcome offer: Estimated $2,100 value
Now, let’s consider the most exciting part of any new credit card: the welcome offer.
Right now, new applicants will earn free nights that are the equivalent of up to 250,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first three months from account opening. Based on TPG’s valuation of Marriott points at 0.84 cents each, this bonus is worth up to a whopping $2,100.
Of course, these free-night certificates are not exactly the same as 250,000 points. Each one can only cover a single night at up to 50,000 points, though thanks to Marriott’s recent program changes, you can top each one off with up to 15,000 additional points if you already have Marriott Bonvoy points in your account. So theoretically, each of these certificates can help you get a night’s stay worth up to 65,000 points, depending on your points balance.
You can’t combine multiple certificates to cover a single night, say, using two 50,000-point ones for a 100,000-point night at a luxury property. Still, the number of certificates available with this offer and the versatility of being able to top them off with even more points means plenty of possibilities for putting them to use.
Main benefits and perks
The Bonvoy Boundless comes with a $95 annual fee, but it should be easy to get several hundred dollars’ in value out of the card’s perks every year. Here are the major perks to consider.
Anniversary free-night award
Each year on account renewal, you’ll receive a reward night certificate worth up to 35,000 points a night. Like the welcome bonus certificates, you can also top this one off with up to 15,000 additional points, so it’s potentially worth 50,000 points.
TPG’s valuations peg the value of 35,000 Marriott points at $294, nearly three times the $95 annual fee. But it’s possible to get even more value if you’re selective about redeeming your reward night.
Even if you redeem your reward night certificate for a lower value, you should have no trouble recouping your entire annual fee from this perk alone. For example, you could redeem a 35,000-point reward night certificate for a night at the Westin Savannah in Georgia (around $200 per night). With this one benefit, you could cover the card’s annual fee and get more than $100 in excess value from the reward night certificate to boot.
Note that this may get more challenging with the recent shift to dynamic pricing, so you’ll have to be even more strategic than ever about your redemptions.
Automatic Silver Elite status
Silver elite status with Marriott won’t get you posh penthouse suites, but it’s better than nothing. Silver elite members get a 10% points bonus on stays, late checkout and free Wi-Fi.
The Bonvoy Boundless also offers a path to Gold Elite status by spending $35,000 on purchases each calendar year. However, you’ll usually be better off earning higher status organically via the Boundless’ 15 elite night credit as well as some stays booked directly with Marriott. If you want a card that provides complimentary Gold Elite status with Marriott, consider The Platinum Card® from American Express, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express or the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card (enrollment required).
As of earlier this year, you’ll also get one elite night credit toward status for every $5,000 you spend on purchases with the card, so this could be another pathway toward higher status.
15 elite night credits annually
Many Bonvoy credit cards share this benefit. But, this perk can be immensely valuable if you’re aiming for a higher tier of status with Marriott Bonvoy.
You can get one set of elite night credits from a Marriott personal card and one more set of elite night credits from a Marriott business card. So, with the Bonvoy Boundless alone, you’d only need to stay 35 nights (instead of 50) to earn Platinum Elite status. But, if you have the Bonvoy Boundless and a Marriott business card like the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card, you can get 30 elite night credits each year just from credit cards.
Together, the above benefits represent a few hundred dollars in value each year and easily outpace the $95 annual fee. But, the card also offers a few other perks:
- Baggage delay insurance: If a passenger carrier delays your baggage for over six hours, Chase may reimburse you for essential purchases up to $100 a day for five days.
- Lost luggage reimbursement: If a passenger carrier damages or loses your checked or carry-on luggage, Chase may reimburse you up to $3,000 per passenger.
- Trip delay reimbursement: If you are delayed by more than 12 hours or required to stay overnight when traveling by a common carrier, Chase may reimburse you for select, otherwise unreimbursed expenses up to $500 per ticket.
- Purchase protection: Chase covers most new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft, up to $500 per claim (capped at $50,000 per account).
- No foreign transaction fees.
How to earn points
The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card earns points at the following rates:
- 6 points per dollar on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program.
- 3 points per dollar on the first $6,000 spent in combined purchases each year on grocery stores, gas stations and dining.
- 2 points per dollar on all other purchases.
Based on TPG’s valuations, these rates equate to a 4.8% return on Marriott purchases and 1.6% everywhere else.
On paper, you can do better using the Chase Sapphire Reserve for Marriott stays. After all, the Chase Sapphire Reserve earns 3 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar (for a 6% return based on TPG’s valuations) on travel purchases, including hotels.
But, you have to consider the value you can get from your Marriott points. Platinum and Titanium Elites get a much better return on their award redemptions thanks to a great set of elite benefits. So if you have a higher tier of status, you might want to pay for frequent Marriott stays with a Bonvoy credit card to earn 6 points per dollar instead of earning another type of reward points.
How to redeem points
Of course, the most obvious way to redeem Marriott Bonvoy points is for stays at hotels. But when it comes to maximizing your Marriott redemptions, there are a few strategies to keep in mind. First, you’ll want to take advantage of a fifth night free on award stays whenever possible. The fifth-night benefit is an easy way to get up to a 20% discount on your redemption and stretch your points even further.
Points transfer to most airlines at a 3:1 ratio with 5,000-mile bonuses for every 60,000 Marriott points transferred. So, transferring 60,000 Marriott points to Alaska Airlines, for example, would net you 25,000 miles. However, note that most transfers take at least a few days, so if award availability is scarce, the ticket you want to book may be gone by the time the transfer completes.
Alaska Airlines, Korean Air, and Japan Airlines are three excellent examples of highly flexible and valuable miles that are hard to earn in other ways. So, for instance, you could convert 195,000 Marriott points to 80,000 Korean Air SkyPass miles and book a first-class seat in the nose of the Korean Air’s Boeing 747-8 one-way between the U.S. and South Korea.
Which cards compete with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless?
The first lesson you learn when building a credit card strategy is how sacred your 5/24 slots with Chase are.
So, if you don’t have one already, you should strongly consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card first. You’ll pay the same $95 annual fee as the Bonvoy Boundless and you’ll get a valuable sign-up bonus of 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.
TPG values this bonus at $1,200 thanks to its immense flexibility. You can transfer those points to any of Chase’s three hotels and 11 airline transfer partners, including Marriott Bonvoy. And, you’ll continue to rack up points at a fast clip with 2 points per dollar on travel and 3 points per dollar on dining and on online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs) plus select streaming services.
Even if you decide to add a Marriott Bonvoy card to your wallet, the Boundless Card might not always be the best option. The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card carries a $450 annual fee (see rates and fees), but it can quickly pay for itself. After all, you’ll get an annual Marriott statement credit of up to $300 each card membership year for use at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program, which effectively drops your out-of-pocket cost to $150.
Plus, the annual reward night with the Brilliant card is valid at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program costing up to 50,000 points a night (which you can now top up to 65,000 points), literally one-upping the level of luxury you can experience. Also, instead of Silver elite status, you get complimentary Gold elite status and the chance to upgrade to Platinum by spending $75,000 a year.
Just keep in mind that the welcome offer on the Brilliant is currently 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after making $3,000 in eligible purchases within the first three months of card membership, so it’s not as potentially lucrative as with the Boundless at the moment.
The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card is in an interesting spot. One of two entry-level consumer credit cards in the Bonvoy program (the no-annual-fee Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card is the other), the Boundless is the logical first choice for many Marriott travelers. But strict bonus restrictions and fierce competition from other Chase cards mean you should think hard before applying.
Still, if you’ve already built out your Chase trifecta and confirmed that you are eligible for this bonus, the Bonvoy Boundless can be an excellent addition to a wallet. You should have no trouble getting $200-$300 of value out of your anniversary reward night certificate alone, which is a pretty great return on the $95 investment of the card’s annual fee.
Plus, the current welcome offer is a great way to boost your Marriott balance just in time for summer travel.
Official application link: Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card with a welcome bonus of five free night awards (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after you spend $5,000 on purchases in your first three months from your account opening.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex, click here.
Additional reporting by Ryan Wilcox, Stella Shon, Chris Dong and Christina Ly.
Featured photo by Kyle Olsen/The Points Guy.
Welcome to The Points Guy!