Which Marriott card is right for you? Comparing the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless vs. Marriott Bonvoy Business

Sep 27, 2021

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With Marriott offering record-high welcome offers on some of its American Express- and Chase-issued cards, now’s the ideal time to consider adding a Marriott Bonvoy credit card to your wallet.

In particular, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card and the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card are the most similar and charge mid-range annual fees: $95 for the Boundless and $125 for the Marriott Bonvoy Business (see rates and fees). But there are also a few significant differences to be aware of.

Here’s how you can decide whether you should apply for the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless or the Marriott Bonvoy Business card.

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In This Post

Comparison overview

Card Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Marriott Bonvoy Business
Issuer Chase American Express
Welcome offer Earn 125,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points and one bonus free night award (worth up to 50,000 points) after you use your new card to make $5,000 in eligible purchases within the first three months of account opening. Earn 125,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points and two bonus free night awards (worth up to 50,000 points each) after you use your new card to make $5,000 in eligible purchases within the first three months of card membership. Offer ends Nov. 3, 2021.
Annual fee $95 $125 (see rates & fees)
Earning rate  6x on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program

2x on other eligible purchases

 

6x on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program

4x at U.S. restaurants

4x at U.S. gas stations

4x on U.S. shipping providers

4x on U.S. wireless phone services purchased directly from service providers

2x on other eligible purchases

Other benefits Annual free night certificate on your account anniversary, worth up to 35,000 points.

15 elite night credits every year, placing you at automatic Silver Elite status.

Pathway to Gold elite status by spending $35,000 or more on the card each account year.

No foreign transaction fees.

Annual free night certificate on your account anniversary, worth up to 35,000 points.

Opportunity to earn another free night certificate by spending $60,000 or more on the card in a calendar year.

15 elite night credits every year, placing you at automatic Silver Elite status.

Pathway to Gold elite status by spending $35,000 or more on the card each account year.

No foreign transaction fees (see rates & fees)

Travel protections Baggage delay insurance

Lost luggage reimbursement

Trip delay reimbursement

Purchase protection

Baggage insurance plan

Secondary auto rental collision damage waiver

Purchase protection

Extended warranty protection

Both cards offer solid value propositions with reasonable annual fees. However, when comparing the two cards side-by-side, the Marriott Bonvoy Business is the clear winner.

For the same amount of minimum spend in the welcome offer, you’ll earn an additional free night certificate that’s worth up to 50,000 points. Since TPG values Marriott Bonvoy points at 0.8 cents each, that’s an additional $400 in value alone (but more on this below).

However, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless is still an excellent card — not to mention, the annual fee is slightly lower. Now that we’ve compared them side-by-side, let’s analyze the benefits.

When you should consider the Bonvoy Boundless

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

You’re not a high spender

When considering any new card, it’s vital to look past the welcome offer and focus on the long-term value.

On paper, these are very similar cards, and you may find the benefits redundant. Although there’s only a $30 annual fee difference between the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless and Marriott Bonvoy Business, for many, it doesn’t make sense to pay more than $95 for an annual fee.

While the Marriott Bonvoy Business lets cardholders earn an additional free night certificate by spending $60,000 or more on the card in a calendar year, that breaks down to $5,000 in monthly spending. If you don’t anticipate that you’ll spend that much on one credit card, that opportunity alone may not justify the higher annual fee.

You don’t have much bonus category spending

Unlike some other hotel credit cards, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless doesn’t offer much in the way of bonus spending categories, such as gas or groceries. Instead, it earns 6 points per dollar on Marriott Bonvoy purchases (hotel rates, room charges, etc.) and just 2 points per dollar on all other eligible purchase. That might still suit some folks who don’t want to do the mental math every time they pull out their wallet to pay for a purchase, or have to cycle through a variety of cards depending on where they are spending money.

You don’t qualify for a business card

Surprisingly to some, you don’t have to own a business to open a business card. Many types of freelancing or side hustles should help you qualify, too, whether you drive for Uber, deliver food for DoorDash or sell items on eBay.

However, even after reviewing all of the ways you can qualify for a business card, you still may be restricted to personal cards. If that’s the case, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless is a great consumer card worth opening.

When you should consider the Bonvoy Business

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

You can maximize the two free award nights that are part of its welcome offer

One of the most significant differences between these two cards at the moment is that the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless is offering one free award night worth up to 50,000 points as part of its intro bonus, while the Marriott Bonvoy Business is offering two free award nights worth up to 50,000 points apiece, assuming you can meet the card’s minimum spending requirement of $5,000 in the first three months.

In this case, two is almost certainly better than one since you can use the second award night to save even more money, either on a single stay of two nights or more, or on an additional stay from the one in which you use your first award night.

Each certificate should be enough to book a room at Marriott hotels ranging up to Category 6, where standard rates are 50,000 points apiece, such as the St. Regis Istanbul, or the Shanghai EDITION, either of which post room rates that regularly top $400.

Just keep in mind that each of these certificates is only good for a year from issue, so be sure you can utilize both in that time frame.

You qualify for a business card — and have the expenses to match

If you qualify for a business credit card, the Marriott Bonvoy Business is likely the better option for the time being thanks not only to its better intro offer, but also its spending-based benefits. Plus, the rewards rate of the Marriott Bonvoy Business is substantially better. Cardholders can earn 4x on U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations, U.S. shipping providers and U.S. wireless phone services purchased directly from service providers. Business owners can find lots of utility from this rewards rate thanks to useful bonus categories.

Most significantly, you can boost up from automatic Marriott Bonvoy Silver elite status — which you get with both cards thanks to the fact that they deposit 15 elite-qualifying nights into your Bonvoy account each year — all the way to Gold if you use your card for $35,000 or more in purchases in a calendar year.

What’s more, the card automatically offers members a free award night each year after their account anniversary that’s worth up to 35,000 points. However, if you spend $60,000 or more on the card in a calendar year, you can earn a second one, also worth up to 35,000 points. Meanwhile, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless only comes with one annual free night certificate.

So if those types of numbers are in your budget, you might as well score a second award night from the spending you have to do for work.

You can maximize the bonus spending categories

On an everyday basis, though, the Marriott Bonvoy Business also laps the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless in terms of earning thanks to several bonus categories. The Marriott Bonvoy Business accrues:

  • 6 points per dollar on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
  • 4 points per dollar at U.S. restaurants, including takeout and delivery
  • 4 points per dollar at U.S. gas stations
  • 4 points per dollar at U.S. shipping providers
  • 4 points per dollar on U.S. wireless phone services purchased directly from service providers
  • 2 points per dollar on other eligible purchases

This card offers four bonus categories that the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless does not, including some, like U.S. restaurants and U.S. gas stations, that can come in handy for both work- and non-work-related purchases. This makes the Marriott Bonvoy Business a much higher potential earner than the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless. Provided, that is, you actually spend a lot in these categories.

You’re out of Chase 5/24 slots

Finally, if you’re out of Chase 5/24 slots, your only option to open another Marriott cobranded card at the moment may end up being the Marriott Bonvoy Business anyway.

In other words, if you’ve opened more than five personal credit cards in the past 24 months, Chase will likely deem you ineligible for the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless — or most other Chase-issued cards for that matter.

Amex doesn’t have such application restrictions. However, note that if you’ve already opened and closed the Marriott Bonvoy Business in the past (and have earned its welcome bonus), you won’t be eligible for this new offer due to Amex’s one-bonus-per-lifetime rule.

Bottom line

No matter what card you choose, both are excellent options with record-high introductory offers. Once you confirm your eligibility for the card you prefer — based on issuer-based application restrictions and qualifications for a business vs. personal card — you’ll get a much clearer understanding of which card is the right fit for you.

Keep in mind that you could theoretically open both cards if you’re looking for those extra elite night credits and more annual free night certificates, and there are compelling reasons to get all four Marriott cards.

After reviewing all of the varying restrictions, applying for both cards can be a strategic way to earn hundreds of thousands of Marriott Bonvoy points — especially now with these terrific welcome offers.

Official application link: Marriott Bonvoy Boundless with 125,000 bonus points and one bonus free night award after spending $5,000 in the first three months of account opening.
Official application link: Marriott Bonvoy Business with 125,000 bonus points and two bonus free night awards after spending $5,000 in the first three months of card membership.

For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business, see here.

Featured photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy.

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