Why I’m keeping my Marriott Bonvoy Boundless for the long term

May 6, 2021

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Even if you only stay with a specific hotel loyalty program several times each year, it can be helpful to have a cobranded hotel credit card. After all, most hotel credit cards offer bonus earning on stays, elite status (or help toward earning elite status) and other program-specific perks. Many hotel cards even offer an annual free night. This free night alone can often provide enough value to justify paying the card’s annual fee.

Last year I signed up for the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card. Today, I’ll discuss why I signed up for this card and why I plan to keep it long term.

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In This Post

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless overview

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card
(Photo by John Gribben/The Points Guy)

The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card provides a lot of perks that can be helpful to Marriott loyalists. You can check out the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card review for a detailed look at this card. But, here’s a quick overview of how you’ll earn:

  • Earn up to 17 Marriott Bonvoy points per dollar spent at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy
    • Up to 11x points per dollar spent from Marriott for being a Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite member (you may earn more with higher tiers of Marriott Bonvoy elite status; Marriott provides this earning regardless of what card you use to pay for your stay)
    • 6x points per dollar spent at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy when you use your Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card to pay for your stay
  • 2x points per dollar spent on all other purchases

And, here’s a quick summary of the primary perks you’ll get as a cardholder in exchange for paying the $95 annual fee:

  • One free night award each year after your account anniversary, valid for a one-night stay at a Marriott Bonvoy property with a redemption level of up to 35,000 points
  • 15 elite night credits per calendar year, which means you’ll automatically earn Silver Elite status each year
  • Earn Gold Elite status through Dec. 31 of the following year once you spend $35,000 on purchases during an account year
  • Your points won’t expire as long as you make purchases on your credit card every 24 months
  • No foreign transaction fees

I originally signed up for the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card for two primary reasons: the sign-up bonus and 15 elite night credits each year. After all, these 15 elite night credits were a critical part of my 2020 push to earn Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status. But, now I plan to keep the card long term for its annual free night and the 15 elite night credits each year. So in the following sections, I’ll take a closer look at these three important aspects of the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card.

Related: 3 reasons why the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless is worth the $95 annual fee

Sign-up bonus

(Photo by Zach Griff / The Points Guy)
You could redeem your sign-up bonus points to stay at the Category 6 JW Marriott Cancun. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Currently, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card offers a sign-up bonus of three free nights (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after spending $3,000 on purchases in your first three months from account opening. Based on TPG’s valuations, 150,000 points from the free nights are worth up to $1,200.

However, you may not be eligible for the card or its sign-up bonus. To determine whether you’re eligible, read the offer details on the application page and check out our post on whether you’re eligible for a new Marriott Bonvoy card.

Related: What credit score do you need to get the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless credit card?

Annual free night

The Westin Langkawi Resort & Spa in Malaysia
You can use an up to 35,000-point free night certificate for off-peak and standard nights at the Category 5 Westin Langkawi Resort & Spa. (Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy)

I’m a budget traveler at heart and I enjoy seeking out good value redemptions. As such, I usually use hotel annual free night certificates to try out experiences for which I wouldn’t typically pay cash or redeem points. But, even if you usually book luxury hotels, you should be able to find a hotel you like using an up to 35,000-point Marriott free night certificate.

In particular, you can use an up to 35,000-point Marriott free night certificate to stay at Marriott Bonvoy Category 1-4 hotels on any date and at Category 5 hotels on off-peak and standard dates. You may want to plan a vacation around using one or more free night awards at a specific property. In this case, I recommend checking out our guides for great uses of Marriott 35,000-point free night certificates and best uses of Marriott 35,000-point certificates for family vacations.

But, you may also prefer to see how your free night award fits into your current plans. For example, I could get good value by using up to 35,000-point Marriott free night certificates at the following Marriott Bonvoy hotels later this year:

  • JW Marriott Istanbul Bosphorus
  • W Bogota
  • JW Marriott Hotel Bogota
  • The Westin Palace, Milan

Of course, if you have multiple opportunities to use your free night award, you’ll want to choose the option that provides the most value. To help you value your free night award, keep in mind that TPG’s valuations peg the value of 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy points at $280.

Related: Marriott free night awards extended through Jan. 3, 2022

15 elite night credits each year

Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort and Spa
Elite status can snag you upgrades and perks at Marriott Bonvoy hotels, including the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort and Spa. (Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy)

The primary reason I signed up for the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card when I dropped below Chase’s 5/24 rule last fall was the 15 elite night credits each year. After all, I value getting lounge access and breakfast when staying with Marriott Bonvoy and I’ve decided the best way for me to get these perks is to earn Platinum Elite status or higher with Marriott Bonvoy each year.

To earn Platinum Elite status, you need to accrue 50 nights per year. Luckily, you can earn 15 elite night credits each year from select personal Marriott Bonvoy cards, including the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card and Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card. And, you can also earn 15 elite night credits each year from select business Marriott Bonvoy cards, including the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card.

So, if you have personal and business Marriott Bonvoy cards, you can get 30 elite night credits each year from your cards. Then, during a typical year, you’d only need to stay with Marriott hotels 20 nights to snag Platinum Elite status or 45 nights to earn Titanium Elite status. But, you may need even fewer nights this year. After all, Marriott gave elites 50% of the elite nights required to qualify for the elite status they held in 2020.

Related: Free nights and easy status: Here’s why I have 4 Marriott Bonvoy credit cards

Bottom line

I plan to keep all of my hotel credit cards that offer an annual free night for the long term. And the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card isn’t an exception. After all, it’s easy to get more than $95 of value each year from the card’s free night and 15 elite night credits. As such, I don’t plan to close or downgrade my Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card as long as I can get good value from these perks.

Official application link: Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card 

Featured image by John Gribben/The Points Guy.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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