Full Review of Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card
Outstanding introductory rewards bonus
Solid rewards rate for Marriott hotel stays
Automatic Silver Elite Status in the Marriott Bonvoy program
You'll have to spend $35,000 per year to upgrade to Gold Status
Your Bonvoy hotel rewards account (though not your credit card) must stay active to avoid points expiration
The $95 annual fee may be off-putting
- Outstanding Introductory Rewards Bonus: The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless credit card’s introductory bonus is quite generous compared to other cards. The current offer is 5 free nights when you meet the minimum spending requirement ($5,000 in the first three months).
- Solid Rewards Rate for Marriott Hotel Stays: This card earns 6 points per dollar when you book at more than 7,000 participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels. While there are some co-branded hotel cards that offer more points on the dollar for bookings, the rewards rate for this card is still quite respectable.
- Automatic Silver Elite Status in the Marriott Bonvoy Program: Cardmembers enjoy Silver Elite Status in the Bonvoy program, which includes perks like a 10% point bonus on eligible stays, priority late checkout, and a dedicated elite reservation line. These benefits are included automatically when you're approved for the card.
- You'll Have to Spend $35,000 per Year to Upgrade to Gold Status: Achieving Gold Status unlocks even more perks through the Bonvoy program, including a 25% bonus on stays, enhanced room upgrades, 2 p.m. late checkout, complimentary enhanced internet access and a welcome gift of points. The catch is that you have to charge $35,000 per year with your Marriott Bonvoy Boundless credit card, which may be difficult if you don't travel or charge everyday purchases as often.
- Your Marriott Bonvoy Account Must Stay Active to Avoid Points Expiration: Many rewards cards allow you to accrue points or miles to the loyalty program account where they can remain indefinitely, with no expiration date. The Marriott Bonvoy loyalty account card is slightly different, in that you must keep your account active every 24 months to avoid letting your points expire. This can be done by doing things like automatically earning and transferring in points from the credit card when used for purchases or using the Bonvoy dining portal.
- The $95 Annual Fee May Be Off-Putting: Given that some travel credit cards charge $450 or more in annual fees, the $95 fee associated with this card isn't overwhelmingly high. Still, that may be more than some people are comfortable paying just to earn rewards on hotel stays, particularly if they're infrequent travelers.
This Card is Best For
Seeks to maximize points or miles earnings across spending categories
Seeks the recognition and perks of branded travel partner status
This card is designed for consumers who lean toward Marriott Bonvoy as their preferred hotel brand. It's good if you're already enrolled in the Bonvoy loyalty program and you want a way to earn points faster to qualify for Gold, Platinum, Titanium or Ambassador Elite Status. Since the highest rewards rate are applied to hotel stays, it's a little less versatile as an all-around travel card. But the large introductory bonus and the various travel benefits you can unlock through the Bonvoy program make up for that. And, it offers a decent rewards rate per dollar on all other purchases, beyond hotel bookings.
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card Bonus
This card currently offers 5 free nights of hotel stays when you spend $5,000 in qualifying purchases within the first three months of account opening. That averages out to around $1,667 per month in purchases. Each free night can be redeemed at a 50,000 point per night Marriott hotel placing the overall value of the limited time bonus offer at 250,000 Bonvoy points. Investopedia values Marriott Bonvoy points at 1.11 cents each, meaning this bonus is potentially worth an eye-popping $2,775.
Overall, the bonus is exceptionally generous compared to other co-branded hotel cards that may only offer 25,000 to 60,000 bonus points. There are, however, a small number of cards that pass the 100,000-point mark for bonuses, but those still pale in comparison to this bonus opportunity.
Rewards Earning Details
Boundless cardholders earn 6 points per dollar on Marriott Bonvoy hotels, including The Ritz-Carlton and W hotels. That's on top of the points you can earn through the Bonvoy program. Loyalty program members earn 10 points per dollar on eligible hotel charges, excluding bookings made at Residence Inns, Element hotels and Towneplace Suites. Those hotels earn 5 points per dollar.
This card also offers 2 points per dollar on all other purchases. Points earned on hotel and non-hotel spending are unlimited. You just have to keep your Marriott Bonvoy hotel rewards program active every 24 months by using your Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card or by doing things like redeeming points for hotel nights or using their dining portal.
There's one more way to earn rewards with your card: referral bonuses. You can get 20,000 bonus points for each person you refer who opens a credit card account, up to 100,000 points per year.
Rewards Redemption Details
There are several ways to redeem points earned with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless credit card, starting with Marriott hotel stays. Points can be redeemed for stays at more than 7,000 properties in 130 countries with no blackout dates. The number of points needed to redeem for an award stay depends on the hotel category and whether you're booking an off-peak, standard or peak rate.
You can also redeem points for flights, car rentals, cruises and vacation packages with Marriott travel partners. You can pay for those purchases with points only or a combination of points and cash. If you don't need to book a flight or hotel stay, you can use your points to pay for Priority Pass or TSA PreCheck membership.
Besides travel, points can also be redeemed for shopping and exclusive experiences through Marriott Bonvoy Moments. On the shopping side, you can redeem points for gift cards or merchandise from partner retailers. Marriott Bonvoy Moments experiences include culinary events, concerts and sporting events.
Points earned with your card can be transferred to selected frequent flyer programs. Most points transfer at a ratio of 3:1 (one example: 6:1 for JetBlue's TrueBlue).
Currently, more than 40 airlines that participate in points transfers from Bonvoy, including:
- Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
- American Airlines AAdvantage
- British Airways Executive Club
- Delta SkyMiles
- Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles
- Korean Air SKYPASS
- Southwest Rapid Rewards
- United MileagePlus
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
You can transfer 3,000 to 240,000 points per day from the program. Your name in the frequent flyer program just has to match the name on your Marriott Bonvoy account.
For every 60,000 points you transfer to miles, Bonvoy gives you 5,000 miles. When you transfer miles into the United MileagePlus program, you also get a 10% bonus miles.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
The best way to get the most out of this card is to start off right: scoring that 5 free night bonus. So, aim to meet the $5,000 minimum spending requirement within the first three months. Use the card everywhere Visa is accepted. If you can time a trip during this period—and stay in a Marriott hotel—so much the better.
On the redemption side, points earned typically have the most value when you use them to book Marriott hotels. You'll want to look closely at the award chart to understand how far your points will stretch toward additional award nights beyond the initial 5 free nights earned once the spending requirement has been achieved.
Remember, it takes just 5,000 points to book a room in a Category 1 property at the off-peak rate per night. Even if you don't qualify for the introductory bonus, you could still hit the 5,000-point mark by spending approximately $834 on a Marriott hotel booking ($834 x 6 points per dollar = 5,004 points.) So, say you booked a three-night stay at a TownePlace Suites, which is a Category 1 property. If your total stay were to come to $834, those three nights you paid for would essentially give you enough points for one award night at the same hotel at an off-peak rate. Alternatively, you could charge $2,500 on gas, supermarkets, airfare or other expenses to get to 5,000 points, at the 2 points per dollar rewards rate.
By comparison, you'd have to spend $11,667 on Marriott purchases to reach the 70,000 points required to book an off-peak room at one of Marriott's luxury Category 8 properties, such as the St. Regis New York. A superior king room books for around $1,000 per night during the fall season. If you booked one night per month at that rate, in just about a year you’d have spent the $11,667 required to earn the points needed for one off-peak night stay at the same hotel. You could reach that same total after spending $35,000 on other purchases earning 2 points per dollar.
If you plan to transfer points to airline miles, your best value overall would be transferring to United MileagePlus, since you get a 10% bonus through RewardsPlus. You'd also get 5,000 miles from Bonvoy if you transfer at least 60,000 points.
Redeeming points for experiences, gift cards or merchandise will generally yield the lowest value per point. You could also transfer points to another cardmember as a last resort if there's nothing else you'd like to redeem them for. Transfer redemptions start at 1,000 points and you can transfer up to 100,000 points per year.
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card's Outstanding Benefits
- Get a complimentary Award Night after your account anniversary each year
- Priority late checkout.
- Exclusive Elite savings offers.
- Purchase protection
- Extended warranty protection
- Fraud protection
- Lost luggage reimbursement
- Trip delay reimbursement
- Auto rental collision damage waiver
- Travel and emergency assistance
Chase, the Boundless card’s issuing bank, tied for third place with Capital One in J.D. Power's 2019 Credit Card Satisfaction Survey, earning an 807 rating. It scored above the national average for consumer credit card satisfaction but behind Discover and American Express.
This card comes with all the standard security features you'd expect, including multiple authentication checks, suspicious activity monitoring, website encryption and secure messaging. Members can set up account alerts to monitor card activity and easily lock their card if it's lost or stolen.
Fees to Watch Out For
There are no hidden fees to look out for with this card, although you will want to consider the balance transfer fees if you'd like to shift debt from another card onto this one. (Unfortunately, transferred balances don't count towards that 5 free night bonus; the $5,000 initial spending requirement must be in the form of new card purchases.)
In terms of the annual fee, look at how much value you expect to get by earning rewards for award nights to see if it justifies the $95 fee. As we noted, that’s not the largest of fees, but plenty of cards only charge $35 to $50 per year.
The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless credit card is a good choice for those who belong to the Bonvoy loyalty program, and are eager to earn more points to get award hotel stays. The card's added perks, including the one time bonus and the Award Night each year, make it even more enticing for travelers who are loyal to Marriott or one of its many brands, which include W Hotels, The Ritz-Carlton, and Sheraton properties.
The card offers a decent rewards rate per dollar. Still, since the highest rewards mostly apply to hotel stays, it's less versatile than other travel-oriented cards, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred card or the Capital One Venture Rewards card. The $95 annual fees on those cards might also seem onerous if you are fee-averse, though.
But if you don't always book with Marriott, or don't wish to be limited to Marriott hotel redemptions to get the best value, you may want to consider a general travel rewards card to get more flexibility.