Marriott is one the largest hotel brands in the world, so having a Marriott Bonvoy credit card means that you can find a free night just about anywhere you go.
The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card offers an excellent chance to rack up rewards fast and earn a unique welcome bonus as a new cardholder.
While there are some limitations to the bonus to keep in mind, the card can be an excellent way to show your loyalty to Marriott and get some benefits in return.
Annual Fee: $95
Bonus: Up to 150,000 Points ⓘ
APR: Variable APR
Rewards Rate: 2X-17X Points
- Sign-Up Bonus
- Rewards Rate
- Credit Score
- Redeeming Points
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card Review
The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card is one of two Bonvoy cards offered by Chase, a card issuer that’s known for its top-of-class credit cards. On the whole, the card offers a lot of long-term value through rewards and various perks. And if you enjoy maximizing rewards, the card’s welcome bonus can be appealing.
Although the card charges an annual fee, it more than makes up for it, even if you don’t use it as your primary credit card.
With most hotel credit cards, you’ll earn a certain number of bonus points when you spend a certain amount within a few months from account opening. And that’s what you can usually expect from the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card, too.
Currently, the card’s welcome bonus is new cardmembers can earn a whopping 3 Free Night Awards (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after qualifying purchases. That’s up to 150,000 points in total.
Also, you may not want to use all your points in one go, especially not for just a few nights. If you want to earn a hotel credit card sign-up bonus and get as many nights out of it as possible, this card may not be the right fit until the limited-time offer expires.
Once you’ve opened the card, you can earn up to 200,000 bonus points per calendar year by referring your friends to apply for the card. You’ll get 40,000 points for each person you refer who uses your link to apply and gets approved. It may not be easy to maximize that benefit every calendar year, but even one referral can make a huge difference.
A lot of the ongoing value this hotel card provides comes through its rewards program. Cardholders will earn up to 17x points per dollar on eligible purchases at Marriott properties — that’s 6x points per dollar from the credit card, 10x points per dollar as a Marriott Bonvoy member and 1x point per dollar for having Silver Elite Status, which is automatic with the card.
You’ll also earn 3X points on the first $6,000 spent in combined annual purchases on gas stations, groceries and dining. Plus, earn 2X points per dollar on other purchases you make with the card.
That base rewards rate is high compared with most travel credit cards, which settle on a 1X point per dollar base rate. For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers double points per dollar on travel and dining, but only 1x on all other purchases.
Most of the purchases you make with the credit card are eligible purchases. However, there are certain things, such as balance transfers, cash advances, travelers checks, gambling and others that don’t qualify as eligible expenses.
Annual Fee and APR
The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card charges a $95 annual fee and doesn’t waive it the first year as some other travel cards do. That’s not a major loss considering you’re getting a lot of upfront value with the welcome bonus.
On an ongoing basis, the credit card offers a free anniversary night that’s worth more than enough to make the annual fee worth it. While there’s a no-annual-fee Marriott credit card through the same card issuer, it doesn’t offer enough value to make it worth it.
It’s also important to note that the card doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, which can be as much as 3% of every purchase you make abroad.
The card’s APR is variable, which means you should pay your balance down every month to avoid interest. In fact, this is key to maximizing your rewards. If you’re paying interest, that eats into the value you get from the card and could even neutralize it altogether.
If you’re loyal to Marriott Bonvoy hotels, this credit card’s benefits may be enough to make the card worth it on their own. Here’s what you’ll get.
Silver Elite Status
Every cardmember year, when you renew your annual fee, Marriott will give you 15 Elite Night Credits, which gives you automatic Silver Elite Status with the Bonvoy program. This is the lowest elite status level and comes with 10% bonus points when you book Marriott stays with cash, late checkout when available and ultimate reservation guarantee.
If you’re not familiar, the ultimate reservation guarantee means that if Marriott isn’t able to honor your reservation, the program will pay for your accommodations at a nearby hotel and also compensate you for the inconvenience.
If you spend at least $35,000 in a cardmember year, you’ll earn Gold elite status, which provides even more perks, including:
- 25% bonus points on cash reservations
- Late checkout as long as 2 p.m. when available
- A welcome gift in the form of free Marriott points
- An enhanced room upgrade when available
Neither levels offer better in-room wifi, but that’s generally not a huge deal. The Silver Elite Status perks aren’t a lot, and it’s a bit disappointing that you get the lowest elite level for a card with an annual fee — some similar hotel cards offer more — but it can still make for a better experience when you stay at Marriott Bonvoy hotels.
Earn Elite Night Credits Towards Elite Status
In addition to the annually-awarded Elite Night Credits, cardholders can earn 1 additional Elite Night Credit towards Elite Status for every $5,000 they spend on the card. This means every purchase you make on the card counts towards earning Elite Status, which can provide a nice boost if that’s what you’re working towards.
Free Night Award
Every cardmember year, when you renew your account, you’ll receive a free night worth up to 35,000 points. Again, with an average valuation of 0.8 cents per point, that’s worth $280, which is roughly three times the cost of the annual fee — and in some cases, you can get even more value than that.
Just keep in mind that not everything is always free. Some Marriott properties charge parking fees and resort fees.
Other Travel Benefits
In addition to not charging foreign transaction fees, this Marriott credit card also offers a few travel insurance perks, including:
- Baggage delay insurance: If your baggage is delayed by six hours or more, you can receive a reimbursement of up to $100 per day for five days for eligible purchases like clothing and toiletries.
- Lost luggage reimbursement: If a common carrier like an airline loses or damages your luggage or the luggage of an immediate family member on your reservation, you can get reimbursed up to $3,000 per passenger to replace your belongings.
- Trip delay reimbursement: If your trip gets delayed by more than 12 hours or you’re required to make an overnight stay while you wait, the card offers up to $500 for unreimbursed expenses like meals and lodging.
You’ll also get purchase protection, which covers eligible items you’ve purchased against damage or theft for up to 120 days after you made the purchase. You can get up to $500 in value per claim and up to $50,000 total over the life of your account.
The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card requires that you have at least a good credit score in order to get approved. While each credit card issuer has its own criteria for what constitutes good credit, FICO says a good credit score starts at 670.
If your credit score doesn’t meet this standard or you’re just barely over the line, consider working on improving your credit before you apply, so you can have better odds of getting approved.
Also, keep in mind that Chase has an unofficial rule that says if you’ve opened five or more credit card accounts in the last 24 months, the card issuer will typically decline any application you submit for a new card.
Marriott Bonvoy Points
If you’re considering the Bonvoy Boundless or another Marriott credit card through American Express or Chase, here’s what you need to know about the Marriott Bonvoy points.
How Can I Redeem My Marriott Points?
The best way to use your Marriott points is to book free nights with the hotel chain. That includes several brands like Residence Inn, Moxy, Meridien, Sheraton — some of which are old Starwood Hotels brands — and more.
If you travel regularly with another person, you’ll also have the option to pool your points together to have all your rewards in one place.
Other redemption options won’t give you as much value, but they include:
- Book flights and car rentals
- Buy experiences
- Get travel packages
- Buy gift cards
- Donate or gift your points
When Do My Points Expire?
Marriott points expire after you haven’t had any activity in your loyalty program account for 24 consecutive months. Once you’ve forfeited your points, you cannot reinstate them. But even if you don’t use your points for a while, earning them by using your credit card will keep your account active.
Can You Transfer Marriott Points?
Marriott allows you to transfer your points to more than 30 different airlines to book free airfare, usually at a 3:1 ratio.
Example airline partners include Aeromexico ClubPremier, United MileagePlus, Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles, Korean Air SKYPASS, Delta SkyMiles and more.
Can I Transfer Points to Other Hotel Brands?
Marriott does not allow you to transfer points to other hotel brands like IHG or Hyatt. If you want that kind of flexibility, consider a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred®.
Is the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card Right for You?
The Boundless credit card offers some solid benefits, including the free elite night credits, a free anniversary night every card membership year, a welcome bonus, Silver Elite Status and 2x points per dollar spent on travel and all other purchases.
Beyond that, consider cards from other hotel brands, as well as cards with transferable points like the Chase Sapphire Preferred. One of these cards gives you the option to redeem with Marriott Bonvoy, other hotel brands or even Airbnb.
As you take your time, you’ll have a much better chance of finding the best card for you.
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