Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card Review (2019)

Filed Under: Chase, Credit Card Reviews
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3x points
at Marriott
2x points
on everyday purchases
no foreign
transaction fees
Annual Fee: $95

The loyalty programs of Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, and Starwood combined earlier this year to form Marriott Bonvoy. As part of this agreement, both American Express and Chase are issuing co-branded credit cards. We’ve even seen some changes made to these cards, both positive and negative.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card Basics

The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card is the mid-range personal credit card that’s issued for Marriott, and it’s a card that most people should have if they’re eligible, in my opinion. That’s because the card offers at least one valuable perk that should more than offset the annual fee for almost everyone, and there are other perks that people might find worthwhile as well.

Let’s take a closer look at what you need to know about this card.

New Cardmember Bonus

The Bonvoy Boundless Card is offering a welcome bonus of 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy points after spending $3,000 within three months. I value Bonvoy points at ~0.7 cents each, so to me those points are worth ~$525.

Redeem your Bonvoy points at the W Punta de Mita

Card Eligibility

Given how many American Express and Chase Marriott cards there are at this point, there are some pretty complicated restrictions in place regarding eligibility for this card.

The card is not available to those who are:

  • current cardmembers of the Marriott Bonvoy Premier credit card (also known as Marriott Rewards Premier) or Marriott Bonvoy Boundless credit card (also known as Marriott Rewards Premier Plus), or
  • previous cardmembers of the Marriott Bonvoy Premier credit card (also known as Marriott Rewards Premier) or Marriott Bonvoy Boundless credit card (also known as Marriott Rewards Premier Plus), who received a new cardmember bonus within the last 24 months.

Furthermore, the welcome bonus isn’t available to you if you:

  • are a current cardmember, or were a previous cardmember within the last 30 days, of Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card (also known as The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express);
  • are a current or previous cardmember of either Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card (also known as The Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express) or Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card (also known as the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury Card), and received a new cardmember bonus or upgrade bonus in the last 24 months; or
  • applied and were approved for Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card (also known as The Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express) or Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card (also known as the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury Card) within the last 90 days.

Chase’s 5/24 Rule

Chase has what’s known as the 5/24 rule. This means that if you’ve opened five or more new card accounts in the past 24 months you typically won’t be approved for this card. So if you do apply for this card, make sure you’re under that limit.

See this post to learn how to check your 5/24 status, and see this post for more general Chase credit card application rules.

Annual Fee

The Marriott Boundless Card has a $95 annual fee. You can add additional cardmembers at no extra cost.

Earning Points With The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card

While I personally wouldn’t be using the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card for everyday spending, the card does offer a valuable bonus category for spending at Marriott hotels.

Unfortunately for those who were used to Starwood Preferred Guest back in the day, this will probably be a disappointment. When SPG joined Marriott’s loyalty program they reduced the value of each point, and in the process changed the rewards structure of the credit cards.

6x Points At Marriott Hotels

The card offers 6x Bonvoy points for spending at Marriott-family hotels globally. For many people, this will be a worthwhile bonus.

Since I value Bonvoy points at ~0.7 cents each, that’s the equivalent of a ~4.2% return on hotel spending. Personally I still prefer to use the Chase Sapphire Reserve® for my Marriott hotel spending, as it offers 3x Ultimate Rewards points.


You can earn 6x points for stays at Marriott hotels

2x Points On All Other Purchases

The card offers 2x points on all other eligible purchases. Personally, I don’t consider 2x points per dollar spent to be especially compelling, since I value that at a return of 1.4-1.6 cents per point, and there are better cards for everyday spending.

No Foreign Transaction Fees

The Bonvoy Boundless Card has no foreign transaction fees, so it’s an excellent card for purchases abroad. That’s especially true when staying at Marriotts abroad.

Contactless Pay

The Marriott Boundless Card features contactless pay technology. This means you can pay using your card without even swiping it whenever you see the contactless pay symbol.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card Benefits

The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card might not offer the best return on spending, but it offers some great benefits that make it worthwhile, in my opinion. If you’re eligible for the card and don’t have it, I truly think the card is worth having for just about everyone.

Free Night Award Annually

The real perk that makes this card worthwhile is that you get a free night award every year on your account anniversary, valid for a one-night hotel stay at a property costing up to 35,000 points.

This is an exceptional deal, and the reason that I think this card is worth having. Marriott is the world’s largest hotel chain, so regardless of what your preferred hotel program is, just about everyone may find themselves in a situation where this could come in handy.

I consistently redeem this certificate at hotels costing $250+ per night.

I used my free night award at the Marriott Kigali

Complimentary Silver Elite Status

Just for having the card you receive Silver Elite status in the Marriott Bonvoy program. Now, don’t get too excited, as this doesn’t exactly come with that many benefits. Silver Elite status ordinarily requires 10 elite nights, and comes with the following perks:

  • 10% bonus points on hotel stays
  • Priority late check-out
  • A dedicated reservations line

Gold Elite Status With Spending

If you have this card you can earn Gold Elite status if you spend $35,000 on the card in a cardmember year. This status ordinarily requires 25 elite nights. Gold Elite status ordinarily gets you the following benefits:

  • 25% bonus points on hotel stays
  • 2PM late check-out
  • A room upgrade

15 Elite Nights Towards Status Annually

Personally, my favorite status perk for having this card is that you get 15 elite nights towards status annually just for having the card. Note that several co-branded Marriott credit cards offer this, and you can only receive the benefit once.

In other words, if you have three Marriott cards then you wouldn’t get 45 elite nights.

However, this really makes it more attainable to earn Platinum status, which is where status really gets valuable. Platinum status requires 50 nights, so if you have this card you’d only need to earn an additional 35 elite nights.

Platinum status gets you guaranteed late check-out, suite upgrades subject to availability at most properties, free breakfast at many brands, and more.

Platinum members receive space available suite upgrades

Premium Internet At Marriotts

Nowadays all Marriott Bonvoy members who book direct receive free in-room internet. However, if you have this credit card you receive free premium internet access while staying at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels.

Chase Offers

One of the great features of Chase cards is access to Chase Offers, which provides savings on purchases with all kinds of retailers. The program wasn’t launched that long ago, but has already saved me a significant amount of money.

Secondary Car Rental Coverage

The Marriott Boundless Card offers auto rental collision damage waiver coverage. Decline the rental company’s collision insurance and charge the entire rental cost to your card.

Coverage is provided for theft and collision damage for most cars in the US and abroad. Do note that in the US the coverage is secondary to your personal insurance, though.

Protection With Trip Delays, Lost Luggage, And More

The Bonvoy Boundless Card offers a variety of other protection when traveling. Among these features is:

  • Trip Delay Reimbursement — if your flight is delayed by more than 12 hours or requires an overnight stay, you and your family are covered for unreimbursed expenses, such as meals and lodging, up to $500 per ticket
  • Lost Luggage Reimbursement — be reimbursed up to $3,000 per passenger if you or your immediate family member check or carry on luggage that is damaged or lost by an airline
  • Baggage Delay Insurance — be reimbursed up to $100 per day for five days for essential purchases when your bag is delayed by over six hours

Make sure you check your cardmember agreement for all of the details, since there are terms & conditions.

Is The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card Worth It?

Personally, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card isn’t a card that I would be using for my everyday spending. However, I absolutely think the card is worth having, given that it offers an anniversary free night certificate on your account anniversary every year, which should more than justify the annual fee.

If you’re going for status, the 15 elite nights towards status annually is incredibly valuable as well, and makes it easier to earn Platinum status.

If you’re going to get the card, you might as well also do so while it has an increased bonus.

Card Showdown: Bonvoy Boundless Vs. Bonvoy Bold

Marriott also has the no annual fee Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card, so how do the cards compare? The cards largely have overlapping benefits, though the biggest distinction is that the Boundless Card offers an anniversary free night certificate, and that’s what makes the card so worthwhile.

To me, the Boundless Card is better than the Bold Card because it’s worth paying $95 per year for the anniversary free night certificate. The card also has a significantly better bonus.

Should You Transfer Chase Points To Marriott?

Marriott is transfer partners with Chase Ultimate Rewards, so you could transfer points at a 1:1 ratio. For example:

In some cases, this would be your best bet for earning Marriott points through credit card spend, since you can earn 3-5x points in select categories.

Even so, I wouldn’t recommend transferring Chase points to Marriott. As I said, I value Marriott points at ~0.7 cents each, while you can instead transfer points at the same ratio to programs like World of Hyatt, where I value the points at ~1.5 cents each (more than times as much).

So while there are plenty of ways to earn Marriott points with credit cards, there aren’t many ways to do so at efficient or competitive rates.

There are better uses of Chase points than transferring to Marriott

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card Summary

The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card is well worth it for the anniversary free night certificate that’s valid for a property costing up to 35,000 points per night. Just about everyone should be able to get outsized value from that, given that there are a lot of hotels costing $200+ per night that can be booked with it.

If you’re going for status with Marriott, the 15 elite nights towards status annually is the icing on the cake.

If you want to learn more about the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card or apply, follow this link.

Apply Now

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Comments
  1. Lucky,

    So you say that you wouldn’t spend on Marriott cards (even when staying at Marriott), and you wouldn’t transfer over UR (or i presume MR) points over to Marriott. So in your view, there is basically no good way to earn Marriott points with a credit card? This seems a bit too cut and dry for me.

    For people that are earning Marriott points through paid stays (work travel) and who want to augment their points earnings with credit card spend, I think it makes sense to spend on the cards (including this one). For example, when I am staying at a Marriott property for leisure, I put all spending during the way on my Brilliant card – so some restaurant spending is also included. It helps build up points faster, and there are some good redemptions for Marriott hotels that I want to build towards. And even though UR are valuable, i would rather earn 6 Marriott points then 3 UR points…

  2. @Lucky — If you could only choose/get one, would you pick the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card or the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card? Both have similar annual fees ($95 vs $89), both are Chase 5/24 cards, and both offer a free night certificate (with capped point value). Marriott is the largest hotel chain, but IHG offers their highest status. Which card do you consider more valuable?

  3. And if you have the “classic” (old) Chase Marriott Rewards credit card, you’ll lose the “one elite night credit for every $3k in spend” if you upgrade to the newest Chase Marriott credit cards as that feature isn’t offered on the newer cards.

  4. “Like I said, I value Marriott points at ~0.7 cents each, while you can instead transfer points at the same ratio to programs like World of Hyatt, where I value the points at ~1.5 cents each (more than ______ times as much).”

    One more time. The values those points are actually 0.7cent per MARRIOTT POINT and ~1.5cents per WORLD OF HYATT POINT. Because Marriott and Hyatt award different numbers of POINTS (denominator) per CENT spent (numerator), cents per MARRIOTT POINT and cents per WORLD OF HYATT POINT are not directly comparable because they are essentially like different currencies.

    That means the comparison above is meaningless because it is apples and oranges. It’s as meaningful as comparing Japanese Yen (JPY) to USD without first doing a currency conversion to convert Yens to USDs or vice versa. What the comparison above says is akin to saying that 100JPY have more “buying power” than 1 USD because 100JPY is a **bigger** number. In reality 100JPY and 1 USD have about the same buying power if one first does a **currency conversion**.

    G’day.

  5. @DCS the difference in currency value is already embedded in the calculation to cents. That’s why the calculation to cents is made. Then it is totally appropriate to say 1.5 cents is more than double 0.7 cents. Comparing cents to cents makes sense. One UR point gives you either one Hyatt point or one Marriot point. Do you want to exchange one UR for 1.5 cents or 0.7 cents?

  6. Rico — Your argument makes as much sense as comparing 1 Australian cent and 1 US cent and saying that they are worth the same because they are both called a “cent”.

    Figure out how the values of 0.7cent per Marriott point and 1.5cent per Hyatt point were estimated and you might get it, but here’s another way to look at it.

    A cent may be a cent, but a Marriott point is not the same as a Hyatt point because one earns a different number of each per CENT spend. Therefore, Marriott cents/point and Hyatt cents/point are NOT in the same units of measurement and cannot be compared without first doing a “points currency conversion.”

    Case in point:

    A Hilton points is worth, on AVERAGE, about 0.5cent. A Hyatt points is worth on AVERAGE about 1.5cents. One earns on AVERAGE about 3x more HH points per spend than one earns WoH points for the SAME spend. The conversion factor between the points currencies is therefore ‘3x’.

    To convert 0.5 cent/HH point to cents/WoH point one must multiple HH points by 3:

    0.5 cent/HH poin x 3 HH points/WoH point = 1.5cents/WoH point

    i.e., no difference.

    In other words, 0.5 cent/HH point has the same purchasing power as 1.5 cents/WoH point.

    Award cost for a top WoH hotel is 30K WoH points
    Award cost for a top Hilton hotel is 95K HH Points

    95K points seem like a lot and many believe that it is a lot. However, 95K in HH points is about same as 30K in WoH points because

    95K/30K = 3.16

    which means that while a top Hilton award (95K) costs about 3x more than a top Hyatt award (30K), the two top awards costs about exactly the same in the respective programs and currencies because one earns 3X more HH points per spend than one earns WoH points for the SAME spend.

    95K HH * 1 WoH point/3HH ~= 30K WoH points
    30K WoH * 3HH/WoH = ~90K HH Points (95K without round off error)

    That is, one has the same “purchasing power” with 0.5cent/HH point as one does with 1.5cent/WoH point.

    It is how Marriott knew to use a conversion rate of 3 Marriott points per 1 Startpoint and vice versa.

    Q.E.D. and G’day.

    G’day.

  7. Note that the conversion rate is not always 3. The conversion rate for Starpoints to Hilton points was about 6; Marriott points to Hilton points is about 2.

    It is why AMEX awards 12x on their co-branded HH card while awarding 6x on their co-branded BOVoY card (2:1), which used to earn 2X as a SPG card (6:1). This, therefore, sets the 14x that AMEX awards on the Aspire card above the rest… 😉

  8. Stealthy devaluation with the introduction of peak/off-peak pricing. Those 35k Cat 5 hotels are now *often* 40k (peak). So close….but yet, so far.

  9. @DCS: You’re valuing the points based on how many are earned per dollar spent. Assuming, arguendo, I inherited 100,000 of each, the values assigned are correct.

    Disagree?

  10. DCS, you missed the whole point. The article talks about converting UR points to either Marriott pts or Hyatt pts. Both convert at 1:1 ratio. So if you have 50000 UR pts, would you rather convert that to 50000 bonvoy pts or 50000 Hyatt pts. The point made is because Hyatt pts is worth 1.5 cents, it is better to convert to Hyatt pts. Your analysis on how accumulation rates differ among different branded cards is a non-sequitur. The assumption is the UR pts to be converted are accumulated using CSR or Freedom.

  11. Free night certificates say they are up to 35K points. I just tried to book a Category 6 with pointsaver rate of 35k a night with the certificate. Marriott customer service says they cannot as the certificate is only for up to Category 5, which is a redemption rate of only 30k points a night. The terms for the certificate do not mention a category limit at all. They should stop advertising it as up to 35k points and say it is Category 1- 5, with a limit of 35k points.

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