Marriott has co-branded credit cards issued by both American Express and Chase. It can be tough to figure out the differences between these cards. In this post, I wanted to look at the most popular mid-range personal credit card.
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card Basics For May 2022
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. Let’s look at what you need to know about this card.
Welcome Bonus Of 3 Free Nights
The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card offers a welcome bonus of Earn 3 Free Nights (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after spending $3,000 within the first three months. I value Bonvoy points at ~0.7 cents each, so to me, the bonus is worth up to $1,050. This is an excellent bonus for such a rewarding card.
Card Eligibility & Chase 5/24 Rule
Given that there are several American Express and Chase Marriott cards, there are some pretty complicated restrictions 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.
$95 Annual Fee
The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card has a $95 annual fee. You can add additional card members at no extra cost.
Earning Points With The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card
The rewards structure of the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card was recently refreshed to become more compelling. While this isn’t a card I’d use for my everyday spending, the card still has some potentially useful bonus categories.
6x Points At Marriott Hotels
The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless 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. I still prefer to use the Chase Sapphire Reserve® (review) for my Marriott hotel spending, as it offers 3x Ultimate Rewards points, which I value at a 5.1% return. But others may feel differently.
3x Points on Gas, Grocery, and Dining
Thanks to some recent card improvements, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card now offers 3x Bonvoy points on dining, gas station, and grocery store purchases globally. This only applies to the first $6,000 spent on combined purchases in those categories every calendar year, and after that you’ll earn 2x Bonvoy points on those purchases.
2x Points On All Other Purchases
The Bonvoy Boundless Card offers 2x Bonvoy 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 cents per dollar of spending, 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.
Earning Elite Nights With The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card
One of the primary reasons to consider getting the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card is because of how the card can help you earn elite status in the Bonvoy program. Status really starts to get valuable around the Platinum tier, when you become eligible for perks like complimentary breakfast and suite upgrades.
This is also an area where the card was recently improved, so let’s go over those details.
15 Elite Nights Toward Status Annually
One of my favorite perks for having the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card is that you get 15 elite nights toward 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 per year on a personal card. In other words, if you have three Marriott personal cards then you wouldn’t get 45 elite nights.
However, you can earn 15 elite nights from a personal card and 15 elite nights from a business card, for a total of 30 elite nights. The ideal setup would be to have this card in conjunction with the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card (review).
This makes it more attainable to earn Platinum status, which requires 50 elite nights. If you had the Bonvoy Boundless Card you’d only need 35 more elite nights, and if you also had the business card you’d only need 20 more elite nights.
One Elite Night For Every $5,000 Spent
The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card now offers one elite night for every $5,000 spent on the card. Any elite nights earned this way will be deposited in your account on the last day of the calendar month in which you qualify.
Personally I think spending $5,000 to earn one elite night is a lot, but everyone’s situation will differ, and for some people this could make sense if you’re otherwise close to earning status.
Complimentary Silver Elite Status
Perhaps this is a bit redundant, but just for having the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card you receive Silver status in the 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 the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless 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 gets you the following benefits:
- 25% bonus points on hotel stays
- 2PM late check-out
- A room upgrade
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card Benefits
In addition to the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card spending bonus categories and ability to earn elite status, there are some other major perks to having the card. This is where the card’s annual fee becomes really easy to justify, in my opinion.
Free Night Award Annually
The real perk that makes the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless 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. In early 2020 I even used one of these free night certificates at a hotel costing nearly $500 per night. Starting in April 2022 it’ll even be possible to top off these awards with points to redeem at more expensive properties (unfortunately this coincides with a program devaluation otherwise).
Premium Internet At Marriott Properties
Nowadays all Marriott Bonvoy members who book direct receive free in-room internet. However, if you have the Bonvoy Boundless Card you receive free premium internet access while staying at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels.
One of the great features of Chase cards is access to Chase Offers, which provides savings on purchases with all kinds of retailers.
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 United States 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 Marriott 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 a 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 toward status annually is incredibly valuable as well, and makes it easier to earn Platinum status.
Card Showdown: Bonvoy Boundless Vs. Bonvoy Bold
Marriott and Chase also have the no annual fee Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card (review), so how do the cards compare? The cards have some overlap, including that they both offer 15 elite nights toward status annually. However, that’s where the similarities end — the Boundless Card has the advantage of offering a much larger welcome bonus, an anniversary free night certificate, premium internet at Marriott properties, better bonus categories, and the ability to earn more elite nights with spending.
To me, the Boundless Card is absolutely worth the premium if you stay at Marriotts with any frequency.
Should You Transfer Chase Points To Marriott?
Marriott is a transfer partner with Chase Ultimate Rewards, so you could transfer points at a 1:1 ratio. For example:
- The Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card (review) offers 3x points on dining and travel
- The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (review) offers 3x points on dining, online groceries, and select streaming services, and 2x points on travel
- The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card (review) offers 3x points on the first $150,000 spent annually on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable and phone services, and advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines
In some cases, this would be your best bet for earning Marriott points through credit card spending, since you can earn multiple points per dollar 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 two times as much).
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.
The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card has recently been refreshed and now features a better rewards structure and a great welcome bonus. Personally I think the card is worth it for the anniversary free night certificate plus 15 elite nights toward status annually, which should more than justify the reasonable annual fee.
For those looking to earn Bonvoy points, this is also one of Marriott’s better credit cards for being rewarded, between the points and additional elite nights.