|Rewards Rating:||4.4 / 5|
|Annual Percentage Rate:||4.0|
|Issuer Customer Experience||4.0|
In a Nutshell:
Though Marriott rewards points are a bit inflated, the new Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card is a good value, offering a generous intro bonus along with many other benefits.
Earn 3 Free Nights (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after qualifying purchases + 10X total points on eligible purchases in select categories.
Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
Chase Customer Service Ratings
Other Notable Features: Automatic silver elite status, 20% bonus on Marriott base points, free in-room Wi-Fi, late checkout, 5th night free on any rewards stay, no foreign transaction fees, car rental insurance, trip cancellation/interruption insurance, lost luggage insurance, purchase protection, extended warranty
Consumers looking to boost their hotel loyalty may want to consider the Marriott Bonvoy program, which now boasts more than 7,000 hotels and resorts worldwide, making it the largest hotel program in the world.
The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card is a mid-range card that includes a decent introductory offer, and it’s probably your best bet for earning Marriott points off your everyday purchases, though not necessarily the best overall option for funding a vacation on points. Read on to see why:
Generous but inflexible sign-up bonus
The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card recently switched up its sign-up bonus. Currently, you can earn 3 Free Nights after qualifying purchases, while also enjoying 10X total points on up to $2,500 in combined purchases at grocery stores, restaurants, and gas stations in your first six months. If we value each Free Night at 50,000 points, then on a pure points basis, you could argue this is more generous even than the card’s previous offer of a whopping 100,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from your account opening. However, it’s much less flexible than the previous offer, since you can only redeem for three nights, instead of having a balance of 100,000 points to use as you like, even if that meant stretching your points across 20 nights at a Tier 1 hotel for an off-peak stay.
In addition to the initial sign-up bonus, you’ll get 15 Elite Night Credits each year to use toward an elite status boost, and a free hotel night every year on your card member anniversary.
The free night is good for one year at any hotel that costs less than 35,000 points per night. The certificate expires in 12 months, so you’ll need to redeem it in a timely manner.
What are Marriott points worth?
We value Marriott points at around 0.8 cents apiece, although the value you’ll get ultimately depends on the redemption you make. Marriott points are less valuable than rewards you’ll earn with some other travel credit cards — especially airline cards and flexible rewards cards, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card — but more valuable than many other hotel points such as Hilton Honors points.
Once you sign up for the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card, you can rack up a decent number of points on everything you buy — particularly on paid hotel stays with the Marriott Bonvoy brand. You get six points per $1 spent at Marriott hotels, and you also get two points per $1 on all other purchases.
When you take into account the value of Marriott points, this adds up to a fairly good earning rate (you earn around 1.7 cents of rewards value per dollar spent, by our estimates), though not as good as some competing hotel cards, such as the World of Hyatt Credit Card — which offers much more valuable points — or the Hilton Honors cards — which offer much higher spending category bonuses:
Keep in mind that points are doled out on top of rewards you earn for belonging to the Marriott Bonvoy program. Marriott Bonvoy members already earn 10 points per $1 spent at most Marriott hotels.
Also note that elite status members earn more points for each dollar they spend. As a silver elite member, you’ll receive a 10 percent points bonus. Gold elite members and up receive 25 to 75 percent more points for each paid hotel stay.
Marriott hotel network
One big advantage of all co-branded Marriott credit cards is the fact you can redeem rewards at more than 7,000 hotels and resorts worldwide. Options include luxury brands like St. Regis and The Ritz-Carlton, premium brands like Le Meridien and Westin and standard properties like Courtyard and SpringHill Suites, among dozens of other options.
Overall, Marriott Bonvoy properties exist in 129 different countries around the world, making this program an obvious option for consumers who want plenty of hotels to choose from when it comes to earning and redeeming rewards.
When it comes to redeeming Marriott points, you have a ton of options to consider outside of simple hotel stays. You can cash in points for travel packages, for example, along with car rentals, cruises and more. However, you’ll typically get the most bang for your buck when you redeem for hotel stays. The following chart outlines your options along with the value you can get in return:
Marriott redemption options
|Point value (cents)|
|Cash + Points||0.6|
|Point transfers||Varies by the airline you use|
|Travel packages||Varies by the airline you use|
Marriott points are fairly flexible — points don’t expire, and Marriott doesn’t officially enforce blackout dates on its room awards, allowing you to book any available standard room with points. That said, some properties within the Marriott’s hotel network may restrict the inventory available for award nights by reclassifying their rooms. If you have a particular destination in mind for your points, you should check ahead of time to make sure there is a hotel with available award nights there before you apply for a Marriott card.
How many points do you need for a free night?
When it comes to redeeming points for hotel stays, you have some decisions to make. You can stay in lower end hotels to make your points stretch further, but you can also splurge for a luxury hotel if you’re willing to part with more of your points. Also note that you get the fifth night free when you redeem points for four consecutive nights.
The following chart shows how many points you’ll need for an off-peak, standard or peak award stay:
|Tip: PointSavers awards can save you 33 percent of your points on select destinations and dates around the world. Also, cash and points options let you stretch your points further since they combine a smaller point amount with cash.|
Transferring Marriott points
An interesting fact about the Marriott Bonvoy program is the fact that you can transfer your points to various airlines. As a bonus, Marriott will even add 5,000 miles to your total any time you transfer 60,000 points to an airline. However, you’ll face a 3:1 transfer ratio with most programs, meaning 60,000 Marriott points turns into 20,000 airline miles (or 25,000 miles once the bonus is added).
The chart below shows the transfer ratio for some of the most popular Marriott airline partners, as well as how much value you’ll eek out of your rewards once you turn them into airline miles:
|Partner||Transfer ratio||Value per mile (cents)||Transfer value of Marriott points in cents (including the 25% transfer bonus)|
|Air Canada Aeroplan||3:1||1.5||0.6|
|Air France/KLM Flying Blue||3:1||1||0.4|
Also keep in mind that Marriott Bonvoy maintained its Hotel + Air packages from before, although the number of points you’ll need for each package has changed. As an example, you can redeem 255,000 Marriott Bonvoy points for 7 nights at a Category 1-4 property plus 55,000 airline miles. At the highest end, you’ll need 675,000 Marriott Bonvoy points for seven nights in a Category 8 property plus 55,000 airline miles.
The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card gives you automatic silver elite status and a chance to earn gold elite status by spending $35,000 on the card in a year.
Silver elite status gives you a 10 percent point bonus as well as other hotel perks, including complimentary in-room Wi-Fi, special member rates, late checkout, a dedicated reservations line and Marriott’s Ultimate Reservations Guarantee. (You will be compensated in cash or points if your reservation can’t be honored.)
While these are not the best perks that you can find for a mid-tier hotel card (the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, for example, grants you access to free room upgrades), they are worth it if you stay often with Marriott and don’t want to have to meet the onerous spending requirements usually required for status.
In addition to silver elite status, the card comes with a few other standard Visa Signature benefits:
- No foreign transaction fees – Save money on overseas purchases by avoiding foreign transaction fees when you travel abroad.
- Car rental insurance – You get secondary coverage for damage or theft of a rental vehicle paid for with your card.
- Trip delay reimbursement – If your flight is delayed by more than 12 hours or requires an overnight stay, you may be reimbursed up to $500 per ticket.
- Lost luggage insurance – For tickets purchased with your card, you are covered for lost baggage, up to $3,000 per passenger.
- Purchase protection – The card covers new purchases for theft or damage, up to 120 days and up to $500 per claim.
- Extended warranty – You can extend the manufacturer’s warranty on your purchases by an extra year on warranties of three years or less.
The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card is co-branded with Chase, meaning you’ll deal with Chase customer service if you have any problems with your credit card. Fortunately, Chase gets solid reviews from users overall. Chase came in fourth place in J.D. Power’s 2020 Credit Card Satisfaction Study, which took into account the feedback of thousands of credit card users nationwide.
In terms of customer experience with the Marriott Bonvoy program, it may be too early to tell. The merger brought on some bumps and hiccups for elite loyalty members, who have been very vocal about problems with the program. As Marriott Bonvoy continues to take shape, however, consumers should expect to find a more streamlined customer service experience and fewer issues over time.
The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card is a premier travel credit card, meaning consumers with good or excellent credit — or anyone with a FICO score of 740 or higher — are most likely to be approved. However, you may also have a chance at approval if you have a FICO score between 670 and 739, although you may not qualify for the lowest interest rate available.
If your credit isn’t as good as it should be, it’s smart to look for easy ways to increase your FICO score before you apply. Start by making sure all your bills are paid early or on time, but also try to pay down your debts to lower your credit utilization. In the meantime, refrain from opening or closing too many accounts. With some patience, these steps can help you increase your credit score and qualify for the best travel credit cards available today.
How does the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card compare to other cards?
While the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card is a good option for earning Marriott points from your everyday purchases, you have even better options for scoring free travel. These cards surpass the Marriott Boundless card in either perks or point-earning potential (or both):
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
|Rewards rate||Rewards rate||Rewards rate|
75,000 bonus points if you spend $3,000 within the first 3 months. Plus, earn up to $200 in statement credits for eligible U.S. restaurant purchases within the first 6 months of card membership
130,000 Hilton Honors points if you spend $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of card membership. Plus, you can earn an additional 50,000 points after you spend a total of $10,000 in purchases in the first 6 months.
|Other things to know||Other things to know||Other things to know|
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card is a luxury credit card with more perks than its co-branded peers. It gives you a similar annual bonus as the Bonvoy Boundless card, plus you get up to a $300 annual statement credit at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program and Priority Pass airline lounge access.
A $450 annual fee applies, but this card can help you reach the highest levels of elite status faster. Not only do you get automatic gold elite status, but you can reach platinum elite status after spending $75,000 on your card within a calendar year.
If you are considering other hotel loyalty programs, it makes sense to check out the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card. It gives you 130,000 points after you spend $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first three months of card membership and you can earn an additional 50,000 points after you spend a total of $10,000 in purchases in the first 6 months, plus you also get automatic Hilton gold status. You also earn a shocking 12x points for each dollar you spend on the card at Hilton brand hotels – much better than the Marriott Boundless card’s rate.
Just keep in mind that the Hilton Honors program is smaller than Marriott Bonvoy and that the points you earn are generally worth less. A $95 annual fee applies to this card.
While the Chase Sapphire Reserve is a flexible travel credit card rather than a hotel credit card, it’s worth considering if you love the Marriott Bonvoy program since you can transfer points at a 1:1 ratio to Marriott. In fact, you can transfer points to a variety of airline and hotel partners as well as redeem points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal for a 50 percent bonus, which makes the points far more valuable and versatile than the Marriott Boundless card’s points.
Once you sign up for the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you’ll earn 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 within three months. You’ll also get a $300 annual travel credit, a Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership and a Global Entry or TSA Precheck credit in exchange for the $550 annual fee.
Who should apply for the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card?
- Anyone who wants to get automatic silver elite status with Marriott.
- Hotel loyalists who want the opportunity to reach the highest tiers of elite status with Marriott.
- Road warriors who stay in hotels for work frequently.
- People who want a moderately priced hotel credit card they can use to earn free hotel stays.
How to use the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card
- Spend $35,000 on your card within a calendar year in order to earn gold elite status.
- Use your card for Marriott hotel stays to earn six points for each dollar you spend.
- Look for off-peak awards and PointSavers awards that can help you stretch your points further when it comes time to redeem.
- Book award stays for five nights at time to earn a fifth night free.
Is the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card worth it?
If your goal is to earn points for free hotel stays, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card could be a good option. Not only do you earn a terrific initial introductory bonus, but you get a free hotel stay valid at hotels 35,000 points or less each year on your card member anniversary. You’ll also earn six points per $1 spent at Marriott properties, which could help you rack up rewards fast if you pay for a lot of hotel stays each year. The card also comes with good silver elite status benefits and a fast track to gold status.
However, many applicants will find that they can earn more with other credit cards. Make sure to compare other Marriott Bonvoy credit cards as well as co-branded credit cards from other hotel programs before you commit to the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card.
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