|Rewards Rating:||4.5 / 5|
|Annual Percentage Rate:||3.0|
|Issuer Customer Experience||4.0|
In a Nutshell:
Though Marriott rewards points are a bit inflated, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card is a good value, offering a generous intro bonus along with many other benefits.
Limited-time offer: 100,000 points after spending $3,000 in your first three months
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 generous 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:
Updated sign-up bonus
The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card recently switched up its welcome bonus, but whether it’s a positive or negative change will depend on how you prefer to use your hotel rewards.
The latest limited-time welcome offer gives you a chance at 100,000 Marriott points after you spend $3,000 in your first three months as a cardholder. That’s quite a valuable bonus, even given the low value of Marriott points. Based on Bankrate’s latest point valuations, which list Marriott points as worth around 0.7 cents per point on average, we estimate this bonus is worth around $700 in Marriott stays.
That said, the card’s previous bonus technically offered more total value. With that offer, you could earn 3 Free Night Awards after spending $3,000 in your first three months, with each Free Night Awards is worth up to 50,000 points. If you were able to max out that bonus, you would be looking at around $1,050 in total value based on Bankrate’s point valuations.
On the other hand, the new bonus is much more flexible. With the current bonus, you aren’t limited to just three nights and can use your rewards to book as many or as few nights as you like, whether you prefer several nights in a lower-tier hotel at an off-peak time or a couple of luxury stays during peak travel times.
In addition to the initial welcome bonus, you’ll get 15 Elite Night Credits each year to use toward an elite status boost, automatic Silver Elite Status and a free hotel night every year after your card member anniversary. Additionally, cardholders celebrating an anniversary unlock the path to Gold Status when they spend $35,000 on purchases in a calendar year.
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?
Based on Bankrate’s calculations, we value Marriott points at around 0.7 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 slightly higher than some hotel rewards programs, including Hilton Honors and Best Western Rewards.
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. Additionally, earn 3 points per dollar on select categories such as gas stations, grocery stores and restaurant purchases up to a combined total of $6,000 annually.
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.
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.
See related: Elite status benefits with the Marriott Bonvoy program
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.
- Elite Night Credit – Earn one Elite Night Credit towards Elite Status for every $5,000 spent.
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|
Earn 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
130,000 Hilton Honors points if you spend $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of card membership.
60,000 points if you spend $4,000 in first 3 months
$95 ($0 intro annual fee for the first year)
|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 restaurants worldwide (up to $25 a month) and Priority Pass airline lounge access.
A high $650 annual fee applies, but this card gives you automatic Platinum elite status and other travel related perks.
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. Additionally, 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 ($0 intro annual fee for the first year).
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.
- People who spend a lot on gas, groceries and restaurants.
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 bookings 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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