Advertiser Disclosure

6 Underrated Reasons to Get the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card

Nov. 29, 2019
Travel, Travel Credit Cards
At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

This article is being updated.

At first glance, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card might not seem especially enticing, because it’s been a rough year for the Marriott Bonvoy program. Marriott has devalued the program, reduced status benefits, gone to a variable award chart and struggled with disruptive IT issues all year.

Given all that, why would you want to sign up for an affinity card in the program? For some folks, doing so can still be a smart move. However, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card isn’t a card for everyone: It’s a niche card that will primarily benefit specific people in specific situations.

» Learn more: Marriott Bonvoy Boundless review: Free night award, elite status

Welcome bonus

The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card offers a seemingly large welcome bonus: Earn 75,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. But note that Marriott Bonvoy points (and most hotel points) are far less valuable than points in most other programs.

This card has a $95 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees, so it’s a good option if you want a card you can travel with.

Airline transfers

Marriott Bonvoy points aren’t always best spent on hotel rooms with the Marriott chain. You can get far more value transferring them to airline programs, particularly if you’re chasing a niche redemption in a hard-to-access sweet spot.

Most points transfer to airlines at a 3:1 ratio. This is a good deal with programs that offer sweet spot redemptions, such as Korean Air, Japan Airlines and Alaska Airlines. It’s not as good of a deal in others such as Delta and British Airways.

Unique partners

One oft-overlooked advantage of the Marriott Bonvoy program is the ability to transfer points to a wide variety of unique airline partners. For example, Marriott partners with Aeroflot Bonus. If you have orphan miles in a hard-to-use program, consider transferring Marriott Bonvoy points to top up your account for a redemption.

Sweet spots

Cathay Pacific business class to Asia: You can travel between North America and Asia on Cathay Pacific in business class for only 50,000 Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan points — with no fuel surcharges. That’s truly unbeatable value, but it’s typically only achievable either by flying Alaska Airlines a lot or by spending on the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card.

Emirates first class using Japan Airlines miles: A round-trip flight from Hong Kong to Dubai would set you back just 120,000 Mileage Bank points. Enjoy your in-flight shower!

» Learn more: Alaska Airlines Credit Card review: Well worth $75 a year

Transfer bonuses

Airline loyalty programs sometimes run bonus promotions that give you a boost on transferred miles. This is an underrated element of the Bonvoy program. Avianca and Aeroplan, for example, regularly offer double-digit bonuses. With a specific redemption in mind, this can be a really great deal so watch for promotions and check whether there are awards you want to book.

Points earning

The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card isn’t a card you’ll want to use for everyday spending, but there’s one underrated benefit: You can earn 6x points for all spending at Marriott properties. This typically includes not just spending on hotel rooms, but on on-site services such as meeting rooms, catering, gift shops and hotel restaurants.

Planning a wedding or a large meeting at a Marriott property? By paying with this card, you’ll earn the equivalent of two airline miles per $1 spent if you take advantage of the 3:1 transfer bonus.

The bottom line

This Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card definitely isn’t for everyone. The relatively recent changes to the Marriott Bonvoy program have been hard to swallow, but these points have retained their value for transfers to airline programs. If you’re chasing niche awards in hard-to-access loyalty programs, Marriott Bonvoy may be your ticket.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2020, including those best for:

Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice:
Find the best hotel credit card for you
Which Marriott Bonvoy credit card should I choose?
Marriott Rewards program: The complete guide

About the author