Editorial Review

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Review: Free Night Award, Elite Status

This card comes with a free night's stay every year, automatic Silver Elite status and high ongoing rewards at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels, for an annual fee of $95.

Claire Tsosie, Sara RathnerNovember 25, 2019

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Our Take

4.8

NerdWallet rating 

The Bottom Line: The free night's stay each account anniversary more than makes up for the card's annual fee. The bonus, rewards and redemption options are grand, too.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card

on Chase's website

Annual Fee

$95

Regular APR

17.49% - 24.49% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

Quick Facts

Annual Fee
$95
Annual Fee
$95
Intro APR
N/A

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • High rewards rate

  • No foreign transaction fee

Cons
  • Has annual fee

Alternate Pick: Greater flexibility

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Simple flat-rate rewards

You’ll get 2 miles per dollar spent everywhere, which you can use to redeem for credit toward several types of travel purchases, including hotel stays. Its annual fee is $0 intro for the first year, then $95, and it doesn't charge foreign transaction fees. You'll also get a generous sign-up bonus: Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel.

Read our review

Compare to Other Cards

Annual Fee

$95

Annual Fee

$0

Annual Fee

$95

Regular APR

17.49% - 24.49% Variable APR

Regular APR

16.49% - 24.49% Variable APR

Regular APR

17.49% - 24.49% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

0% on Purchases for 12 billing cycles

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score

Full Review

For travelers who stay at hotels often, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card is worth every penny — even at $95 a year.

The card comes stacked with top-shelf benefits: a free hotel night once a year, automatic elite status and plentiful redemption options. For travelers who stay at Marriott's huge portfolio of properties more than once in a while, it's a fine pick.

Key benefits of the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card

Card type: Hotel.

Annual fee: $95.

Sign-up bonus: Earn 75,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Ongoing rewards:

  • 6 points per $1 spent at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels.

  • 2 points per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases.

  • Points are worth 0.8 cent apiece, on average, according to NerdWallet valuations.

Redemption options:

  • At hotels starting at 5,000 points per night for off-peak (lowest-demand) dates, 7,500 for standard dates, and 10,000 for peak dates. If your dates are flexible, you might be able to find PointSavers rates, or discounted award nights, for some properties. You can also combine points with cash to redeem for standard stays starting at $55 plus 1,500 points. When you redeem four nights' worth of points, you get the fifth night for free.

  • On additional charges during your hotel stay, including food, beverages and trips to the spa. Redeem at a rate of 250 points per dollar (or 0.4 cent per point).

  • On travel expenses like cruises and travel packages (your point values will vary based on what you book), or to cover the cost of TSA Precheck for 25,000 points. You can also transfer points, usually at a rate of 3-to-1 with a few exceptions, to participating airline loyalty programs. Bonvoy will kick in an extra 5,000 miles for every 60,000 points you transfer.

  • For shopping, either by trading points for merchandise or gift cards.

Foreign transaction fees: None.

Other benefits:

  • Free Night Award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary.

  • Automatic Silver Elite status and accelerated path to Gold status.

Why you might want the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card

VALUABLE SIGN-UP BONUS AND ONGOING REWARDS

The card offers a sign-up bonus that can set you up nicely for your next trip: Earn 75,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

In addition to the card's robust ongoing rewards, you can earn points for Marriott purchases just by being a Marriott Bonvoy member. You'll generally get 5 or 10 points per dollar spent on qualifying charges, depending on the location. Combined with the 6 points per dollar earned with the card, that's 11 or 16 total points per dollar. With the Silver Elite status the card provides, you’ll also qualify for a 10% bonus on points earned through your Marriott membership. More on that later.

All told, that could ratchet up the effective rewards rate on this card to an impressive 13.6% on certain Marriott purchases.

You'll also have plenty of opportunities to redeem those rewards. As of 2019, Marriott Bonvoy has over 7,000 hotels participating in its rewards program. The massive scale of this hotel network makes this card especially valuable for folks looking for plenty of redemption opportunities. Locations aren't limited to big cities, as is the case with some hotel brands.

FREE ANNIVERSARY NIGHT

This is perhaps the most valuable benefit on this card. Every year, the card gets you a free night award worth up to 35,000 points. That more than makes up for the annual fee of $95.

This free night expires after 12 months. If you travel less frequently but always stay at Marriott, this benefit alone might give you reason enough to get this card.

Automatic elite STATUS

The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card automatically comes with Silver Elite status. That status, which is one step up from basic membership, gets you a laundry list of goodies, including:

  • Priority late checkout, based on availability.

  • 10% bonus on Marriott points.

  • Access to exclusive phone lines for booking reservations.

  • Compensation if Marriott can’t honor your reservation.

The 10% bonus on points applies to points earned through the hotel, not through your credit card. Say you spent $200 on a hotel stay and earned 2,000 base points through Marriott and 1,200 points through the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card. The 10% boost would add 200 points to the points earned through Marriott, so you’d earn 3,400 points in total.

With this card, you can also earn Gold Elite status if you spend $35,000 or more each account anniversary year. After this threshold is reached, your Gold Elite status will be in effect through Dec. 31 of the following year.

How the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card compares to other Bonvoy cards

In terms of perks and the annual fee, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card is the middle sibling of the Marriott Bonvoy family.

If you stay at Marriott Bonvoy properties often, you may wipe out the annual fee you would pay for the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card or the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, between your typical spending and the cards’ additional perks. Infrequent Bonvoy guests or anyone who wants to cut back on annual fees may prefer the Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card.

Here’s how they compare:

Why you might want to go with another card

Annual fee

The perks on the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card make it well worth its annual fee of $95. But if you can't picture going to Marriott properties often enough to use those benefits, a no-annual-fee general travel card might be your best bet.

Consider the $0-annual-fee Bank of America® Travel Rewards Visa® credit card. It earns 1.5 points per dollar spent on all purchases. Points worth 1 cent apiece when used to cover travel purchases made on the card, including hotel stays. The card also starts you off with a solid sign-up bonus: 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases.

Locked into the Bonvoy system

If you frequent several hotel brands, not just Marriott brands, a travel card that lets you transfer points to multiple loyalty programs might be a better fit.

Try the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. It offers 2 points per dollar spent on travel and dining and 1 point per dollar spent on everything else. Those points can be transferred at a 1:1 ratio to several airlines and hotel loyalty programs, including Marriott. Like the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card, it doesn't charge foreign transaction fees. It also features a valuable sign-up bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. The annual fee is $95.

Check out other great offers on NerdWallet's roundup of the best credit cards.

Is the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card right for you?

The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card isn't a good pick for people who are on a tight budget or don't travel much. But it's a perfect fit for travelers who prefer Marriott or want to join a hotel loyalty program that offers abundant choice.

All information about the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card has been collected independently by NerdWallet.

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