Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card Review

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Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card Review

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"Great choice for Marriott Bonvoy loyalists!"

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If you’re a frequent traveler and Marriott loyalist, there is a lot to love about the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card. The card comes packed with several great benefits like a free hotel night once a year, automatic Silver Elite status (with a fast-track to Gold Elite status), and multiple point redemption options.

Pro's

  • 6x points per $1 at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels
  • 2x points per $1 on everything else
  • 15 Elite Night Credits
  • 1 Free Night Award each cardmember anniversary (up to 35,000 points)
  • Silver Elite status (Gold status when you spend $35,000 on purchases each account year)
  • No foreign transaction fees

Update: For a limited time, cardholders will earn 6x points per $1 spent on up to $5,000 on the card at U.S. Supermarkets through July 31, 2020.

Con's

  • $95 annual fee
  • Marriott Silver status is the lowest status tier

Card Snapshot

The Ideal Cardholder

woman in hotel room
Image Credit: Soloviova Liudmyla via Shutterstock

The Marriott Boundless card is a great option for those who are frequent travelers, prefer staying with Marriott branded hotels, and can easily take advantage of the card’s best benefits.

Anniversary Free Night Certificate

The annual free night certificate is easily one of the most valuable benefits on this card, and can easily make up for the card’s $95 annual fee. Each year, on your account anniversary, you will receive a free night award worth up to 35,000 points. 

Since Marriott now utilizes dynamic award pricing, this free night certificate could get you a free night in a Category 5 property, assuming that it is not a peak night.

You have 12 months from the date that your free night was issued to use it before it expires, so don’t forget about it. It is not uncommon for Category 5 Marriott properties to be priced anywhere from $200 to $300 a night, so paying the $95 annual fee in exchange for a free night in one of these hotels can get you exceptional value. 

Silver Elite Status

While Silver Elite status may be the lowest status level in the Marriott Bonvoy program, it can still be a valuable if perk if you didn’t have status with the chain otherwise. Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite comes with perks like:

  • 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 most notable benefit here is the extra 10% in point earnings on your Marriott stays, and it’s worth mentioning that this applies to points earned through the hotel, not through the credit card.

This bonus amounts to a total of 11 Marriott points per $1 on your Marriott stays, up 1 point from the base membership level.

The Marriott Boundless card also offers cardholders a fast track to Gold Elite status after spending $35,000 or more on the card each account anniversary year. Marriott Gold Elite status offers increased perks like a 25% point bonus, 2 p.m. late checkout (based on availability), and enhanced room upgrades.

15 Elite Night Credits

Speaking of elite status, Marriott Boundless cardholders automatically receive 15 nights of elite credit each year. Not to be confused with free night certificates, you cannot redeem these credits for award nights — they exclusive count towards your status. With that said, a 15-night jump towards the next status tier can be extremely beneficial.

For example, Gold Elite status and Platinum Elite status require 25 nights and 50 nights a year, respectively. That means, with your automatic 15 elite night credits, you will only actually need to stay 10 nights each year to earn Gold Elite status, and 35 nights each year to earn Platinum Elite status.

Great Card If

  • You’re a Marriott loyalist
  • You want a fast track to Marriott elite status
  • You see value in the annual free night certificate

Don't Get If

  • You’re not a fan of Marriott-branded hotels, or don’t travel much
  • You prefer a card with more elite benefits like airport lounge access
  • You want a card with no annual fee

Card Fees

  • Annual Fee
    • $95
  • Foreign Transaction Fees
    $0
  • Interest Rates
    • 15.99% - 22.99% Variable
  • Balance Transfers
    • 15.99% - 22.99% Variable
    • Fee: Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • Cash Advance APR
    • 24.99% Variable
    • Fee: Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.

How To Earn More Points

Washington Dulles Airport Marriott
Washington Dulles Airport Marriott. Image Credit: Marriott

Marriott Stays

Naturally, since this card is a co-branded Marriott card, you’ll want to make it your top option for all of your Marriott stays. The card earns 6x Marriott points per $1 spent with the hotel chain. This represents a 4.2% return on your spend with Marriott hotels, based on our 0.7 cents per point valuation for Marriott points.

Hot Tip: Thanks to the automatic Silver Elite status you’ll receive for being a cardholder, you’re going to receive a 10% bonus in base points earned for each Marriott stay. This means you’ll receive 11x points per $1 for being a Silver Elite member, plus another 6x points per $1 when paying with your Marriott Boundless card for a total of 17x points per $1 (or 11.9% back)!

Everyday Spending

With the Marriott Boundless card, you’ll also earn 2x points for every $1 you spend on all other purchases. The Marriott Boundless card isn’t the best option for non-bonused spending, but if you’re trying to earn as many Marriott points as possible, the 2x multiplier will certainly come in handy.

Refer-a-Friend Bonus Rewards 

You can refer your friends for Chase credit cards and earn up to 50,000 Marriott points per year — 10,000 for each friend you refer to the Marriott Boundless card. To see if your card is eligible, visit the Refer-a-Friend website and enter your last name, zip code, and the last 4 digits of your credit card number.

Adding Ultimate Reward Cards

Marriott is one of the Chase Ultimate Reward transfer partners, so utilizing their cards can help you earn extra Marriott points as well!

Recommended Chase Cards (Personal)

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card - This is our favorite beginners travel rewards card which has a 60,000 point bonus (highest ever) after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

This sign up bonus is worth $750 in travel purchases (flights, hotels, car rentals etc) when you redeem your points through Chase's travel portal, which works like Expedia. The bonus alone could get you multiple round-trip flights or hotel stays.
Chase Sapphire Reserve® - Consider this premium card if you want to get into a lot of airport lounges. The current sign up bonus is 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. You'll also get a $300 travel credit per year which wipes away a big chunk of the $550 annual fee.
Chase Freedom Unlimited® - A simple, no annual fee card that earns you a $200 bonus after you spend $500 in your first 3 months. Earn 1.5% cash-back on all purchases, but you won't get any travel benefits or the ability to earn bonus points with this card.

Recommended Chase Cards (Business)

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card - This is our #1 recommended business card and right now comes with a 100,000 sign up bonus after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening. This bonus is worth $1,250 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards for travel purchases (flights, hotels etc). Pay your cell phone bill with this card to receive up to $600 in cell phone insurance coverage per year.
Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card - earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening. This no annual fee business card earns up to 5% cash back on a range of business expenses such as office supply stores, internet, cable, and phone services.

Hot Tip: As you can tell from our monthly points and miles valuations, we value Chase Ultimate Reward points much higher than Marriott points, so we generally don’t recommend transferring too many points over to Marriott. However, it can make sense in some cases if you’re close to a specific redemption, or need to move points to one of Marriott’s airline transfer partners.

How To Use These Points For Max Value

Once you’ve earned all these points, you want to ensure you get the best return for them as well. So which redemption methods offer the best bang for your buck?

Marriott Stays

The most obvious way to redeem your Marriott points is for free stays at Marriott hotels.

Marriott has over 6,900 hotels worldwide across 30 different brands. Marriott has 8 different award categories, and with the addition of peak and off-peak pricing, free nights can range anywhere from 5,000 to 100,000 points per night. Depending on which hotels you decide to use them with, you can receive excellent value for your Marriott points on hotel stays.

Hot Tip: If you’re planning to use your Marriott points for hotel stays, be sure to take advantage of the fifth-night free perk on award stays. This effectively earns you a 20% discount on the number of points required for a redemption!

Airline Transfer Partners

Like American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards, Marriott points are a transferable currency, too. In fact, Marriott has a large list of over 40 airlines you can transfer your points to.

Keep in mind that these are not a 1:1 transfer like other currencies, though. Marriott points, for the most part, transfer at a 3:1 ratio with a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 Marriott points transferred. This means that transferring 60,000 Marriott points to American Airlines would result in 25,000 miles in your American Airlines account.

At first glance, this might seem like a terrible idea. After all, why would you want to end up with fewer points after a transfer, right? But you have to remember that not all points are created equal.

If you’re transferring your Marriott points to an airline in order to have enough for a redemption, or moving them to an airline program that doesn’t have any other transfer partners, then it can make a lot of sense.

Hot Tip: If you’re planning to use your Marriott points for airline transfers, a great option is to transfer them to hard-to-earn mileage currencies that don’t have many other transfer options. Programs like Alaska Airlines, Korean Air, and Japan Airlines can be difficult to earn a lot of miles with but can provide exception redemption options, so Marriott transfers to these programs can offer fantastic value.

Marriott Moments

Cardholders can even use their points to book one-of-a-kind experiences through the Marriott Experiences portal, like culinary trips, couples-only retreats, or spa getaways.

Some experiences cost a set number of Marriott points, while others are auction-style, allowing you to attempt to outbid others. Be certain of your travel plans before bidding, though, as most experiences are nonrefundable.

Marriott Hotel + Air Package

Marriott allows you to redeem your points for one of their Hotel + Air packages, which are a bit different from their standard vacation packages. Hotel + Air packages consist of a 7-night hotel stay plus a stash of airline miles and don’t include other things like a rental car or excursions.

When you buy a Hotel + Air Travel Package, you’ll get a certificate for a 7-night Marriott hotel stay plus a certain number of airline miles ranging from 50,000-110,000, depending on which package you choose. Packages range from 255,000 all the way to 750,000 Marriott points, depending on how high of a hotel category you select.

Hot Tip: After the Marriott/SPG merger, the Hotel + Air package redemptions were significantly devalued. With that said, there are still a few sweet spots in the redemption chart where you can get solid value. Check out our full guide to find out which packages make the most sense.

Marriott Shopping

Marriott allows you to shop for products or merchant gift cards with your points via their online shopping website. However, the redemption rates are generally pretty terrible and it almost never makes sense to redeem your points this way.

Bottom Line: At Upgraded Points, we highly advise that you redeem your points either for hotel stays, or via an airline transfer partner whose points are both valuable and hard to earn, like Alaska Airlines, Japan Airlines, or Korean Air.

Marriott Transfer PartnerMin TransferTransfer Ratio (Marriott > Partner)Bonus Airline Miles
for every 60k Marriott Points Transferred
Transfer Time (based on pre-merger reports)
Aegean Airlines Miles+Bonus3,0003:15,00010 days
Aeroflot Bonus3,0003:15,000unknown
AeroMexico Club Premier3,0003:15,0002 days
Air Canada Aeroplan3,0003:15,0005 days
Air China Phoenix Miles3,0003:15,0005 days
Air France/KLM Flying Blue3,0003:15,0001 day
Air New Zealand Airpoints3,000200:1252 days
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan3,0003:15,0002 days
Alitalia MilleMiglia3,0003:15,000unknown
ANA Mileage Club3,0003:15,0007 days
American Airlines AAdvantage3,0003:15,0002 days
Asiana Airlines Asiana Club3,0003:15,00010 days
Avianca Airlines Lifemiles3,0003:15,000unknown
British Airways Executive Club3,0003:15,0001 day
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles3,0003:15,00010 days
China Eastern Airlines Eastern Miles3,0003:15,000unknown
China Southern Airlines3,0003:15,0003 days
Copa Airlines ConnectMiles3,0003:15,000unknown
Delta Air Lines SkyMiles3,0003:15,0002 days
Emirates Skywards3,0003:15,0006 days
Etihad Guest3,0003:15,0005 days
Frontier Airlines MyFrontier3,0003:15,000unknown
Gol Smiles3,000unknown5,000unknown
Hainan Airlines Fortune Wings3,0003:15,000unknown
Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles3,0003:15,0002 days
Iberia Plus3,0003:15,0006 days
Japan Airlines JAL Mileage Bank3,0003:15,0007 days
Jet Airways JetPrivilege3,0003:15,000unknown
JetBlue TrueBlue3,0006:12,5001 day
Korean Air SKYPASS3,0003:15,0007 days
LATAM Airlines LATAM Pass3,0003:15,0002 days
Lufthansa Miles & More3,0003:15,0006 days
Qantas Frequent Flyer3,0003:15,0006 days
Qatar Airways Privilege Club3,0003:15,0006 days
Saudi Arabian Airlines Alfursan3,0003:15,000unknown
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer3,0003:15,0006 days
South African Airways Voyager3,0003:15,000unknown
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards3,0003:15,0002 days
TAP Air Portugal3,0003:15,000unknown
Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus3,0003:15,00010 days
Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles3,0003:15,000unknown
United MileagePlus3,0003:1.15,5002 days
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club3,0003:15,0001 day
Virgin Australia Velocity3,0003:15,0002 days

Competitor Cards

Chase Sapphire Preferred card

If you’re looking for a great all-around rewards card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is a fantastic option.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred offers 2x Ultimate Reward points per $1 spent on dining and travel, no foreign transaction fees, and flexible redemption options (including transfer partners).

For just a $95 annual fee, you’ll be able to start earning Chase Ultimate Reward points, one of the most valuable loyalty currencies available. Chase Ultimate Reward points can be redeemed for incredible value through their select transfer partners.

Curious to learn more? Have a look at our full review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card to see what the buzz is about.

World of Hyatt Credit Card

For those looking for a competitor Hotel card, the Hyatt Credit Card makes a lot of sense. The World of Hyatt program is arguably one of the best hotel loyalty programs, with great elite benefits and a fantastic award chart.

The Hyatt Credit Card earns members 4x Hyatt points for Hyatt stays, plus 2x points at restaurants, airline tickets, local transit, and fitness clubs. Cardholders get automatic Discoverist status, a free night each year, and 2 elite night credits for every $5,000 spent on the card.

Frequently asked questions

Is the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card worth it?

It depends! If you’re someone who frequents Marriott hotels, values elite status with the program, and can take advantage of the annual free night, then the Marriott Boundless card is certainly worth considering.

Is the Marriott Boundless card metal?

The Marriott Boundless card is plastic, not metal.

Does the Marriott Boundless card charge foreign transaction fees?

The Marriott Boundless card is a $0 foreign transaction fee card. You can use it anywhere in the world that accepts Visa without any extra fees.

Does the Marriott Boundless card have an annual fee?

Yes, the Marriott Boundless card charges a $95 annual fee.

Can you transfer your Marriott points?

Yes, Marriott has over 40 airline transfer partners that you can transfer your points to.

Do Marriott points expire?

Your Marriott points will expire after 24 months of no account activity. To keep them alive, you just need to a qualifying activity, like earning or redeeming points.

Jarrod West

About Jarrod West

Born and raised just outside of Cincinnati, Jarrod became fascinated with using points and miles as the perfect way to visit dream destinations without breaking the bank. Thanks to points and miles, Jarrod was able to spend 3 months traveling Europe financed nearly entirely with points and miles; while flying in premium cabins and staying in 5-star hotels along the way. To date, Jarrod has traveled to 16 countries and 22 US states.

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Disclaimer: Any comments listed below are not from the bank advertiser, nor have they been reviewed or approved by them. No responsibility will be taken by the bank advertiser for these comments.

2 comments

  1. Mike Marculescu January 11, 2020

    Does the Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Visa Signature card provide a trip cancellation insurance benefit?

    Reply

    • Christine Krzyszton January 12, 2020

      Hi Mike. No, that coverage is not available on the card. Trip delay coverage is included, however, with a benefit of up to $500 reimbursement of incidental expenses for trips delayed more than 12 hours (or overnight).

      Reply

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