Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card Review: Jump-start Your Way to Status [2020]

The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card is a perfect card to start earning points that will get you free hotel stays around the world.
Last updated Oct 22, 2020 | By Brett Holzhauer

FinanceBuzz is reader-supported. We may receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story, but the opinions are the author's own. Compensation may impact where offers appear. We have not included all available products or offers. Learn more about how we make money and our editorial policies.

The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card is a great, simple card to start earning valuable hotel rewards that could lead to a future of staying in hotels completely for free. Given that you can earn 5 free nights after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months, this card is the catalyst to start earning Marriott Bonvoy rewards.

Keep reading this Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card review to find out if this card might be a good fit for you.

A Great Card for Travel Rewards Beginners

Benefits

  • Earn 5 free nights
  • 6X points at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy
  • One free night each year
  • No foreign transaction fee

Drawbacks

  • Has annual fee
  • No introductory APR

In this Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card review:

Who should get the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card?

If you’re just beginning your ventures into credit card rewards and want to start traveling a bit, this card is optimal. With a low annual fee and high rewards potential, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card gives beginners a simple pathway to see the fruits of their spending.

However, if you’re new to earning points and miles, be aware of Chase’s 5/24 rule — an unofficial rule that points-and-miles geeks have put together based on their observations. In short, Chase restricts new card applicants from opening Chase credit cards if they’ve signed up for more than five accounts in the last 24 months.

Keep in mind that this card has a $95 annual fee — but don’t let that scare you away. The card comes with a yearly Free Night Award upon renewal. The free night award is valid at Marriott properties that cost 35,000 points or less, which is referred to as “category 5” on their award chart (more on that later). Hotels in this point range typically cost around $250-plus a night, so you can count on getting your money's worth even if you only travel once a year.

Card basics

Card type Travel
Credit card issuer Chase
Credit card network Visa
Annual fee $95
Intro bonus Earn 5 free nights after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months
Reward rate 6X points at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy and 2X points per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases
Recommended credit score Excellent, Good
Foreign transaction fee None

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card benefits and perks

  • Generous welcome offer: Cardmembers earn 5 free nights after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months of account opening. This could be a great starting place when it comes to planning your next vacation or adventure.
  • Instant status: Another great perk of this card is that you’ll automatically be given Marriott Silver Elite status. With Silver Elite status, you’ll get 10% bonus points on Marriott stays, priority late checkout, a dedicated elite reservations line, and no blackout days when using points to book.
  • Credits toward even better status: Along with automatic Silver Elite status, cardholders also receive 15 Elite Nights Credits toward earning higher statuses. But this only really matters if you’re traveling a decent amount and looking to earn a higher status with Marriott Bonvoy.
  • Free hotel stay: As mentioned above, you’ll get a free night award at any property under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. Properties like the JW Marriott Miami or the AC Hotel Beverly Hills would qualify for the free night.

Drawbacks to the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless

  • Limited travel benefits: While you can earn a decent welcome bonus and Silver Elite status with this card, its travel benefits don't really go beyond that. If you're looking for premium perks like airline credits, car rental coverage, or other travel insurance, another card may be a better option.
  • Annual fee: This card has an annual fee of $95. While you may be able to offset this cost by using your card to book frequent Marriott hotel stays, it's still an important consideration as you compare cards.

Earning & redeeming Marriott Bonvoy points

Potential earnings in years one and two

Here's a look at how your points can add up with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card. To calculate these values, we used a point valuation of $0.01.

Remember, this is an estimation. The actual value will be determined by how much you spend and in which categories you spend.

Year one earnings: $575

Year two earnings: $575

These values are based on the FinanceBuzz Credit Card Rewards Valuation Model which takes into account points earned via spending as well as the annual fee. Note that they do not reflect the 6X points you would earn at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy or the welcome bonus. If you stay at Marriott properties often and meet the minimum spend for the welcome bonus, the value you get from this card may increase considerably. 

Best ways to earn

The best ways to earn Marriott Bonvoy points are quite simple — stay at Marriott properties and spend on cards like the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card. Marriott, of course, wants to incentivize you to stay at its properties, along with spending on its co-branded cards. However, there are other ways to earn Marriott Bonvoy points besides this.

One of these other ways to earn points is to book various travel experiences through Marriott Moments. These experiences include sporting events, walking tours through major cities, culinary experiences, and more. You’ll earn one point per $10 spent, which is, unfortunately, a very low earning in the grand scheme of travel points. But if you’re already looking to book a unique experience, it can be an easy way to earn Marriott Bonvoy points.

You can also earn points when booking with Marriott’s travel partners — such as Hertz — or by booking a cruise through Marriott.

Lastly, you can link your frequent flyer account to your Marriott Bonvoy account to continue earning airline miles on your Marriott stays. For example, if you have a frequent flyer account with United Airlines and stay at Marriott properties, you can earn United miles as well. This is a great way to continue earning more points across different brands.

Categories Rewards rate
Hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy
6X
All other eligible purchases
2X

Maximizing your redemptions

When using Marriott Bonvoy points, be sure to do a bit of research to find the best redemption option. If you find a property you like, take a look at what category it is. The higher the category, the more luxurious the hotel. If you’re a more economical traveler, you’ll want to stick with categories 1-4. For more luxury, go for categories 5-8.

Here’s a quick reference to show how much each category costs in points per night:

Category 1 7,500 points per night
Category 2 12,500 points per night
Category 3 17,500 points per night
Category 4 25,000 points per night
Category 5 35,000 points per night
Category 6 50,000 points per night
Category 7 60,000 points per night
Category 8 85,000 points per night

To give an example of how to maximize your redemptions, let’s book a room at the Sheraton Grand Los Angeles:

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Visa Signature Credit Card

This property is a category 5 hotel, which will cost approximately 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night as shown above. To understand if that’s a good deal, you need to determine the value of the points being used. To do that, use the following equation: Price of hotel stay divided by number of points, then multiply that by 100. To get a truly accurate value, you should use the hotel price after taxes and applicable resort fees have been added, as shown below.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Visa Signature Credit Card

So in this case, the equation is $427.58 divided by 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. That equals a 1.22 cents-per-point value, which is a great value.

Keep in mind that if you have status with Marriott, the extra perks you receive while staying, such as an upgraded room, also count as value toward your points. That’s because if you simply booked with cash, you would have needed to pay extra. Therefore, your points jump in value. If you were to book the room above and then be upgraded to a room that cost $597.89, your rewards point value goes up to 1.71 cents per point.

Another way to maximize the redemption of your Marriott Bonvoy points is to book five nights in a row. That’s because your fifth night is free when paying completely with points. This can significantly increase the power of your Marriott Bonvoy points.

Let’s take the above pricing at the Sheraton as an example. For a five-night stay, it will cost $2,137.90. However, you’ll only have to pay 140,000 Marriott Bonvoy points — the cost of four nights. So, $2,137.90 / 140,000 points x 100 = 1.53 cents per point. That’s an excellent redemption rate.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless transfer partners

If you prefer to use your Bonvoy loyalty program points to book airfare, you can opt to transfer them to over 40 airline partners, though points typically transfer at a 3:1 ratio. Marriott Bonvoy airline transfer partners include:

  • AEGEAN Miles+Bonus
  • Aer Lingus AerClub
  • Aeroflot Bonus
  • Aeromexico ClubPremier
  • Air Canada Aeroplan
  • Air France-KLM Flying Blue
  • Air New Zealand Airpoints
  • Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan™
  • Alitalia MilleMiglia
  • American Airlines AAdvantage®
  • ANA Mileage Club
  • Asiana Airlines Asiana Club
  • Avianca LifeMiles
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
  • Copa Airlines ConnectMiles
  • Delta SkyMiles®
  • Emirates Skywards®
  • Etihad Guest
  • FRONTIER Miles
  • Hainan Airlines Fortune Wings Club
  • Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles®
  • Iberia Plus
  • InterMiles
  • Japan Airlines JAL Mileage Bank
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Korean Air SKYPASS
  • LATAM Airlines LATAM Pass
  • Multiplus Fidelidade
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • Qatar Airways Privilege Club
  • SAA Voyager
  • Saudia Alfursan
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer®
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards®
  • TAP Air Portugal Miles&Go
  • Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
  • Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles
  • United MileagePlus®
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer
  • Vueling Club

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless FAQs

Is the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card worth it?

The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless can be one of the best hotel credit cards for someone looking to get their toes wet in points and miles. With the annual Free Night Award basically cancelling out the low annual fee of $95, the card is worth it with just that one perk.

What hotel brands falls under the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card from Chase?

Marriott has a large number of brands, ranging from modest long-stay hotels to ultra-luxury. With its acquisition of Starwood Preferred Guest, it now holds over 30 brands across the world.

Marriott Bonvoy hotels include Ritz-Carlton, Bvlgari, Edition, JW Marriott, Autograph Collection Hotels, Renaissance Hotels, Marriott Hotels, Delta Hotels, Marriott Executive Apartments, Marriott Vacation Club, Gaylord Hotels, AC Hotels by Marriott, Courtyard Marriott, Residence Inn, SpringHill Suites, Fairfield Inn & Suites, TownePlace Suites, Protea Hotels, Moxy Hotels, St. Regis Hotels, The Luxury Collection, W Hotels, Westin, Sheraton, Le Meridien, Tribute Portfolio, Design Hotels, Aloft, Four Points, and Element.

Is the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless a metal card?

It isn’t metal. If you’re looking for metal options, check out the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card and Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card.

What is Gold Marriott Elite Status, and how can I get it with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless?

With the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless, cardmembers automatically receive Silver Elite status along with 15 Elite Night Credits. These 15 nights are simply a jumpstart on your quantity of nights at Marriott properties for the year. To reach the next level — Gold Marriott Elite status — you can either book 10 more nights at Marriott properties in one calendar year or spend $35,000 or more in purchases on your Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card in one account year.

Another way to earn Gold Elite status is by getting either the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card or the Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card.

What are Marriott Elite Night Credits?

Marriott Elite Night Credits are essentially a fast lane to earning higher status. With Marriott, there are nine levels of elite status: Member, Silver Elite, Gold Elite, Platinum Elite, Titanium Elite, Ambassador Elite, Lifetime Silver Elite, Lifetime Gold Elite, and Lifetime Platinum Elite. Elite status is based on the amount of nights stayed.

These Elite Night Credits are designed to complement your actual stays in a hotel. For example, with the 15 Elite Night Credits you receive when opening a Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card, you’re only 10 nights away from Gold Elite, 35 nights from Platinum Elite, and 60 nights away from Titanium Elite.

Other cards to consider

If you travel for work or spend a significant amount of money on credit cards, you may want to consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Capital One® Venture® Card. While these cards aren’t specifically branded to Marriott, you can use them to earn and transfer points to Marriott Bonvoy. These cards come with higher earnings for your spending and more perks. Along with this, you aren’t tied to earning just Marriott Bonvoy points.

With the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you can earn 80,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. This card is perfect for those who spend a decent amount on travel and dining.

With the Capital One Venture Card, you can earn 100,000 bonus miles after spending $20,000 in the first 12 months (or earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months). In addition, this card rewards 2X miles on every purchase, every day.

A Great Card for Travel Rewards Beginners

See how these cards compare:

Chase Sapphire Preferred
Chase Sapphire Preferred
  • 80,000 point sign-up bonus
  • 2X points on eligible dining and travel purchases
  • 25% more value when redeeming rewards for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Premium travel protection benefits
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
  • 100,000 bonus mile welcome offer
  • 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit
  • No foreign transaction fees