With a generous welcome bonus and a rewards structure geared toward Marriott Bonvoy’s rewards program, Marriott loyalists can enjoy some big points multipliers using this card, offered by Chase, both to book hotel rooms and to make purchases in key spending categories.
And while there is an annual fee attached to this card, there’s a perk that will more or less wipe that expense out each year.
Do you travel enough to get value out of this card? Are you better off with a different type of travel credit card? Do you need one at all?
I’ll answer these questions and more in this card review.
Table of Contents
- What Is the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card?
- Card Specs and Perks
- Is This the Best Marriott Credit Card To Have?
- Popular Travel Card Alternatives
- Pros and Cons
Team Clark has spent time evaluating the credit card market in several categories including the best travel credit cards. I’ve compared the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card to the best cards in this segment of the market. And I’ve determined that it’s one of the top choices for brand-loyal Marriott travelers thanks to its tie-ins to the rewards program and cardholder perks.
As you’re making your decision on whether this card is a fit for you, please use this review in conjunction with Clark Howard’s 7 Rules for Using Credit Cards.
What Is the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card?
The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card is a travel credit card from Chase that offers valuable perks and rewards for customers who stay at Marriott Bonvoy properties. Marriott Bonvoy is one of the largest hotel chains in the world, featuring 30 well-known brands, including Courtyard, Ritz-Carlton, Sheraton and Westin, with more than 7,000 locations.
The Visa card, which comes with a $95 annual fee, offers Marriott Bonvoy reward point multipliers when you make purchases at the hotels and vacation properties as well as spending at gas stations, grocery stores and on dining.
It also locks in an elevated status with the rewards program and gives cardholders a chance to recoup the value of the annual fee with a complimentary hotel stay each year.
This card is not to be confused with the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card, which is Chase’s no-annual-fee offering for Marriott Bonvoy customers. There’s also a co-branded credit card with American Express called Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card that carries a $450 annual fee.
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card: Specs and Perks
Let’s take a look at the fine print to examine some of the card’s perks and drawbacks.
This card is built for rewarding Marriott Bonvoy rewards program members by awarding points via multipliers based on spending categories.
Given that, there’s no surprise that the top point multiplier category is spending directly with Marriott Bonvoy.
Here’s a breakdown of the spending multipliers:
- Up to 17x total points on every dollar spent at Marriott Bonvoy properties using the following:
- 6x points for every dollar spent at Marriott with your Boundless credit card (awarded by Chase)
- 10x points for every dollar spent as a Marriott Bonvoy member (awarded by Marriott)
- 1x points for every dollar spent as a Silver Elite member of Marriott Bonvoy (which this card guarantees)
- 3x points on every dollar on the first $6,000 spent in combined purchases each year on grocery stores, gas stations, and dining
- 2x points on every dollar spent on all other purchases
- Welcome Bonus: Earn 3 Free Night Awards (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after spending $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
- Annual Free Night: This is where you can earn the $95 annual fee back each year. Boundless cardholders will receive a Free Night Award every year after your account anniversary. This is valid for a one-night hotel stay at a property with a redemption level up to 35,000 points. Often, you’ll find that the cash value of that stay comfortably exceeds the card’s annual fee, so this should make the card a net positive if you’re staying at least one night per year at a Marriott Bonvoy property.
- Automatic Silver Elite Status: Boundless cardholders will get (and keep) a minimum of a Silver Elite status on the rewards program. Typically speaking, you’d need to stay at least 10 nights per year at eligible properties to earn that status. This status level gets you complimentary Wi-Fi and preferred late checkouts among other benefits. You also have the opportunity to move to Gold Elite status and beyond based on your spending habits.
- Travel Protections: If you use your Boundless card to purchase travel, you’re eligible for trip delay reimbursement (up to $500 per ticket for things like food and lodging), lost luggage reimbursement (up to $3,000 per passenger) and baggage delay insurance.
- Purchase Protection: Using this card for a purchase covers your new items for 120 days against damage or theft up to $500 per claim, up to $50,000 per account.
Here’s a quick look at some of the fees you may encounter with the Boundless card:
- Annual Fee: $95
- Balance Transfer Fee: Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
- Cash Advance Fee: Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
- Foreign Transaction Fee: None
- Late Payment Fee: Up to $40
Is This the Best Marriott Bonvoy Credit Card To Have?
As I mentioned earlier, the Boundless card is not your only option for Marriott Bonvoy co-branded credit cards. Chase offers another, the Marriott Bonvoy Bold card, and American Express also has one called Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant.
Yes, that’s three cards all similarly named with b-word descriptors: “Bold,” “Boundless” and “Brilliant.” Confusing!
Let’s determine which of these cards could be the best fit as the Marriott card in your wallet based on some of the basic characteristics:
|Benefit||Marriott Bonvoy Bold||Marriott Bonvoy Boundless||Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant|
|Introductory APR Offer||None||None||None|
|Bonvoy Level Guarantee||None||Silver Elite||Gold Elite|
|Annual Free Night Award||None||Up to a 35,000-point room||Up to a 50,000-point room|
|Foreign Transaction Fees||None||None||None|
|Marriott Rewards Multipliers||3x points per dollar||6x points per dollar||6x points per dollar|
|Spending Category Multipliers||2x points for every $1 spent on other travel purchases (e.g., airfare, taxis and trains)||3x points for every $1 on the first $6,000 spent in combined purchases each year on grocery stores, gas stations, and dining||3x points at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines|
|Base Multiplier on Non-Bonus Spending||1x point per dollar||2x points per dollar||2x points per dollar|
|Top Additional Perks||Travel and purchase protections||Complimentary premium Wi-Fi, travel and purchase protections||Annual $300 statement credit, complimentary lounge access via Priority Pass Select|
I did not list the welcome bonus offers for each of these cards in that chart because those can change often, and in the case of the American Express card, the offer can vary based on the evaluation of your creditworthiness.
It’s worth noting that these cards often have valuable points bonuses if you meet a minimum spending requirement.
Though money expert Clark Howard cautions against making a long-term decision on a short-term gain when it comes to credit card welcome bonuses, it still would be wise to take the time to do your homework on the value of the points each of these cards offers.
The Boundless card welcome bonus offer in June 2022 was worth up to 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy points broken into three 50,000 free night awards, which could have a significant monetary value. The exact value of that welcome bonus would vary based on the market rate of the hotel where you stay.
What Are Some Travel Card Alternatives?
If you’re not a Marriott Bonvoy loyalist who seeks out the brand each time you travel, you may find that this card is not your best option.
Many travel credit cards don’t require you to spend with a specific brand. Instead, they’ll reward you for category purchases on things like airline flights, hotel stays and car rentals.
Clark says that he considers the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card to be a good “starter travel card” for people who are trying to dip their toes into the proverbial travel card pool. This card also carries a $95 annual fee, but it can easily be recouped by taking advantage of the Chase travel benefits. Those could be a better fit for your wallet.
If you want to take it to the next level, Chase also offers the Sapphire Reserve® Card for a $550 annual fee. You’ll get a $300 annual travel statement credit with this one as well as some of the benefits I outlined above for the Platinum card such as airport lounge access and complimentary Global Entry or TSA PreCheck memberships.
Another alternative worth considering is the Capital One Venture X Rewards Card. Clark added this card to his wallet in 2022 because he got a lucrative welcome bonus and some travel perks that he thinks are well worth the $395 annual fee.
“It was one that I really noodled and noodled before deciding I was going to get it,” Clark says. “The sign-up bonus was just so compelling that I had to do it.”
Clark says he finds himself “in the airport weekly” with ample opportunity to reap the benefits from that card, so you may want to consider whether you can say the same before diving into that annual fee.
You’ll want to make sure that you travel enough to see the benefits of any travel card, especially if you’re signing up for one with a large annual fee. If you’re not, you may instead want to explore another type of rewards credit card. A cash back credit card is a strong option for many consumers.
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Card: Pros and Cons
Are you considering adding the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Card to your wallet? Let’s review some of the major pros and cons of the card before you make your final decision.
|Marriott Bonvoy members can earn up to 17x points on hotel stays.||$95 annual fee|
|A lucrative welcome bonus.||Rewards are not useful outside the Marriott Bonvoy ecosystem.|
|Annual free night on card anniversary can offset the annual fee.||No introductory APR period for purchases or transfers|
Bottom Line: If you’re a Marriott Bonvoy loyalist, this card could be a really nice addition to your wallet for travel spending.
It may not be your “everyday spender” because the rewards are tilted heavily toward hotel stays, but it certainly can help you compile Marriott Bonvoy rewards points with its multipliers. That could lead to more free nights and room upgrades!
My suggestion for most consumers considering this card is that you use it as a “bit player” in your wallet, designated for racking up rewards on business and personal stays in hopes of enjoying some free nights during your future vacations.
If you don’t plan to stay nearly exclusively with Marriott Bonvoy during your travels, I’d suggest considering a travel card that rewards you for categorical spending instead. The Chase Sapphire Preferred could be a good choice with the same annual fee from the same card issuer.
Do you have experience with a Marriott co-branded credit card? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the Clark.com community!
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