If you stay at Marriott hotels more than once or twice per year, there's no good reason not to apply for the brand's mid-range Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card, which more than pays for its own annual fee with perks, not to mention a lucrative welcome offer.
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The Bonvoy Boundless carries a $95 annual fee, which is pretty standard for a mid-range hotel-branded credit card. In return, you'll earn a hefty 75,000 point Marriott Bonvoy welcome bonus after spending $3,000 on purchases in your first three months after getting accepted for the card.
You'll earn a whopping 6 Marriott Bonvoy points per dollar spent on the card at over 7,000 participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels, plus 2 points per dollar on all other purchases. If you use the Bonvoy Boundless to pay for a Marriott stay that's connected to your Marriott Bonvoy account, you'll actually be earning a total of 17 points per dollar on your entire bill, for reasons we'll get into below.
Marriott Bonvoy points aren't individually worth very much (about .8 cents each, according to The Points Guy's valuations), but when you can earn so many during a hotel stay, they add up quickly.
Off-peak award nights at Category 1 Marriott properies start at just 5,000 points, and off-peak dates at the top-of-the-line Category 8 hotels go for 70,000 points, so at a bare minimum, your welcome bonus would get you a free off-peak night at any Marriott property in the world, or lots of nights at lower end hotels.
All Marriott Bonvoy rewards members earn 10 points per dollar on eligible hotel stays, but just by holding this card, you'll be a Bonvoy Silver Elite, which bumps your earnings up to 11 points per dollar, in addition to the 6 you get from the card.
The highlight of the card, once you get over the rush of that 75,000 points welcome bonus, is the annual free night certificate. Every year on your cardmember anniversary, your $95 annual fee will come bundled with a free night award that you can use on any Marriott award night worth 35,000 points or less over the next 12 months. That's equivalent to a standard night at a Category 5 hotel, which can easily run in the $200-$300 range, more than offsetting your annual fee.
You'll also be credited with 15 Elite Credit Nights every year just for holding the card. Marriott Bonvoy members get bumped up to Silver Elite Status after staying 10 nights in a calendar year, so you'll automatically qualify without so much as a single stay. Silver status gets you the aforementioned 10% point earning bonus, plus priority late checkout and a dedicated reservations phone line. It's not going to drastically change your Marriott experience, but it's a nice set of perks.
But better yet, if you stay just 10 more nights during a calendar year (or spend $35,000 on the card on all purchases), you'll also qualify for Bonvoy Gold Elite status, which bumps your earning bonus to 25%, gets you free room upgrades, and more.
Basically, if these three things are true, there's no good reason not to get the Bonvoy Boundless:
- You know you'll be able to hit the $3,000 spending requirement (in three months) for the welcome offer.
- You know you'll put that annual free night to good use.
- You're confident in your ability to pay the card off in full every month, to avoid paying interest.
If you're a hotel chain free agent, that free night is worth more than $95 on its own. And if you're a Marriott loyalist, the Bonvoy Boundless makes it really easy to qualify for Bonvoy Gold status, which will make all of your stays more rewarding.
Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.