Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information.
Hotel credit cards are often overlooked when compared to their airline card counterparts.
Mid-tier hotel cards, with annual fees of up to $100, can be an incredibly valuable addition to any wallet, whether you’re an infrequent traveler, a road warrior or a nonstop jetsetter. These cards tend to have relatively low annual fees yet can provide outsize value in the form of award nights, elite status, increased earning potential and other perks.
The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card is Marriott’s mid-market personal card option, issued by Chase. It comes with a terrific sign-up bonus of 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after using your card to spend $3,000 on eligible purchases in the first six months; plus, you can earn 50,000 bonus points after you stay six eligible paid nights at Marriott hotels through Jan. 31, 2024. Offer ends August 10.
But this sign-up bonus isn’t the only reason to consider the Bonvoy Boundless card.
By far, one of the card’s best perks — and what makes the $95 fee seem fairly insignificant — is an annual award night award. Here’s how it works (and why it’s so valuable).
Each year upon account renewal, cardholders receive an award night certificate valid at Marriott hotels that cost up to 35,000 Bonvoy points a night. While you certainly can’t redeem this certificate everywhere, there are thousands of options at 35,000 points a night or less. TPG’s valuations peg the value of 35,000 Marriott points at $294, which is nearly three times the $95 annual fee.
With Marriott’s switch to dynamic pricing last year, you may find it harder to use these certificates, especially during high-demand periods. However, you can combine a certificate with up to 15,000 points from your account to “upgrade” to a higher-priced award room, which should allow for some added flexibility.
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15 elite nights and automatic elite status
The Bonvoy Boundless card comes with automatic Bonvoy Silver status. While that is Marriott’s lowest tier and won’t earn you lavish perks such as suite upgrades, it will still get you a 10% points bonus, late checkout and free Wi-Fi.
In addition, to help cardholders jumpstart their way to higher tiers of status (such as Gold and Platinum), this card automatically rewards them with 15 elite night credits per calendar year. You can also earn an additional credit toward elite status for every $5,000 you spend on the card — a perk that just launched in 2022.
Even better, you can get one set of elite night credits from a Marriott personal card and one more set of elite night credits from a Marriott business card, like the Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card. Combining the Boundless with the business card would earn you Gold status — and place you just 20 nights away from Platinum.
Trip and baggage insurance coverage
The Bonvoy Boundless card also comes with a robust set of travel and baggage protection benefits that can help save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. These are perks that you don’t feel like you need — until something goes wrong.
With baggage delay insurance, Chase may reimburse you for essential purchases up to $100 a day for up to five days. And if a bag is lost, Chase may cover you for up to a whopping $3,000 per passenger. With trip delay reimbursement, if you are traveling on a common carrier that is delayed by more than 12 hours or requires you to stay overnight, Chase may reimburse you for incidentals like meals or lodging, up to $500 per ticket.
Just note that you must charge your trip to the card in order for these protections to apply, and you must submit a formal claim for reimbursement.
Nevertheless, this is a solid set of protections for a card with a $95 annual fee.
With a large sign-up bonus and various perks that can easily be worth hundreds of dollars, it’s a no-brainer that the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless is worth its $95 annual price tag. And that’s without considering the fact that you’ll earn 6 points per dollar spent on the card at Marriott properties, 3 points per dollar spent at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants (on up to $6,000 in combined purchases each year), and 2 points per dollar everywhere else.
Keep in mind, though, that Chase restricts access to the Bonvoy Boundless with its 5/24 rule. The issuer likely won’t approve you for the card if you’ve opened five or more personal credit cards across all issuers in the last 24 months. In addition, there are Marriott-specific rules when it comes to eligibility for any new Bonvoy credit card, so you’ll want to make sure you’re eligible before you apply.
However, with hotel prices remaining high and the Boundless card offering a terrific sign-up bonus, now is a good time to apply if you do qualify.
Application link: Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card with a welcome offer of 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after using your card to spend $3,000 on eligible purchases in the first six months; plus, earn 50,000 bonus points after you stay six eligible paid nights at Marriott hotels through Jan. 31, 2024. Offer ends August 10.
Additional reporting by Ryan Wilcox and Christina Ly.