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The deal could snag you a few nights at the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay, where rates are currently more than $800 a night.
Travelers can score up to five free nights at some of Marriott’s nicest hotels with this new credit card offer.
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Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more. Some offers may no longer be available. View the current offer for Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card here. View the current offer for the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card here.
Update: The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card offer mentioned below is no longer available. View the current offer here.
Although many people are still putting off major trips for the time being due to COVID-related issues and restrictions, we are seeing some truly incredible travel rewards credit card offers these days as banks hope to win new customers and get them spending.
First, the popular Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card launched an unprecedented sign-up bonus of up to 80,000 points for those who spend over $4,000 in the first three months. Fast on its heels, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Card debuted its best-ever bonus, with up to 100,000 miles: 50,000 after spending $3,000 within the first three months of account opening and an additional 50,000 miles after spending a total of $20,000 within the first 12 months.
Now, one of the top hotel credit cards has followed suit with an all-new welcome bonus of its own. For the first time ever, theMarriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card from Chase is offering new applicants up to five free nights after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening. This offer is available for a limited time that may last only a couple of weeks, so if you want to apply you’d better make your mind up fast. Before you do so, here are the details on the card, this specific offer, and how new cardholders might be able to put their free nights to use when they are ready to travel again.
This Marriott Bonvoy Boundless bonus is unlike any we’ve seen before, but there are a few catches. Here’s what you can expect from the card.
Current sign-up bonus: Earn five free nights after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. Each night is valued at up to 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points, so this offer is worth up to a potential total of 250,000 points, depending on where you redeem your rewards.
Annual fee: $95
Everyday earning: Marriott Bonvoy is the loyalty program of 30 brands with nearly 8,000 properties around the world, including luxury names like Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis, midmarket staples like Sheraton and Westin, and budget brands such as Courtyard by Marriott and Residence Inn. This card earns six points per dollar on purchases made at participating hotels, and then two points per dollar on all other purchases.
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Other benefits: Cardholders automatically receive 15 elite night credits per calendar year. That’s enough to hit Bonvoy Silver status, which usually requires staying 10 nights a year, and includes perks such as earning bonus points on stays, potential room upgrades and late checkout. Those nights can also help boost you to the next level of status (say, from Gold to Platinum) if you already spend a lot of time in Marriott properties each year. What’s more, cardholders who spend $35,000 or more on the card in an account year leapfrog up to Gold elite status with slightly better perks, including more bonus points, a better shot at room upgrades, free premium in-room internet, and welcome bonus points at check-in. The card waives foreign transaction fees if you use it for international purchases, and every year after the account anniversary, cardholders receive an additional free night award worth up to 35,000 points.
Just note that you won’t be eligible for this offer if you currently have this card or other Marriott cobranded products, including the Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card, or either the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card (see rates and fees) or the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card (see rates and fees), among others. If you don’t currently have one of these cards, but did in the past and received its welcome bonus within the past 24 months, you might likewise be excluded from this offer.
Now for the big question: What are five free nights actually worth in terms of this specific offer? The way it works is this: If you hit the minimum spending requirement, your Marriott Bonvoy loyalty account will be credited with five free night certificates, each one redeemable at hotels costing up to 50,000 points. To put that into context, Marriott Bonvoy hotels fall into eight redemption categories that range from 5,000 to 100,000 points per night, depending on the hotel and the season. A certificate worth 50,000 points will get you a free night at hotels in categories 1–5 (the lowest) pretty much any night there is award space. You might also be able to find rooms at category 6–7 hotels during normal and off-peak times, but this will be more luck of the draw.
Each free night certificate will be good for up to 12 months from the date of issue—meaning you have a year to redeem them, although your stay can take place after that deadline. You can book them each individually, or together for stays of up to five nights, but you cannot combine them on the same reservation with paid or points portions, which might make some bookings more unwieldy.
For a bit more perspective, the sign-up bonus for this card is typically around 75,000 points after spending $5,000 on purchases within three months of account opening. So for the same amount of spending, you could earn rewards that are potentially worth much, much more. The only other Marriott card that offers free night rewards worth up to 50,000 points is the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant, which only confers one of them per year on customers and has a hefty $450 annual fee (see rates and fees).
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For a look at just how much these certificates might be worth, here are a couple hotels where you could redeem them, and how much you’d be paying in cash if you booked at regular rates. The rates noted below were accurate at time of publication.
If you’re staying close to home, there are plenty of high-end Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis properties where these could come in handy. For example, the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay, which sits cliff-top on the California coast south of San Francisco, has rooms for 50,000 points each on many nights (both weekday and weekend) this January through May, while paid rates are an astronomical $809 each.
For those who like haunted hotels, the Liberty, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Boston, which is a gorgeously renovated former prison, has rooms for 50,000 points this spring, while you’d be paying over $500 on some nights. Now that travel to Hawaii is resuming, you might also be able to find rooms at Waikiki’s famed “Pink Palace of the Pacific,” the Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort, for 50,000 points per night next spring instead of the usual $350 to $500 per night.
Those feeling adventurous enough to travel abroad could put their free nights to use at the tony Bodrum Edition on Turkey’s Riviera next summer (room rates start at $475 otherwise), or even experience an island paradise at the Westin Maldives Miriandhoo Resort, where rates normally start at about $470 as well.
In short, there are some phenomenal redemption opportunities, but even if you use these certificates to stay at relatively modest hotels here in the United States, you can still expect to reap hundreds of dollars in value from each one.
Aside from how flashy this offer seems, you might be asking yourself if now is the right time to apply for a new travel rewards credit card. Of course, that will depend on your financial picture and whether the annual fee and spending requirements are within your reach. Nearly as important if you earn these free night certificates, however, will be whether you actually plan to redeem them while they’re valid. If you don’t see yourself traveling within the next year, possibly with some concrete plans already in place, you probably want to hold off and see what other hotel credit card offers come along. For example, Hilton presold $1 billion worth of its rewards points to its credit card issuer, American Express, back in April, so we might see more bonus opportunities in the hotel space. Delta and Amex, and United and Chase were reportedly also in negotiations to sell miles off earlier this year in a bid to stay solvent, so airline cards could start offering sky-high bonuses soon, too.
However, if you are ready to hit the road again and have a good idea of where these certificates might help with your plans, then this offer does represent an excellent value. Especially considering how much more you can potentially get for it versus the usual welcome bonuses fielded by the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless.
While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they are subject to change at any time, and may have changed or may no longer be available. This article was originally published on October 2, 2020, and was updated on October 29, 2020, and November 9, 2020.
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