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As travel within the U.S. begins a major summer rebound, we have seen some tremendous credit card offers launch, with the chance to earn hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars’ worth of travel rewards.
Now, one of the top hotel credit cards has followed suit with an incredible welcome bonus offers of its own. The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card from Chase is offering new applicants up to three free nights after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening, plus up to 10 points per dollar on purchases in up to $2,500 in combined purchases at gas stations, restaurants, and grocery stores within the first six 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 this summer and beyond.
Free nights and fine print
This Marriott Bonvoy Boundless bonus offer is unlike any we’ve seen before, but there are a few catches. Here’s what you can expect from the card.
Current welcome offer
Earn three free nights after spending $3,000 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 150,000 points, depending on where you redeem your rewards.
Plus, you can earn 10 points per dollar total on up to $2,500 in purchases at gas stations, restaurants, and supermarkets within the first six months from account opening – three excellent everyday spending categories that shouldn’t be hard to maximize.
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.
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 offer within the past 24 months, you might likewise be excluded from this offer.
What are those free nights actually worth?
Now for the big question: What are three 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 three 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 three 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 welcome offer for this card is typically around 75,000 points after spending $5,000 on purchases within three months of account opening. Three free nights worth up to 150,000 points plus the opportunity to earn up to 25,000 bonus points on spending at gas stations, grocery stores, and supermarkets all make this offer potentially worth much, much more than that.
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 on cardholders per year, and has a hefty $450 annual fee (see rates and fees).
Redemption sweet spots
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) next January through May, while paid rates are regularly over $800 per night.
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 fall and winter, while you’d be paying over $500 on some nights. Now that travel to Hawaii has resumed, 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 in the fall 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 spring (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.
Is it worth applying for the Marriot Bonvoy Boundless right now?
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 much 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.
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 offers 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, and November 9, 2020, and June 17, 2021.