Chase has released its own Bonvoy credit card (formerly known as Marriott) to go up against the luxury offering currently available from American Express.
The new credit card basically replaces the old Marriott Rewards card that Chase used to offer, which in the past came with 75,000 bonus points for spending $3,000.
Bonvoy Boundless Offers 2 Free Nights in a Category 5 or Lower Hotel
- 2 free nights in a category 5 or lower
- Once you spend $3,000 in first 3 months
- Earn 6X points at Marriott Bonvoy properties
- Earn 2X points per dollar elsewhere
The new “Marriott Bonvoy Boundless” card doesn’t offer a points bonus, but instead a nights bonus upon completion of the minimum spend, which is also $3k in the first three months.
That will earn you two free nights at a Bonvoy property, the big hitch being the maximum 35,000 points per night limit.
While you could argue that it’s a 70,000-point sign-up bonus, it’s actually less valuable because you have to stay at a property in the 35k and below tier.
That’s category 5, which is three notches below category 8, their top-tier that includes many Ritz-Carlton properties worldwide.
Meanwhile, category 5 includes brands like Aloft, Autograph Collection, Courtyard, Fairfield Inn, Four Points, Residence Inn, and so on.
There are actually some better brands sprinkled in that category, including JW properties in certain parts of the U.S. and worldwide.
But you can’t stretch your free night certificates by combining cash or adding points, so it’s use ’em or lose them.
Do Category 5 Hotels Work for You? How About a $200 Statement Credit?
- The key is finding category 5 hotels that are worth staying in
- But the card also comes with a $200 statement credit
- Simply for making your first purchase in the first 3 months
- And the annual fee is waived during year one
You basically have to approach this offer by determining if any of the category 5 hotels offered by Bonvoy are worth opening up a new credit card and spending $3,000.
Maybe, maybe not, depending on your travel plans. You might want to look at the hotels first to see if you can get some good value out of the two free nights first.
However, the Bonvoy Boundless card comes with some other nice perks that might sway you even more.
Those two free nights aside, you also get a $200 statement credit after the first purchase you make during the first three months of cardmembership.
That’s obviously very easy to obtain, so while the two nights are limited, you get $200 on top of that offer if you meet all the spending requirements.
Additionally, there’s no annual fee the first year, and it’s only $95 for subsequent years. To offset that annual fee, they also give you a free night award after each anniversary (up to 35k points).
So again, if you’re able to squeeze a lot of value out of a 35,000-point property, it could be a really good credit card.
And much cheaper than the Bonvoy Brilliant card from American Express, which comes with a hefty $450 annual price tag.
Lastly, it comes with automatic silver elite benefits, which include things like free internet, late checkout if available, and so on.
The Truth’s Take on Bonvoy Boundless
- The card is light on fees compared to the Amex Bonvoy card
- And you still get silver elite status and 2 free nights for hitting minimum spend
- Finding quality hotels in the 35,000-point and below category is key
- If you can’t do that it might be a pass despite being cheap to hold in your wallet
It’s basically the entry-level version of Bonvoy Marriott if you’re not so into paying $450 a year for the Amex version.
And not only is it free for the first year, but they’ll give you a $200 statement credit upon first purchase.
So you’re already $200 to the good without doing much more than one dip or swipe.
There also aren’t any foreign transaction fees, a nice touch if you happen to be traveling to a foreign country to take advantage of a nice hotel in a lower category.
And the free anniversary night each year you keep the card is also a plus, once the $95 per year annual fee kicks in.
But as noted, you don’t get straight up points with your opening bonus, so be sure the 35,000 and less per night properties fit your travel plans.
Otherwise you might have free night certificates collecting dust.
Tip: Be sure you actually qualify for the opening bonus as there are lots of restrictions if you have or had other Marriott credit cards recently.
(photo: Herry Lawford)