Editor’s Note: This is a recurring article, regularly updated with new information.
Hotel credit cards are often overlooked compared to their airline card counterparts.
Mid-Level Hotel Cardswith annual fee up to $100, can be an incredibly valuable addition to any wallet, whether you’re an occasional traveler, road warrior, or nonstop jet-setter. These cards tend to have relatively low annual fees, but can offer outsized value in the form of reward nights, elite status, increased earning potential, and other perks.
THE Marriott Bonvoy Unlimited Credit Card is Marriott’s mid-range personal card option, issued by Chase. It comes with an awesome sign-up bonus of 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your card to spend $3,000 on qualifying purchases in the first six months; Plus, you can earn 50,000 bonus points after staying six qualifying paid nights at Marriott hotels through January 31, 2024. Offer ends August 10.
But that 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 pretty insignificant — is an annual price discount. Here’s how it works (and why it’s so valuable).
Each year, upon account renewal, cardholders receive a reward night certificate valid at Marriott hotels that costs up to 35,000 Bonvoy points per night. While you certainly can’t redeem this certificate everywhere, there are thousands of options at 35,000 points per night or less. TPG’s valuations set the value of 35,000 Marriott points at $294, almost three times the annual fee of $95.
With Marriott’s switch to dynamic pricing last year, you may find it more difficult to redeem these certificates, especially during peak demand times. However, you can combine a certificate with up to 15,000 points your account to “upgrade” to a more expensive reward room, which should allow for more flexibility.
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15 elite nights and automatic elite status
The Bonvoy Boundless card comes with Bonvoy Silver auto status. Although this is Marriott’s lowest tier and does not earn you lavish perks such as suite upgrades, it will still get you a 10% points bonus, late check out and free Wi-Fi.
Plus, to help cardholders start their way to higher status levels (such as Gold and Platinum), this card automatically rewards them with 15 Elite Night Credits per calendar year. You can also earn additional credit towards elite status for every $5,000 you spend on the card – a benefit that just launched in 2022.
Even better, you can get a set of Elite Night Credits from a personal Marriott card and another set of elite night credits a Marriott business card, such as the Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card. Combining the Boundless with the Business Card would earn you Gold status – and put you just 20 nights away from Platinum.
Travel and baggage insurance
The Bonvoy Boundless Card also comes with a robust set of travel and baggage protection benefits that can help you save hundreds or even thousands of dollars. These are benefits you don’t have feel as you need – until something goes wrong.
With baggage delay insurance, Chase can reimburse you for essential purchases up to $100 per day for up to five days. And if a bag is lost, Chase can cover you for up to $3,000 per passenger. With travel delay reimbursementif you’re traveling on a common carrier that’s delayed more than 12 hours or requires you to stay overnight, Chase can reimburse you for incidental expenses like meals or accommodations, up to $500 per ticket.
Just note that you must charge your trip à la carte for these protections to apply, and you must submit a formal request for reimbursement.
Still, it’s a solid set of protections for a card with a $95 annual fee.
At the end of the line
With a big sign-up bonus and various perks that can easily be worth hundreds of dollars, it’s obvious that the Marriott Bonvoy without limits worth its annual price of $95. And that’s without taking into account 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 (up to $6,000 in combined purchases each year) and 2 points per dollar everywhere else.
Keep in mind, however, that Chase restricts access to the Bonvoy Boundless with its 5/24 rule. The issuer probably won’t approve you for the card if you’ve opened five or more personal credit cards from all issuers in the last 24 months. Additionally, there are Marriott-specific rules regarding eligibility for any new Bonvoy credit cardyou should therefore ensure that you are eligible before applying.
However, with hotel prices still high and the Boundless Card offering a great sign-up bonus, now is a good time to apply if you qualify.
Application link: Marriott Bonvoy Unlimited Credit Card with a welcome offer of 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your card to spend $3,000 on qualifying purchases in the first six months; Plus, earn 50,000 bonus points after staying six qualifying paid nights at Marriott hotels through January 31, 2024. Offer ends August 10.
Additional reporting by Ryan Wilcox and Christina Ly.