Well, Chase surprised us again! And it was a good surprise too! First they came out with an overhaul of the Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Unlimited cards and the addition of a brand new card, Chase Freedom Flex. Then Chase increased the welcome bonus on the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card to 80,000 points.

And finally (or maybe not finally, and more good changes are in the works), Chase changed the welcome bonus on the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card. In the last couple of years, the welcome bonus hovered around 75,000-100,000 Bonvoy points, but in 2020 Chase decided to shake it up.

The New Welcome Bonus

The new welcome bonus on the Marriott Boundless card is quite remarkable. After you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months, you’ll earn five free night certificates worth up to 50,000 points each. So theoretically, if you can maximize your Marriott redemptions, the welcome bonus is worth up to 250,000 points.

These certificates don’t have to be used all at once, so it’s possible to get a couple of great short getaways with just one welcome bonus. Also, the certificates can’t be combined with points. For example, if you wanted to book a stay that costs 70,000 points/night, you can’t use a certificate and some points to “upgrade” to a higher category hotel.

There is, of course, a caveat – the free night certificates expire one year after issue. So if you are going to apply for this card, have a plan on how you are going to use these in the next 12 months.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card

Earn 5 Free Nights after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

LEARN MORE 

Marriott Credit Cards Eligibility Rules

The card is subject to Chase’s 5/24 rule and a whole slew of additional arcane card application rules. Even if you are under 5/24, you need to read the rules carefully before you can decide if the Marriott Boundless card is the right fit for you.

You won’t be eligible for the Boundless card if you currently have, or previously had and received a sign-up bonus within the last 24 months, any of the following cards:

  • Chase Marriott Bonvoy Premier card (formerly known as Marriott Rewards Premier)
  • Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card (formerly known as Marriott Rewards Premier Plus)
  • Chase Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card

You also won’t qualify for the sign-up bonus if you are:

  • A current cardmember, or were a previous cardmember within the last 30 days, of the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card
  • Have been approved for Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card or American Express Bonvoy Brilliant cards in the past 90 days
  • Received a welcome bonus for American Express Bonvoy Business and American Express Bonvoy Brilliant cards in the past 24 months

So if you are eligible, and can definitely use the five nights certificates in the next 12 months, this card could be a good fit.

How to Maximize Your Five Free Night Certificates

Let’s have a quick look at Marriott’s award chart. Marriott has three price tiers for each category hotel: off peak, standard and peak.  pasted image 0 4

As you can see from this chart, the best value comes from redeeming your newly minted free night certificates for category 6 standard rates and category 7 off peak rates.

Where to Stay with Your Five Free Night Awards

There are dozens of great Marriott properties where we can use 50,000-point certificates all around the world, and your chances of scoring a great deal will be even better if you can travel during the off peak times. Let’s have a look at 10 hotels and resorts where you can really maximize the value of these certificates.

United States

JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort is a beautiful, highly ranked resort on Florida’s Gulf Coast. You get calm, warm, blue water, huge white-sand beach and it’s close to South Florida’s many other attractions.

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Photo courtesy of Marriott.com

The resort is a category 7 property, so finding nights priced at just 50,000 points isn’t easy but entirely possible if you have flexible dates. I was able to find three night blocks even during the peak summer season.

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If Hawaii is on your mind, Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa (category 6) is a luxury beachfront hotel in Honolulu where you can find quite a bit of award space at 50,000 points a night even during the summer.  

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Don’t want to spend five nights in Honolulu? No worries, there are other resorts in Hawaii where you can use the certificates.

Sheraton Kauai is also a category 6 hotel where you can use the 50,000 points/night certificates.

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Located on the famous Poipu beach, the resort is just a short drive away from the lush green forests, beautiful beaches and world-class golf courses.

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Photo courtesy of Marriott.com

If you prefer city escapes, the Residence Inn Chicago Downtown (category 6) is a swanky downtown hotel that is also perfect for families. You’ll enjoy suite-style rooms where the whole family can stretch out and complimentary breakfast for everyone, no status needed.

It’s ideally located in the South Loop of downtown Chicago near theaters, Millennium Park and Willis Tower. pasted image 0 7

Photo courtesy of Marriott.com

You’ll easily find standard rates rooms at 50,000 points.

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Turkey

Turkey is one of my favorite countries that doesn’t get much attention from American travelers, so I have to mention it here, of course. Hotels are usually quite inexpensive unless you want to stay at a luxury property.  

Caresse, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa in Bodrum is a seafront resort in Turkish Riviera. It’s a category 7 resort, so you’ll only be able to find nights priced at 50,000 points during off peak times. However, May is not a bad time to visit Turkey. You’ll have cooler temperatures and far fewer crowds.

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Located on the stunning Aegian Sea coast, the hotel has less than 90 rooms and is a perfect small-scale luxury escape. And for just 50,000 points a night? Sign me up!

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Photo courtesy of Marriott.com

Europe

Oh, where do we begin?! There are so many interesting properties in Europe where we can spend these 50,000 night certificates. Let’s look at a couple of the more expensive cities, because this is where you’ll get the best value.

Paris, the City of Lights, has quite a few category 6 and 7 hotels, but the one that caught my eye is Renaissance Paris Republique Hotel (category 6). I was able to find a good number of nights at off peak rates.

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Centrally located near the historic Le Marais district, the hotel has interesting mid-century decor and all the modern amenities. It’s a nice break from the more traditional hotels in Paris. The rooms are pretty small, but that’s true across the board in a city like Paris.

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Copenhagen is one of the most expensive cities in Europe and if we can score a centrally-located hotel with points, we’ll save thousands of dollars. Copenhagen Marriott Hotel (category 6) is centrally located and the rooms have amazing views of the canals.

I stayed there a couple of years ago, and while the rooms are pretty standard for Marriott, the location and the view make up for the mediocre decor. I was able to find a few nights at standard rates in June. Beginning of summer is the best time to go to Denmark – you’ll enjoy lovely weather and endless summer days.

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London is one of the THE most expensive cities in the world. Lucky for us, there are over a dozen category 6 and 7 hotels there.

The Residence Inn London Bridge (category 6) caught my eye because in a city of tiny hotel rooms at exorbitant prices, it offers self-contained and pet-friendly apartments with fully equipped kitchens, separate living areas, sofa beds, and workspaces. The hotel offers grocery delivery services and free breakfast. This is perfect for anyone traveling with kids!

I was able to find a few two to four night blocks of 50,000 points/night rates throughout the year.  

Japan

Another very expensive destination is Tokyo. mesm Tokyo, Autograph Collection (category 6) is a new ultra modern, futuristic looking property. I found months worth of availability, so it shouldn’t be a problem redeeming your 50,000-point certificates.

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Mauritius

If you’re looking for a unique and off the beaten path escape, a small island of Mauritius is it. St. Regis Mauritius (category 7) sits on the white-sand beach on the edge of the sparkling Indian Ocean. It just can’t get better than this! I found weeks of off peak award rates, so using the 50,000-point certificates shouldn’t be a problem.  

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Final Thoughts on the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Bonus

As you can see, there’s no shortage of great redemptions, even when you are limited to 50,000 points a night. First, make sure to review Marriott’s esoteric credit card application rules, and if you are eligible for this card, ask yourself if you are going to travel and be able to use these five nights in the next 12 months.

If you do have travel plans, especially to expensive destinations, such as London or Tokyo, this card can provide great value. We’ve never seen a sign up offer from Marriott worth 250,000 points.

Travel well,

Anna