Update 6/4/22: Marriott has indicated that you will be able to top off certificates with points, but the terms and conditions of the offer still say otherwise. We believe you should be able to top off, but at least be aware that there is the possibility per the terms that you won’t be able to.

Well, when we lose one elevated bonus, we gain another! While as of this week, the elevated Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card bonus is no longer available, the five free night certificate offer is back as the bonus for the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card. We’ve seen this offer once before, but there’s been some changes to the Marriott Bonvoy program since then that impact the quality of the offer. Let’s get into it!

The New Welcome Bonus

The latest offer on the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card earns you five free night certificates worth up to 50,000 points each after spending $5,000 in the first three months. The best way to maximize your certificates is to redeem them for nights worth exactly 50,000 points so that the bonus reaches its full potential value of up to 250,000 points. There’s no need to use all your certificates at once, so you could redeem them for more than one short trip, but be cautious as they expire a year from when they are issued, so don’t let them go to waste!

Previously, Marriott had a restriction in place that prevented being able to top off certificates with points. Although that has since changed for free night certificates earned from other cards, after glancing at the terms and conditions of this offer, Marriott is NOT allowing you to top off the certificates with points. Hopefully this is just an oversight, because it really is a blow to the potential value of the certificates.

There is one other key detail that has changed since the last time we saw this offer and that is the introduction of Marriott’s dynamic pricing. This means that the points rates will more closely be tied to the cash rates, increasing when demand is high and decreasing when it’s low. While you might be able to score a deal during low-season at your destination, for the most part, this is not great news for redeeming your free night certificates.

If the terms preventing the ability to top up the certificates with points turn out to be an oversight, that might change our stance on this offer, but for now, the dynamic pricing that’s in effect now definitely makes these certificates somewhat less appealing.

There is one other key detail that has changed since the last time we saw this offer and that is the introduction of Marriott’s dynamic pricing. This means that the points rates will more closely be tied to the cash rates, increasing when demand is high and decreasing when it’s low. While you might be able to score a deal during low-season at your destination, for the most part, this is not great news for redeeming your free night certificates.

While it’s nice to be able to top up your certificates, the dynamic pricing that’s in effect now definitely makes these certificates somewhat less appealing.

Previously, Marriott had a restriction in place that prevented being able to top off certificates with points... but Marriott is NOT allowing you to top off the case certificates with extra points.

Marriott Credit Cards Eligibility Rules

When considering applying for a Marriott credit card, it’s important to remember that not only is it subject to Chase’s 5/24 rule, but Marriott has its own elaborate set of application rules that you’ll want to pay attention to.

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.

Where to Stay with Your Five Free Night Awards

Just because it’s gotten a bit more difficult to get the most value out of the free night certificates, doesn’t mean you can’t redeem them at a great property. You may just have to look a little harder.

Let’s have a look at some hotels and resorts where you can really maximize the value of these certificates.

United States

Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa is a great option if you’re looking to spend some time in Hawaii. The points rates can go north of 50,000 points per night, but if you browse the calendar you can find some just below the 50,000 mark that will let you get great use out of your certificates.

If leaf-peeping this fall in upstate New York sounds like a nice getaway, you can use your certificates at the The Wick, Hudson, A Tribute Portfolio Hotel. There are some dates this fall that are below 50K points per night.

The Wick Hudson | Image courtesy of Marriott

Europe

Europe is an excellent way to make use of your certificates. No matter what city you choose, you’ll be able to find some luxurious hotels that fit the bill.

The Ritz-Carlton Budapest is centrally located with just a short walk to St. Stephen’s Basilica, Erzsébet Square and the River Danube. Who wouldn’t want to stay in this beautiful hotel that melds luxury and tradition in such a perfect way? You’ll find plenty of available nights below 50,000 points this coming winter.

The Ritz Carlton Budapest | Image courtesy of Marriott

The Italian Riviera might be more your speed in which case, have a peek at Falisia, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Portopiccolo. It’s set right on the water’s edge on a gorgeous cliff in Portopiccolo. Going in the Fall means you can score nights below 50K.

Japan

The Osaka Marriott Miyako Hotel is a 5-star hotel in Japan’s tallest building making it an experience as well as a place to sleep. It’s also located near the Shinsaibashi shopping district, so make sure to leave room in your suitcase. Between this coming Fall and Spring, you’ll find plenty of sub 50K point nights.

Costa Rica

Don’t overlook Costa Rica if you’re hoping for a vacation with a mix of beach and lush forests. El Mangroove, Autograph Collection is a luxurious spot in Guanacaste that is worthy of your free night certificates. You enjoy the great weather if you travel between the Fall and Spring.

El Mangrove | Image courtesy of Marriott

Final Thoughts on the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Bonus

We’ll be the first ones to admit that this iteration of this card’s bonus doesn’t hold a candle to the version of it that was released in 2020. Marriott’s shift to dynamic pricing makes it more difficult to make good use of these five free night certificates. Prices are more unpredictable and what you find for 50K points per night when you apply for the card, may not be the same price when you’re ready to redeem.

However, that doesn’t make the offer completely worthless. There are still a lot of great Marriott properties out there worthy of your certificates. It just takes a little more digging to find. Although, the inability to top off your certificates (according to the terms) really does limit the value.

Overall, we’d recommend this card and bonus for the type of traveler who has a lot of flexibility and who maybe already has a Marriott property they plan to stay at in the next 12 months that should cost them less than 50,000 points per night. Ensure you understand Marriott’s card application rules and are able to leverage the five free night certificates within the next 12 months before applying for the card.