Why you should think twice before applying for the new Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card 250k Bonus
Max and I have our share of credit cards: The Hyatt Chase card, AmEx Platinum, Chase Sapphire Reserve and more. We’ve been in the market for a new high-value card after Max’s United credit card no longer offers us the value we’re looking for, since points no longer expire and their lounges are subpar. We saw the new Bonvoy Boundless bonus of “250k” points and almostttt jumped on it. Our goal here is to provide you with tips on how to decide if this card is right for you.
250,000 points is a great marketing message, but it’s actually 5 nights valued up to 50,000 points per night. This means that you are given 5 free night e-certificates to use within 1 year of depositing into your account (which can take up to 8 weeks after hitting the $5,000 spend). Now, I’m sure many of you will say “oh, but Maren, there are so many hotels that meet the 50,000 point maximum” and sure, that is correct. 50,000 points is the equivalent of a category 6 standard redemption rate or a category 7 off-peak redemption rate. That, technically, leaves you a lot of room in terms of hotels in the portfolio. But if you are anything like the rest of us, you’re looking at that credit card offer thinking, I can finally take that vacation after all this is over. Let’s take a look at a country that is currently open to Americans as an example. In Aruba, for a mid-week, one night stay in March, this is what you will find:
With your free night certificate, you can only book one night stays, and therefore, the only hotel you can book with the certificate is the Courtyard Aruba Marriott. You cannot, for example, book the Marriott Stellaris that we stayed at and absolutely love. These certificates are not the same thing as the 100k point bonus and cannot be used to pay for part of the room. They are a one-and-done deal.
One certificate = one night at or under 50,000 points. You also cannot book a consecutive, 5-night stay. So let’s say you want to stay at the courtyard for 5 nights. You will book 5 one-night stays under different confirmations in order to use the certificates. You’ll also be leaving 100,000 points on the table by not maximizing the certificate. Since you’ll be paying 30,000 x 5 = 150,000 (while the offer is technically valued at up to 250,000).
Similarly, let’s say you’re planning that dream trip to the Maldives. Here’s what one night will look like on a weeknight in March:
The only hotel you can book here is the Sheraton and it’s not one we personally recommend due to its poor location. TPG has a great “5 reasons not to visit” article.
The list goes on with examples like this, but that’s not to say you won’t find a great deal, you just have to be flexible and realistic in your expectations. I fully realize that there are plenty of options depending on the market, the brand, etc, but we have spoken to many travelers who have already applied for this card assuming they were getting just 250,000 points deposited into their accounts.
Here are some additional things to note about the card:
- The minimum spend to obtain the 5 e-certificates is $5,000 in 3 months and the annual fee is $95
- Incidental charges and resort fees are still chargeable, meaning you do still have to pay the nightly resort fee, unlike with Hyatt and several other brands
- You get 6x the points at Marriott hotels when you use the card, 2x on any other purchase
- Points don’t expire while you have your credit card
- Annual free night certificate is for a one-night stay up to 35,000 points
- Automatic silver status with a “path to gold”, meaning “each Account Anniversary Year you make purchases totaling $35,000 or more you will qualify for Gold Elite Status through December 31 of the following year”
All that being said, you can find some excellent redemptions if you look. There are a number of great off-peak options in NYC, Santo Domingo and many cities around the world. This card bonus is a great option for travelers looking for a city escape, hotels off the beaten bath, off-peak travel like mid-week and off-season and those who may not have specific 5 star properties in mind. We hope this article has been helpful! Let us know in the comments below if you have any questions or if this helped to make your decision :).