Marriott Bonvoy Introduces Intriguing Welcome Bonus (5 Free Nights) But Should You Apply?

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A few days ago, I posted a guide to the Marriott Bonvoy program. While doing the research and condensing the information for the blog, I noticed something that I had never seen before and it was very easy to overlook despite writing about cards every day. Did you notice it?

THE WELCOME BONUS

The Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card is offering a welcome bonus that is unlike any other offer I’ve ever seen on a card: 5 Free Nights after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Additionally, the free night certificates can be redeemed at properties costing up to 50,000 points per night.

This is a card that’s worth holding onto for the anniversary free night certificate (valid at Marriott properties that retail up to 35,000 points per night). That benefit alone should more than justify the annual fee ($95). Interestingly, the card will still offer that benefit in addition to the 5 Free nights.

But before you go apply for this card, let’s dig a bit deeper…

IS THIS IS GOOD DEAL?

For context, the Marriott Bonvoy award chart is as follows:

As you can see, 50,000 points translates into a Category 6 hotel at the standard rate or even a Category 7 during off-peak times. That’s pretty solid (more on this below).

However, there are some immediate considerations that you should be aware of:

  1. 5th Night Free Does NOT work: Marriott offers “Book 5 nights, Pay for 4 night” when redeeming points. However, these are certificates (not points). Therefore, you will not be receiving a discount the free night when redeeming these certificates.
  2. Expiration of Certificates: Unlike points, these certificates will expire after a year. That could be problematic given the current pandemic.

WHERE CAN I STAY WITH 50K CERTIFICATES?

I did a round-up of fabulous locations where you can redeem the Free Night Certificates. This is not an exhaustive list but it can certainly inspire and get you started. Let’s take a look…

W Washington, D.C.
Standard Rate: Category 6 (50k points/night)

Let’s get straight to the point…you have to be extremely flexible with dates to find a luxury hotel in D.C. without paying a mortgage payment. Ok, that’s little extreme but D.C. is not cheap. However, if you’re looking to stay a bit closer to home, the W is a good redemption.

JW Marriott Los Cabos Beach Resort and Spa
Standard Rate: Category 6 (50k points/night)

Who doesn’t enjoy Cabo!? If you’re looking for a location that’s close to home but not too far, and served by several airports offering non-stop flights from the US, Cabo is an easy choice. Recognizing it’s only a short flight away, the JW has the ability to offer a quick getaway or an extended weekend.

The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort
Standard Rate: Category 6 (50k points/night)

Hawaii is near the top of the list and one of the most coveted destinations for many people. This leisure destination offers a lot of amenities but rarely at cheap rates. So why not redeem all 5 nights for the beautiful beaches and lush tropical rainforests of Hawaii.

Aegon Mykonos, Autograph Collection
Standard Rate: Category 6 (50k points/night)

It is a dream island that is the epitome of your Greece fantasies – white houses, blue roofs and a cool Mediterranean breeze. Soak it up!

The Ritz-Carlton, Bali
Standard Rate: Category 6 (50k points/night)

It’s the Ritz. It’s Bali. Eat Pray Love and you’ll have great time. 😉

Tambo del Inka, A Luxury Collection Resort and Spa, Valle Sagrado, Peru
Standard Rate: Category 6 (50k points/night)

Let’s take it to South America..if you’re interested in visiting Machu Picchu, you can’t get much closer than this. Personally, I have not stayed at this specific location but I’ve spoken to many people that rave about this hotel.

Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel
Standard Rate: Category 6 (50k points/night)

This hotel should sound familiar as I stayed here last year (MY REVIEW). Although the hotel is a bit off-the-beaten-path, I had a phenomenal time and would not hesitate to redeem my certificates at this property.

FINAL STAMP

Personally, I’d rather have 250,000 points (50,000 x 5 nights) than 5 Free night certificates up to 50,000 points.

Points are much more flexible and could be redeemed for 1 night at a 50k hotel, two nights at a 25k hotel, etc. etc. Unfortunately, when points have been offered as a welcome bonus, the largest we’ve seen to my knowledge on any Marriott card is 100,000 points.

And just in case you’re wondering, the certificate has no residual value if you redeem your FNC at a property that cost less than 50K points.

However, I can see how this offer could be useful in certain circumstances like spending 5 nights in one location (e.g. Hawaii) where hotels tend to be expensive 365 days of the year.

Don’t forget that almost every property in Marriotts portfolio is offering off-peak prices if you book by 15 October 2020.

What do you think about this card offer?

p.s. It’s worth noting that this is a card offered by Chase. In other word, to be eligible, you’ll need to make sure you’re under 5/24.

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