Middle Age Miles

Keep or Cancel – Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless – and Did We Get a Retention Offer?

chase marriott bonvoy boundless visa credit card keep cancel product change retention offer call
Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Visa

Executive Summary

After the $95 annual fee posted recently on our Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card (Boundless), we analyzed the costs and benefits of the card, as always, and we made retention calls to Chase.

In summary:

  • We decided to keep the card and pay the $95 annual fee
  • A single key benefit – a Free Night Award for a Marriott hotel at up to 35,000 points – made this card a keeper
  • We did not receive any retention offer on the card

Background of our Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card

We’ve held this card for about 3½ years. When we acquired it, it was the Chase Marriott Rewards Visa. A little over a year ago, we accepted an offer of Marriott points to convert the card to Marriott Rewards Premier Plus. That card was renamed in early 2019, and it is now the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card.

During the one year since our previous annual fee posted, we spent about $2,500 on the card, mostly during a single month when we charged a couple of Marriott hotel stays during a period when we could earn bonus points based on spend.

Basics of the Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card

The Boundless card is a mid-tier card. In the division of Marriott co-branded cards between Chase and Amex earlier this year, Amex got the premium card (the Brilliant), and Chase got to keep this mid-tier card. Basics of the Boundless card and key benefits include:

  • Annual fee: $95 (not waived first year)
  • Current sign-up bonus: 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy points when you spend at least $5,000 in purchases within 3 months
    • This is a limited time offer, but with no stated expiration date; the standard offer has been 75,000 points
    • At our baseline value of 0.7 cents per Marriott point, the sign-up bonus is worth about $700
    • Remember that there are significant eligibility limitations on acquiring this card and qualifying to receive the sign-up bonus – check the Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card offer page and click on “Offer Terms” for more details
    • Also, this card is subject to the Chase 5/24 Rule
  • Points-earning and bonus categories:
    • 6x Bonvoy points on spend at Marriott Bonvoy hotels (4.2% return, at our baseline value of 0.7 cpp)
    • 2x Bonvoy points (1.4% return)
  • One Free Night Award after each year’s account anniversary, good for any Marriott hotel at up to 35,000 points
    • The award certificate is placed in your Marriott Bonvoy account only after you pay the annual fee
      • The T&Cs say to allow up to 8 weeks from your account anniversary for your certificate to post. As of today (10/23/19; 53 days after our annual fee posted), we have still not received our certificate. Here is our timeline:
        • Annual fee posted on 9/1/19
        • Statement closed on 9/9/19
        • Annual fee paid on 10/2/19
  • Automatic Marriott Bonvoy Silver elite status
  • Earn Marriott Bonvoy Gold elite status by spending $35,000+ on the card during your cardholder year
  • 15 elite night credits each year that you hold the card, awarded on or before March 1 or each year
    • This is a benefit of many Marriott co-branded cards; however, the benefit does not “stack” if you have multiple cards – rather, the maximum you can receive is 15 nights per year, regardless of how many Marriott co-branded cards you hold
  • Travel & purchase protection benefits when you pay with the card
    • Baggage delay; lost luggage reimbursement; trip delay reimbursement; 120-day purchase protection
    • These have become more important recently, as Citi and Barclays have cut many travel & purchase protection benefits
  • No foreign transaction fees

Apply for the Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card – Referral Link

The current 100,000-point sign-up bonus on the Boundless card is really quite excellent, if you’re eligible for the card. As we mentioned, at our baseline value of 0.7 cents per Marriott point, it’s worth about $700. And if you cherry-pick your redemptions, it can be worth even more for at least a couple of very nice hotel nights.

If you’d like to apply, we’d very much appreciate if you’ll use our referral link:

Keep-or-Cancel Analysis

Let’s start with our own personal keep-or-cancel analysis. We believe it makes sense for us to pay the $95 annual fee and keep the card, even though pretty much the only value-add benefit for us is the 35k Free Night Award. We expect to get at least $200 in value out of the Free Night, even with the recent Marriott devaluations, so we’re happy with that trade-off.

As for the card’s other benefits, for us:

  • Points-earning is not best-in-class for any category, even at Marriott hotels.
    • We can earn 3x Ultimate Rewards (UR) points at Marriott by paying with our Chase Sapphire Reserve card. At our baseline value of 1.5 cents per UR point, that’s a 4.5% points rebate, compared to the 4.2% we’d earn with this card. Alternatively, we have other Marriott co-branded cards where we could earn 6x Marriott points.
    • On unbonused spend, we can earn 2x Membership Rewards with an Amex Blue Business Plus (3.0%) or 2x ThankYou Points with a Citi Double Cash (2.5%), either of which easily exceeds the 1.4% we’d get by earning 2x Marriott points on this card.
  • We are already Marriott Bonvoy lifetime Gold (and currently Titanium; probably Platinum next year), so the elite status benefits from this card don’t help
  • Because we have other Marriott co-branded cards, we’d be getting the 15 elite night credits regardless of whether we keep or cancel this card
  • We’d use our Chase Sapphire Reserve for the same or better travel & purchase protection benefits (or certain Amex cards for flights, beginning 1/1/2020), while earning a higher points return on our spend

In addition, we don’t have any ability to close this card and churn it. For at least the next year, we’re ineligible under the Chase 5/24 Rule. Beyond that, we’re also currently ineligible for a new bonus based on our Amex Marriott co-branded card holdings.

For people who don’t hold a Chase Sapphire Reserve and/or don’t hold any other co-branded Marriott card, the decision process becomes even more strongly in favor of “keep,” because some of these benefits can become quite useful – as long as you’re going to be able to use the 35k Free Night Award certificate.

Product Change Options

We believe there are 2 product change options for this card – the premium JPMorgan Chase Ritz-Carlton Visa card (RC Visa), and the no-fee Marriott Bonvoy Bold card (Bold).

The RC Visa is a high-end card with an annual fee of $450. You can’t apply directly for it any longer, but our understanding is that you can product-change into it from a Boundless card. If you don’t already have a RC Visa card, you might seriously consider a product change to it. We’ll have our annual love-fest article extolling the tremendous value we get from the RC Visa card soon. In the meantime, if you want to know more, check out our article from last year:

The Bold card has no annual fee but very limited points-earning – 3x Marriott points for spend at Marriott hotels (2.1%); 2x on other travel purchases (1.4%); 1x on everything else (0.7%). Ouch. Don’t put any spend on this card. The only reason to hold the Bold card is for the annual 15 elite night credits, which qualify you for at least Silver status. But note that holding this card will also disqualify you for new sign-up bonuses on the Boundless card, plus it may have an impact on your ability to get a sign-up bonus on Amex Marriott co-branded cards.

Neither of the product change options made sense for us.

Did We Get a Retention Offer?

Well, no. We called the customer service number on the back of our Boundless card twice, a couple of weeks apart, and we didn’t receive a retention offer either time.

Our spend on the card wasn’t very high ($2,500 during the past year), but we have Chase Private Client status, and the first agent even referenced that on the retention call.

The agents confirmed that we could close the account within 30 days of the closing date of the statement where our annual fee posted, and the annual fee would be reversed.

The agent on our second retention call helpfully suggested that if we planned to close our card, we could transfer the credit limit to other Chase personal cards before closing the account.

We had been mildly hopeful for a retention offer. Based on data points that we’d seen, it seemed that some people had been getting offers for $100 statement credit earlier in 2019. It appears, though, that those offers were more likely back in Spring 2019, maybe up through about May, and much more unlikely after that time. Ours is yet another recent negative data point, sadly.


For us, this was a simple keep-or-cancel decision – keep the card and pay the $95 because we think we can easily use the 35k Free Night Award for a stay we’d naturally have, that would have cost us at least $200. That’s a win in our book.

For example, in the past year, we used 35k Free Night Awards plus $70 and $100 cash upgrades for suites in The Hotel Lucerne, Autograph Collection. These redemptions gave us value of more than $500 each for our certificates, compared to the paid rates on our dates. For more information on using Free Night certificates plus cash for suite upgrades, see our popular article:

Lobby of The Hotel Lucerne, Autograph Collection

We’ve also seen a couple of modest bonus point promotions on this card in the past year, one of which we utilized to earn a few extra points. We’ll hope to see one or more valuable spend-based promotions like this within the next year.

We hope this article helps you with your own decision on whether to keep, cancel or product-change the Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card. Keep it for the free night (or maybe even product change it to the Ritz Carlton Visa card!).

What do you think about the Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card and our keep-or-cancel analysis? What other factors should people consider in their own keep-or-cancel decisions? Please share with us and other Middle Age Miles readers in the Comments!

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4 thoughts on “Keep or Cancel – Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless – and Did We Get a Retention Offer?

    1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

      Hi Hilario – Good question. I don’t know offhand and I don’t recall seeing any DPs on this. Seems like it should be possible given that we’ve read successful DPs of Boundless-to-RC conversion.

      If you can’t do it directly, maybe you could do it in 2 steps – Bold-to-Boundless and then Boundless-to-RC.

      If you try it, please let me know what you learn. Thanks! ~Craig

      1. HILARIO

        Thanks! Unfortunately it’ll be awhile (a year at least) because I’m still in the process of deciding to apply for a chase Marriott card or a CIP lol.

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