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Is the Marriott Bonvoy Bountiful annual fee worth it?

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In September 2022, Marriott Bonvoy revamped its credit cards line-up and introduced two cards with an annual fee we’d never seen.

Broadly speaking, most hotel credit cards can be considered “basic” (carrying annual fees under $100) or “luxury” (carrying annual fees of $400 or more). However, the Marriott Bonvoy Bountiful Card from Chase has an annual fee of $250, sitting right in the middle.

At first glance, you’d probably assume that it has $150 worth of additional features when compared to the basic cards but a few things missing that the luxury cards offer. Is that true? What do you get with this not-so-common annual fee?

Here’s a closer look at what you get for the $250 annual fee on the Marriott Bonvoy Bountiful card so you can decide whether the annual fee is worth it.

Welcome bonus

New applicants can earn 125,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after making at least $4,000 in purchases on their new card in the first three months from account opening. These bonus points are worth $1,050, according to TPG’s latest valuations.

The information for the Marriott Bonvoy Bountiful card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

a hotel bedroom

If you’re looking for inspiration on great destinations for using your Marriott Bonvoy points, consider award stays at places like The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort, The West Hollywood Edition and The Ritz-Carlton, Turks & Caicos.

Skiers and snowboarders might enjoy properties like The St. Regis Aspen Resort, The St. Regis Deer Valley or The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch.

In March 2022, Marriott removed its award charts to move to a dynamic pricing system. While 97% of hotels stayed within their previous off-peak-to-peak pricing bands through the end of 2022, next year will be different. All hotels will move to dynamic pricing in 2023. This means that it can be nearly impossible to know exactly how many points you’ll need for a hotel until you sit down and try to make a booking.

Related: Ouch: It’s not just you, Marriott stays now cost more points

If you’ve had Marriott Bonvoy credit cards from Chase or American Express in the past, there are restrictions that will limit your ability to receive a sign-up bonus. Fortunately, our chart can help clarify things to help you understand which card(s) you may be eligible for.

Elite status and related perks

Bountiful cardholders receive complimentary Gold Elite status with Marriott Bonvoy each year that they have the card. TPG values Gold Elite status at $800 annually. At this level, you’ll receive benefits like upgrades to preferred rooms (but not suites), a welcome gift of bonus points at check-in and late checkout.

Cardholders also receive 15 elite night credits deposited into their Marriott Bonvoy account each year. Elite night credits are what you need to attain higher levels of status with Marriott, and you can stack them if you also hold a small-business business credit card from Marriott.

For example, if you hold the Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card, this card will give you another 15 elite night credits. Thus, you would start the year with 30 elite night credits automatically.

Related: Here’s why you need both a personal and business Marriott Bonvoy credit card

a luxury hotel bedroom

Also, it’s worth pointing out that Bountiful cardholders receive Gold status but do not start the year with the 25 stay credits normally required to reach that tier. Thus, you’ll have 15 stay credits from the credit card benefit but don’t have an additional 25 from your Gold status — meaning you wouldn’t thereby start the year with 40 elite night credits.

To qualify for Platinum Elite status — where you’ll find benefits like suite upgrades and free breakfast — you need 50 nights per year with Marriott Bonvoy. Holding the Marriott Bonvoy Bountiful card and the Amex Marriott Bonvoy Business card at the same time would put you more than halfway there, thanks to having 30 nights in your account to start with each year.

Unlike many hotel credit cards that you’re used to, there’s no path to achieving higher levels of elite status by spending lots of money on your Marriott Bonvoy Bountiful card each year. You can’t spend your way to Platinum Elite status, no matter how much money you spend on this card.

It’s worth pointing out, though, that you can get automatic Platinum Elite status with the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant®  American Express® Card, but that card comes with a significantly higher annual fee of $650 (see rates and fees).

1,000 bonus points for each stay

Bountiful cardholders receive 1,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points for each paid stay at a hotel or resort participating in Marriott Bonvoy. TPG values Marriott Bonvoy points at 0.84 cents apiece, so 1,000 points are worth $8.40. Unfortunately, these bonus points are not available on stays where you redeem points or free night awards for an award stay.

Annual free night certificate

Numerous hotel credit cards offer a free night award, deposited automatically into your account on your cardholder anniversary each year. Unfortunately, that’s not the case on the Bountiful card.

Bountiful cardholders who spend $15,000 or more on their cards during a calendar year can receive a free night award worth up to 50,000 points. Great uses for these awards include properties like the The Ritz-Carlton, Bali, JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa, St. Regis Langkawi in Malaysia and the Westin Hapuna Beach Resort in Hawaii.

Related: 13 ways to redeem the Marriott 50,000-point free night award

people eat at a restaurant deck overlooking palm trees and a beach
Westin Hapuna Beach Resort near Kona, Hawaii. JT GENTER/THE POINTS GUY

Due to the dynamic pricing mentioned above, you should perform a calendar search for flexible dates in order to find nights that cost 50,000 points or less. Typically, the most difficult times to use these free night awards will be on or near holidays, due to Marriott’s dynamic pricing model. However, if you want to use your free night award at a pricier hotel, you can do this by adding up to 15,000 points for additional redemption options.

Other cardholder perks

Earning points on the Bountiful card closely mirrors what you’ll find on other Marriott credit cards. Cardholders earn 6 points per dollar at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy, 4 points per dollar on the first $15,000 per year (then 2 points per dollar) in combined purchases at grocery stores and on dining — including takeout and delivery — and 2 points per dollar on other purchases.

Related: Marriott Bonvoy Bountiful credit card review

a hand holds a credit card

Using TPG’s latest valuations, that’s a return of 5.04% on Marriott purchases, 3.36% on dining and grocery stores and a 1.68% return on everyday spending. Those rates aren’t mind-blowing but aren’t bad for a cobranded hotel credit card.

Cardholders also have travel and purchase protections on their Bountiful cards that may prove useful. Benefits include baggage delay insurance of up to $100 per day for a maximum of five days (which takes effect after a delay of six hours or more), purchase protection for 120 days, trip delay reimbursement (which kicks in when you’re delayed overnight or for 12 hours or more) for up to $500 per ticket and lost luggage reimbursement of up to $3,000 per passenger.

Cardholders can also take advantage of Chase Offers, which can provide discounts or bonus points through targeted promotions.

Bottom line

If you’ve read other credit card reviews or “is the annual fee worth it?” articles on TPG, you’ll be surprised that the list of perks stops here for a hotel credit card charging $250 per year to keep it in your wallet.

The Marriott Bonvoy Bountiful card comes with automatic mid-tier status in a truly-worldwide hotel program, and cardholders get 1,000 bonus points for each paid stay. There are also travel protections available for cardholders and the ability to earn a free night award through spending on the card.

Absent from the list of benefits, however, are perks like lounge access and an automatic free night on your account anniversary each year — a perk many hotel credit cards offer without any spending activity required.

The Marriott Bonvoy Bountiful card offers a quality sign-up bonus that easily provides value in the first year for cardholders. However, the value in years two and beyond can be difficult to determine. Those who stay infrequently with Marriott may enjoy the complimentary Gold status, yet they may not have enough stays (and therefore enough enjoyment of the status perks) for the $250 annual to be worth it.

Those who stay more frequently with Marriott would enjoy the perks more but may also reach Gold status without needing this card. That’s especially true since cards like the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card (also from Chase) provide automatic Silver Elite status, 15 elite night credits and a free night award for just a $95 annual fee. You can also unlock Gold status with the Amex Marriott Bonvoy Business card for just $125 (see rates and fees) — and that card comes with a free night award automatically each year.

Remember that the Bountiful card is subject to the Chase 5/24 rule. If you are interested in applying for this card but aren’t able to open any additional credit cards with Chase at this time, consider the nearly-identical Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card. You can read our full review of the Bevy card here.

For rates and fees of the Amex Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Marriott Bonvoy Business card, click here.