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Chase was very aggressive coming out of the Great Recession, offering big bonuses to acquire good customers. And it’s no surprise to see them returning to that playbook. They have come out with attractive offers on several of their cards. My recommendation is to consider these while they’re still available.
However the Marriott Bonvoy BoundlessTM Credit Card has an especially interesting new offer: 5 free nights after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. These nights are each valid for redemptions worth up to 50,000 points, or 250,000 points total.
At my last published points valuation 250,000 points are worth $1500 (many readers argue I undervalue Marriott points because of their usefulness transferring to airlines, but since these certificates don’t offer that option let’s go with my lower value).
How can Chase do that? Their elevated offers for this card are often ‘just’ 100,000 points.
- Chase has a deal to lease Visa’s network. So marginal charges don’t cost them as much to run, and they recoup cardmember acquisition costs faster than other issuers.
- Free nights expire after a year, while points can be pooled in an account and extended. There may be some people who let certificates expire (breakage) and that reduces the average cost across cardmembers.
- Some people use them at lower value. The nights are capped at 50,000 points apiece, but you can now add points to top off for a more expensive stay. You may use them on a less expensive stay, especially to ensure you use them before they expire, so the real cost for some cardmember stays may be lower. But with the introduction of the top-off option this year that seems less true than it did in 2020 which is the only time Chase made this offer before.
Le Meridien Chiang Rai
What it comes down to is Chase’s lower marginal costs, combined with a bet than some consumers won’t take advantage of the full value of the certificates, the certificates cost less than equivalent points would. But this is still a very expensive proposition to offer and those that do make the most of it can reap really outsized value as a result.