The Marriott Bonvoy BoldTM Credit Card is a basic hotel credit card. If you’re interested in getting into the travel rewards game but don’t want to commit to an annual fee, this card can be a great place to start, especially if you’re loyal to Marriott.
If you’re a more experienced traveler, though, and want to rack up more Bonvoy points fast, it may be worth it to consider other Marriott credit cards or even cards from other brands.
Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card Review
Compared to other Marriott cards, the Marriott Bonvoy Bold doesn’t offer as much value in terms of the benefits. However, the card could be worth it if you’re fee-averse and don’t travel enough to use a higher rewards hotel credit card. Plus, there is a low spending threshold to get the bonus.
Considering the Marriott Bonvoy Bold? Here’s everything you need to know about the card before you apply.
The Marriott Bonvoy Bold card offers 30,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in the first three months from account opening. Standard stays with Marriott start at 7,500 points per night, but during off-peak times, you could snag an inexpensive property at 5,000 per night, giving you up to six free nights at entry-level Marriott Bonvoy hotels with the bonus. Marriott properties include Residence Inn, TownPlace Suites, Courtyard by Marriott and SpringHill Suites.
Through the PointSavers website, you could get even more value with 20% discounts, giving you free nights for as little as 4,000 points each.
According to travel experts like The Points Guy, Marriott Bonvoy points are worth 0.8 cents apiece on average, giving the welcome bonus roughly $240 in value.
That said, the value you get from Marriott points can vary based on a number of factors, so it’s possible to get more than that, depending on how savvy you are.
One thing to keep in mind is that you cannot earn the bonus points on this card if you currently have the Marriott Bonvoy PremierTM credit card, Marriott Bonvoy BoundlessTM credit card or a Marriott Bonvoy Bold credit card.
The same goes if you’ve had one of those cards in the past and you received the new cardmember bonus on one of them within the last 24 months.
To make sure that you earn the bonus, calculate how much you need to spend in the three months from account opening to meet the $1,000 requirement — that’s roughly $333 per month — without overspending.
It’s also important to note that Marriott Bonvoy Bold cardholders can earn up to 200,000 Marriott points per calendar year by referring their friends and family members. If someone opens the co-branded card through your link, you’ll get 40,000 — that’s more than the welcome bonus, so it can be a great way to rack up points fast.
As with other hotel cards, this one offers outsized rewards on purchases made with the hotel brand. You’ll earn up to 14x points per dollar at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels — that includes 3x points per dollar from the card, 10x points per dollar as a Marriott Bonvoy member and 1x point per dollar as a Marriott Bonvoy Silver member, which you get automatically as a cardholder.
The card also offers 2x points per dollar on other travel purchases and 1x point per dollar on all other purchases you make with the card.
On the rewards front, the card doesn’t offer a ton of value. Because the average value of Marriott Bonvoy points is under 1 cent, you’re getting a subpar rewards rate on other purchases that don’t fall under the card’s bonus categories.
In contrast, many other Marriott cards, including those from Chase and American Express, offer 2x points per dollar as a base rewards rate.
Considering the card has no annual fee, though, the low rewards rates aren’t necessarily out of line with expectations.
Most of the purchases you make are eligible purchases for rewards. That said, eligible purchases do not include balance transfers, advances, travelers checks, foreign currency, money orders, wire transfers or similar cash-like transactions, lottery tickets, casino gaming chips, race track wagers or similar betting transactions, any checks that access your account, interest, unauthorized or fraudulent charges and fees of any kind, including the annual fee and foreign transaction fees.
Annual Fee and APR
The Marriott Bonvoy Bold card has no annual fee, which can be a good thing for infrequent travelers who don’t want to go all-in on a hotel credit card.
The regular APR on the card is a variable APR based on your creditworthiness. Since there is no 0% introductory APR period on purchases or balance transfers, you should plan on paying down your balance in full every month to avoid high interest charges. Otherwise, you may end up paying more in interest than you’d get back in value from the card’s rewards and other benefits.
The Marriott Bonvoy Bold card isn’t a heavy hitter when it comes to perks. But it does offer some benefits despite not charging an annual fee. Here’s what you can expect to get:
Silver Elite Status
Every cardmember year, you’ll receive 15 elite night credits, which is enough to qualify you for Silver elite status with Marriott. This status level comes with 10% bonus points when you book Marriott stays with cash, late checkout when available and ultimate reservation guarantee.
With the latter option, if Marriott isn’t able to honor your reservation, the hotel will pay for your accommodations at a nearby hotel and compensate you for the inconvenience.
For starters, the card doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, which can add up to 1% to 3% of each international purchase you make with many other cards. The card also offers a handful of trip protections, including:
- Baggage delay insurance: If your baggage is delayed by six hours or more by the common carrier — usually an airline — you can get reimbursed up to $100 per day for five days for clothing, toiletry and other essential purchases.
- Lost luggage reimbursement: If your luggage is lost or damaged by a common carrier, or it happens to an immediate family member who’s traveling with you, you can get up to $3,000 per passenger in reimbursements to replace your belongings.
- Trip delay reimbursement: If a common carrier delays your trip by more than 12 hours or requires an overnight stay, you can get up to $500 for unreimbursed expenses, such as meals and lodging.
The card provides purchase protection, which covers an item you’ve purchased with the card against damage or theft for 120 days after you made the purchase. You can get up to $500 in value per claim and up to $50,000 total over the life of your account.
The card requires that you have a good or excellent credit score to get approved. While each bank has its own criteria for determining what constitutes good or excellent credit, FICO considers a credit score of 670 or higher to be good.
You can find out what your FICO score is by registering for a free account with Experian or Discover Credit Scorecard. If your score isn’t quite where it needs to be, or you’re just barely over the line, consider taking steps to improve your credit before you submit an application for the card.
Another thing to keep in mind with the card issuer Chase is its 5/24 rule. This unofficial rule states that if you’ve opened five or more credit card accounts in the last 24 months, you’ll typically get denied for a new card from the card issuer.
Redeeming Marriott Bonvoy Points
If you’re considering this or other Marriott cards, here’s what you need to know about the Marriott Bonvoy rewards program.
How Can I Use Marriott Points?
As previously mentioned, Marriott points are worth roughly 0.8 cents apiece on average when you use them for free hotel stays. When you’re booking award stays, you can use only points or you can mix points and cash to get the stay you want.
You can even pool your points with other Marriott members, so you can maximize your redemptions with your loved ones.
It’s important to note that Marriott has several brands under its umbrella, including Ritz-Carlton.
While other redemption options generally give you less value, there are plenty of other ways you can use your points, including:
- Book flights and car rentals
- Buy experiences
- Get travel packages
- Buy gift cards
- Donate or gift your points
When Do My Points Expire?
If you don’t have any activity on your account for 24 consecutive months, you’ll forfeit your points. The good news is that using the card generates rewards points, so it’s enough to keep your account active. Once points have expired, you can’t reinstate them, even for a fee.
Can You Transfer Marriott Points?
Marriott does allow members to transfer their points to more than 30 different airlines. In other words, you can convert your points to airline miles at a ratio of 3:1 with most airlines. The only exception is Air New Zealand Airpoints, which you can transfer at a ratio of 200:1.
Example airline partners include Aeromexico ClubPremier, United MileagePlus, Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles, Korean Air SKYPASS, Delta SkyMiles and more.
Can I Transfer Points to Other Hotel Brands?
Unfortunately, no. Marriott doesn’t offer flexible travel rewards like Chase Ultimate Rewards points. This means you can’t transfer your Bonvoy points to IHG Rewards Club, World of Hyatt or any other hotel loyalty programs.
If you want the flexibility to redeem your rewards with several different hotel brands, consider a card with flexible points like the Chase Sapphire Preferred®, which is from the same card issuer as the Bonvoy Bold credit card.
Is the Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card Right for You?
The Marriott Bonvoy Bold credit card can be a decent option if you’re new to travel rewards and you aren’t quite sure about paying an annual fee.
Getting a new credit card for the bonus points is tempting, but it’s crucial that you consider the long-term value you can get with a card before you apply. With the Marriott Bonvoy Bold credit card, the fact that it has no foreign transaction fees also makes it a good credit card to take with you abroad.
The automatic elite night credits mean you don’t have to do anything to earn Silver Elite Status, and as long as you can meet the minimum spending requirement within three months from account opening, you’ll get the welcome bonus.
The card is solid for purchases with Marriott hotels, but it falls short on other purchases, where you’ll earn just 2x points per dollar on other travel purchases — not terrible but not great — and just 1x point per dollar on all other purchases.
Consider Other Cards
Despite the fact that most hotel credit cards charge annual fees, most offer more than enough value to make it worth it, even if you only travel once a month.
For example, most Marriott cards with both Chase and American Express offer a free night every year when you renew your account as a cardmember. The same goes for most other top hotel cards.
The Marriott Bonvoy BrilliantTM American Express Card® goes the extra mile by giving you a free night every year worth up to 50,000 points plus $300 in credits for stays at Marriott hotels — the American Express card does have a $450 annual fee, but you can easily make up for it with those two perks alone.
But you’ll also get a $100 property credit every year at select properties, an application fee credit for TSA Pre✓® or Global Entry, Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership, Marriott Bonvoy Gold elite status and more.
You may also want to consider a card with more flexible redemption options. With the Chase Sapphire Preferred, for instance, you can transfer your points to Marriott, IHG, Hyatt or a number of airlines, giving you more versatility. The card also offers benefits with DoorDash, including a DashPass membership and a huge welcome bonus of 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the three months from account opening.
The Bottom Line
The Marriott Bonvoy Bold credit card offers a solid welcome bonus for a card with no annual fee. But if you want a hotel credit card that will give you more ongoing value, especially if you’re loyal to Marriott Bonvoy hotels, there are better options out there.
Take your time to consider other Marriott credit cards, both with Chase and American Express, to find the best fit for you.
Also, take a look at other hotel credit cards, as well as general travel credit cards, to find the right fit for you.
In addition to considering the sign-up bonus, look at the ongoing value you can get from each credit card you review. Finally, make sure the card you choose gives you the flexibility you want. While a hotel card can be great for elite status, you’re extremely limited in how you can use your points.
As you consider each card’s features and your needs, you’ll be in a good position to choose the right credit card for you.