Editorial Review

Marriott Bonvoy Bold Review: Hotel Perks for No Annual Fee

It's a $0-annual-fee card that still earns a large sign-up bonus and elevated rewards for spending at Marriott Bonvoy hotels. You'll get automatic Silver Elite status, too — but no free anniversary night.

Sara RathnerOctober 11, 2019

At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

Our Take

3.9

NerdWallet rating 

The Bottom Line: This card is a catch for those seeking valuable Bonvoy perks — including automatic elite status — for an annual fee of $0.

Chase Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card

on Chase's website

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

17.74% - 24.74% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

Quick Facts

Annual Fee
$0
Annual Fee
$0
Intro APR
N/A

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • No annual fee

  • No foreign transaction fee

Cons
  • No free annual anniversary night

Alternate Pick: Even More Rewards

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card

Larger sign-up bonus, earning rate

Earn 75,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. You'll also earn 6 Bonvoy points per dollar spent at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels, and 2 points per dollar spent on all other purchases. A free night award every year after your account anniversary helps offset the $95 annual fee.

Read our review

Compare to Other Cards

Annual Fee

$0

Annual Fee

$95

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

17.74% - 24.74% Variable APR

Regular APR

17.74% - 24.74% Variable APR

Regular APR

16.74% - 24.74% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

0% on Purchases for 12 billing cycles

Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score

Full Review

For budget-conscious travelers seeking a hotel card with an annual fee of $0, the Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card is a strong option. It comes with attractive perks, including a sign-up bonus, solid ongoing rewards and automatic elite status. It lacks a free anniversary night — to get such a benefit, you'd have to go with the annual-fee version instead — but the card can still prove valuable, even for those who don't stay at Marriott properties frequently.

Key features of the Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card

Card type: Hotel.

Annual fee: $0.

Sign-up bonus: Earn 30,000 Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Ongoing rewards:

  • 3 points per dollar spent at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels.

  • 2 points per dollar spent on other travel purchases (such as airfare, taxis and trains).

  • 1 point per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases.

Points are worth 0.8 cent apiece on average, according to NerdWallet valuations.

Redemption options:

  • At hotels starting at 5,000 points per night for off-peak pricing. Marriott also advertises PointSavers rates, or discounts on award nights, for some properties. You can also combine points with cash to redeem for standard stays starting at $55 plus 1,500 points. When you redeem four nights' worth of points, you get the fifth night for free.

  • On additional charges during your hotel stay, including food, beverages and trips to the spa. Redeem at a rate of 250 points per dollar (or 0.4 cent per point).

  • On travel expenses like cruises and travel packages (your point values will vary based on what you book), or to cover the cost of TSA Precheck for 25,000 points. You can also transfer points, usually at a rate of 3 to 1 with a few exceptions, to participating airline loyalty programs. Bonvoy will kick in an extra 5,000 miles for every 60,000 points you transfer.

  • On a shopping spree, either by trading points for merchandise or gift cards.

APR: The ongoing APR is 17.74% - 24.74% Variable APR.

Foreign transaction fees: None.

Other benefits:

Why you might want the Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card

FLEXIBLE, FEE-FREE REWARDS

Annual fees are like subscriptions you forgot you still had — they sneak on to your credit card statement so rarely that it doesn't really feel like you're spending money. But a wallet full of rewards cards can get expensive. The $0-annual-fee Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card still earns a generous sign-up bonus that you can redeem in a variety of ways. Trade in points for hotel stays, purchases during a hotel stay, travel packages and cruises, and gift cards and merchandise.

The value you get per point will vary depending on which redemption option you choose, and generally points are worth the most when redeemed for hotel stays. Still, it's nice to have options.

AUTOMATIC Elite STATUS

This card gives you Silver Elite status, which gets you late checkout (based on availability), compensation if the hotel can't honor your reservation, free Wi-Fi, a dedicated elite reservation line and a 10% point bonus on eligible hotel purchases.

Ordinarily, to earn Silver Elite Status, you'd have to spend at least 10 nights a year at Bonvoy properties. But this card automatically gives you 15 nights' worth of credit every year, which not only makes you Silver Elite but also gives you a head start on the 25 nights you need for Gold Elite status.

The 10% bonus that comes with Silver Elite status applies to the base points earned during a stay, not on bonus points earned through your credit card. For example, say you charged a $300 Marriott hotel stay to your card and got 900 bonus points from your card and 3,000 base points from Marriott. The 10% bonus for Silver Elite status would apply to the base points earned, so you'd get an additional 300 bonus points from Marriott. In all, you'd earn 4,200 points from this purchase.

How the Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card fits into the Bonvoy family

There are three cards in the Marriott Bonvoy universe. Among them, only the Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card has a $0 annual fee. As a result, it also offers fewer perks than the others. Most notably: You don't get a free anniversary night every year, and you earn points at lower rates. For more analysis, read NerdWallet's comparison of these cards. Here’s how they stack up.

Why you might want a different card

Limited bonus categories

Don't want to mess with bonus categories? Instead of the Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card, a flat-rate rewards card could be a better fit.

The Bank of America® Travel Rewards Visa® credit card, which also has an annual fee of $0, could be a good option. It earns 1.5 points per dollar spent on all purchases. There's also a sign-up bonus: 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases. Points can be redeemed toward a broad range of travel purchases, including stays at any hotel, at 1 cent a point.

Locked into the bonvoy system

If you don't stay exclusively at Marriott Bonvoy hotels, you might not get as much value out of the Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card as you would with a general travel card with versatile rewards.

Consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which earns 2 points per dollar spent on travel and dining, and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases. You can use points to book travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal, or transfer points to airline and hotel partners (which includes Marriott Bonvoy) at a 1:1 value. It offers this generous sign-up bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. The annual fee is $95.

Should you get the Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card?

With its generous bonus and benefits, the Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card doesn't feel like "Bonvoy-lite." But for some, a more robust version of this card is the better bet, even with an annual fee. However, if you'd like the option to stay at a variety of hotels, opt for a more flexible travel rewards card.

All information about the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card has been collected independently by NerdWallet.