Editorial Review

Marriott Bonvoy Bold Review: Loyalty at a Lower Price

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 RathnerJune 20, 2019

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Our Take

3.9

NerdWallet rating 

The Bottom Line: Ideal for Bonvoy loyalists who want a no-fee card, or who want to earn more by combining this card with the Bonvoy Boundless.

Chase Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card

on Chase's website

on Chase's website

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

18.24% - 25.24% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

recommended credit score

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 6X Bonvoy points per $1 spent at over 6,900 participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels, and 2X points everywhere else. 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 for the first year, then $95

Regular APR

18.24% - 25.24% Variable APR

Regular APR

18.24% - 25.24% Variable APR

Regular APR

17.99% - 25.24% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score

Full Review

When it comes to travel rewards cards with lots of perks, there’s generally no such thing as a free lunch (or in the case of hotel cards, a free breakfast). That yearly free night’s stay, late checkout and VIP treatment are going to cost you an annual fee. While paying for a hotel card can be worth it if you’re a frequent guest who loads up on extra bacon, annual fees can make it expensive to hold on to a card for the long term.

The Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card offers some of the same benefits as its older sibling, the $95-per-year Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card, without the annual fee.

Depending on your level of Marriott loyalty and your likelihood of offsetting an annual fee by using all of a card’s offerings, the Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card may take the sting out of pricey rewards cards.

Key features of the Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card

Card type: Hotel.

Annual fee: $0.

Sign-up bonus: Earn 50,000 Bonus Points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Ongoing rewards:

  • 3 points per $1 spent at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels.
  • 2 points per $1 spent on other travel purchases (from airfare to taxis and trains).
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases.

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

APR: The ongoing APR is 18.24% - 25.24% 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:

  • At hotels starting at 7,500 points per night (6,000 points if your travel dates are flexible and you can find a discounted room through Bonvoy’s PointSavers program). You can also combine points with cash to redeem for standard stays starting at $55 plus 3,500 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.

The value you’d get per point will vary, and generally points are worth the most when redeemed for hotel stays. Still, it’s nice to have options.

IT PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS

How do you rack up tons of points without spending a mint? Have multiple credit cards that earn points in the same loyalty program. Pair the Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card to earn a six-figure pile of points in less than a year.

AUTOMATIC STATUS HAS ITS PERKS

You’ll receive 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year, qualifying you for Silver Elite status. That gets you late checkout, compensation if the hotel can’t honor your reservation, a dedicated elite reservation line and a 10% point bonus on eligible hotel purchases. That means you would earn 3.3 points per dollar spent at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels.

Why you might want another card

YOU DON’T OFTEN STAY AT MARRIOTT BONVOY PROPERTIES

If you don’t exclusively stay at Marriott Bonvoy hotels, you won’t get as much out of the Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card as you would with a more general travel rewards card. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card earns 2 points per $1 spent on travel and dining, and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases. Plus, 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®. While there’s a $95 annual fee, you can book travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal, or transfer points to airline and hotel partners (which, incidentally, includes Marriott Bonvoy) at a 1:1 value.

YOU WANT EFFORTLESS TRAVEL REWARDS

Don’t want to think about where you can earn more and how to maximize point redemptions? The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card earns 2 miles per $1 on all purchases (plus 10 miles per $1 spent on hotels.com through January 2020). There’s also a sign-up bonus: Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel. Redeeming points is simple. After you make travel purchases, reimburse yourself with your miles using the Purchase Eraser function. Travel purchases include airlines, hotels, trains, rental cars, limos, buses, cruises, taxis, travel agents and timeshares. The annual fee is $0 for the first year, then $95.

The annual fee on a Different marriott bonvoy card is worth it

Your typical spending, especially if you stay at Marriott Bonvoy properties often, may wipe out the annual fee you would pay for the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card. You’ll earn 6 points per $1 spent at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels and 2 points per $1 spent on everything else, a free night award every anniversary year, and this sign-up bonus: Earn 75,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

To see if the rewards you would earn will offset the fee, use our calculator below:

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, the more robust version of this card is the better bet, even with its annual fee. And if you’d like the option to stay at a variety of hotels, opt for a more flexible travel rewards card.