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.
May 20, 2022

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Our Take

2.7

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.

Jump to: Full Review
Chase Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
16.24%-23.24% Variable APR
Intro APR
N/A
Rec. credit score
690-850 (Good - Excellent)
Apply now

on Chase's website

Quick Facts

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • No annual fee

  • Automatic elite status

Cons

  • No free anniversary night

  • Rewards have limited flexibility

Alternate Pick: Even More Rewards
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card
NerdWallet rating 
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card
Larger sign-up bonus, earning rate

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

NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Annual fee

$0

Annual fee

$95

Annual fee

$95

Regular APR

16.24%-23.24% Variable APR

Regular APR

16.24%-23.24% Variable APR

Regular APR

16.24%-23.24% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
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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.

Rewards earned by using the credit card are in addition to points you earn as a member of the Marriott Bonvoy program.

NerdWallet values Marriott points at 0.7 cent each. This is a baseline value, drawn from real-world data, not a maximized value. In other words, you should aim for award redemptions that offer 0.7 cent or more in value from your Marriott points.

Redemption options:

  • At Marriott Bonvoy 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.

  • For flights or car rentals.

  • For travel by transferring points to multiple airline partners, usually at a 3:1 ratio (for every 3 Bonvoy points, you'll get 1 airline mile).

APR: The ongoing APR is 16.24%-23.24% 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. 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.

• 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.

• Silver Elite status.

• 6 points per $1 spent at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels.

• 3 points per $1 on the first $6,000 spent in combined purchases each year on grocery stores, gas stations, and dining.

• 2 points per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases.

• Earn 1 Elite Night Credit towards Elite Status for every $5,000 you spend.

• Free anniversary night (valued up to 35,000 points).

• Silver Elite status.

• Free premium Wi-Fi.

• 6 points per $1 spent at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels.

• 3 points per $1 spent at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines.

• 2 points per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases.

• Complimentary anniversary night (valued up to 50,000 points).

• Gold Elite status.

• $300 statement credit for Marriott purchases.

• Terms apply (see rates and fees).

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 Discover it® Miles, which also has an annual fee of $0, could be a good option. It earns 1.5 miles per dollar spent on all purchases. Miles can be redeemed toward a broad range of travel purchases, including stays at any hotel, at 1 cent apiece. There's also a nice bonus offer.

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 bonus rewards in a variety of popular spending categories, including dining and travel. 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 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 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 card from our list of best credit cards to get.

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

on Chase's website

Methodology

NerdWallet reviews credit cards with an eye toward both the quantitative and qualitative features of a card. Quantitative features are those that boil down to dollars and cents, such as fees, interest rates, rewards (including earning rates and redemption values) and the cash value of benefits and perks. Qualitative factors are those that affect how easy or difficult it is for a typical cardholder to get good value from the card. They include such things as the ease of application, simplicity of the rewards structure, the likelihood of using certain features, and whether a card is well-suited to everyday use or is best reserved for specific purchases. Our star ratings serve as a general gauge of how each card compares with others in its class, but star ratings are intended to be just one consideration when a consumer is choosing a credit card. Learn how NerdWallet rates credit cards.