Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card review

Published: June 19, 2019

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Published: June 19, 2019

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Ratings Policy
Rewards Rating:
3.1 rating
3.1 rating
3.1 / 5
Rewards Value: 2.1
Annual Percentage Rate: 2.0
Rewards Flexibility: 4.2
Features: 3.0
Customer Experience 3.6

In a Nutshell:

For fans of Marriott hotels, the Marriott Bonvoy Bold card is a reasonable option for earning extra Marriott points and qualifying for elite status without having to pay an annual fee, though the card’s rate for earning points is measly.

Learn more about this card

Rewards Rate

  • 3 points per dollar spent at Marriott Bonvoy properties
  • 2 points per dollar on other travel purchases
  • 1 point per dollar on all other purchases

Sign-up Bonus
50,000 points if you spend $2,000 in 3 months

Annual Bonus
None

Annual Fee
$0

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$276

APR
18.24-25.24% (variable)

Pros

  • Marriott offers the world’s largest hotel network covering most destinations.
  • Generous sign-up bonus for a no-annual fee card.
  • Transfer points to 40+ airline partners at a pretty good ratio (mostly 3:1).
  • Marriott offers a good Cash + Points option, allowing you to redeem fewer points for a night.
  • No annual fee.
  • Fast track to silver elite status with Marriott, for no annual fee.

Cons

  • Marriott points are inflated – the card is not as generous as it seems.
  • The card’s overall rate for earning points is really low.
  • You have to keep your account active (one use at least every 24 months) to avoid losing your points.
  • Though Marriott technically doesn’t have blackout dates, it can be difficult to find availability during busy periods.
  • Redemption options outside of room awards have a very poor value.

Customer Experience

Other Notable Features: 15 elite qualifying nights each year (qualifies you for silver status), no foreign transaction fees, trip delay reimbursement, purchase protection, baggage delay insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, trip delay reimbursement, purchase protection, Visa Signature Concierge

Great news for cardholders looking to earn loyalty program points without paying an annual fee: Chase has launched a new no-annual-fee Marriott card into a space that is currently lacking no-annual-fee options.

The new Marriott Bonvoy BoldTM Credit Card comes with a generous sign-up bonus and a decent set of perks, including a fast track to silver status for Marriott Bonvoy members. Unfortunately, for frequent guests of Marriott hotels hoping to stack up points toward a free hotel stay, the Bonvoy Bold card offers limited opportunities for earning additional points.

Read on to see why you should consider other options before applying for the Bonvoy Bold card:

Sign-up bonus

One of the best reasons to apply for the new Marriott Bold card is its sign-up bonus. The Bonvoy Bold card is offering 50,000 points to new cardholders who spend $2,000 on purchases in the first three months of opening. This is a valuable offer for a no-annual-fee card, which we estimate to be worth around $400 in Marriott hotel stays. Marriott hasn’t announced an end date for the offer, but it will likely not be around for long, so you should apply soon if you don’t want to lose out on the points.

Earning points

One of the main drawbacks of the Marriott Bonvoy Bold card is its earning rate. While you don’t have to pay an annual fee with the card, you earn far fewer points with the Bonvoy Bold card than you would with a premium hotel card: only 3 points per dollar on purchases at Marriott properties, 2 points per dollar on travel and a mere 1 point per dollar on other purchases.

What are Marriott points worth?

Compounding the low earning rate is the fact that — like most hotel points — Marriott points are a bit inflated, worth only 0.8 cent per point by our estimates. When we consider how much an average cardholder would spend in the Bonvoy Bold card’s spending categories, and then multiply that rate by the point value, we figure that the average cardholder would earn around 0.9 cents per dollar that they spend with the card. This an extremely low earning rate, putting the rewards earning power of the Bonvoy Bold card below most other hotel credit cards, including the no-annual-fee Hilton Honors America Express Card:

Marriott Bonvoy Bold card comparison

In other words, if you are hoping to use a credit card to rack up hotel points, you may be better off springing for the no-fee Hilton card, or paying the annual fee for the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card.

Marriott hotel network

On the plus side, the Marriott Bonvoy Bold card gives you plenty of travel options. Marriott currently offers the world’s largest hotel network, covering more than 6,900 properties in more than 100 countries, with hotel brands ranging from midlevel properties such as TownePlace Suites to luxury brands such as St. Regis. Your points should cover you for almost any destination or hotel type.

Redeeming points

Another plus to the Marriott Bold card is the flexibility of its points – your points generally don’t expire as long as you earn or redeem points with the Marriott program every 24 months, and, Marriott gives you a variety of redemption options, including standard room nights, room upgrades, Cash + Points, cruises, car rentals and more.

However, as you can see from the chart below, you’re best off redeeming points for hotel nights, since the value of most other redemption options is poor:

Marriott redemption options

Point Value (cents)
Standard rooms 0.8
Upgraded rooms 0.7
Cash + Points 0.6
Point transfers Varies by the airline you use
Travel packages Varies by the airline you use
Instant redemption 0.2
Cruises 0.4
Car rentals 0.4
Marriott Moments Varies
Merchandise 0.4
Donation 0.3

Aside from standard room nights, you can get decent value on room upgrades with Marriott points (where available). Marriott also offers a Cash + Points option, allowing you to redeem fewer points for a hotel night and to cover the remainder of your bill with cash. This allows you a little more flexibility with your points, though it’s only available at some properties, and you’ll need to do the math to make sure you’re getting a good value on your points, as the value can sometimes be terrible.

Marriott doesn’t officially impose blackout dates on its standard room awards; however, availability of standard rooms is one issue you’ll need to watch out for with the Marriott program. Some properties choose to restrict the number of award rooms by reclassifying their rooms. Some Marriott members report that they have trouble booking award nights for popular times or destinations. If you have a destination in mind for your Marriott points, you might want to check availability for that destination before you apply for the Marriott Bonvoy Bold card.

How many Marriott points do you need for a free night?

Depending on the class of hotel and whether you intend to travel at a peak or off-peak time, a standard room night with Marriott may cost between 5,000 and 100,000 points. A top-tier room during peak season can be extremely expensive. You can really stretch your points with rooms in the lowest levels, but these are difficult to find in desirable locations. Most likely, you will pay between 15,000 and 30,000 points for a lower-tier hotel.

Marriott standard room rewards

Category Off-peak rewards Peak awards
1 5,000 10,000
2 10,000 15,000
3 15,000 20,000
4 20,000 30,000
5 30,000 40,000
6 40,000 60,000
7 50,000 70,000
8 70,000 100,000

See related: Best ways to redeem Marriott points

Transferring Marriott points

Another great feature of Marriott points is that you can transfer them to more than 40 airline loyalty programs, mostly at a 3:1 ratio. While you’ll generally get a lower value for point transfers than for using points for standard room nights, it’s a convenient option in case you need to top off a loyalty program balance or you want to move your points out of the Marriott program.

Tip: United MileagePlus members may find extra value in Marriott’s point transfer option. Marriott is a special partner with United MileagePlus and offers a 10 percent bonus on point transfers to MileagePlus accounts.

15 elite qualifying nights

The Bonvoy Bold card includes 15 elite qualifying nights each year of membership. The first 15 nights are deposited into your Marriott loyalty program account within 60 days of opening your card, and you receive the next 15 nights each year by March 1. Your elite qualifying nights automatically qualify you for silver elite status with Marriott, which comes with valuable perks, including a 10 percent boost on your base point earnings, late checkout and Marriott’s Ultimate Reservation guarantee. The card also puts you more than halfway toward the 25 elite qualifying nights required to earn gold status with Marriott.

Approval odds

The Bonvoy Bold card is recommended for customers with good to excellent credit (a score between 670 to 850). Additionally, applicants may be subject to Chase’s 5/24 rule, which restricts cardholders from earning a sign-up bonus on a new card if they have opened five or more cards in the past 24 months. Before you apply to earn the Bonvoy Bold’s bonus, make sure you aren’t running over Chase’s application limit.

Other benefits

For a no-annual-fee card, the Bonvoy Bold card comes with a good set of travel and purchase protections:

  • No foreign transaction fee – You can use the Bonvoy Bold card on purchases outside the U.S. without incurring a foreign transaction fee.
  • Baggage delay insurance – Chase will reimburse you for essential purchases for baggage delays over six hours, up to $100 per day for five days.
  • Lost luggage reimbursement – If your luggage is lost or damaged on a flight funded by the card, you’re covered up to $3,000 per passenger for you and your immediate family members.
  • Trip delay insurance – If your trip is delayed more than 12 hours or requires an overnight stay, Chase may reimburse you for meals and lodging expenses, up to $500 per ticket.
  • Purchase protection – Your purchases with the card are covered for theft and damage for up to 120 days and up to $500 per claim.
  • Visa Concierge – The Visa Signature concierge offers 24-hour complimentary services for Bonvoy Bold members.

While these are valuable benefits, the card is lacking some notable features, including trip cancellation insurance. If you are looking for a more robust set of travel protections, you should consider a premium travel card.

Customer service

The Bonvoy Bold card is issued by Chase, which has a better-than-average reputation for customer service, ranking fourth out of 11 major issuers in J.D. Power’s 2018 Credit Card Satisfaction survey. Chase offers round-the-clock customer service, ensuring you can get ahold of an agent whenever you need one, and a mobile app that rates well with its customers, scoring 4.6 out of 5 on the Google Play Store and 4.8 out of 5 on the Apple Store.

One drawback on the customer service side: Chase doesn’t include a chat feature on its website, so you’ll need to dial in if you need an agent.

How does the Marriott Bonvoy Bold card compare to other cards?

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card
Hilton Honors card
Hilton Honors American Express Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Rewards rate

  • 6 points per dollar at Marriott Bonvoy hotels
  • 2 points per dollar on other purchases
Rewards rate

  • 7:1 Hilton hotel stays
  • 5:1 U.S. restaurant, U.S. supermarket and U.S. gas station purchases
  • 3:1 general purchases
Rewards rate

  • 2 points per dollar on travel and restaurant purchases
  • 1 point per dollar on general purchases
Sign-up bonus

75,000 bonus points if you spend $3,000 in first 3 months

Sign-up bonus

75,000 points if you spend $1,000 in first 3 months

Sign-up bonus

60,000 points if you spend $4,000 in first 3 months

Annual fee

$95

Annual fee

$0

Annual fee

$95

Other things to know

  • Annual free night certificate worth up to 35,000 points
  • Earn gold status with Marriott each year you spend $35,000 on the card
Other things to know

  • Automatic silver status with Hilton
Other things to know

  • 25% higher point value when redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards
  • Primary car rental insurance in U.S. and abroad
  • 1 cent per point value when redeemed for a statement credit

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless

While you have to pay a $95 fee for the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card, the fee may be worth it if you want to earn more Marriott points. The Bonvoy Boundless card offers a larger sign-up bonus than the Bonvoy Bold card and a much better earning rate, making it more valuable than the Bonvoy Bold card, even with the fee considered. You also get a free night award each year with the Bonvoy Boundless card – worth up to 35,000 points – and automatic gold status each year you spend $35,000 on the card.

Hilton Honors American Express card

If you’re seeking the best hotel card that you can get for no annual fee, the Hilton Honors card from American Express may be the way to go. The Hilton Honors card gives you automatic silver status with Hilton with similar benefits to the Bonvoy Bold card, and a much higher earning rate: 7 points per dollar on Hilton hotel stays, 5 points per dollar on U.S. restaurant, gas station and supermarket purchases and 3 points per dollar on everything else. You can rack up free hotel stays faster with the Hilton Honors card, while still avoiding an annual fee.

Chase Sapphire Preferred

If you want to earn points toward travel, you may be best off skipping a hotel card altogether and going with a flexible points card, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred. In addition to a generous sign-up bonus of 60,000 points for spending $4,000 in the first three months, the Sapphire Preferred card offers a higher earning rate than the Bonvoy Bold card: 2 points per dollar on travel and restaurant purchases and 1 point per dollar on everything else. Furthermore, the points that you earn with the Sapphire Preferred card are much more valuable: You get a 25 percent boost on your point value when you redeem through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal for travel, making points worth 1.25 cents apiece.

And Chase gives you ultimate flexibility in how you redeem your points: You can redeem them as statement credits for any travel purchase or through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards portal. You can transfer points to a variety of airline partners at 1:1 rate, or you can redeem them for cash back at a value of 1 cent per point.

Who should apply for the Bonvoy Bold card?

  • You stay frequently with Marriott and you’re leery of paying an annual fee for a premium Marriott card.
  • You want to snag a large sign-up bonus for a free hotel stay.
  • You want a fast-track to silver status with Marriott for no annual fee.
  • You want to score a lot of points that you can transfer to an outside loyalty program.

How to use the Bonvoy Bold card

  • Spend at least $2,000 in the first three months to earn the card’s bonus.
  • Use the card for all your Marriott purchases to earn the 3x bonus.
  • Consider switching to a second card for non-Marriott purchases, since the earning rate is low.
  • Add an authorized user to your card to earn Marriott points on their purchases.
  • Refer a friend to the Bonvoy Bold card to snag 2,000 bonus points.
  • Shop through the Marriott Shop My Way portal to score extra Marriott points on your online purchases.
  • Check the Marriott PointSavers landing page frequently for discounted award nights.

See related: Best ways to earn Marriott points

Is the Marriott Bonvoy Bold card worth it?

For no annual fee, the Marriott Bonvoy Bold card offers a good option for earning extra points on your Marriott stays while getting a fast track to silver elite status with the Marriott Bonvoy program. However, if you really want to stack up points toward travel, the card is far from your best option. Most cardholders will be far better off paying the annual fee for the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card or opting for a premium travel card such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

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