|Rewards Rating:||4.1 / 5|
|Annual Percentage Rate:||3.0|
|Issuer Customer Experience||4.0|
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.
All information about the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card and Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed by the issuer.
Chase Customer Service Ratings
Other Notable Features: 15 elite qualifying nights each year (qualifies you for Silver Elite status), no foreign transaction fees, trip delay reimbursement, purchase protection, baggage delay insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, trip delay reimbursement, purchase protection, Visa Signature Concierge
Cardholders looking to earn loyalty program points without paying an annual fee should squeeze a fair bit of value out of the Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card, especially since it’s one of the few no-annual-fee hotel rewards card options. The Bonvoy Bold stands offers a solid set of perks, including a fast track to silver status for Marriott Bonvoy members. That said, frequent guests of Marriott hotels hoping to stack up points toward a free hotel stay may have a hard time earning points on everyday spending.
The Bonvoy Bold card’s latest welcome bonus is a notable step down from the card’s previous limited-time offer. New cardholders can now earn 30,000 points after $1,000 in purchases within the first three months with the card.
Based on Bankrate’s latest point valuations, which peg the value of Marriott points at around 0.7 cents apiece on average, we estimate the current bonus is worth around $210 in Marriott hotel stays — a relatively typical value for a no-annual-fee rewards card, but somewhat subpar compared to competing no-annual-fee travel cards’ welcome offers.
The previous limited-time bonus offered 50,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first six months, plus 50,000 points after staying six eligible paid nights at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy® (through Jan. 31, 2024). The up to 100,000 total points would have been worth about $700 at the same point value. However, the current bonus is the exact same as the intro bonus that came before this limited-time offer, so an easily-obtainable 30,000 points is a worthwhile offer if you were already considering the Bonvoy Bold.
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 0.7 cents per point by Bankrate’s latest estimates. This is certainly not the lowest value for a hotel rewards program, but there are a small number of hotel brands with more valuable rewards.
With that in mind, depending on your spending habits, you may be able to rake in a bit more rewards values if you spring for the premium Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card or a general-purpose no-annual-fee travel 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 7,000 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.
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 or room upgrades, since the value of most other redemption options tend to be much lower.
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, the 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.
Transferring Marriott points
Another great feature of Marriott points is that you can transfer them to 39 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 (at a rate of 10,000 bonus miles for every 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points transferred).|
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.
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.
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.
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 2022 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 4.4 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® Credit Card
Hilton Honors American Express Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
|Rewards rate||Rewards rate||Rewards rate|
Earn three Free Night Awards (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
80,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first three months.
60,000 points if you spend $4,000 in the first three months
|Other things to know||Other things to know||Other things to know|
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 and award nights. The Bonvoy Boundless card offers a more valuable bonus and a much better rewards rate than the Bonvoy Bold card, making it a more lucrative option, even with the annual fee considered. You also get a free night award each year with the Bonvoy Boundless card – worth up to 35,000 points – and a faster path to Gold status each year (you must spend $35,000 on the card to qualify) from the automatic Silver Elite status the card already provides.
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 all other eligible purchases. You can rack up free hotel stays faster with the Hilton Honors card, while still avoiding an annual fee.
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: 5 points per dollar on travel purchased through the Chase portal, 3 points per dollar on dining and 2 points per dollar on other travel 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 the sign-up bonus to earn points towards 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 $1,000 in the first three months to earn the card’s 30,000-point welcome offer.
- Use the card for all your Marriott purchases to earn the full rewards rate.
- Consider switching to a second card for non-Marriott purchases, since the general purchase rewards rate is low.
- Add an authorized user to your card to earn Marriott points on their purchases.
- When possible, refer a friend to Marriott Bonvoy for potential referral bonus rewards.
- 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.
- Use your points for stays in five-night increments to earn a fifth night free.
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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