Full Review of Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card
Decent rewards for hotels and travel
Low spending requirement for one-time offer
Annual credit for Elite Qualifying Nights
Lacks free annual stay certificate
- Decent Rewards for a No-Fee Hotel Card: The Marriott Bonvoy Bold’s rewards of 3 points per dollar spent at Marriott are respectable for a card that comes at no cost, and rival those for some cards that charge a fee. With each Marriott Bonvoy point worth1.43 cents when used for stays at the chain, according to our valuation, these purchases earn more than 4 cents in value per dollar spent. At a rate of 2 points per dollar, other travel expenses earn nearly 3 cents per dollar spent. Even miscellaneous expenses, at 1 point per dollar spent, earn a respectable return of nearly a cent-and-half per dollar spent, which is the default rewards rate for some cards.
- Low Spending Requirement for One-Time Offer: This card offers a bonus of 30,000 points after you spend $1,000 within your first three months after opening an account. With those points valued at $429 when used for Marriott stays, that’s a fine return for a relatively low required spending. Other cards may offer more, but those bonuses almost invariably demand far higher spending within the same time. The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Signature Visa, for example, has a 75,000-point bonus that requires $3,000 in spending.
- Annual Credit for Elite Qualifying Nights: As a card member, you automatically receive 15 Elite Qualifying Nights every year. That’s enough to enjoy Silver Elite status in the Marriott Bonvoy rewards program, which requires 10 qualifying nights a year to earn. This bonus allows you to enjoy such benefits as member room rates and a 10% points bonus on stays—and even leaves you with 5 of the 10 qualifying nights you need to earn Gold status, which requires earning 25 such nights a year.
- Lacks Free Annual Stay Certificate: The Marriott Bonvoy Bold is the chain’s only card available to new applicants that charges no annual fee. But it’s also the only one that doesn’t provide a voucher on your card anniversary for a complimentary one-night stay at up to a mid-level Marriott property. The value of that night could easily equal, if not exceed, the $125 fee for the Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express or $95 tab for the Marriott Boundless. And these cards both offer double the rewards on Marriott purchases of the Marriott Bonvoy Bold—6 points per dollar, rather than 3.
This Card is Best For
Resists or refuses an annual fee on principle or due to cost
Seeks to maximize points or miles earnings across spending categories
Seeks the recognition and perks of branded travel partner status
The Marriott Bonvoy Bold is a card for those who have a brand preference for Marriott hotels, want to be rewarded for stays at its properties, however infrequent, and who can’t justify paying an annual fee. It can also be for Marriott customers who would rather not have to pay attention to the expiration dates for the annual stay certificates that other Marriott cards automatically provide, since the card provides none.When you do stay at a Marriott Bonvoy property, you'll receive a decent rewards rate on your purchases. You also qualify for a points bonus and other benefits (such a late checkout) through the Silver Elite status you enjoy by automatically receiving 15 Elite Qualifying Points a year through the card.
Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card Bonus
The bonus for eligible new cardmembers is 30,000 points when you spend $1,000 on the card within the first three months of account opening.
In terms of what the bonus is worth for redemption, we value it at $429 when used for Marriott stays, based on our valuation of 1.43 cents per point. Put another way, you could use the points to get up to four award nights at standard rates at a Category 1 Marriott property or a single night at a Category 4 one.
Take note that you would be ineligible for the bonus if you currently have either of the following Marriott cards or received a new cardmember bonus from one of these cards in the last 24 months:
- Marriott Bonvoy Premier credit card
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless credit card
You also don't qualify if you are or were a previous cardmember within the last 30 days of the Marriott Bonvoy American Express card, the Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express card, or the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express card.
Check the card's terms and conditions for more details on who does and doesn't qualify for the bonus.
Rewards Earning Details
The Marriott Bonvoy Bold has a fairly straightforward rewards structure. In addition to the one-time offer, you can earn rewards in one of three rates:
- 3 points per dollar on Marriott Bonvoy purchases
- 2 points per dollar on travel purchases
- 1 point per dollar on all other purchases
With over 7,000 participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels to choose from, you have plenty of options for earning three points per dollar when booking hotel stays. And since you still earn two points per dollar on travel purchases, you can also get rewarded when booking hotels other than Marriott properties.
There's no cap on the number of points you can earn with the credit card. Points earned from the credit card or through hotel stays can expire within your Marriott Bonvoy member account, however, if you do not have some account activity every two years—either by redeeming points or by earning points. But a simple points-earning purchase with the card suffices as activity on the account.
Rewards Redemption Details
There are several ways to redeem points earned with the Marriott Bonvoy Bold credit card, but doing so for award nights tends to offer the best value by far. The easiest way to see what your points could be worth is to check the Marriott Bonvoy award chart. The chart features hotels in Categories 1 through 8, with off-peak, standard, and peak redemption rates. At the low end, the minimum number of points needed to redeem for a stay is 5,000, for an off-peak visit to a Category 1 property; at the high end, it's 100,000, for a peak-season night at a Category 8 hotel.
Aside from hotel bookings, you have other options for redeeming points. Those include:
- Rental cars
- Travel packages
- Gift cards
- Charitable donations
The redemption rates for these other options are fairly dismal, however. A representative example: it takes 30,000 points to redeem for a $100 Amazon gift card. That makes each point worth about 0.3 cents each, or less than a quarter of their potential value when used for a Marriott stay. If you don't have enough points to fully book your stay, you can also combine cash and points when it's time to redeem. With the Cash + Points option, you can book award nights with as little as $55 and 3,500 points at the standard rate.
This card offers some flexibility in how you use points since you can transfer them to Marriott Bonvoy travel partners. There are more than 40 airline frequent flyer programs to choose from, including:
- Aeromexico ClubPremier
- Air Canada Aeroplan
- Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
- American Airlines AAdvantage
- British Airways Executive Club
- Delta SkyMiles
- FRONTIER Miles
- Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles
- JetBlue TrueBlue
- Korean Air SKYPASS
- Qantas Frequent Flyer
- Southwest Rapid Rewards
- United MileagePlus
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
For most partners, points transfer at a 3:1 ratio. JetBlue TrueBlue transfers at a 6:1 ratio, while points transfer to Air New Zealand Airpoints at a 200:1 ratio. While these disparate ratios might seem to represent an alarming decrease in the transferred points’ value, they’re actually anything but. For example, Air New Zealand reward flights start at a mere 125 points, achievable when transferring 25,000 Marriott points.
You can get a 10% mileage bonus when you transfer points to programs including United MileagePlus through the RewardsPlus program. Plus, for every 60,000 points you transfer you'll get a bonus of 5,000 miles. The minimum to transfer is 3,000 points per day and the maximum is 240,000 points per day.
Points can also be transferred if you need to rent a car for a business trip. For car rentals, Marriott Bonvoy partners with Hertz.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
With its highest rewards for Marriott purchases, this card is best used, naturally, to pay for stays at the chain, followed by charges for other travel costs, the next most rewarding category. And be sure, of course, to spend the relatively modest $1,000 required to earn the 30,000 point bonus.
Here are two examples of how you can make the most from this card, whether you’re a typical spender or an above-average one.
Let’s assume you spend the required $1,000 in the first three months to earn the 30,000 introductory bonus points. You then charge another $10,000 annually at Marriott hotels, $10,000 on flights and rental cars, and $10,000 on everyday purchases. Altogether, you'd earn 90,000 points in your first year with the Marriott Bonvoy Bold. You could then redeem those points for award nights, starting at 5,000 points which could potentially be redeemed for 18 nights at a Category 1 property. In all, we calculate the average value of the points earned to be $1,287.
Here, we again assume you meet the minimum spending requirement to earn the one-time offer of 30,000 points. But we then assume you are a near-continual traveler who annually charges $25,000 in Marriott purchases and $25,000 in other travel expenses. Finally, you use the card extensively for everyday spending, to the tune of $25,000 over the year. This heavy card use would earn you a massive 240,000 points during your first year as a card member. Assuming these were used for Marriott stays, at an average value of 1.43 cents each, those points could be worth $3,432.
The Marriott Bonvoy Bold credit card provides these standard benefits and features:
- Baggage-delay insurance
- Lost-luggage reimbursement
- Trip-delay reimbursement
- Purchase protection
- Visa concierge service
Chase, which issues the Marriott Bonvoy Bold credit card, received a score of 807 out of a possible 1,000 in J.D. Power's 2019 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study. That makes the carrier middling in customer satisfaction, landing just above the national average score of 806.
In terms of managing your account, you can do so online or through the Chase mobile app. Customer service support is available by phone, via secure message or at a branch. Live chat help isn't an option at this time.
This card comes with the security features you'd expect from a travel rewards credit card. Those include chip technology and the ability to set alerts to monitor suspicious account activity.
The Marriott Bonvoy Bold offers a no-annual-fee option for those who stay at the chain, and want to enjoy a few benefits when they do so. The 15 Elite Qualifying Points per year the card provides allows you to maintain Silver Elite status and get late checkout privileges, plus some other modest extras.
Unless you’re highly averse to paying a fee, however, consider one of Chase's other Marriott Bonvoy co-branded cards. For an annual fee of as little as $95, these cards provide a one-time offer of 75,000 miles, rather than 30,000 miles, and receive a voucher for a one-night stay at an eligible property. Together, those extras are conservatively worth $700 or so, a value that could more than justify the annual fee of even the priciest of the chain’s co-branded cards, the $450-a-year Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express.