Who Is This Credit Card Best For?
Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain See more cards
Hits the road often, whether for work or play See more cards
Loves to explore places and experience new things See more cards
Frequently shops with a particular merchant and wants to be rewarded for their loyalty See more cards
If you like staying at Marriott hotels when you travel, you have a lot of choices of credit cards to help you maximize your spending there. There are currently four Marriott cards available, including business cards.
If you travel a lot and enjoy the finer things in life, we’d steer you toward one of the cards with more perks and rewards (and an annual fee). If you don’t travel quite so often and you just prefer a bed to sleep in when you do, the Marriott Bonvoy Bold might be a good option. We’d also especially recommend it to people who aren’t interested in paying any annual fees, and who have good to excellent credit.
Good welcome bonus
Automatic Silver status
Restricted earning opportunities
Rewards can expire
- Decent welcome bonus: If you spend at least $1,000 with the card in your first three months, you’ll get a 30,000-point bonus, which we calculate has an average value of $333 when used for hotel stays. This bonus is about average compared with those offered by other no-annual-fee hotel cards.
- Automatic Silver status: You’ll get credit for 15 “elite night” stays each year, which will automatically boost you up to the silver elite level. This gives you free Wi-Fi and late checkouts, and earns you 10% more points for hotel purchases, among other things.
- Restricted earning opportunities: Other no-annual-fee hotel cards offer many extra ways to turn everyday purchases into more rewards. But with the Marriott Bonvoy Bold card, the only way other than Marriott stays to earn more bonus points is by spending on other travel, which might be hard to do if you don’t jet-set a lot in the first place.
- Rewards can expire: You’ll need to earn or redeem Bonvoy points (which can include using this card to earn points) at least once every 24 months to keep the account active. Otherwise, your accumulated points will expire. That’s not that unusual for a points or miles program—but coupled with the limited earning opportunities, this isn’t a good card for infrequent travelers.
Bonus for New Cardholders
To earn the card's welcome bonus, you’ll need to spend at least $1,000 on your card within the first three months after you get the card. If you can do that, you’ll get a 30,000-point credit into your account. By our math, that’s worth about $333, which is about average compared to other annual fee-free hotel card bonuses, and should get you at least one award night.
This offer likely isn’t available to you if you’ve had one of the other Marriott cards recently. That’s often the case with sign-up bonuses, but it bears repeating here because the Marriott Bonvoy Bold is a popular card to which people downgrade if they want to keep a Marriott card, without paying the annual fee that accompanies other cards.
Earning Points & Rewards
The bonus on this card is good, but once you’re back to earning normal rates with this card, it’s rather disappointing. You’ll earn 3 points per dollar spent with Marriott, 2 points per dollar spent on other travel purchases, and 1 point per dollar spent on everything else.
Many other hotel cards allow you to earn points on groceries, gas, and other non-travel spending that you can redeem for free stays, but not the Marriott Bonvoy Bold card. So although this is a good card to choose if you don’t travel much (or at least enough to warrant a higher-priced card), you can’t rack up points as fast as with other co-branded hotel cards.
That said, you can earn additional points with Marriott Bonvoy travel partners, such as Hertz rental cars and cruise companies, although you don’t need to be a cardholder to do so.
Most people will probably use their points toward free stays at Marriott properties, and that’s where they have the greatest value. According to our math, each point is worth 1.11 cents on average when redeemed in this way. A single night’s stay can set you back anywhere from 5,000 points to 100,000 points, depending on what category the property is in (categories range from 1 to 8), and whether you’re traveling on off-peak, standard, or peak travel dates.
If you don’t have enough points for a full night’s stay at your desired hotel, the cash+points payment feature allows you to redeem some points for a discounted rate. You can use this option once you’ve accumulated as few as 1,500 points, and can also use it for airfare (starting at 10,000 points), car rentals and vacation packages.
You can also transfer your points to one of more than 40 airline loyalty programs, and Marriott will also give you an extra 5,000 points for every 60,000 points you transfer over to another program. However, the transfer ratio is 3 points to 1 mile for most programs.
Finally, Marriott also allows you to redeem your points for a few other options, including TSA Precheck, airport lounge passes, on-site food and activities at Marriott properties, room upgrades, online shopping, gift cards, and donations. With many of these options, your points won’t go as far, however. For example, when used for donations, points are valued at about 0.40 cents each.
If you’re a member of both Marriott Bonvoy and United MileagePlus, your Bonvoy points could go 10% further when redeeming for RewardsPlus air and hotel packages, or converting to MileagePlus miles.
How to Get the Most Out of This Card
Use this card when you’re staying at a Marriott property. If you’re redeeming points for more than four nights, you’ll get one free night as part of the “Stay for 5, Pay for 4 Award,” so that may be a good way to use your points.
But if you’re really looking to amplify your free travel, you’d be better off pairing this card up with a no-annual-fee cash-back rewards card because they typically offer a better return on everyday purchases than this card. You can then use those points for whatever rewards you want, Marriott stays or otherwise.
Depending on whether you’re approved for a Visa Platinum or a Visa Signature card, you may have these particularly good perks available to you:
- Insurance coverage for trip delay: Receive reimbursement for up to $500 per person if your trip is delayed by 12 hours or more, such as from weather or equipment problems.
- Elite hotel status: You’ll get credit for 15 qualifying nights each year, which bumps you up to silver elite status.
- Insurance coverage for lost or delayed luggage: Receive reimbursement for up to $100 per day (for five days) for baggage delays, or up to $3,000 for lost baggage.
- Travel accident insurance: Accidental death or dismemberment coverage of up to $500,000, when you use your card to pay for air, bus, train or cruise tickets
- Concierge for booking event tickets, travel, and other services
- Rental car collision insurance (secondary to your own policy)
- Insurance for stolen or damaged purchases
Chase ranks just below average in a 2020 J.D. Power survey of customer satisfaction among credit card issuers. If you need help with your account you can get a hold of someone through a secure messaging system in your account, by visiting a local Chase branch, calling up customer support, or even through social media channels.
Chase also has a tool called Credit Journey that gives you access to your free credit score, credit monitoring, and a credit score simulator that shows how actions you take could impact your score. (You don’t have to be a Chase customer to use Credit Journey.)
Chase offers standard things like secure logins and account alerts if anything’s fishy with your account. It also offers one feature we really like—the ability to lock and unlock your card from the app. But aside from that, it’s relatively humdrum.
The Marriott Bonvoy Bold doesn’t charge excessive fees, with the exception of a 5% balance transfer fee, which is on the higher end of transfer fees. It does not charge a foreign transaction fee, which helps if you plan to use it overseas.