60K bonus points, no annual fee: Marriott Bonvoy Bold credit card review
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Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card overview
The Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card is the entry-level option into the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program. This no-annual-fee card offers a way to start earning Marriott Bonvoy points and even gives cardholders a jump-start to earning elite status. However, it has a tough time competing with Marriott’s other cards when it comes to earning rates and ongoing perks such as free night certificates. Card rating*: ⭐⭐⭐
*Card rating is based on the opinion of TPG’s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
The Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card is a no-annual-fee card in the Marriott Bonvoy family. You get what you pay for when it comes to credit cards — consequently, the Bonvoy Bold sacrifices some earning potential and popular benefits to compensate for the lack of an annual fee.
But right now, the Bonvoy Bold is offering a sign-up bonus of 60,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. TPG values this offer at $480, which is double the traditional offer.
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Who is this card for?
The Marriott Bonvoy Bold is built for beginner travelers who are loyal to the Marriott brand, and can act as training wheels for someone just getting into the travel game who wants to reap the benefits of Marriott Silver Elite status when they stay at Bonvoy hotels. Theoretically, travelers who already own premium cards, such as The Platinum Card® from American Express, could also use the card as a way to supplement their points strategy without adding another annual fee to the mix.
Keep in mind that the Chase-issued Bonvoy Bold is also beholden to the 5/24 rule, so those who have opened five or more cards in the past two years will most likely be ineligible for the card. Equally important, opening this card will take up one of your valuable 5/24 slots with Chase — so think very carefully about whether this is the best value for you before applying.
New cardholders will earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.
Chase’s 5/24 rule isn’t the only potential roadblock for new cardholders. Marriott cobranded cards have eligibility requirements that are notoriously confusing to keep straight, and the Bonvoy Bold is no exception. The Bonvoy Bold isn’t available to current cardholders of the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card, along with previous Boundless or Bold cardholders who received a new cardmember bonus within the last 24 months.
Additionally, the bonus isn’t available if:
- You currently have or have held the Marriott Bonvoy Card from American Express (which was originally the now-discontinued Starwood Preferred Guest personal card) within the last 30 days.
- You currently have or have held the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card or the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, and received a new cardmember bonus or upgrade bonus in the last 24 months.
- You were approved for a Marriott Bonvoy Business or Bonvoy Brilliant within the last 90 days.
Main perks and benefits
The 15 free elite nights that come with the Marriott Bonvoy Bold give you automatic Silver Elite status. This level comes with a 10% point bonus on stays, priority late checkout, free in-room Wi-Fi, mobile check-in and a reservation guarantee.
- 15 elite night credits annually — It gives you a head start each year on earning a higher level of elite status.
- Baggage delay insurance — You can get reimbursed up to $100 per passenger for up to five days for essential purchases made because of a baggage delay over six hours.
- Lost luggage reimbursement — You’re covered up to $3,000 per passenger if you or an immediate family member check or carry on luggage that is damaged or lost by the carrier.
- Trip delay reimbursement — If your flight is delayed more than 12 hours or requires an overnight stay, you’ll be covered up to $500 per ticket for unreimbursed expenses, such as meals and hotel costs.
- Purchase protection — This covers your new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft (up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account).
- Visa Concierge — Visa Signature Concierge Service is available 24 hours a day to help you book entertainment tickets, make dinner reservations and more.
It’s rare to find no-annual-fee credit cards that offer baggage and trip delay coverage, making the Marriott Bonvoy Bold attractive for those who use it to pay for travel.
Earning Bonvoy points
The Marriott Bonvoy Bold earns 3x points on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program. You’ll also earn 2x on general travel purchases and 1x on everything else. Chase defines travel very broadly, so you’ll earn that 2x on purchases ranging from airlines and hotels to transit and parking.
Keep in mind that the 3x you earn on Marriott hotel stays is in addition to the points you earn through the Bonvoy program itself. Between the 10 base points you earn and the extra 10% you earn from Silver Elite status, you’re earning up to 14x total on eligible Bonvoy hotel stays with the Bonvoy Bold card.
It’s worth mentioning that these earning rates don’t compare favorably to any of the other Marriott Bonvoy credit cards, all of which offer 2x on everyday spending and 6x at Marriott hotels (in addition to a few other bonus categories), or twice as much as the Bonvoy Bold. If you have a general travel credit card such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, you’ll be better off using that card for broader travel purchases.
Redeeming Bonvoy points
As with all Bonvoy credit cards, you’ll usually get the most value from your points when you use them for award-night stays at eligible Bonvoy hotels or by transferring them to Marriott’s airline partners. Marriott’s hotels are split into eight award tiers, with nightly redemption rates running as low as 7,500 points at Category 1 hotels and as high as 100,000 points at Category 8 hotels. There are also “peak” and “off peak” seasons on Marriott’s award charts that adjust redemption rates based on “market conditions” on a monthly basis.
Beginners who may not have massive points balances for redemptions can also take advantage of Marriott’s Cash + Points redemption options, where you can use points to pay for part of your hotel stay cost and use cash for the rest.
Finally, you can also transfer your Marriott points to an impressive list of more than 40 airline partners at a 3:1 ratio. This isn’t always the best redemption option, but it is an opportunity to top off miles balances with airline programs that have no other transfer partners, such as Asiana Club and Korean Air SkyPass.
Which cards compete with the Bonvoy Bold?
The Bold’s fiercest competition comes from within the Bonvoy credit card lineup: the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card. For a $95 annual fee, you’ll get double the rewards rate on Bonvoy purchases and additional perks such as a free night award every account anniversary (worth up to 35,000 points). The additional value that comes with the Boundless makes the annual fee worth it for an overwhelming majority of travelers, making it a potential option over the Bold if you’re staying at Bonvoy hotels more than one or two nights a year.
Plus, there’s the best-ever sign-up bonus on the Boundless: Earn 125,000 bonus points and a bonus free night (valued up to 50,000 points) after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening — worth up to $1,400.
For those who are adamant about avoiding an annual fee, the Bold also has competition with other no-annual-fee hotel credit cards, such as the Hilton Honors American Express Card (see rates and fees), which offers a welcome bonus of 80,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, you can earn an additional 50,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after you spend a total of $5,000 in purchases on the card in the first six months. This bonus is collectively worth up to $780. This card also comes with a solid rewards structure for a no-annual-fee card and automatic Hilton Honors Silver elite status (with a pathway to Gold). Enrollment is required for select benefits.
If you’re not particularly loyal to Marriott, you may want to check out other no-annual-fee card options that offer much more flexibility with your rewards.
Most people are likely getting more value out of other card options, especially when you look at the current lineup of Marriott Bonvoy cards available. The rewards rates and added perks more than make up for the annual fees associated with those cards. However, true beginners (and maybe those who are against adding another annual fee to their wallet) could find solid value with the Bonvoy Bold.
Featured photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors Amex Card, click here.
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Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees