Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card Review

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Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card Review

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"Great choice for Marriott Bonvoy loyalists!"

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Casual travelers who like to frequent properties that are part of the Marriott Bonvoy collection of brands may want to consider the Marriott Bold card.

The Marriott Bold card rewards cardholders for their Marriott stays and gives them a boost towards Marriott elite status.

Pro's

  • 3x points per $1 on Marriott Bonvoy purchases
  • 2x points per $1 on other travel purchases, then 1x on all other purchases
  • 15 Elite Night Credits, qualifying you for Silver Elite status
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No annual fee

Con's

Card Snapshot

The Ideal Cardholder

The Park Central San Francisco Bedroom View
Stay in SoMa at the Park Central San Francisco. Image Credit: Marriott

The Marriott Bold card would be the ideal option for those looking for a hotel credit card and those who enjoy staying in Marriott-branded hotels but do not want to pay an annual fee.

Silver Elite Status

The 15 elite night credits you receive from this card is enough to earn you Silver Elite, and while that status may be the lowest status level in the Marriott Bonvoy program, it is certainly better than having no status at all.

Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite comes with perks like:

  • Priority late checkout, based on availability
  • 10% bonus on Marriott points
  • Access to exclusive phone lines for booking reservations
  • Compensation if Marriott can’t honor your reservation

The most notable benefit here is the extra 10% in point earnings on your Marriott stays, and it’s worth mentioning that this applies to points earned through the hotel, not through the credit card.

This bonus amounts to a total of 11 Marriott points per $1 on your Marriott stays, up 1 point from the base membership level.

15 Elite Night Credits

So what are elite night credits exactly? Not to be confused with free night certificates, you cannot redeem these credits for award nights — they exclusively count towards your status. With that said, a 15-night jump towards the next status tier can be extremely beneficial.

Since you’re starting each year with 15 nights just for holding the card, you’re automatically going to qualify for Silver Elite status — but why stop there? For example, Gold Elite status and Platinum Elite status require 25 nights and 50 nights a year, respectively.

This means, with your automatic 15 elite night credits, you will only actually need to stay 10 nights each year to earn Gold Elite status, and 35 nights each year to earn Platinum Elite status.

No Annual Fee

It is no secret that there are many great travel rewards cards available, but more often than not they usually come with some sort of annual fee — usually ranging between $95 to $550!

So while the Marriott Bold card doesn’t offer as many benefits as cards that do offer annual fees, it’s a great option for casual travelers who don’t travel often enough to make an annual fee card worthwhile, but still want to earn Marriott points.

Great Card If

Don't Get If

  • You’re not a fan of Marriott-branded hotels or don’t travel much
  • You visit Marriott hotels frequently enough that one of their premium card options would be more rewarding for you
  • You prefer a card with more elite benefits like airport lounge access

Card Fees

  • Annual Fee
    • $0
  • Foreign Transaction Fees
    $0
  • Interest Rates
    • 15.99% - 22.99% Variable
  • Balance Transfers
    • 15.99% - 22.99% Variable
    • Fee: Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • Cash Advance APR
    • 24.99% Variable
    • Fee: Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.

How To Earn More Points

Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina
Use your points to stay at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina. Image Credit: Marriott

Marriott Stays

The biggest bonus category on the Marriott Bold card is, naturally, for Marriott stays. The card earns 3x Marriott points per $1 spent with the hotel chain. This represents a 2.1% return on your spend with Marriott hotels, based on our 0.7 cents per point valuation for Marriott points.

Hot Tip: Since you will automatically have Silver Elite status thanks to the 15 elite night credits, you’re going to receive a 10% bonus in base points earned for each Marriott stay. 

With your Marriott Bold card, you’ll also earn 2x points for every $1 you spend on all other purchases. This card isn’t the best option for non-bonused spending, but if you’re trying to earn as many Marriott points as possible, the 2x multiplier will certainly come in handy.

Refer-a-Friend Bonus Rewards 

You can refer your friends for Chase credit cards and earn up to 50,000 Marriott points per year — 10,000 for each friend you refer to the Marriott Bold card. To see if your card is eligible, visit the Refer-a-Friend website and enter your last name, zip code, and the last 4 digits of your credit card number.

Adding Ultimate Reward Cards

Marriott is one of the Chase Ultimate Reward transfer partners, so utilizing their cards can help you earn extra Marriott points as well!

Recommended Chase Cards (Personal)

Chase Sapphire Preferred® - This is our favorite beginners travel rewards card which currently has a limited time offer of 80,000 point bonus (highest ever!) after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Plus, this card earns 2x points per $1 on travel and dining worldwide, eligible delivery services, take out and dining out, 5x points per $1 on Lyft rides, a 12-month subscription for DoorDash DashPass, flexible point redemption options, no foreign transaction fees, and great travel insurance coverage.

This sign up bonus is worth $1,000 in travel purchases (flights, hotels, car rentals etc) when you redeem your points through Chase's travel portal, which works like Expedia. The bonus alone could get you multiple round-trip flights or hotel stays.
Chase Sapphire Reserve® - Consider this premium card if you want to get into a lot of airport lounges. The current sign up bonus is 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. You'll also get a $300 travel credit per year which wipes away a big chunk of the $550 annual fee.
Chase Freedom Unlimited® - A fantastic, no annual fee card that earns you a $200 bonus after you spend $500 in your first 3 months. Earn 5% cash-back on travel purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% cash-back on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% cash-back on all other purchases, but you won't get any travel benefits with this card.

Recommended Chase Cards (Business)

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card - this is our #1 recommended business card and right now comes with a 100,000 sign up bonus after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening. This bonus is worth $1,250 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards for travel purchases (flights, hotels etc). Pay your cell phone bill with this card to receive up to $600 in cell phone insurance coverage per year.

Earn 3x on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year, plus 1x on all other purchases—with no limit to the amount you can earn. All for an annual fee of $95.
Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card - earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening.

This no annual fee business card earns up to 5% cash-back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year, plus 2% cash-back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary.
Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card - earn unlimited 1.5% cash back rewards on every purchase made for your business.

Earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening. There's no annual fee.

Hot Tip: At Upgraded Points, we value Chase Ultimate Reward points much higher than Marriott points. So generally, we don’t recommend transferring points over to Marriott in most cases. However, there are times where it can make sense, like if you’re very close to a specific redemption or are moving points to one of Marriott’s airline transfer partners that are otherwise hard to earn.

How To Use These Points For Max Value

Once you’ve gathered a nice stash of Marriott points, you’re naturally going to want to spend them! But how can you make sure you’re getting the best value for your hard-earned points? Here are each of the ways you can redeem those Marriott points, along with which options present the best value.

Marriott Stays

It should come as no surprise that one of the top options for redeeming your Marriott points is for free stays at Marriott hotels.

One of the largest hotel brands in the world, Marriott has over 6,900 hotels, across 30 different brands worldwide. Marriott has 8 different award categories, and with the addition of peak and off-peak pricing, free nights can range anywhere from 5,000 to 100,000 points per night — offering something for every type of traveler.

Depending on where you hope to travel, and which hotels you chose to use your points with, you can receive excellent value for your Marriott points on hotel stays.

Hot Tip: Those planning to use their Marriott points for a free hotel stay would be wise to take advantage of the complimentary fifth night perk, effectively giving you a 20% points discount on all award stays!

Airline Transfer Partners

Regular readers of Upgraded Points know that transferable point currencies like American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards points are our favorite to collect due to their flexibility.

Luckily for Marriott loyalist, your Marriott points are a transferable currency, too. Marriott has a massive list of transfer partners with over 40 airlines to which you can transfer your points.

One important distinction from about Marriott points, though, is that they do not transfer at a 1:1 rate like other currencies.

Your Marriott points, for the most part, transfer at a 3:1 ratio with a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 points transferred. This means that transferring 60,000 Marriott points to Singapore Airlines would result in 25,000 miles in your Singapore KrisFlyer account.

You may be wondering, how is this a good ideal? Wouldn’t it be a pretty poor use of your points to end up with fewer points after the transfer? Not necessarily! You have to remember that not all points are created equal, and their values can vary based on the strength of their respective loyalty programs.

If you’re considering transferring your Marriott points to an airline in order to have enough for a specific redemption, or are moving them to an airline program that doesn’t have any other transfer partners, then it can make a lot of sense.

Hot Tip: A great option for Marriott airline transfer is to move them to programs with hard-to-earn mileage currencies that offer strong redemption options. Programs like Alaska AirlinesKorean Air, and Japan Airlines are great examples — their miles can be difficult to earn but provide great redemption options.

Marriott Moments

If you’re a traveler that values unique experiences then you’re in luck! You can use your Marriott points to book one-of-a-kind experiences through the Marriott Experiences portal. Experiences include culinary trips, couples-only retreats, spa getaways, and more.

Some experiences cost a set number of Marriott points while others are able to be bid on auction-style. Keep in mind that most experiences are non-refundable once you purchase them, so have your travel plans put together before purchasing.

Marriott Hotel + Air Package

Another unique option offered to those with Marriott points is to redeem your points for a Marriott Hotel + Air package. These packages aren’t quite like a standard vacation package that you may be used to.

Marriott Hotel + Air packages consist of a 7-night hotel stay plus a certain number of airline miles but do not include things like a rental car or excursions.

If you opt to use your Marriott points to purchase a Hotel + Air Travel Package, you’ll receive a certificate for a 7-night Marriott hotel stay plus a certain number of airline miles ranging from 50,000-110,000, depending on which package you choose.

Packages can range from 255,000 Marriott points all the way to 750,000 Marriott points, depending on how high of a hotel category you select, and how many airline miles you want to receive.

Hot Tip: After the Marriott/SPG merger, the Hotel + Air package redemptions aren’t nearly as valuable as they used to be, but they are still worth looking into. Depending on which package you choose, you can still earn amazing value for your Marriott points.

Marriott Shopping

Marriott allows you to shop for products or merchant gift cards with your points via the Marriott online shopping website. However, the redemption rates are generally pretty terrible and it almost never makes sense to redeem your points this way.

Bottom Line: Redeem your points either for hotel stays or via an airline transfer partner whose points are both valuable and hard to earn, like Alaska Airlines, Japan Airlines, or Korean Air.

Marriott Transfer PartnerMin TransferTransfer Ratio (Marriott > Partner)Bonus Airline Miles
for every 60k Marriott Points Transferred
Transfer Time (based on pre-merger reports)
Aegean Airlines Miles+Bonus3,0003:15,0003 days
Aer Lingus Aeroclub3,0003:15,000unknown
Aeroflot Bonus3,0003:15,00020 days
AeroMexico Club Premier3,0003:15,0004 days
Air Canada Aeroplan3,0003:15,0005 days
Air China PhoenixMiles3,0003:15,0005 days
Air France/KLM Flying Blue3,0003:15,0003 day
Air New Zealand Airpoints3,000200:1251 day
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan3,0003:15,0004 days
Alitalia MilleMiglia3,0003:15,0007 days
ANA Mileage Club3,0003:15,0004 days
American Airlines AAdvantage3,0003:15,0002 days
Asiana Airlines Asiana Club3,0003:15,0004 days
Avianca Airlines LifeMiles3,0003:15,0001 day
British Airways Executive Club3,0003:15,0003 days
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles3,0003:15,0005 days
China Southern Airlines Sky Pearl Club3,0003:15,0003 days
Copa Airlines ConnectMiles3,0003:15,0003 days
Delta Air Lines SkyMiles3,0003:15,0001 day
Emirates Skywards3,0003:15,0003 days
Etihad Guest3,0003:15,0003 days
FRONITER Miles3,0003:15,000unknown
Hainan Airlines Fortune Wings Club3,0003:15,0008 days
Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles3,0003:15,0001 day
Iberia Plus3,0003:15,0001 day
Japan Airlines JAL Mileage Bank3,0003:15,0002 days
InterMiles3,0003:15,000unknown
JetBlue TrueBlue3,0006:12,5001 day
Korean Air SKYPASS3,0003:15,0002 days
LATAM Airlines Multiplus Fidelidade3,0003:15,0002 days
Lufthansa Miles & More3,0003:15,0006 days
Qantas Frequent Flyer3,0003:15,0002 days
Qatar Airways Privilege Club3,0003:15,0003 days
Saudi Arabian Airlines Alfursan3,0003:15,000unknown
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer3,0003:15,0002 days
South African Airways Voyager3,0003:15,0003 days
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards3,0003:15,0001 day
TAP Air Portugal Miles&Go3,0003:15,000unknown
Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus3,0003:15,0004 days
Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles3,0003:15,000unknown
United MileagePlus3,0003:1.15,5003 days
Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer3,0003:15,0002 days
Virgin Australia Velocity3,0003:15,0001 day
Vueling Club3,0003:15,000

Competitor Cards

Hilton Honors American Express Card

Perhaps you want a no annual fee hotel card but prefer Hilton as your favorite chain. In that case, the Hilton Honors card would be a great option for you.

The card offers 7x Hilton points per $1 at Hilton hotels, 5x points at U.S. supermarketsU.S. gas stations, and U.S. restaurants, and 3x points on all other purchases.

Couple that with complimentary Hilton Honors Silver Elite status and the ability to upgrade to Gold Elite by spending $20,000 in a calendar year and you’ve got a pretty compelling card for a $0 annual fee.

IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card

CREDIT CARDCARD INFO
IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card

IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card
  • Earn 75,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 15 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel
  • Earn 2x points on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants; then 1 point per $1 on all other purchases.
  • No Annual Fee

Another great option for those that want a no annual fee hotel card, but prefer IHG hotels, is the IHG Traveler card.

The card earns 5x on IHG stays, plus 2x on gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants, and 1x everywhere else.

It also offers Gold Elite status with IHG hotels, 20% back on purchased points, and the fourth night free on all award stays.


For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Card, please click here.

Frequently asked questions

Is the Marriott Bold card worth it?

Depending on your situation, it could be! If you’re someone who stays at Marriott hotels often enough to find the card rewarding, but are not interested in paying an annual fee, then it might be a great option for you.

Does the Marriott Bold card charge foreign transaction fees?

The Marriott Bold card does not charge foreign transaction fees and can be used anywhere in the world that accepts Visa cards.

Do Marriott points expire?

Marriott points do expire after 24 months of no account activity. To keep them alive, you just need to a qualifying activity, like earning points with your card or redeeming them for a stay.

Is the Marriott Bold card subject to the Chase 5/24 rule?

Yes — the Marriott Bold card is subject to the Chase 5/24 rule. So if you have opened 5 or more new credit card accounts in the last 24 months, you will not be eligible for the card.

Can you transfer your Marriott points?

Yes, Marriott has over 40 airline transfer partners that you can transfer your points to.

Does the Marriott Bold card have an annual fee?

No — the Marriott Bold card does not have an annual fee.

Alex Miller

About Alex Miller

Alex has been traveling for over 25 years and from a young age was lucky enough to set out on numerous family trips all over the world, which gave him the travel bug. Alex has since earned millions of travel points and miles, mainly through maximizing credit card sign-up bonuses and taking every opportunity to earn the most points possible on each dollar spent.

Disclaimer: Any comments listed below are not from the bank advertiser, nor have they been reviewed or approved by them. No responsibility will be taken by the bank advertiser for these comments.

2 comments

  1. This will be my first credit card, do I still have a chance? When is the annual fee due?

    Reply

    • Hi Jackilin,

      We cannot say definitively whether or not you’d be approved. The Marriott Bonvoy Bold card does not charge an annual fee.

      Reply

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