Best for: Marriott fans who want to qualify for elite status without paying an annual fee
For fans of Marriott hotels and frequent business travelers, the Marriott Bonvoy Bold credit card is an easy way to qualify for silver elite status with the hotel chain without having to pay the annual fee that comes with the higher-tier Marriott Bonvoy Boundless credit card.
The basics of the Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card
Best ways to use this card
As a new cardholder, one of the best ways to use the Marriott Bonvoy Bold is by spending enough to score the welcome bonus — in this case, $2,000 in the first three months of opening your account. The 50,000 points is worth around $400 in free hotel stays alone.
Although you have a variety of redemption options at your fingertips, redeeming rewards for a standard room at one of Marriott’s 6,500+ hotels around the world will get you the most value. To stretch your points even further, book your stay in increments of four or more nights to get the fifth night free and check the Marriott PointSavers website for discounted rates before you make your reservation.
Of course, you should try to maximize the points you earn by using the card to pay for all Marriott purchases. Because the earnings rate on everyday spending is low, you might consider adding a separate credit card for other expenses like gas and groceries. For example, the Citi Double Cash Card lets you earn 2% cash back every time you swipe — 1% when you buy and 1% when you pay for those purchases.
With no foreign transaction fees, the Marriott Bonvoy Bold is also an excellent card to take with you while traveling overseas.
In a nutshell
A large welcome bonus makes the no-fee Bonvoy Bold credit card a good option for beginners who don’t want to do a lot of legwork to earn free Marriott hotel stays or to achieve silver elite status with the hotel chain’s loyalty program.
However, the overall earnings rate leaves much to be desired, especially when you consider that the higher-tier Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card offers double the points on the same types of purchases in exchange for a $95 annual fee. The Boundless, though, does come with an annual free night certificate worth up to 35,000 points, which more than outweighs the added cost of membership.
If you’re not beholden to a particular hotel chain, you may want to look to a travel credit card such as the Wells Fargo Propel American Express®. Like the Bonvoy Bold, the Propel has no annual fee but offers strong rewards in several categories, including 3x points on dining out, travel, gas stations, certain streaming services and more. Depending on your spending habits, you might find it easier to rack up a significant points balance with the Propel or another general travel rewards card.