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Updated on Tuesday, August 6, 2019
If you want to join the ranks of Marriott Bonvoy cardholders — where you can redeem rewards points for a future Marriott hotel stay — but aren’t interested in paying an annual fee, check out the new Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card.
As of July 2019, four Marriott Bonvoy cards are open for applications, two issued by Chase and two from American Express. The Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card is the only one of those cards that doesn’t charge an annual fee, and its APR is 15.99% - 22.99% Variable.
Read: What are miles and points worth?
Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card benefits
15 elite night credits per calendar year, qualifying you for Silver Elite status. Benefits that come with Silver Elite status include priority late checkout and earning 10% bonus points on stays.
Limited Time Offer! Earn 50,000 Bonus Points after spending $1,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. Marriott hotel categories range from 1 (7,500 points) through 8 (85,000 points) — so if you’re looking at a Category 2 hotel, 50,000 points can get you four free nights, but if you’re looking at a Category 6 hotel, that’ll buy you only one night. Take a look at the “how many points you need for a hotel room” section of this article for the full list.
It’s important to note that you won’t be eligible for the signup bonus if you meet any of the following criteria as outlined by Chase.
What we like about the Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card
No annual fee. If you don’t travel enough to justify carrying a card with an annual fee, but you want to start earning hotel rewards points to redeem for free room nights, the Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card will give you a chance to test the waters.
No foreign transaction fee. If you plan to travel abroad, you probably want a credit card that charges a $0 foreign transaction fee.
Travel and purchase benefits, including:
- Baggage delay insurance
- Lost luggage reimbursement
- Trip delay reimbursement
- Purchase protection
- Visa Concierge
What we don’t like about the Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card
Half the rewards rate. This card basically earns half the points that you’d get using the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card, which allows cardholders to earn 6x points for every $1 spent at over 7,000 hotels participating in marriott bonvoy™ and 2x points on all other purchases. However, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card also charges a $95 annual fee.
No free night. With the annual-fee Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card, you get a credit for a free one-night hotel stay each year, valid for a stay at a property with a redemption value of 35,000 points or less; you don’t get that with the Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card.
How many points do you need to book a hotel room?
If you’re hoping to cover the cost of a hotel room entirely with points, you should know that Marriott breaks its participating hotels into eight categories. Here’s how many points you need in order to cover one night at a room in each category:
- Category 1: 7,500 points
- Category 2: 12,500 points
- Category 3: 17,500 points
- Category 4: 25,000 points
- Category 5: 35,000 points
- Category 6: 50,000 points
- Category 7: 60,000 points
- Category 8: 85,000 points
Alternatives to the Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card
If you want to stick with a hotel card, but Marriott’s not your preferred chain, the Hilton Honors American Express Card is a competitive choice with a $0 annual fee. Earn 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton portfolio, 5X Hilton Honors Bonus Points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations AND 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.
- Annual fee
- Rewards Rate
- Earn 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton portfolio, 5X Hilton Honors Bonus Points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations AND 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.
- Regular Purchase APR
- 15.74%-24.74% Variable
The signup bonus is 80,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Card after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. You also get complimentary Hilton Honors Silver status with this card — and if you spend $20,000 on eligible purchases in a calendar year, you get the chance to upgrade to Gold through the next calendar year. As for foreign transaction fees, there are None.
To see rates & fees for the Hilton Honors American Express Card, please click here.
However, if a general purpose travel card with no annual fee is more to your liking, the Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card is worth considering. It offers an unlimited 1.25 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day. There’s also a One-time bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within 3 months of account opening, equal to $200 in travel for this card, plus no foreign transaction fee.