Should You Get the No Annual Fee Marriott Bonvoy Bold Card?

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Chase just launched an increased signup bonus on the no-annual-fee Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card. Marriott's entry-level rewards card now features a signup bonus of 50,000 points, complimentary Silver Elite status, and no foreign transaction fees. Even better, it's the only no-annual-fee Marriott credit card available to members.

In this post, we'll share how the card stacks up against other options. Also, we will (attempt to) clarify the complicated rules that determine who is eligible for the current offer.

The Current Bonvoy Bold Card Offer

Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card
Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card
Annual Fee$0
Welcome Bonus Limited Time Offer! Earn 50,000 Bonus Points after spending $1,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Limited Time Offer! Earn 50,000 Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card from CHASE® with no annual fee!
  • Earn 3X Bonvoy points per $1 spent at over 7,000 hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy™.
  • 2X Bonvoy points for every $1 spent on other travel purchases (from airfare to taxis and trains).
  • 1X point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Receive 15 Elite Night Credits annually, qualifying you for Silver Elite Status. Restrictions apply.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Earn unlimited Marriott Bonvoy points and get Free Night Stays faster.
  • 3X points for every $1 spent at over 7,000 participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels
  • 2X points on other travel purchases (from airfare to taxis and trains)
  • 1X point on all other purchases

The Bonvoy Bold is not as feature-rich as its Marriott co-brand stablemates. But, there are still a few benefits that add value—especially for a card that doesn’t charge an annual fee.

You’ll also have access to a range of travel and purchase protections courtesy of Visa. These include baggage delay insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, and trip delay coverage that kicks in after delays of 12 or more hours or an overnight stay.

Where Does The Bonvoy Bold Card Fit in Marriott’s Card Lineup?

The Bonvoy Bold is one of four Marriott co-brand cards. Two are issued by Chase:

And, the other two are issued by American Express:

As the only no-annual-fee Marriott card, the Bonvoy Bold sits at the bottom of the ladder both in benefits offered and the number of points earned:

  • 3X points for every $1 spent at 7,000+ hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy
  • 2X points on other travel purchases
  • 1X points on all other purchases

As a comparison, the other Marriott cards earn a minimum of 2X points per dollar on non-bonus spending and 6X points per dollar spent at Marriott properties. Plus, the two American Express-issued cards feature additional bonus categories. However, these Marriott cards aren't cards you want to put a lot of spend on. There are plenty of travel rewards cards providing a higher return on bonus categories and better cards for non-bonus spending.

Bonvoy Bold Application Restrictions

The terms and conditions for who can get the Bonvoy Bold are quite complicated. First, there's Chase’s 5/24 policy. This infamous policy prevents you from acquiring a Chase credit card if you’ve opened five or more new credit cards in the previous 24 months. On top of this, the Bonvoy Bold adds another layer of Marriott-specific restrictions.

Chase splits these rules into two sections; who can get the card and who can get the bonus. The rules for receiving the signup bonus are more restrictive than for qualifying for the card. It's possible you could get the Bonvoy Bold without the bonus. But, the card doesn't offer enough value to justify applying if you don't qualify for the signup bonus.

In short: if you qualify for the bonus, you qualify for the card.

We've summarized the Marriott card application rules for receiving the bonus into a more digestible format below, making it easier to determine if you qualify for the welcome offer on the Bonvoy Bold. The other cards in the Marriott family fall into one of three categories:

Cards That Don't Factor In

These are cards that don't have any impact on your eligibility for the Bonvoy Bold card at all. All of these cards are issued by Chase and are no longer open to new applicants. It doesn't matter if you have these cards now or had them in the past.

  • The Ritz-Carlton™ Credit Card
  • Marriott Bonvoy™ Credit Card ($45-annual-fee version)
  • Marriott Bonvoy Business Credit Card ($45-annual-fee version)
  • Marriott Bonvoy™ Premier Business Credit Card ($99 annual fee)

Cards You Can Have Currently

You'll need to wait 90 days after getting these cards. And you'll need to wait at least 24 months from the last signup or upgrade bonus:

  • Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card (formerly SPG Amex Business card)
  • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card (formerly SPG Amex Luxury card)

Cards You Cannot Have Currently

If you have any of these cards open, you won't be eligible for the new Bonvoy Bold card. We've noted the amount of time you need to wait after closing the card or after you received a welcome or upgrade bonus on the card.

  • Marriott Bonvoy Premier Credit Card (formerly the Marriott Premier Card) — Wait two years after last bonus
  • Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card (formerly the Marriott Premier Plus Card) — Wait two years after last bonus
  • Marriott Bonvoy™ American Express® Card (formerly the SPG Amex personal card) — Wait 30 days after closing your account with Amex

If you’re struggling to make sense of the application restrictions for Marriott cards, never fear. We’ve put together an easy-to-understand guide to walk you through different application strategies for Marriott co-brand cards and how they might affect both the card you apply for and the timing of your application.

Final Thoughts

If you’re chasing a Marriott card for the 15 elite night credits and you don’t want to pay an annual fee, the Bonvoy Bold has you covered. If you're going to build a balance of Marriott points via spending on your card or you want better perks or an annual free night certificate, you will get better value from either of the mid-tier Marriott cards or the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card.

Applying for the Bonvoy Bold will take a Chase 5/24 slot and lock you out of applying for other Marriott cards, at least for a bit. However, with the increased signup bonus and 15 elite night credits, this card is a great option if you want a card that doesn't charge an annual fee.

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Comments

  • This is a good choice for a no annual fee card. At this time hotel stays are a good choice. Unfortunately, air travel not so much.

  • It would be helpful to have some estimate of the value of these points. Is 50,000 points worth $500? $50? Something else?

    • Good question. The value of Marriott Bonvoy points depends on how you use them. You can burn them easily at a fixed rate of 0.4 cents each for flights, cars, cruises, and hotel stays. However, I’ve gotten over 2 cents per point from award stays. Most valuations of Marriott points are either 0.7-0.8 cents per point. So, conservatively, I’d value 50,000 Marriott points at $350.

  • This is really good for me. I don’t want to pay for Annual Fee with credit card. and it’s also can help me extend my Marriott points expiry.

  • This is a very worthwhile card. I wonder if they’ll say no because I had the card before it became bonvoy and had cancelled previously.

  • Data points, anyone, please? Typically, how long does it take to get a response to an application for this card?

  • Solid card to hold long term!

  • I have the grandfathered Marriott card (5+ yrs). I still use it…does that disqualify me from applying for this one?

  • I could qualify for this card but the benefits don’t outweigh this taking up a spot on the Chase 5/24. Thé annual fee cards are more than offset by the free night and higher status.

  • I recently got denied for the Bold card when pretty much nothing had changed on my credit file…bummer.
    Maybe because of COVID19 banks are getting tougher on credit card applications?

  • I would note that at present (08/2020) there are spending bonuses for certain categories on the other cards that make them more attractive in the short run. Something to consider when deciding which card to get right now.

  • This is a great promotion. I also see no drawback in signing up since there’s no fee. I don’t have any Marriott cards.

    • You’d be better off apply for the higher bonus on the Boundless card plus you’d get a free night at the end of your first year. Well worth the $95 annual fee if you are staying at Marriotts.

  • I don’t think you should. it takes up a valueable 5/24 slot

  • They should drop the confusing rules about not having this card if you that card, etc. Just let everyone get one of each if they want to and keep the elite night cap currently in place. Simple.

  • I should, I want , I deserve it this but it’s only open for Us citizens. When a global offer. ???? i am a tax payer in Us and am a Marriott lover but it is not possible to apply

  • For those who hold multiple iterations of Marriott cards, the only worth I see in this, is if it is available as a downgrade to maintain 15 nights toward status, each year.

  • Hmmm, I don’t know if this is worth it due to my 5/24 status. The bonvoy program has burned me in the past.

  • How long does it take to know if you are approved for the card?

  • Hotel brands can change from region to region, so is it wise to buy in to a chain-specific rewards program and get locked in with only that option no matter where you go?

    • Well, it is a given that Marriott has extensive coverage across North America, the British Isles, continental Europe and Asia Pacific.

  • George Peterson says:

    So if I have gold and am at 25 nights, will I be awarded another 15, putting me at 40?

    • As long as you haven’t already received a 15 night bonus from another card. The co-brand cards get you 15 nights total, regardless of how many co-brand cards you have (i.e. you can’t stack the 15 night bonuses—although that used to be possible so watch out for outdated info.) If your 25 nights are from actual stays, you’re good to go.

  • Is 50K Marriott points for $2K spend the best (or close to the best) offer historically for this card? Thanks.

    • This card only launched earlier this year, and the bonus has been at 50K since the launch. So yes an all-time best, but with a limited history. If I were to guess, I’d expect this offer will end up being a relative high.

  • 5/24 makes this a no-go for us as well. Here’s hoping Chase eases up at some point.

  • Josh Kann says:

    As someone who travels relatively frequently but doesn’t often stay at hotels (partial to Airbnb), would this be a card worth getting?

    • Josh, you’ll need to have points activity every 24 months (I think) to keep that signup bonus around for when you actually need it.

      • Sandra L Garner says:

        Wow. I missed that in the fine print. Does that mean, if I get the no-fee card, qualify for the 50KPoints bonus, and then hold onto the points, I risk losing them if I don’t use them within 2 years? Please clarify,

        • Every time you use the card, you’ll get more points, which will reset the expiration clock. Expiration only happens if you have no activity for 2 years. Options to keep your account active here: https://awardwallet.com/blog/do-marriott-points-expire/

          • Ragnar Rice says:

            I applied and was approved for the Bonvoy bold card. I only have cards with no annual fees. However, the free night every year, makes up for the annual fee. How can I upgrade my Bonvoy bold card to a Bonvoy boundless card.

          • JT Genter says:

            You can call the number on the back of your Bold card to ask Chase if you have an offer to upgrade. However, you will probably want to sign up for the Boundless card directly so that you can earn the full sign-up bonus.

  • I don’t want to squander the 5/24 so I will pass on this and look into the other cards

  • It has its place in a card lineup but more relevant is the timing and order in securing other cards and the points you need/use most.

  • Need some Marriott points to book a 5 night award stay (& get that 5th night free) but don’t want another AF. Considering this as a backup overseas card that keeps my points active, just not sure I want to use my 5/24 on it.

  • I think that I will go ahead and apply for this card! I would like to start dipping my toes into Marriott points.

  • With the 5/24 restriction, I’d be cautious to take this card and apply for card with more benefits.

  • Too complicated rules. customers do not have the patience to look into this BS. Hope someone at Chase is looking at these comments.
    If you want a high valued customer, make things simpler and not complex.

  • No fee is tempting, but the bother with Marriot CS, not so much/

  • I rarely use my SPG card, or I guess its a Marriott now. Ive been considering closing it now that ive used my free night. This would be great if I can qualify since then I could use it here in Canada – I want one with no transaction fees for other travel also. Hummm I should give them a call, just in case.

  • charles j says:

    If you’re under the 5/24 and can get it, I see no reason to get closer or over the 5/24 for this.

  • Would recommend waiting for a better signup bonus offer on cards requiring an annual fee.

  • Goodness. “It’s possible you could get the Bonvoy Bold without the bonus, but the card doesn’t offer enough value to justify applying if you don’t qualify for the signup bonus.” And, thus the application strategy is needed. Certainly don’t want to risk the time, without being certain of securing the bonus. Goodness.

  • It great that it’s a NO Fee card so I may consider it.

  • I would rather give my 5/24 slot to a less chaotic program atm.

  • The main benefit I see is that it’s one of the only no-annual fee cards with no foreign transaction fees.

  • Not thrilled with Chase so we won’t go with this one.

  • Elizabeth says:

    Chase has changed the strategy of applying for their cards with 5/24. One has to pick the best for them. They have a lot of no fee cards already that become more rewarding with one premium card to transfer to.

  • The Arts Traveler says:

    A good offer, but I am passing on it at this time. I used Marriott to transfer to Lufthansa and there is now and issue with that. Who knows what the next issue will be? BTW using Miles and More from the USA to CPH is only 52,000 miles plus $5.60. A great deal rarely discussed on here or anywhere.

  • B1BomberVB says:

    They sure do love alliteration! It catches my attention because I got the nickname “Double-B” years ago because of my ambition to someday reach the “BB” skill level of volleyball–but I never made it.
    Seriously, I’m either sticking with my Premier Plus ( = Bonvoy Boundless) Visa or switching to the Hyatt Visa.

  • Definitely not worth a 5/24 slot

  • Not the card for me for sure but always love no annual fee cards with significant signup bonuses. The bottom line is that annual fees make a lot of casual observers (including many of my friends and family) shy away from this hobby. Sometimes a card like this gives them a taste of the possibilities and expands their horizons — and that’s good!

  • With the Chase 5/24 rule I will take a pass on this credit card!

  • I guess I should have waited and not gotten the business card. This one is great for the 15 free nights with no fee.

  • FYI – There’s a typo in your conclusion: “and you don’t want to wear an annual fee”.

  • “Absurdly complex Marriott card application rules” – very well said!

  • I think I am going to get it.
    Need more Marriott points…

  • I’m still unsure if I will pick up this card. I think that it may be a good first step to earning Marriott points, but I want to hit the minimum spend that I’m working on currently first.

  • Thanks for the post. I for one am tempted to add this card in lieu of the Chase Marriott Business card. I got it last June, so only 12 months, and I’m guessing that would invalidate the bonus. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

    • I think you’re correct that it is too soon. The T&C are worded “from the time you earned the bonus” —which for many will be closer to 90 days after they opened the card.

  • Don’t quite qualify for this card yet. But I’m considering switching over to Hyatt.

  • Steven William Van Meter says:

    Annual fees are a big drawback. I like a card with NO annual fee.

  • Just stayed at the Marriot property Ryse in South Korea…. it was so good I am now seriously considering a Bonvoy CC

  • It’s another card for the toolbox, but obviously timing on when you buy that tool is what matters. For me, it’s not right now.

  • With all the restrictions and very little reward, this card doesnt really seem worth the trouble.

  • I have applied for the card and gotten it. For me it’s a good dip into the waters of Marriott earning. Other Marriott cards might be good later if I can see that Marriott will be worth it to earn and redeem points with. I’ve heard that some people are having issues redeeming points or if they have had issues once they were at the property.

    I have seen this with other hotel companies too.

    • FWIW, I’ve never had an issue redeeming Hilton points, and there properties where we’ve stayed on points have been nothing but helpful on the extremely rare a question or concern has arisen.

    • lenin1991 says:

      I think this is a good way to look at it. I’m not huge into hotel points or confident I’ll fully utilize free nights, so a good bonus and some fringe benefits with no fee might be a reasonable start.

  • I see that it is a card for the big summer vacation travelers.

  • may be worth it to get this for the 15 elite nights per year!

  • I’ll stick with my free night cards

  • Wow! That is certainly a lot of restrictions! I definitely don’t like the extent to which Chase is squeezing us!!

  • Although I value Marriott points for their flexibility, I would not jeopardize my Chase 5/24 status with this one. But thanks for the insightful review.