Nearly all hotel and airline-branded travel rewards credit cards come with an annual fee attached, but the entry-level Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card offers a surprisingly respectable set of perks without asking anything in return.

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The Basics

The Marriott Bonvoy Bold doesn't have an annual fee, but you can still get a 30,000 point welcome bonus after you spending just $1,000 on purchases in the first three months.

Unsurprisingly, the card earns bonus points for every dollar you spend at over 7,000 participating Marriott hotels, though you'll only earn 3x points per dollar, compared to the 6x offered by the $95/year Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card, which we reviewed here. You'll also earn 2x points per dollar on other travel purchases, and 1x point on everthing else (compared to the Boundless's 2x points on all non-Marriott purchases).

The Points

Marriott Bonvoy points aren't the most valuable in the travel industry, with an estimated valuation of .8 cents each according to The Points Guy. But on the flipside, with over 7,000 participating properties worldwide, and off-peak award nights starting at just 5,000 points, they're also some of the easiest to use, no matter where you travel.

All Marriott Bonvoy rewards members earn 10 points per dollar on eligible hotel stays, but just by holding this card, you'll be a Bonvoy Silver Elite, which bumps your earnings up to 11 points per dollar, in addition to the 3x points you earn from the card.

The Perks

While the Bonvoy Bold lacks an annual free night award like its $95/year sibling, it does include the same 15 elite credit nights per year, automatically. That qualifies you for Bonvoy Silver status right off the bat (normally earned at 10 nights per year), and gets you more than halfway to Gold status (25 nights per year). That alone is a terrific reason to get this card.

Otherwise though, there's not much to see here. You won't have to pay any foreign transaction fees, which is nice for a no-annual-fee card, and it comes with a pretty standard collection of travel insurance offerings, but you won't get any flashy benefits here, which is to be expected.

Why Apply?

If you stay at Marriott properties more than once or twice per year, our advice is to apply for the $95/year Bonvoy Boundless, if only for the annual free night award. But if you're staunchly opposed to annual fees, then the Bonvoy Bold holds a unique position in the travel rewards space. 3x bonus points on eligible Marriott purchases and automatic Bonvoy Silver status are a solid combination for a card that'll cost you zero dollars out of pocket, as long as you pay off your balance every month.


Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Photo: The Points Guy