4 Reasons the New Bonvoy Bold Card Is a Great Way to Test the Hotel Loyalty Waters

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Interested in the world of hotel loyalty but not sure if it’s right for you? You’re not alone. Although many frequent travelers understand the basics of airlines and their award programs, hotel loyalty programs can remain a mystery.

The new Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card offers a compelling way to test a top-tier hotel loyalty program with minimal investment.

You can try the program for a year and, if it seems worth the effort, double down in the following year. Or maybe you’ll learn that another program like Hyatt or Hilton better suits your preferences. At the very least, you’ll learn the basics of hotel loyalty programs and be better situated to make informed decisions about them in the future.

» Learn more: Baffled by points and miles? Let the 80/20 rule guide you

Why is the Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card an ideal card for this kind of experiment?

No annual fee = nothing to lose

Unlike many other branded hotel credit cards (including other Marriott cards), the Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card carries an annual fee of $0. That means you can get a taste of hotel loyalty perks without any risk.

The Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card doesn’t include the same benefits as those cards, such as free night certificates or travel statement credits. It does, however, offer 3x points per $1 spent at Marriott properties and 15 elite nights per travel year, which can be used to …

Get a taste of status

The free elite credits that come with the card are enough to automatically qualify for Bonvoy Silver Elite status. Unlike other similar cards that simply offer the lowest-tier status, this card gets you more than halfway to midtier status.

Silver Elite status doesn’t get you much: a 10% points bonus on hotel stays, late checkout and a dedicated reservation line. But late checkout alone can save you many headaches (and missed naps).

See what Bonvoy points are worth (to you)

The Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card currently offers this sign-up bonus: Earn 50,000 Bonus Points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

» Learn more: 3 simple ways to use 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points

That’s enough to stay one night at a luxury hotel, or a few nights at a less-luxurious one. The possibilities are plentiful, if not endless. The Marriott Bonvoy program has changed dramatically in the past few years (including adopting the name “Bonvoy”) so you might want to get a sense of where those points can take you before you dive into hotel loyalty for real.

Test your appetite for commitment

The biggest question when considering hotel loyalty is whether the perks you earn from staying loyal to a particular program are worth the inconvenience of being “tied” to one hotel chain.

The Marriott Bonvoy program has an absolutely massive global footprint: 7,490 hotels and counting. If that still feels too restricting when making your travel plans, hotel loyalty may not be right for you. Few other programs offer such a breadth of options — and many, like Hyatt, offer considerably fewer.

If standard hotel loyalty just isn’t for you, good alternatives abound. For example, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card card paired with the Hotels.com rewards program offers a stellar value without any of the restrictions of a typical loyalty program.

That said, the Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card’s $0 annual fee offers a pretty compelling reason to give hotel loyalty a shot. Worst case scenario, you’ll end up with an account full of Bonvoy points and a deeper understanding of the hotel award game.

Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice:
Find the best travel credit card for you
Travel rewards bucket list: Showering on a plane
Earn more points and miles with these 6 strategies

This article originally appeared on NerdWallet