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Compare the Features and Benefits of Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card and
United℠ Explorer Card

Detailed Comparison Overview

Key Facts
Annual Fee
Avg. Min. Credit Score
Ongoing APR
Balance transfers fees
Best Multiplier
Avg. Point Value
(Learn More)
Bonus Offer
Rating
Review
Key features
Unique Card Benefits
Trip Protections
Travel and Emergency Assistance Services
Purchase Protection
Extended Warranty
No Foreign Transaction Fees
Free Access to Credit Score
Grants Hotel Status
Earns Transferable Points
Secondary Car Rental CDW Waiver
No Fees for Authorized Users
Free Checked Bags
Airport Lounge Access
Priority Boarding
Global Entry / TSA PreCheck Reimbursement
Primary Car Rental CDW Waiver
Concierge Services
Annual Fee
$0
Avg. Min. Credit Score
670-850 *
Ongoing APR
20.24%-27.24% (Variable)
Balance transfers fees
-
Best Multiplier
3x Hotels

Earn 3X at Marriott Bonvoy properties booked direct. Earn 2X on all other hotel bookings.

2x Groceries
2x Streaming Services

Select Streaming services

2x Cable / Internet / VOIP Phone
1x Everything Else
Avg. Point Value
(Learn More)
$0.006
Bonus Offer
Earn 60,000 Points + 1 Free Night after spending $2,000 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months from account opening. 1 Free Night valued up to 50,000 points. Certain hotels have resort fees.
Rating
YBCC Card Rate Stars Filled
YBCC Card Rate Stars Empty
(3.4) Our Review

Our ratings are determined by the authors and editors on our team. Each individual card feature is compared against all other cards we offer and the total score is an average of those 4 ratings.

Review

There’s a Marriott credit card for everyone, and the Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card is the most affordable one of the bunch. The main standouts of the card are that there’s no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees. Whether you’re a travel newbie or want to downgrade your Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card with a $95 annual fee, the Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card is best for those wanting to avoid extra fees that come with other Marriott credit cards.

But when it comes to benefits, the Marriott Bonvoy Bold underperforms compared to its more expensive family members. It offers just 5 elite night credits (as compared to 15 with the Boundless, which qualifies you for entry-level Silver elite status in the Marriott Bonvoy program. At this level, you’ll be earning 10% bonus points on Marriott purchases and priority late checkout, which won’t move the needle for most travelers looking for real added-value benefits at hotels.

marriot-bonvoy-bold

On the flip side, the earning rate at Marriott presents quite a sizable return. Thanks to the complimentary Silver elite status, you’ll be earning 14x total points on purchases at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy in the following fashion: 10x points for holding a Marriott Bonvoy member account, 3x points with the Bonvoy Bold credit card, and 1x points for Silver elite members. Although still, with the Boundless card you’d earn 6X at Marriott and therefore 17X total points.

On everyday expenses, the rewards rate is less impressive as Marriott Bonvoy points aren’t as valuable as other loyalty currencies. We estimate that Marriott Bonvoy points are worth 0.6 cents each. In that sense, the Marriott Bonvoy Bold offers 2x points (1.2% return) on each dollar spent for select streaming, and internet, cable, and phone service purchases, and 1x (0.6% return) points on all other eligible purchases. You can certainly do much better with another travel rewards card or another Marriott Bonvoy credit card.

Although Marriott Bonvoy points have been devalued over the years, the good news is that they can be redeemed for Marriott’s enormous portfolio worldwide. As the largest hotel chain in the world, you’d be hard-pressed not to find a Marriott hotel no matter where you’re traveling. Another solid option of Marriott Bonvoy points is to transfer them at a 3:1 ratio to more than three dozen airline loyalty programs.

As a co-branded card with Chase, the Marriott Bonvoy Bold does excel in offering a number of travel and purchase protections, which can be quite valuable if you’re stuck in a travel emergency. Finally, card members can activate a DoorDash DashPass membership for one year, if enrolled by December 31, 2024. This can be a great way to save money on food delivery fees and find extra value from this no-annual-fee card.

In all, the Marriott Bonvoy Bold is not the most compelling option out there, but it provides two main purposes. First, if you need an introduction to the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program but don’t want to pay an annual fee, this card can help you earn Marriott points on eligible purchases. Finally, this Chase card is a good downgrade option if you were thinking about canceling the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card.

If you’re thinking about other options, be sure to compare the options in Marriott’s portfolio — there are 4 other cobranded cards to consider! If you’re searching for a general rewards card that will help you save on travel no matter the airline or hotel brand, the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card is a fantastic option. With no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees, the Capital One miles earned on the card are worth 1 cent each toward travel and more, or they can even be transferred to Capital One’s airline and hotel partners for more value.

Read more
Unique Card Benefits
yes
Trip Protections
yes
Travel and Emergency Assistance Services
yes
Purchase Protection
yes
Extended Warranty
yes
No Foreign Transaction Fees
yes
Free Access to Credit Score
yes
Grants Hotel Status
yes
Earns Transferable Points
yes
Secondary Car Rental CDW Waiver
yes
No Fees for Authorized Users
yes
Free Checked Bags
no
Airport Lounge Access
no
Priority Boarding
no
Global Entry / TSA PreCheck Reimbursement
no
Primary Car Rental CDW Waiver
no
Concierge Services
no
Annual Fee
$0 Introductory Annual Fee for the first year, then $95
Avg. Min. Credit Score
670-850 *
Ongoing APR
21.99%-28.99% (Variable)
Balance transfers fees
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Best Multiplier
2x Airfare

On United flights only; otherwise earn 1X

2x Dining Out / Food Delivery
2x Hotels
1x Everything Else
Avg. Point Value
(Learn More)
$0.012
Bonus Offer

Earn 60,000 United MileagePlus® Miles after spending $3,000 on qualifying purchases in the first three months of opening an account, plus the Annual Fee waived for the first year. Offer ends August 7, 2024.

Rating
YBCC Card Rate Stars Filled
YBCC Card Rate Stars Empty
(4.05) Our Review

Our ratings are determined by the authors and editors on our team. Each individual card feature is compared against all other cards we offer and the total score is an average of those 4 ratings.

Review

The United Explorer is one of the best credit cards out there for occasional United flyers. That’s because you’ll get useful perks, such as free first checked bags, priority boarding privileges, a 25% food and beverage discount on board United operated flights, and even get a taste of airport lounge access with two anniversary United Club passes. Plus. the annual fee is waived the first year, then just $95 thereafter.

Consider this scenario: Even if you only fly United a couple of times per year, the Explorer Card is worth it for the free checked bag benefit alone. Keep in mind, this applies to the primary card holder and one companion on the same reservation, as long as you use the card to pay for your ticket. At $35 for one checked bag, and $140 for a round-trip flight for two people, it’s easy to get value that exceeds the card’s annual fee.

In addition to the sign-up bonus earned after account opening, the United Explorer card earns a decent 2X miles on United Airlines purchases, 2X miles on dining, including eligible delivery services, 2X miles on hotel stays when booked with the hotel and 1x miles on all other purchases. Also, the card helps to fast track your United elite status goals with 500 Premier Qualifying Points (PQPs) for every $12,000 you spend on purchases (up to 1,000 PQPs in a calendar year). These PQPs can be applied toward your Premier status qualification — up to the Premier 1K level.

And don’t forget the ability to earn PQPs towards elite status from spend. You’ll earn 25 Premier Qualifying Points (PQPs) for every $500 you spend on purchases – up to 1,000 PQPs per year.

If you’re in need of extra miles besides flying on United flights, keep in mind that Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred to the United Mileage Plus program at a 1:1 ratio to help you top up your miles balance.

While the United Explorer card is a fantastic option for the occasional United flyer, those that travel more often with the airline might want to consider other options, including United’s other, more premium, credit cards.

In more simple terms, the Explorer card fits the “occasional United flyer” once or twice per year mold, while the $250-per-year United Quest fits the “semi-frequent United flyer.” Then, there’s the United Club Infinite Card for the “frequent United flyer.” If you’re looking for a United Club membership and need more than just two one-time passes, you’ll probably be better off with the United Club Infinite Card, which comes with a full United Club membership but also charges the highest annual fee of the United cards at $525.

Read more
Unique Card Benefits
yes
Trip Protections
yes
Travel and Emergency Assistance Services
yes
Purchase Protection
yes
Extended Warranty
yes
No Foreign Transaction Fees
yes
Free Access to Credit Score
yes
Grants Hotel Status
no
Earns Transferable Points
no
Secondary Car Rental CDW Waiver
no
No Fees for Authorized Users
no
Free Checked Bags
yes
Airport Lounge Access
yes
Priority Boarding
yes
Global Entry / TSA PreCheck Reimbursement
yes
Primary Car Rental CDW Waiver
yes
Concierge Services
yes

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