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This upstart company just unveiled a no-annual-fee card with up to 3% back -- here's why we're intrigued

April 27 2021
4 min read
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Cryptocurrency is soaring in popularity, and the competition for crypto-earning credit cards is seriously heating up.

Instead of rewarding cardholders with cash back, points or airline miles, these cards will earn crypto -- including popular currencies such as bitcoin. While there’s no guarantee about the future value of cryptocurrencies, this type of reward has the potential to appreciate, unlike most other reward types.

The first crypto cards are set to be unveiled later this year, including ones from Gemini and BlockFi.

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Gemini, a cryptocurrency platform, is announcing that it is teaming up with Mastercard to offer a number of unique features on its new rewards credit card set to launch this summer.

The no-annual-fee card will earn up to 3% back on purchases with crypto rewards automatically deposited into the cardholders’ Gemini account. There's the option to earn any of the more than 30 cryptocurrencies available on Gemini, including Bitcoin.

(Photo courtesy of Gemini)

Category bonuses will include 3% back on dining, 2% back on groceries and 1% back on everything else. Cardholders also have the option to deposit their crypto rewards into a Gemini Earn account, a new interest-earning program, to grow their holdings further.

Interestingly, Gemini says that cardholders will also receive their crypto rewards instantly as the transaction occurs. For a crypto card, this may be particularly beneficial, since the price of rewards could appreciate over time. Instead of waiting until month's end to earn rewards, you'll get them in real-time.

You can earn 3% back on dining in the form of crypto rewarss. (Photo by Oscar Wong/Getty Images) risotto.

Related: Is earning Bitcoin with each swipe the credit card reward of the future? These cards think so

Gemini says that more than 140,000 people are already on the waitlist for this new card that will be available in all 50 U.S. states. On paper, the card appears to be a very competitive offering considering its no-annual-fee nature and category bonuses.

The sleek, metal contactless card will be available in black, silver or rose gold and will also include World Mastercard benefits such as discounts with DoorDash, HelloFresh, Lyft and ShopRunner.

In a written press release, Gemini CEO Tyler Winklevoss said, “As more consumers look to enter the crypto ecosystem, the Gemini Credit Card gives them an easy point of entry, an effortless way to earn crypto as a reward, and diversify their portfolios over time without changing their daily spending habits."

Bottom line

Gemini's rewards card offering isn't the only crypto launch happening this year. BlockFi also announced details of its crypto credit card, a $200-a-year product that will earn a flat 1.5% back. However, for now, it seems Gemini has a leg up on BlockFi, with no annual fee and up to 3% back in crypto earnings.

Of course, perennial no-annual-fee cards such as the Citi® Double Cash Card or the Chase Freedom Unlimited are some of the best on the market today, although they don't offer cryptocurrency rewards.

The Citi® Double Cash Card earns up to 2% cash back on all purchases — 1% when you buy and another 1% when you pay your bill. Meanwhile, the Chase Freedom Unlimited earns 1.5% cash back on all purchases with an elevated earning rate on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards (5%), dining at restaurants (3%) and drugstore purchases (3%).

Those earnings can in turn be converted to crypto but the process isn't nearly as seamless as what Gemini is saying it will offer cardholders. Over the coming months, we'll see if this is the card that will bring crypto even further into the mainstream spotlight.

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

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The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

Pros

  • 6x points on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
  • 4x points at restaurants worldwide, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. shipping
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases
  • Earn a free-night award each card renewal month (up to 35,000 points)
  • Receive 15 elite night credits to jump-start status
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Cons

  • Airline points transfer ratios are poor
  • Must spend $60,000 in a year for second free-night award
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best Marriott card for Business Owners
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

6X6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
4X4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
2X2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Intro Offer
    Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.

    Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 points
    75,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $125
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

Pros

  • 6x points on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
  • 4x points at restaurants worldwide, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. shipping
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases
  • Earn a free-night award each card renewal month (up to 35,000 points)
  • Receive 15 elite night credits to jump-start status
  • Transfer Marriott points to 40+ airlines

Cons

  • Airline points transfer ratios are poor
  • Must spend $60,000 in a year for second free-night award
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees