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TPG reader Christina tweeted me to ask about how to avoid blackout dates with travel rewards:
@thepointsguy — “Your thoughts please: I want a card that lets me use points anytime with no blackouts. Chase Sapphire Preferred or Capital One Venture?”
Flexibility is key these days; with airlines and hotels changing the rules, you need to have points that you can use for the travel you want, when you want it. When it comes to airline purchases, both of the cards Christina mentioned can be used to make pretty much any airline purchase.
With the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, you’ll earn 2 points per dollar on all travel and dining, and 1 point per dollar elsewhere. Those points can be redeemed for 1.25 cents apiece toward travel. However, you have to book through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal, and some airlines won’t show up there, such as Southwest and a number of smaller airlines around the world.
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card earns 2 miles per dollar on all purchases, and you can redeem those miles for 1 cent apiece toward travel purchases. Basically, the card earns 2 percent back across the board.
The beauty of Capital One Venture is that you can actually wipe away regular charges that you’ve already made, so you don’t need to book through any specific portal. You can use your card on a random little airline in the Maldives and then wipe that charge off your statement with miles, whereas you may not have been able to book that flight at all through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.
It’s still possible to book most flights with Chase, and technically you could be earning 2.5 percent back if you’re maximizing the travel and dining bonuses on Sapphire Preferred. But I think for flexibility, the Capital One Venture card is pretty hard to beat.
The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.
- Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
- Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
- 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
- 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
- Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
- Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
- $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
- Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
- $550 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees