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TPG Readers Weigh In: Which Premium Card Would You Choose?

Jan. 07, 2018
5 min read
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We've compared the perks and protections across premium credit cards to attempt to see which comes out on top, but really the best pick for you depends on what benefits you value the most. If you're going to pay $450 (or more) a year for a card, it better be giving you bonus points where you spend the most and deliver you valuable extras like annual travel credits you can use and access to a chain of airport lounges that you frequent.

So let's see which cards fit the bill for readers. Here's where alliances were drawn when we asked you to pick one premium card above all the rest over in the TPG Lounge. (Some comments have been lightly edited for clarity.)

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Chase Sapphire Reserve

Image courtesy Hyatt
Transfer Ultimate Rewards points earned with the CSR to partners like Hyatt. Image courtesy of the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar.

"Chase Sapphire Reserve for the win! Best earn rates and transfer partners. I just spent a week in the Bahamas at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar all with Chase UR points — it would have cost $5,300 but it just cost 120,000 points and didn't spend a dime of my own!" — Rob M.

"Chase Sapphire Reserve is my favorite card. I love that the $300 annual statement credit for travel includes parking garages, toll roads, taxis and Uber and Lyft, in addition to airline and hotel charges. I love transferring Ultimate Rewards points earned on my Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and Chase Freedom (especially the quarterly 5x points offers of the Freedom card) to my CSR account where points are worth more when using them to reserve travel directly from the Ultimate Rewards portal." — Ann Marie W.

"CSR. We use the Priority Pass lounge benefit every time we fly. I also filed a trip cancellation claim last month and they processed and paid out the claim without any hassle." — Kathy R.

Citi Prestige

The Citi Prestige's 4th Night Free benefit can save you a bundle, especially at expensive properties like Amanpulo in the Philippines.
The 4th Night Free benefit can be a game-changer at ultra-expensive properties like Amanpulo. Image courtesy of the hotel.

"Citi Prestige. That 4th Night Free perk is a GAME CHANGER. I used to stay about 3 nights in a city and then move on with my itinerary, but since utilizing the Prestige card I've thoroughly enjoyed staying 4 nights now and slowing down some." — Nelson M.

"I love Citi Prestige's 4th Night Free benefit since I travel Sunday night - Thursday afternoon for work every week. My client reimburses me for all 4 nights that I paid for so I get to pocket the 4th night rebate. I get thousands of extra dollars per year that way!" — Shaina G.

"Citi Prestige. The 4th Night Free makes me significant money back each year. Plus I love the trip protection. Not in love with the airline partners but have used points with great success on Singapore business, which is amazing." — Lara H.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

One of the Amex Platinum's most popular benefits is Centurion Lounge access. Image courtesy of the Centurion Lounge at PHL.

"Amex Platinum, because of the 5x points on airfare [and on hotels booked through Amex Travel] plus the automatic Gold status with Hilton, SPG and Marriott. Not to mention the lounge access!" — Danny A.

"The Business Platinum Card® from American Express. With Delta Club, Centurion Lounge and other lounge access, a $200 annual airline fee credit and Gogo passes it pays for itself." — Scott P. (Note that the personal version of this card only offers Boingo hotspot access.)

"American Express Platinum. Simply because they were the first one to approve me for a premium card. It works with more airlines, which I like. Also 5x the points when I book flights and hotels. I like their points offers, and their customer service has been very patient and answered all my questions even when I bombard them with questions." — Donna V.

Other Picks

"I’m still ecstatic with my United Club Card. Amazing how fast the miles pile on with this card - far more than just with actual flights. Wish I’d listened to you sooner!" — Donna P.

"Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express because I'm so Delta-oriented and it gets me 30,000 MQMs (so, I'm Platinum instead of Gold), free companion flight, Delta Sky Club access, MQD waiver, upgrade priority in tiebreaker situations and more." — Hugh H.

Finally, for those of you who are curious, we tallied which cards got the most love on the TPG Lounge post and here were the results as of late afternoon on Thursday, January 4, 2017:

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve: 58 responses
  • Amex Platinum/Business Platinum: 32 responses
  • Citi Prestige: 6
  • Amex Centurion: 3
  • Delta Reserve: 1
  • United MileagePlus Club Card: 1
  • United Presidential Plus Card (no longer available): 1
Featured image by Your best options to buy AAdvantage miles.

TPG featured card

Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 10X points
10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on air travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

60,000 points
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

Annual Fee

$550

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
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.

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on air travel and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 50% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on air travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • 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.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on air travel and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 50% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more