3 credit cards that offer $500 or more in value

Jan 20, 2020

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Before I started working at The Points Guy, I had one credit card —  the “Plain Jane” card your bank issues to get you started. Little did I know there was an entire world of offers out there that would earn me valuable points and miles on all my purchases. These purchases, in turn, have put me closer to a first-class round-trip ticket to my next destination.

I’ve come a long way in the past year. I now have five credit cards in my wallet, offering awesome benefits and sign-up bonuses. The annual fees vary, but I’m undeterred. The benefits easily make up for the fees.

Here are my top three cards that offer at least $500 in value.

Credit Card Bonus Offer Bonus Redeemable Value* TPG  Bonus Valuation** Annual Fee Essential Perks
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months from account opening. Plus earn a $50 statement credit on grocery purchases in the first year of account opening. $1,000 (when redeemed through Chase Rewards) $1,650 $95 Trip delay, trip cancellation, and baggage delay insurance; auto rental collision damage waiver; purchase protection; extended warranty.
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. up to $1,000 (when redeemed as a statement credit) up to $1,400 $95 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck statement credit (up to $100); travel accident insurance; auto rental collision damage waiver; extended warranty.
The Platinum Card® from American Express 75,000 Membership Rewards Points after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first 6 months of account opening $600 (when used for eligible gift card redemptions, or eligible travel through amextravel.com) $1,500 $550 (see rates and fees) Trip cancellation/interruption insurance; Global Entry/TSA PreCheck statement credit; Centurion Lounge access; Delta SkyClub access on same-day flights; $200 airline-fee credit; $200 in annual Uber credits; $100 Saks Fifth Avenue credit ($50 biannually); Priority Pass lounge access; elite Gold status with Hilton and Marriott; auto rental collision damage waiver;  return protection. Enrollment required for select benefits.

*Redemption value through issuer’s platform

**Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer.

Should I get the Chase Sapphire Preferred?

(Photo by Riley Arthur for The Points Guy)
(Photo by Riley Arthur for The Points Guy)

Why Chase Sapphire Preferred: You may recognize this card as our top mid-tier card of 2018. It earns 2x points on dining and travel — Amtrak, Uber, Airbnb, even Lime scooters. It also offers trip delay insurance (up to $500 per ticket), $10,000 in trip cancellation insurance, and even $100 per day in baggage delay insurance.

What are the perks?: 2x points on travel and dining and some sweet travel protections that include primary rental car coverage, trip delay insurance, trip cancellation insurance, baggage delay insurance, and lost luggage reimbursement.

Sign-up bonus: 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months from account opening. Plus earn a $50 statement credit on grocery purchases in the first year of account opening. (worth $850 in cash, or $1,000 when redeemed for travel in the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal)

Annual fee: $95

Read our full card review here.

Should I get the Capital One Venture?

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Isabelle Raphael / The Points Guy)

Why Venture: This card is the universal point-earner with double miles on everything you buy. Those points will add up fast. This was my first real travel credit card, and it still holds a place in my wallet for all of those miscellaneous items I won’t earn 2x miles on from other cards.

What are the perks?: 2x miles on purchases and a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application-fee credit (up to $100)

Sign-up bonus: Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. (worth $1,400 according to TPG valuations).

Annual fee: $95

Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuationhere

Read our full card review here.

Should I get the American Express Platinum?

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)

Why American Express Platinum: This card is the cream of the crop when it comes to travel perks. My favorite advantage is access to American Express’ coveted Centurion Lounges. Complimentary drinks and food — not to mention refuge from the chaos of the rest of the airport — is always a win in my book. This card earns 5x points on flights and hotels booked through Amex travel or through any airline, and 1x points on every other purchase.

What are the perks?: Access to more than 1,200 airport lounges, including American Express Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass lounges and Delta Sky Clubs, along with Airspace and Escape lounges. You can earn a credit of up to $200 annually to cover airline incidentals like checked bag fees, change fees and inflight purchases, plus up to $200 in Uber credits each year. The card also waives foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees) and provides Gold elite status with both Marriott and Hilton. You’ll also have access to secondary car rental loss and damage insurance, extended warranty protection, return protection and purchase protection. Enrollment required for select benefits.

Earning rates: 5 points per dollar spent for flights and hotels booked through Amex Travel as well as flights booked directly through the airline; 1 point per dollar everywhere else.

Sign-Up Bonus: Earn 60,000 points after you spend $5,000 in the first three months of opening your account. (valued at $1,200 by The Points Guy)

Annual fee: $550 (see rates & fees)

Read our full card review here.

Bottom Line

For trip insurance and points easily redeemed toward travel, get the CSP. If you want to skip the TSA line with PreCheck, get the Capital One Venture. If you want to have an airport experience fit for royalty, the Amex Platinum is your best bet. Whichever card you choose, don’t let the annual fee deter you. Just always remember to pay your bills on time and in full every single month. You’ll be on your way to your dream trip sooner than you think.

For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, please click here

The All-New United Quest℠ Card

WELCOME OFFER: Up to 100,000 bonus miles

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,040

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X miles on United® purchases

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80K bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, an additional 20K bonus miles after you spend $10,000 in the first 6 months
  • $250 Annual Fee
  • Earn 3X miles on United® purchases, 2X miles at restaurants, on select streaming services & all other travel, 1X on all other purchases
  • Earn 3X miles on United Airlines purchases
  • Earn 2X miles at restaurants and on select streaming services
  • Earn 2X miles on all other travel
  • Earn 1X mile on all other purchases
  • Each year, receive a $125 credit on United® purchases and two 5k-mile anniversary award flight credits. Terms apply.
Regular APR
16.49% to 23.49% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent, Good

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

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.