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Battle of the premium travel rewards cards: Which is best for you?

June 20, 2022
39 min read
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Picking the best travel rewards credit cards can be challenging. Each one offers different perks, and this is especially true for premium cards. And because issuers keep upping the ante by launching new cards, adding benefits and sometimes hiking annual fees, there’s more competition in this space than ever.

Today, we’re going to look at some of the best premium travel rewards cards currently available and compare their various benefits and value propositions. Here are the eight we’ll focus on:

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The information for the Hilton Honors Aspire has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuers.

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Methodology

While this list of cards has remained relatively stable lately, there have been some massive shake-ups in the past year.

The most significant new addition to the premium card marketplace is the Capital One Venture X card, which debuted in November 2021 with myriad excellent travel perks for an annual fee of $395, the lowest of any card on this list.

Meanwhile, American Express increased the annual fee on the Amex Platinum Card from $550 to $695 (see rates and fees) in July 2021. While the issuer added several new annual statement credits to offset this higher annual fee, many consumers were disgruntled by these changes. Also, Citi discontinued applications for its Citi Prestige® Card, throwing in the towel on this once-popular travel rewards card for the foreseeable future.

The information for the Citi Prestige Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

For its part, Chase raised the annual fee on the Sapphire Reserve by $100 to $550 in January 2020, but has also added limited-time partner benefits with Lyft and DoorDash. Of course, many other premium cards added new perks in response to the pandemic, too.

With all that in mind, we’ll compare these cards across seven categories:

  • Annual fee.
  • Current welcome offer.
  • Point-earning potential.
  • Redemption options.
  • Travel credits.
  • Lounge access.
  • Travel and purchase protections.

This analysis is based on a generic traveler trying to decide which one of these eight cards should go in their wallet. Which card is best for you will depend on your specific needs and wants.

Annual fee

CardAnnual feeAdditional cardholder fee
Amex Platinum$695 (see rates and fees).$175 for up to three additional cardholders (see rates and fees)
Capital One Venture X$395.$0 for up to four authorized users.
Chase Sapphire Reserve$550.$75 for each additional cardholder.
Hilton Amex Aspire$450 (see rates and fees).$0 for each additional cardholder (see rates and fees).
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant$650 (see rates and fees).$0 for each additional cardholder (see rates and fees).
Delta SkyMiles Reserve$550 (see rates and fees).$175 per additional cardholder (see rates and fees).
United Club Infinite$525.$0 for each additional cardholder.
Citi / AAdvantage Executive$450.$0 for up to 10 authorized users.

Analysis

It would be easiest to pick the cards with the lowest annual fees, but that doesn’t tell the full story.

Whether or not a card charges for additional cardholders also makes a difference. The Hilton Amex Aspire, Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex, United Club Infinite Card, Citi / AAdvantage Executive (up to 10 authorized users) and Capital One Venture X (up to four authorized users) don’t charge a fee for additional cardholders.

The Hilton Amex Aspire allows authorized users to enjoy an up-to-$100 property credit for eligible two-night stays at Waldorf Astoria and Conrad properties. Meanwhile, authorized users on the Citi / AAdvantage Executive card receive Admirals Club access for themselves and up to two traveling companions.

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Ultimately, however, the winner of this category is the Capital One Venture X. First and foremost, the $395 annual fee is much lower than the rest of the crowd. Plus, you can add up to four authorized users for no additional charge.

They’ll get benefits such as unlimited Capital One Lounge and Priority Pass lounge access for themselves and up to two guests. That might be handier than Admirals Club access for many flyers, especially those who travel internationally where the Admirals Club might not have many locations.

Related: Credit cards with the greatest value for authorized users

Current sign-up bonus/welcome offer

CardSign-up bonus/welcome offerTPG valuation*
Amex PlatinumEarn 100,000 Membership Rewards points after you use your new card to make $6,000 in purchases in the first six months of card membership (possibly higher targeted offers through CardMatch, subject to change at any time).$2,000.
Capital One Venture XEarn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.$1,388.
Chase Sapphire ReserveEarn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.$1,000.
Hilton Amex AspireEarn 150,000 Hilton Honors points after you spend $4,000 in purchases on the card within your first three months of card membership.$900.
Marriott Bonvoy BrilliantEarn 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new card to make $5,000 in eligible purchases within the first three months of card membership.$1,260.
Delta SkyMiles ReserveEarn 95,000 bonus miles after you spend $6,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first six months of account opening. Offer ends 11/9/22.$705.
United Club Infinite CardEarn 80,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.$968.
Citi / AAdvantage ExecutiveEarn 50,000 miles after you make $5,000 in purchases within the first three months of account opening.$900.

* Based on TPG valuations and not provided by the issuer.

Analysis

The top spot in this category goes to the Amex Platinum, with a welcome bonus worth more than double some of the other cards' offerings. Plus, some folks might find an even higher welcome offer by checking the CardMatch tool (offers are subject to change at any time).

Related: The best limited-time offers and promotions for credit cards

Points-earning potential

CardEarning rates
Amex Platinum
  • 5 points per dollar on airfare purchases booked through the airline or through Amex Travel (on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year).
  • 5 points per dollar on prepaid hotels booked through Amex Travel.
  • 1 point per dollar on other eligible purchases.
Capital One Venture X
  • 10 miles per dollar on hotels and car rentals booked through Capital One Travel.
  • 5 miles per dollar on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
  • 2 miles per dollar on other purchases.
Chase Sapphire Reserve
  • 10 points per dollar on Lyft rides.
  • 10 points per dollar on Chase Dining booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • 10 points per dollar on hotels and car rentals booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.
  • 5 points per dollar on airline travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.
  • 3 points per dollar on travel and dining purchases.
  • 1 point per dollar on all other eligible purchases.
Hilton Amex Aspire
  • 14 points per dollar at Hilton portfolio properties worldwide.
  • 7 points per dollar on flights booked directly with the airline or through Amex Travel.
  • 7 points per dollar on car rentals booked directly from select companies.
  • 7 points per dollar at U.S. restaurants.
  • 3 points per dollar on all other purchases.
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant
  • 6 points per dollar on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program.
  • 3 points per dollar at worldwide restaurants.
  • 3 points per dollar on airfare purchased directly with the airline.
  • 2 points per dollar on all other eligible purchases.
Delta SkyMiles Reserve
  • 3 miles per dollar on eligible Delta purchases.
  • 1 mile per dollar on other eligible purchases.
United Club Infinite
  • 4 miles per dollar on United purchases.
  • 2 miles per dollar on all other travel and dining purchases.
  • 1 mile per dollar everywhere else.
Citi / AAdvantage Executive
  • 2 miles per dollar on eligible American Airlines purchases.
  • 1 mile per dollar on other purchases.

Analysis

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

The Chase Sapphire Reserve comes out on top here due to the fact that it earns valuable Ultimate Rewards bonus points on a wide variety of purchases.

Like the Venture X, the Chase Sapphire Reserve racks up more bonus points on various types of travel booked through Chase’s own travel portal. However, the card pulls ahead of the Venture X due to the fact that general dining and travel purchases earn more bonus points than with the Venture X. That said, the Venture X earns a solid 2 miles per dollar on everyday spending, which is pretty easy to maximize without having to carefully keep track of spending categories.

The Hilton Amex Aspire takes the third spot thanks to an incredible 14 points per dollar at Hilton properties and 7 points per dollar on airfare, car rentals and U.S. restaurants. These bonuses represent a return of 8.4% and 4.2%, respectively, based on TPG’s most recent valuations.

Redemptions

CardRedemption options
Amex PlatinumNumerous direct redemptions such as gift cards, Uber rides and travel; transfer points to 18 airline partners (including Etihad and Singapore Airlines) or three hotel partners (Choice, Hilton and Marriott).
Capital One Venture XTransfer miles to 14 airline and three hotel loyalty partners (including Air Canada and Wyndham); redeem for travel purchases on your statement at 1 cent per mile.
Chase Sapphire ReserveRedeem points at a rate of 1.5 cents each toward travel via the Ultimate Rewards portal, or offset a variety of everyday purchases through Chase’s Pay Yourself Back; transfer points to one of 11 airline partners (such as British Airways or Southwest) and three hotel partners (such as Hyatt).
Hilton Amex AspireRedeem points for stays at hotels in the Hilton Honors portfolio of brands.
Marriott Bonvoy BrilliantRedeem points for stays at hotels in the Marriott Bonvoy program, along with useful airline transfers.
Delta SkyMiles ReserveRedeem miles for flights on Delta and its various SkyTeam or non-alliance partners (such as Virgin Atlantic).
United Club Infinite CardRedeem miles for flights on United and its various Star Alliance partners (such as Lufthansa).
Citi / AAdvantage ExecutiveRedeem miles for flights on American and its various Oneworld alliance partners.

Analysis

(Photo by Ryan Patterson for The Points Guy)

The top three cards on this list — the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Amex Platinum and Capital One Venture X — earned their spots thanks to the flexibility of transferable points that won’t lock you into a specific set of airlines or hotels.

Even though the Chase Sapphire Reserve only has 11 airline and three hotel transfer partners, it also allows cardmembers to redeem points for travel directly through Chase’s portal at an elevated rate of 1.5 cents each. Meanwhile, the Amex Platinum has more than 20 airline and hotel transfer partners in total and varied redemption options.

The Capital One Venture X takes third place since it offers 14 airline and three hotel transfer partners. While you can transfer to most programs at a 1:1 ratio, there are a couple of exceptions: ALL Accor Live Limitless (2:1) and EVA Air Infinity MileageLands (2:1.5).

Statement credits

CardStatement credits
Amex Platinum
Capital One Venture X
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits for bookings made through the Capital One Travel portal.
Chase Sapphire Reserve
  • Up to $300 in travel credits each account anniversary.
Hilton Amex Aspire
  • Up to $250 in airline fee statement credit each calendar year.
  • Up to $250 in Hilton resort statement credit each year of card membership.
  • Up to $100 in on-property credit for two-night Waldorf Astoria or Conrad stays.
  • Terms apply. Enrollment is required.
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant
  • Up to $300 in credit for eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide (up to $25 per month).
  • Up to $100 in on-property credit for two-night St. Regis or Ritz-Carlton stays.
  • Terms apply.
Delta SkyMiles Reserve
  • None.
United Club Infinite Card
  • None.
Citi / AAdvantage Executive
  • None.

Analysis

Amex has added a plethora of new lifestyle- and travel-focused credits to the Platinum over the past couple of years, which easily take the cake in this category. Even if you don’t maximize every single credit each year, you’re still looking at a ton of potential value from the statement credits alone.

The Sapphire Reserve is close behind. For starters, the $300 travel credit is a relatively high dollar amount and applies to any travel purchase (as opposed to just fees or airfare, like some of its competition). In addition, the credits post instantly, while other cards require you to wait an entire statement period or even force you to call and have customer service manually issue you a credit.

The Venture X takes third place with its (similar) $300 travel credit, though it’s more limited since you’ll only receive reimbursement for bookings made through the Capital One Travel portal.

We’ll award fourth place to the Hilton Aspire because of the potential to get more than $500 in travel credits each year. Although the Aspire’s airline fee credit requires you to designate a single airline and technically only applies to incidental charges like checked bags, the up-to-$250 resort credit is easy to use if you visit an eligible resort.

Lounge access

CardLounge access
Amex Platinum
Capital One Venture X
Chase Sapphire Reserve
Hilton Amex Aspire
  • Priority Pass Select (two guests).
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant
  • Priority Pass Select (two guests).
Delta SkyMiles Reserve
  • Sky Club access when traveling on a Delta-coded or Delta-operated flight (guests are $39 each) and two one-time SkyClub passes each year.
  • Access to Amex Centurion Lounges when flying Delta.
United Club Infinite Card
  • Full United Club membership (two free guests or immediate family).
Citi / AAdvantage Executive
  • Full Admirals Club membership (two free guests or immediate family).
  • Each authorized user receives Admirals Club access for themselves and up to two traveling companions.

Analysis

Amex Platinum cardholders are able to access Centurion Lounges worldwide. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

This category is much tougher to rank, given that the true value of lounge access is based on so many factors, from your typical departure airport(s) and your preferred airline(s) to how frequently you travel with guests. The Amex Platinum gives you the most flexibility, and being able to bring two guests for free to most lounges is a huge perk (although the guest benefit is going away in February 2023 at Centurion Lounges, specifically).

The Venture X comes in a close second with Priority Pass and Capital One Lounge access. The issuer debuted its first lounge at Dallas-Forth Worth International Airport (DFW) in October 2021, and there are plans for two more lounges at Denver International Airport (DEN) and Washington, D.C.'s Dulles International Airport (IAD) in 2022.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve and the two hotel cards offer fairly standard Priority Pass membership while the three airline cards will come in handiest for folks who fly one carrier most often and can take advantage of lounges in the airports they pass through the most. Chase has announced it will open Chase Sapphire Lounge by The Club in six locations: New York City's LaGuardia Airport (LGA), Boston Logan International Airport (BOS), Hong Kong International Airport (HKG), San Diego International Airport (SAN), Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) and Las Vegas' Harry Reid International Airport (LAS).

Related: Best credit cards for airport lounge access

Travel and purchase protections

All of these cards also provide various coverages and protections when you’re traveling or making purchases. This is probably best visualized in a table:

BenefitAmex PlatinumCapital One Venture X†Chase Sapphire ReserveHilton Amex AspireMarriott Bonvoy BrilliantDelta ReserveUnited Club InfiniteCiti / AAdvantage Executive
Car rental coverageYes (secondary; Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance can provide coverage up to $75,000 for theft of or damage to most rental vehicles when you use your eligible Card to reserve and pay for the entire eligible vehicle rental and decline the collision damage waiver or similar option offered by the Commercial Car Rental Company. This product provides secondary coverage and does not include liability coverage. Not all vehicle types or rentals are covered. Geographic restrictions apply).*§Yes (primary).Yes (primary).Yes (secondary; Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance can provide coverage up to $75,000 for theft of or damage to most rental vehicles when you use your eligible Card to reserve and pay for the entire eligible vehicle rental and decline the collision damage waiver or similar option offered by the Commercial Car Rental Company. This product provides secondary coverage and does not include liability coverage. Not all vehicle types or rentals are covered. Geographic restrictions apply.)*§Yes (secondary; Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance can provide coverage up to $75,000 for theft of or damage to most rental vehicles when you use your eligible Card to reserve and pay for the entire eligible vehicle rental and decline the collision damage waiver or similar option offered by the Commercial Car Rental Company. This product provides secondary coverage and does not include liability coverage. Not all vehicle types or rentals are covered. Geographic restrictions apply).*§Yes (secondary; Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance can provide coverage up to $50,000 for theft of or damage to most rental vehicles when you use your eligible Card to reserve and pay for the entire eligible vehicle rental and decline the collision damage waiver or similar option offered by the Commercial Car Rental Company. This product provides secondary coverage and does not include liability coverage. Not all vehicle types or rentals are covered. Geographic restrictions apply).*§Yes (primary).No.
Travel emergency assistanceYes (you can rely on Global Assist Hotline 24 hours a day / 7 days a week for medical, legal, financial or other select emergency coordination and assistance services while traveling more than 100 miles away from your home. Plus, we may provide emergency medical transportation assistance and related services. Third-party service costs may be your responsibility. If approved and coordinated by Premium Global Assist Hotline, emergency medical transportation assistance may be provided at no cost. In any other circumstance, Card Members may be responsible for the costs charged by third-party service providers).*Yes.Yes.Yes (you can rely on Global Assist Hotline 24 hours a day / 7 days a week for medical, legal, financial or other select emergency coordination and assistance services while traveling more than 100 miles away from your home. Plus, we may provide emergency medical transportation assistance and related services. Third-party service costs may be your responsibility. If approved and coordinated by Premium Global Assist Hotline, emergency medical transportation assistance may be provided at no cost. In any other circumstance, Card Members may be responsible for the costs charged by third-party service providers).*Yes (you can rely on Global Assist Hotline 24 hours a day / 7 days a week for medical, legal, financial or other select emergency coordination and assistance services while traveling more than 100 miles away from your home. Plus, we may provide emergency medical transportation assistance and related services. Third-party service costs may be your responsibility. If approved and coordinated by Premium Global Assist Hotline, emergency medical transportation assistance may be provided at no cost. In any other circumstance, Card Members may be responsible for the costs charged by third-party service providers).*Yes (you can rely on Global Assist Hotline 24 hours a day / 7 days a week for medical, legal, financial or other select emergency coordination and assistance services while traveling more than 100 miles away from your home. Plus, we may provide emergency medical transportation assistance and related services. Third-party service costs may be your responsibility. If approved and coordinated by Premium Global Assist Hotline, emergency medical transportation assistance may be provided at no cost. In any other circumstance, Card Members may be responsible for the costs charged by third-party service providers).*Yes.No.
Baggage loss or damageYes (Baggage Insurance Plan coverage can be in effect for Covered Persons for eligible lost, damaged, or stolen Baggage during their travel on a Common Carrier Vehicle (e.g. plane, train, ship, or bus) when the Entire Fare for a ticket for the trip (one-way or round-trip) is charged to an Eligible Card. Coverage can be provided for up to $2,000 for checked Baggage and up to a combined maximum of $3,000 for checked and carry- on Baggage, in excess of coverage provided by the Common Carrier. The coverage is also subject to a $3,000 aggregate limit per Covered Trip. For New York State residents, there is a $2,000 per bag/suitcase limit for each Covered Person with a $10,000 aggregate maximum for all Covered Persons per Covered Trip).*~Yes (up to $3,000 per covered trip).Yes (up to $3,000 per passenger).Yes (Baggage Insurance Plan coverage can be in effect for Covered Persons for eligible lost, damaged, or stolen Baggage during their travel on a Common Carrier Vehicle (e.g. plane, train, ship, or bus) when the Entire Fare for a ticket for the trip (one-way or round-trip) is charged to an Eligible Card. Coverage can be provided for up to $2,000 for checked Baggage and up to a combined maximum of $3,000 for checked and carry- on Baggage, in excess of coverage provided by the Common Carrier. The coverage is also subject to a $3,000 aggregate limit per Covered Trip. For New York State residents, there is a $2,000 per bag/suitcase limit for each Covered Person with a $10,000 aggregate maximum for all Covered Persons per Covered Trip).*~Yes (Baggage Insurance Plan coverage can be in effect for Covered Persons for eligible lost, damaged, or stolen Baggage during their travel on a Common Carrier Vehicle (e.g. plane, train, ship, or bus) when the Entire Fare for a ticket for the trip (one-way or round-trip) is charged to an Eligible Card. Coverage can be provided for up to $2,000 for checked Baggage and up to a combined maximum of $3,000 for checked and carry- on Baggage, in excess of coverage provided by the Common Carrier. The coverage is also subject to a $3,000 aggregate limit per Covered Trip. For New York State residents, there is a $2,000 per bag/suitcase limit for each Covered Person with a $10,000 aggregate maximum for all Covered Persons per Covered Trip).*~Yes (Baggage Insurance Plan coverage can be in effect for Eligible Persons for eligible lost, damaged, or stolen Baggage during their travel on a Common Carrier (e.g. plane, train, ship, or bus) when the entire fare for a Common Carrier Vehicle ticket for the trip (one-way or round-trip) is charged to an eligible Account. Coverage can be provided for up to $1,250 for carry-on Baggage and up to $500 for checked Baggage, in excess of coverage provided by the Common Carrier (e.g. plane, train, ship, or bus). For New York State residents, there is a $10,000 aggregate maximum limit for all Covered Persons per Covered Trip).*~Yes (up to $3,000 per passenger).No.
Baggage delayNo.No.Yes ($100 per day for up to five days if bags are more than six hours late).No.No.No.Yes (up to $100 per day for three days if bags are more than six hours late).No.
Trip delayYes (up to $500 per Covered Trip that is delayed for more than 6 hours; and 2 claims per Eligible Card per 12 consecutive month period).*^Yes (up to $500 per ticket for delays of more than six hours).Yes (up to $500 per ticket for delays of more than six hours).Yes (up to $500 per Covered Trip that is delayed for more than 6 hours; and 2 claims per Eligible Card per 12 consecutive month period).*^Yes (up to $500 per Covered Trip that is delayed for more than 6 hours; and 2 claims per Eligible Card per 12 consecutive month period).*^Yes (up to $500 per Covered Trip that is delayed for more than 6 hours; and 2 claims per Eligible Card per 12 consecutive month period).*^Yes (up to $500 per ticket for delays of more than 12 hours or overnight).No.
Trip cancellation and interruptionYes (the maximum benefit amount for Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance is $10,000 per Covered Trip and $20,000 per Eligible Card per 12 consecutive month period).*^Yes (up to $2,000 per person).Yes (up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip).Yes (the maximum benefit amount for Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance is $10,000 per Covered Trip and $20,000 per Eligible Card per 12 consecutive month period).*^Yes (the maximum benefit amount for Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance is $10,000 per Covered Trip and $20,000 per Eligible Card per 12 consecutive month period).*^Yes (the maximum benefit amount for Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance is $10,000 per Covered Trip and $20,000 per Eligible Card per 12 consecutive month period).*^Yes (up to $10,000 per trip).No.
Travel accident insuranceNo.Yes.Yes.No.No.No.No.No.
Emergency evacuation and transportationYes (up to $100,000 per trip).No.Yes (up to $100,000).No.No.No.No.No.
Purchase protectionYes (Purchase Protection is an embedded benefit of your Card Membership and requires no enrollment. It can help protect Covered Purchases made on your Eligible Card when they’re accidentally damaged, stolen, or lost, for up to 90 days from the Covered Purchase date. The coverage is limited up to $10,000 per occurrence, up to $50,000 per Card Member account per calendar year. Coverage Limits Apply).*~Yes (within 90 days, up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account).Yes (within 120 days, up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per year).Yes (Purchase Protection is an embedded benefit of your Card Membership and requires no enrollment. It can help protect Covered Purchases made on your Eligible Card when they’re accidentally damaged, stolen, or lost, for up to 90 days from the Covered Purchase date. The coverage is limited up to $10,000 per occurrence, up to $50,000 per Card Member account per calendar year. Coverage Limits Apply).*~Yes (Purchase Protection is an embedded benefit of your Card Membership and requires no enrollment. It can help protect Covered Purchases made on your Eligible Card when they’re accidentally damaged, stolen, or lost, for up to 90 days from the Covered Purchase date. The coverage is limited up to $10,000 per occurrence, up to $50,000 per Card Member account per calendar year. Coverage Limits Apply).*~Yes (Purchase Protection is an embedded benefit of your Card Membership and requires no enrollment. It can help protect Covered Purchases made on your Eligible Card when they’re accidentally damaged, stolen, or lost, for up to 90 days from the Covered Purchase date. The coverage is limited up to $10,000 per occurrence, up to $50,000 per Card Member account per calendar year. Coverage Limits Apply).*~Yes (within 120 days, up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per year).No.
Extended warrantyYes (when an American Express Card Member charges a Covered Purchase to an Eligible Card, Extended Warranty can provide up to one extra year added to the Original Manufacturer’s Warranty. Applies to warranties of five (5) years or less. Coverage is up to the actual amount charged to your Card for the item up to a maximum of $10,000; not to exceed $50,000 per Card Member account per calendar year).*~Yes (additional year on warranties of three years or less).Yes (additional year on warranties of three years or less).Yes (when an American Express Card Member charges a Covered Purchase to an Eligible Card, Extended Warranty can provide up to one extra year added to the Original Manufacturer’s Warranty. Applies to warranties of five (5) years or less. Coverage is up to the actual amount charged to your Card for the item up to a maximum of $10,000; not to exceed $50,000 per Card Member account per calendar year).*~Yes (when an American Express Card Member charges a Covered Purchase to an Eligible Card, Extended Warranty can provide up to one extra year added to the Original Manufacturer’s Warranty. Applies to warranties of five (5) years or less. Coverage is up to the actual amount charged to your Card for the item up to a maximum of $10,000; not to exceed $50,000 per Card Member account per calendar year).*~Yes (when an American Express Card Member charges a Covered Purchase to an Eligible Card, Extended Warranty can provide up to one extra year added to the Original Manufacturer’s Warranty. Applies to warranties of five (5) years or less. Coverage is up to the actual amount charged to your Card for the item up to a maximum of $10,000; not to exceed $50,000 per Card Member account per calendar year).*~Yes (additional year on warranties of three years or less).No.
Return protectionYes (with Return Protection, you may return eligible purchases to American Express if the seller won't take them back up to 90 days from the date of purchase. American Express may refund the full purchase price excluding shipping and handling, up to $300 per item, up to a maximum of $1,000 per calendar year per Card account, if you purchased it entirely with your eligible American Express® Card. Purchases must be made in the U.S. or its territories).*Yes (90 days, up to $300 per item and $1,000 per year).Yes (90 days, up to $500 per item and $1,000 per year).Yes (with Return Protection, you may return eligible purchases to American Express if the seller won't take them back up to 90 days from the date of purchase. American Express may refund the full purchase price excluding shipping and handling, up to $300 per item, up to a maximum of $1,000 per calendar year per Card account, if you purchased it entirely with your eligible American Express® Card. Purchases must be made in the U.S. or its territories).*Yes (with Return Protection, you may return eligible purchases to American Express if the seller won't take them back up to 90 days from the date of purchase. American Express may refund the full purchase price excluding shipping and handling, up to $300 per item, up to a maximum of $1,000 per calendar year per Card account, if you purchased it entirely with your eligible American Express® Card. Purchases must be made in the U.S. or its territories).*Yes (with Return Protection, you may return eligible purchases to American Express if the seller won't take them back up to 90 days from the date of purchase. American Express may refund the full purchase price excluding shipping and handling, up to $300 per item, up to a maximum of $1,000 per calendar year per Card account, if you purchased it entirely with your eligible American Express® Card. Purchases must be made in the U.S. or its territories).*Yes (90 days, up to $500 per item and $1,000 year).No.
Cellphone protectionYes (coverage for a Stolen or damaged Eligible Cellular Wireless Telephone is subject to the terms, conditions, exclusions and limits of liability of this benefit. The maximum liability is $800, per claim, per Eligible Card Account. Each claim is subject to a $50 deductible. Coverage is limited to two (2) claims per Eligible Card Account per 12 month period).*^Yes (up to $800 per claim or $1,600 per 12-month period; a $50 deductible applies.)No.No.No.Yes (coverage for a Stolen or damaged Eligible Cellular Wireless Telephone is subject to the terms, conditions, exclusions and limits of liability of this benefit. The maximum liability is $800, per claim, per Eligible Card Account. Each claim is subject to a $50 deductible. Coverage is limited to two (2) claims per Eligible Card Account per 12 month period).*^No.No.

† Benefits available on Visa Infinite cards.

*Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details.

^ Underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.

~ Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.

§ Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company. Car Rental Loss or Damage Coverage is offered through American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc

Analysis

The Sapphire Reserve takes the cake here, with its primary car rental insurance and a high limit for trip cancellation and interruption coverage. The Venture X comes in second thanks to fairly comprehensive protections that even include cellphone coverage. The Amex Platinum offers significant travel insurance coverage, too. If you’re a United flyer, the United Club Infinite also offers a robust slate of protections that you may want to consider.

Bottom line

You may think that it’s crazy to pay $395 or more for a card’s annual fee, but as you can see, all of these premium travel rewards cards carry a host of benefits that can easily cover that fee and then some. As always, you should tailor your choice based on what’s most important to you, but hopefully, this post has given you a framework to use as you try to decide which of our best credit cards should earn a spot in your wallet.

Official application link: Amex Platinum.
Official application link: Capital One Venture X.
Official application link: Chase Sapphire Reserve.
Official application link: Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant.
Official application link: United Club Infinite.
Official application link: Delta SkyMiles Reserve.
Official application link: Citi / AAdvantage Executive.

Additional reporting by Ryan Wilcox, Stella Shon, Chris Dong and Ethan Steinberg.

For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles Reserve Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex, click here.

Featured image by JOHN GRIBBEN FOR THE POINTS GUY
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.