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I get some pretty weird looks when I tell my friends that I’ve opened 22 credit cards — one for every year I’ve been alive. I get all the usual questions like “how do you pick which card to start with?” and “isn’t that hurting your credit score?” Their ears start to perk up though when I tell them just how much value I’m getting from each new card I open — generally no less than $500 and often well over $1,000. Today, we’ll take a look at the top credit card offers that can help you get over $1,000 in value.
Before we get into the heavy details, there’s one detail to address up front. The order of this list doesn’t line up with the “total value” column on the right-hand side of the following chart. That’s due to variations in perks like the Citi Prestige’s 4th Night Free benefit. We might not all use it as much as TPG Editor-at-Large Zach Honig, who was able to get over $2,200 of value from it in just four months, but the potential to get over $2,000 in value (or even more) does exist. So instead, I ordered these cards based on the value I expect the average user to get, which I’ll explain in more detail below.
|Credit Card||Bonus Offer||Bonus Value||Perks Value||Annual Fee||Total Value|
|The Platinum Card® from American Express||60,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months||$1,140||$200 airline fee credit, up to $200 in annual Uber credits, up to $100 Saks Fifth Avenue credit, $250 Centurion lounge access, $100 Priority Pass lounge access||$550||$1,440|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve||50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months||$1,050||$300 annual travel credit, $100 Priority Pass lounge access||$450||$1,000|
|Citi Prestige||N/A||N/A||Unlimited 4th Night Free credits, $250 airline credit, $100 Priority Pass lounge access||$450||$2,000+ depending on how often you use the 4th Night Free|
|Ink Business Preferred Credit Card||80,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months||$1,680||N/A||$95||$1,585|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred Card||50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months||$1,050||N/A||$95 (waived first year)||$1,050|
|Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express||100,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months||$600||$250 in statement credits for Hilton purchases each cardmember year, $250 in airline incidental fee credits per calendar year, Hilton Diamond status, which TPG values at $1,915||$450||$2,565|
Annual fee: $550
Welcome bonus: 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months. Note that some people have been targeted for a 100,000-point welcome offer with the same minimum spend by checking through the Cardmatch tool (targeted offer subject to change at any time).
Valuable perks: $200 airline fee credit, up to $200 in annual Uber credits, up to $100 in Saks Fifth Avenue credits, access to Amex Centurion Lounges and Delta SkyClubs (when flying Delta), Gold elite status with Hilton and Starwood (which will convert to Marriott Gold in August)
How it all adds up: One of the most common questions we get here at The Points Guy is whether the The Platinum Card from American Express is worth the $550 annual fee. Admittedly, our answer has always been a resounding “Yes!” but the list of reasons why has grown over the years, as Amex keeps adding new benefits to attract customers to its most premium card that’s publicly available. The standard welcome bonus of 60,000 Membership Rewards points is worth over $1,000 on its own based on TPG’s latest valuations, but if you’re targeted for the 100,000 point offer through Cardmatch, I’d say this card is a no-brainer.
Assuming you can use the $200 annual airline and Uber credits, that scary $550 annual fee is really only $150 out of pocket each year, and valuable benefits like 5x points on flights purchased directly with the airline, hotel elite status, premium concierge services and the most comprehensive lounge benefits of any credit card can help you get well over $1,000 in value.
Chase Sapphire Reserve
Annual fee: $450
Sign-up bonus: 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in 3 months
Valuable perks: $300 airline credit, Priority Pass select membership, primary rental car insurance, TSA PreCheck/Global Entry application fee credit
How it all adds up: The Chase Sapphire Reserve has stayed near the top of my wallet for as long as I’ve had the card, thanks to its strong 3x bonus categories on dining and travel. The way Chase loosely defines these categories to include public transportation, meal delivery services and a million other purchases you’d hope for but wouldn’t necessarily expect, makes this my go-to card whenever I’m traveling. The $300 credit can also be used for any travel purchase, unlike Amex which restricts you to “airline fees and incidental charges.”
I also get a lot of value out of the Priority Pass Select membership and Global Entry fee reimbursement, but those are offered by nearly every premium credit card now and not unique to the CSR. While it’s hard to assign a clear value to a Priority Pass lounge visit, the addition of restaurants to the network makes it much easier to get a clear $20-30 per use.
Annual fee: $450
Sign-up bonus: N/A
Valuable perks: $250 airfare credit, 4th Night Free on paid hotel stays
How it all adds up: The lack of sign-up bonus certainly makes the Citi Prestige a tougher sell, but depending on your travel habits, this has the potential to be the single most rewarding credit card on the market. In addition to a $250 annual airline credit that brings the effective fee for this card down to $200, the Prestige is best known for offering an unlimited 4th Night Free on paid hotel stays.
If you frequently pay cash for expensive hotel stays, either for work or personal travel, the value of this perk can rack up. TPG Editor-at-Large Zach Honig has averaged close to $4,000 a year from this benefit, and Citi seems pretty proud of the savings it’s able to offer customers, going so far as to brag about a cardholder who saved $4,500 on a single stay! The perk has been moderately devalued in recent years to exclude taxes from the savings and to offer the discount based on the average nightly rate, not specifically the fourth night of your stay. But on a positive note, Citi has also made it possible to book these stays online instead of calling in to a concierge.
Ink Business Preferred
Annual fee: $95
Sign-up bonus: 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months
Valuable perks: Cell phone protection for you and employees listed on your phone bill, trip delay and cancellation insurance
How it all adds up: Chase’s Ink Business Preferred doesn’t have a ton of perks like other cards on this list, and it faces increasing competition from newer members of the Ink family. But it might offer the simplest and most immediate value proposition of any of these cards. It has the highest sign-up bonus of any Ultimate Rewards-earning card, even more than the ultra-premium Sapphire Reserve. Those 80,000 points are worth $1,680 based on TPG’s latest valuations, but you can potentially get even more value than that. For example, that’s exactly enough points for a one-way first class ticket to Asia on Korean Air, a ticket that would cost ~$10,000 if you paid cash.
You could also transfer 60,000 points to United to book a round-trip ticket from the US to Europe and still have $420 worth of Chase points left over. For other creative strategies on redeeming Ultimate Rewards points, check out our guide to “Redeeming Chase Ultimate Rewards for Maximum Value.”
Chase Sapphire Preferred
Annual fee: $95 (waived first year)
Sign-up bonus: 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in 3 months, plus earn 5,000 bonus points when you add an authorized user who makes a purchase in the first 3 months.
Valuable perks: Trip delay/interruption insurance, baggage insurance, primary car rental insurance.
How it all adds up: If you’ve decided that the Chase Sapphire Reserve is a bit too much for you, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great alternative. You’ll still have access to Chase’s 13 incredible hotel and airline transfer partners, and you’ll still get a sign-up bonus worth over $1,000. The Sapphire Preferred even has a slight edge on the Reserve in this regard, as the CSR doesn’t offer any bonus for adding authorized users, and even charges you to do so.
Since the annual fee on the CSP is waived for the first year (unlike every other card on this list), you can earn $1,000+ in value without actually having to spend any money. This is ideal for people who are new to the points world or aren’t sure they’re ready to commit yet, as it gives you 12 free months to make up your mind.
Hilton Honors Amex Aspire
Annual fee: $450
Welcome bonus: 100,000 Hilton points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
Valuable perks: $250 annual airline credit, $250 annual Hilton resort credit at participating hotels, $100 credit on eligible stays of 2 nights or more at Waldorf Astoria and Conrad hotels, automatic Hilton Diamond status
How it all adds up: Unlike the entry level Hilton Ascend card, the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express comes absolutely jam packed with credits and benefits. In addition to a 100,000-point sign-up bonus that TPG values at $600, the card comes with a number of Hilton property credits that can negate the annual fee and make this card cash-flow positive. You’ll also get one free weekend night after account approval, and one at each account anniversary. Those nights can easily net you $300+ each.
The Aspire card also comes with automatic top-tier Hilton Diamond status. TPG Editor-at-Large Nick Ewen valued Diamond status at $1,915 this year, which in theory could put the Aspire at the top of this list in terms of value. But while Diamond status offers some incredible perks like suite upgrades and free breakfast, I’d argue that Diamond status from the Aspire card is less valuable than if you qualify organically. The reason is that our elite value calculations assume that you stay 20% more nights than the minimum qualification requirement and spend $150 per night. While you can easily get several hundred dollars out of this “free” Diamond status from the Aspire, if you’re not staying enough to earn it organically, it won’t be worth the full $1,915 to you.
This is an incredible time to add a new card to your wallet, with multiple cards offering 100,000-point bonuses and many that can easily net you over $1,000 in value. Just keep in mind that the cards with the most perks often have the highest annual fees, so make sure that you’re getting enough value to justify spending big money on a single card.
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.
- Up to $200 for Uber rides annually. Credit and Uber VIP status available to Basic Card Member only.
- 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
- 5X Membership Rewards® points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com.
- As a Platinum Card Member, you can 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®. That's up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
- $550 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees