Skip to content

Holiday gift guide: 10 ultimate TPG staff picks

Nov. 29, 2019
6 min read
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.

It's almost time to make those holiday gift purchases, and, like many travelers, my first stop for suggestions was to ask my road-warrior friends. Turns out, we have quite a few of those at TPG, and the team was eager to share their gift picks!

So, without further ado...

TPG x Birchbox: Grooming Globetrotter

"I've been a Birchbox subscriber off and on for years (fun fact: at one point, my sister even worked there!), so I'm especially excited about this collab — and I'm pretty sure you will be, too. You can read about everything you'll get right here, but think high-end travel toiletry essentials at an unbeatable price. Supplies are tight, so don't wait to grab one for yourself and everyone else on your list." - Zach Honig, Editor-at-Large. Buy: Birchbox, $40

Apple AirPods

"The first time I stuck an AirPod in my ear my life was forever changed, especially when it came to travel. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways: 1) They're small and compact, which means easy to pack. 2) No cords. I did not know how annoying cords could be until I cut them out of my life. 3) The sound is so good I swear it feels like the music is coming from inside your head. In fact, the sound can be almost too good. I've had a few close calls with oncoming traffic because I find myself lost in the moment with these things on. It's the gift that keeps on giving." - Jane Frye, Weekend Editor. Buy: Apple, $159

Osprey Farpoint 40

"This popular travel pack is the perfect size to take on a one-week to one-month-long vacation. No rolling hard luggage over cobblestones, padded shoulder straps, a waistband for when you stuff it to the gills and a frame that doesn't extend past your body so you aren't rocking that 'gap year' look." - Carissa Rawson, Points, Miles and Deals Reporter. Buy: eBags, $160

Apple Watch Series 5

"I never leave home without my Apple Watch (do your workouts even count if you're not wearing it?) but it's especially important when I travel. It's basically the Swiss Army knife of the 21st century. With the new Series 5, SOS call now works internationally — you don't even need to have a cellular plan activated. And when I'm backpacking, the compass and barometric altimeter are incredibly important." - Melanie Lieberman, Travel Editor. Buy: Apple, $399+

Trtl Pillow Plus

"For the budget points traveler, this pillow is a life (and neck) saver. The fabric is soft, it's not hard to pack and this upgraded version of the original Trtl pillow has an adjustable neck for optimal support. It's the only way I can survive long-haul flights in economy!" - Madison Blancaflor, Credit Card Writer. Buy: Amazon, $60 (as of 11/6/2019 9:30am EST — Details)

Eagle Creek Spectre Packing Cubes

"These packing cubes are ultralight and keep your gear ultra-organized, making it easy to keep your bag and belongings clean no matter where you're going. They're versatile, too — it's easy to pull one out and put it in a purse/day bag/stroller on a longer trip." - Mitchell Stoutin, Director of Engineering. Buy: Amazon, $14+ (as of 11/6/2019 9:30am EST — Details)

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Baubax Travel Jacket

"My Baubax Travel Jacket has a built-in eye mask, bottle opener, neck pillow, phone stylus, passport pocket and more. It’s comfy, stylish and I love that it’s black because it goes with everything and doesn’t get dirty as easily." - Lori Zaino, Senior Writer. Buy: Amazon, $60 (as of 11/6/2019 9:30am EST — Details)

Global Entry / TSA PreCheck

"When you tell a loved one you'll fund the cost of their Global Entry, TSA PreCheck or CLEAR application, it's really a gift you give yourself. Just think of all the time you'll save waiting around for them to appear through the security line, grouchy and harried. How quickly you can blitz through the awful parts of travel and get to the great parts. How you'll never have to scrounge around for a pen, and respond to the absentminded query, "What's our flight number again?" as they stumble through the U.S. entry form. This holiday season, be selfish. Gift accelerated security privileges." - Katherine Fan, Senior Travel Features Reporter. Buy: more info

Skyroam Solis

"I love my Skyroam Solis, a global mobile Wi-Fi hotspot. It has LTE speed for up to five users and comes with 18+ hours of battery life — and you can even use it to power up your smartphones and tablets. I’ve used it around the world (except for Cuba) and tested it with five journalists using it at the same time. Wi-Fi day passes are $9; you can also pay $9/1GB a month or buy an unlimited monthly subscription for $99 a month." - Benet Wilson, Credit Cards Editor. Buy: Amazon, $99 (as of 11/6/2019 9:30am EST — Details)

Bose QuietComfort 35 II

"Bose's popular noise-canceling headphones have become my mainstay for both flying and working in the office, and they also double as a top-notch headset for calls. Music, movies and other content sound excellent both in the air and on the ground, and the mic works well for me on both my computer and phone." - Tyler Hays, Senior Mobile Engineer. Buy: Bose, $230

Prices accurate as of publication date. Check out more TPG gift guides here and the TPG guide on the best cards to use for holiday shopping.

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.

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

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 flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

80,000 bonus points
Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 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 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 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 flights 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, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 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 flights 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 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    80,000 bonus 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 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 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 flights 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, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 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