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Credit card winners in the 2020 TPG Awards Readers' Choice categories

Nov. 30, 2020
8 min read
A trophy for the 2020 TPG Awards
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Today marks the start of Credit Cards Week at the 2020 TPG Awards, and there's a lot to look forward to across our site and various social platforms. Right now, however, it's time to hand out our four Readers' Choice honors for the year. After tens of thousands of TPG readers completed ballots, the results are in.

Read on to see if your favorite card(s) took home an award.

Best Premium Travel Credit Card

The first award is for the best premium travel card — defined as those with an annual fee of more than $300.

And the award goes to a familiar candidate ...

Winner: Chase Sapphire Reserve

For the third year in a row, the Chase Sapphire Reserve took home the honor of Best Premium Travel Credit Card. The Sapphire Reserve is a favorite among TPG staffers, and it's clear that the love extends to readers as well. Top features on the card include 3x points on travel and dining purchases, up to $300 annual travel credit, Priority Pass lounge access and primary rental car coverage — among many others.

However, the card has also made some notable pivots in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. In May, Chase announced new (temporary) bonus categories on many of its cards — including the Sapphire Reserve — and then added new ones in October. It also began allowing select purchases to count toward the card's annual travel credit.

However, the most notable change came when it announced an incredible new redemption option: Pay Yourself Back (which is now extended through September 2021). This allows cardholders to redeem their Ultimate Rewards points at a rate of 1.5 cents apiece to cover purchases made at grocery stores, home improvement stores and dining establishments. Even some of TPG's most die-hard, points-and-miles experts have used this option during the pandemic.

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RELATED: Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card review

Best Travel Rewards Credit Card

The next award to announce is for travel rewards cards with annual fees between $1 and $300. And once again, the winner is a familiar one ...

Winner: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Another Chase card took home the award for Best Travel Rewards Credit Card — also for the third year running. The Sapphire Preferred offers similar perks to its more expensive brethren, including a wealth of travel protections, perks with DoorDash food delivery when you activate with your card by December 31, 2021and 2x points on travel and dining purchases. It also partners with the same great Ultimate Rewards transfer partners, giving cardholders an array of valuable redemption options.

However, with an annual fee of just $95, it can be an easier sell to many, especially those just getting into the world of travel rewards.

Of course, it didn't hurt that the card launched a limited-time, enhanced sign-up bonus (now expired) right before voting launched, and also added temporary bonus categories and its own version of Pay Yourself Back in light of the pandemic. That said, the Sapphire Preferred offers terrific value even in a normal year, so it's no surprise that the card took home the top spot in this category again in 2020.

RELATED: Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card review

Best No-Annual-Fee Credit Card

The third and final Readers' Choice category for personal credit cards applies to those with no annual fees. And if you've noticed a trend with the first two winners, you won't be surprised at the honoree here ...

Winner: Chase Freedom Unlimited

Taking home the award for Best No-Annual-Fee Card for the third year in a row was the Freedom Unlimited. The card offered a great value proposition prior to 2020, with 1.5% back on all purchases plus the ability to combine your points with those earned on more-premium Chase cards — effectively getting you 1.5 Ultimate Rewards points for every dollar you spend.

And then Chase added even more value to the card.

As of mid-September 2020, this card now offers 5% back on travel booked through Ultimate Rewards, 3% back on dining and 3% back at drugstores. New applicants will also earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!

These additions make the Freedom Unlimited an even more valuable part of my perfect Chase Quartet of credit cards — and likely played a role in winning this award for the third straight year.

RELATED: Chase Freedom Unlimited: A great card for beginners and pros alike

Best Business Credit Card

The final Readers' Choice award for Credit Cards Week honors the best card for small businesses, and once again, a familiar nominee rose to the top ...

Winner: The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

The Amex Business Platinum Card was another repeat winner, taking home the award for Best Business Credit Card for the third year in a row. This is a notable feat in 2020, as many of the card's top perks aren't very useful during a global pandemic — including access to American Express' global lounge collection, a 35% rebate on many flights when using Pay With Points (up to 500,000 points back per calendar year), up to $200 in annual airline fee credits and automatic elite status with both Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors. Annual fee $595 (see rates and fees)

However, American Express did add some nice additional perks for Business Platinum cardholders this year, including the following:

  • Up to $320 in statement credits on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. purchases for shipping (up to $20 per month on each) from May through December 2020
  • Up to $200 in additional statement credits for U.S. purchases with Dell: $100 in additional statement credits from May 1 through June 30, 2020, and up to $100 in additional statement credits between July 1 and Dec. 31, 2020 (for a total of $400 in 2020).

These and the many existing perks on the Business Platinum card propelled it to the top for another year.

RELATED: Big price, big perks: A review of the Business Platinum Card from American Express

Bottom line

The four credit card awards at this year's TPG Awards went to familiar names, as each winner captured the honor for the third straight year. That said, it's worth noting that all four of the honorees made significant adjustments to their respective benefits or earning rates in light of the coronavirus pandemic — and this almost certainly played a role in keeping their title.

But these aren't the only honors we're giving out this week. Stay tuned for a pair of Editors' Choice awards as Credit Cards Week continues at the 2020 TPG Awards.

Do you agree with the choices? Join the conversation on Twitter using the #TPGAwards2020 — and tune in for our Facebook Live at 2 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday Dec. 2 as we break down the winners with key members of TPG's editorial team.

Voting for the 2020 TPG Awards Readers' Choice categories ran from Oct. 1, 2020 at 9 a.m. Eastern Time through Oct. 30, 2020 at 11:59:59 p.m. Eastern Time. It was promoted on our site and across all of our social media channels. In addition, some individual brands promoted voting through their own channels — which included their social media accounts, display banners on their sites and direct email campaigns. The voting was conducted via SurveyMonkey, and it was set up where readers could only vote one time.

For rates and fees of the Amex Business Platinum, click here.

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.