The 5 cards TPG staffers added to their wallets this quarter
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new information.
With the enticing sign-up bonuses and welcome offers we’ve seen on many cards recently, there’s been no better time to apply for a new card and execute our long-awaited travel strategies. Check out the five cards we’ve added to our wallets this quarter.
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The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a rite of passage into the points and miles world — and you can even get thousands of dollars in value in the first year of account opening alone, all for a $95 annual fee.
While most of us already have this card in our wallet, several TPG staffers have just applied for the Sapphire Preferred this quarter to take advantage of the best-ever 100,000-point sign-up bonus (now 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in the first three months of account opening) — including Paid Media Associate Paige Jones and Senior SEO Associate Elizabeth Petty.
The Amex Platinum is one of the most recognizable premium cards out there, thanks to its sleek metal design symbolizing luxury. It now comes with the most expensive annual fee on the market. At $695 a year (see rates and fees), this certainly isn’t a card for everyone. Coinciding with the higher annual fee, Amex has improved its offerings, such as up to $200 annual hotel statement credit on pre-paid bookings via Amex Travel, up to $300 annual Equinox statement credit, up to $179 Clear membership statement credit per calendar year, and more. If you’re able to maximize these credits — plus take advantage of all the amazing benefits from lounge access to bonus points — the annual fee won’t seem so daunting after all. Enrollment required for select benefits.
TPG’s cruise writer, Ashley Kosciolek, was adamant about avoiding annual fees until her colleagues taught her about the power of points and miles — and for many travelers, paying a $695 annual fee for a perks-rich card is worth it. She used the opportunity to make a $5,000 down payment on her car with her new Amex Platinum, helping get her closer to the minimum spend requirement of $6,000 in the first six months of card membership, to get those 100,000 bonus points.
TPG’s Director of Travel Content, Summer Hull, has long been a United Airlines loyalist as a resident of Houston. The best part of having a United business credit card is that they stack with personal cards, as there’s a 5,000-mile better-together anniversary bonus for having both — a nice little incentive if you’re a fan of United.
The annual fee is waived the first year on the United Business, allowing you to test-drive the card before you commit to paying a $99 ongoing annual fee. Perks include two one-time United Club passes per year, valued at more than $100, plus the opportunity to earn Premier Qualifying Points toward your elite status from credit card spend alone. Ultimately, what really convinced Summer to apply was the 75,000-mile sign-up bonus after spending $5,000 in the first three months of account opening, which TPG values at $975.
We’re not just about airlines and hotels at The Points Guy. Amtrak also deserves some love, especially if you’re a fan of train service that sometimes can be more convenient than flying, depending on the route.
TPG’s senior travel reporter Vikkie Walker is our resident Amtrak expert, as she often takes train service from New York City to Washington D.C. As Amtrak is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, its Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard also comes with its best-ever sign-up bonus of 50,000 points after spending $2,500 within the first 90 days. There are plenty of ways to justify the $79 annual fee, whether it’s the annual companion coupon combined with an every-year upgrade coupon, which amounts to a value of almost $500 alone.
The information for the Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
American AAdvantage miles are among some of the more valuable airline currencies out there, thanks to the ability to book on many international partners — whether it’s Japan Airlines’ first class or Qatar Airways’ Qsuites. TPG’s credit card editor, Juan Ruiz, is based in Miami and is no stranger to American Airlines.
“I opened the Barclays Business Aviator as I needed to replenish my AA balance as it was too low for my liking,” said Ruiz. Currently, you can earn up to 80,000 AAdvantage miles: Earn 50,000 miles after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days. Plus, earn 30,000 miles after spending a total of $6,000 on purchases within the first 12 months. American Airlines flyers will also enjoy the opportunity to get a first free checked bag, priority boarding, and a 25% inflight discount.
The information for the AAdvantage Aviator Business Aviator has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Plenty of credit cards have recently announced changes and limited-time sign-up bonuses. These offers have caused many of us to reevaluate our current earning strategies and apply for new cards as a result.
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum, click here.
Featured photo by Isabelle Raphael for The Points Guy.
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