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The one credit card TPG staffers can’t live without

Feb. 02, 2022
11 min read
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At The Points Guy, we don’t just cover credit cards and travel. We live this stuff so we can bring you first-hand experiences. We’re always talking about the latest credit card offers, flight deals, ways to accumulate extra points and more, but we don't always get to share our personal picks for items we cover. So, I asked our staff the following question: The Credit Card Police have come to your house to confiscate all of your cards but will allow you to keep one. Which one would it be and why?

I must say that I was pleasantly surprised by some of the cards my coworkers chose. Not only will you see the usual card suspects, but you'll also notice some under-the-radar options worth a closer look.

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Summer Hull, director of content

(Photo by B Calkins/Shutterstock)

My pick is the Chase Sapphire Reserve for many reasons. I love that the card lets me earn 3 points per dollar spent on travel and dining, two spending categories that many of my purchases fall within. Having the ability to transfer those points to partners like United, Hyatt and Southwest is also a highlight for me. Additionally, the easy-to-use $300 travel credit (with a generous definition of travel) helps ease the pain of the card’s $550 annual fee.

What continues to sell me on this card, though, is its built-in travel protections. Whether a kid gets sick right before a trip and we have to cancel or an airline strands us with severely delayed or canceled flights, this card has my back.

For more information read our full review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Related: How I used Chase’s trip cancellation coverage to recoup $800 in non-refundable airfare

Clint Henderson, senior news editor

Clint enjoys his Centurion Lounge access at spots like LaGuardia Airport (LGA). (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

If I could only have one card in my wallet, I'd choose The Platinum Card® from American Express. Despite the annoying “deal hunting” or “extreme couponing” aspect of this card, I will happily continue paying the exorbitant $695 annual fee (see rates and fees) because it gives me guaranteed Gold elite status with Marriott, Hilton and several car rental companies. I'm also a huge fan of the card's Amex Offers, which have saved me hundreds of dollars over the years, and its many annual perks, including $200 in annual statement credits to apply toward a stay at participating hotels, monthly statement credits for Uber rides and an annual credit to cover up to $200 in incidental charges with an airline of my choice.

Plus, I like that I earn 5 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on flights (up to $500,000 in total purchases each calendar year) and have the option to hang out in Centurion lounges (even though they are too often crowded). I really miss the streaming credits, but I'm glad my New York Times subscription is free this year.

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Related: 10 things to do when you get the Amex Platinum

For more details, read our review of the Amex Platinum.

Benét Wilson, senior editor

Aruba Marriott Stellaris. (Photo by Samantha Rosen/The Points Guy.)
I can transfer the Membership Rewards points I earn on the Amex Platinum to book a stay at the Aruba Marriott Stellaris. (Photo by Samantha Rosen/The Points Guy.)

The Amex Platinum is the one card I'll never give up, even with all of its "lifestyle" changes launched in 2021. Added perks include a $189 Clear credit to cover your annual membership, a $155 statement credit for a monthly Walmart+ membership (Plus Ups are excluded), and $20 statement credits each month (up to $240 every year) for Audible, Peacock and SiriusXM, among other digital entertainment options.(Enrollment Required) I know the card’s hefty annual fee can be intimidating, but the statement credits plus its access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection and automatic elite status in select hotel loyalty programs more than pay for the card. Another bonus: I can transfer the points I earn to 19 airline partners, as well as three hotel partners.

Related: 80,000 points: How to maximize the Amex Platinum welcome offer

Juan Ruiz, credit cards editor

As a foodie, the Amex Gold card gives Juan the maximum amount of points for dining. (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Without question, my go-to card is the American Express® Gold Card. I'm a foodie and spend an inordinate amount on dining out and purchasing groceries to test my chef skills at home. The 4 points I earn per dollar spent on those food categories is a strong earning rate. Plus, I rack up valuable Membership Rewards points that I can transfer to a variety of Amex travel partners and redeem for 2 cents apiece, according to TPG's valuation.

For more details, read our review of the Amex Gold.

Madison Blancaflor, travel editor

Madison may want to transfer her Chase points to book a room at the Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs. (Photo courtesy of IHG)

Compared to many TPG staffers, I’m still relatively new to the credit cards game — I signed up for my very first points credit card only two years ago. I’ve added a few more to my wallet during the past couple of years (including a recent upgrade to the Chase Sapphire Reserve), but looking at my full credit card lineup, the one card I could not live without is my Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. I will scream praises about this card forever. Although it’s not my most-used card these days, the earning rates, redemption options, low annual fee and travel protections make it a no-brainer to keep.

Related: How I used Chase Ultimate Rewards to book my trip to Croatia

For more details, read our full review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

Katie Genter, senior reporter

Wingtips Lounge Priority Pass at St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL) is a lounge Katie may enjoy. (Photo courtesy of Wingtips/Facebook)

I choose the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card as the one card that must stay in my wallet. If I was limited to one card, I'd want it to provide solid travel and shopping protections, Priority Pass lounge access and at least 2 miles per dollar spent on all purchases, all of which are covered by the Capital One Venture X. Although I prefer the transfer partners of other credit card currencies, there are plenty of valuable options with Capital One's 17 airline and hotel partners. Plus, this card is affiliated with Visa, so I can more easily take advantage of its lack of foreign transactions fees while traveling abroad than I could with an Amex, which still isn't accepted by some overseas merchants.

Related: Your ultimate guide to Capital One’s 17 airline and hotel transfer partners

Fore more details, read our full review of the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card.

Alejandro Carlo, software engineer

Alejandro likes that the no-annual-fee Wells Fargo Propel comes with cellphone protection. (Photo by Pornchai Jaito / EyeEm / Getty Images)

I'm going off the beaten path with my choice: the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card (no longer open to new applications). The Propel has many of the benefits an Amex card has, such as travel accident insurance, lost baggage coverage, secondary car rental insurance in the U.S., purchase and return protection, cellphone insurance and extended warranty coverage — all for no annual fee. Plus, you'll earn 3 points per dollar spent on purchases that fall within popular categories like travel, dining, gas and streaming services. Redeem your points in the Wells Fargo Rewards portal for cash back or air travel.

The information for the Wells Fargo Propel Amex 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.

Related: The best Wells Fargo credit cards

For more details, read our full review of the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card.

Caroline Tanner, travel writer

Caroline may want to use her Chase points for a stay at the Hyatt Centric Key West. (Photo by Kyle Olsen/The Points Guy)

Like Madison, I, too, am a big fan of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. It's the first card I got when I started at TPG thanks to my coworkers' recommendations. It not only offers a low annual fee but also provides a number of redemption options, including with hotel partners like Hyatt.

Related: The 8 best credit cards with annual fees under $100

Stella Shon, credit cards writer

Stella's Chase Sapphire Preferred card can save her when her flight is delayed or canceled. (Photo by Al Seib / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images).

Add me to the group of TPG staffers who love the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. Even though I only earn 1 point per dollar spent on non-bonus purchases, many items I'm buying fall within one of Chase's bonus categories. Not to mention, Chase Ultimate Rewards points are more valuable to me than a random airline or hotel currency. I also like that the card offers some of the most comprehensive trip and purchase protections available with a credit card.

Related: The 9 best credit cards with travel insurance

Bottom line

While TPG staffers chose a variety of cards as their favorites, one stood out from the rest:

Credit card

Votes

Capital One Venture X
Amex Platinum✔✔
Amex Gold
Chase Sapphire Reserve
Chase Sapphire Preferred✔✔✔
Wells Fargo Propel

With its low annual fee, impressive travel protections and array of redemption options, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card remains a top pick among TPG staffers.

Despite some major changes in 2021 that came along with another increase in it's annual fee, the Amex Platinum still made the cut. One unexpected pick for me was Alejandro's choice of the Wells Fargo Propel (no longer open for applications), though its surprisingly solid list of benefits for a no-annual-fee card more than supports his selection. I'm happy to see that the new Capital One Venture X make the list, too, since it has generated some serious buzz since it launched in late 2021.

If you're considering adding a credit card to your wallet, check out these helpful TPG credit card guides:

Related: The cards TPG staffers are keeping, canceling and downgrading

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

Featured image by OSCAR WONG/GETTY IMAGES
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.

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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.
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TPG featured card

TPG Exclusive Offer
TPG Exclusive Offer
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 - 5X points
5XGet 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com
1.5XEarn 1.5X points on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year
1X1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.

Intro offer

Earn 150,000 points120,000 points
The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

Annual Fee

$695

Recommended Credit

670-850
Good, 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

It's hard to find a card that competes with the mile-long list of benefits that come with the Amex Business Platinum. While it's certainly not the card for the average consumer, a business owner with tons of expenses -- especially related to travel -- will find this card incredibly valuable. This card is similar to the consumer version that Amex offers, but with more business-oriented perks around statement credits and earning rates that are a better fit for business owners.

Pros

  • An up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four to five years
  • Up to $400 annual credit for eligible U.S. Dell purchases (enrollment required)
  • Gold status at Marriott and Hilton hotels (enrollment required)
  • Access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts program and Hotel Collection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • International Airline Program and Cruise Privileges Program

Cons

  • Steep annual fee
  • Difficulty meeting $15,000 welcome offer for smaller businesses
  • Limited high-bonus categories outside of travel
  • The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Earn 1.5X points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
  • Unlock over $1,000 in annual statement credits on a curation of business purchases, including select purchases made with Dell Technologies, Indeed, Adobe, and U.S. wireless service providers.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for checked baggage fees, lounge day passes, and more at one selected airline.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at more than 50 U.S. airports and stadiums.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more lounge location options than any other credit card on the market as of 9/2021.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
Apply for The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
TPG Exclusive Offer
TPG Exclusive Offer
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

5XGet 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com
1.5XEarn 1.5X points on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year
1X1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Intro Offer
    The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

    Earn 150,000 points
    120,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $695
  • 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.

    670-850
    Good, Excellent

Why We Chose It

It's hard to find a card that competes with the mile-long list of benefits that come with the Amex Business Platinum. While it's certainly not the card for the average consumer, a business owner with tons of expenses -- especially related to travel -- will find this card incredibly valuable. This card is similar to the consumer version that Amex offers, but with more business-oriented perks around statement credits and earning rates that are a better fit for business owners.

Pros

  • An up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four to five years
  • Up to $400 annual credit for eligible U.S. Dell purchases (enrollment required)
  • Gold status at Marriott and Hilton hotels (enrollment required)
  • Access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts program and Hotel Collection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • International Airline Program and Cruise Privileges Program

Cons

  • Steep annual fee
  • Difficulty meeting $15,000 welcome offer for smaller businesses
  • Limited high-bonus categories outside of travel
  • The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Earn 1.5X points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
  • Unlock over $1,000 in annual statement credits on a curation of business purchases, including select purchases made with Dell Technologies, Indeed, Adobe, and U.S. wireless service providers.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for checked baggage fees, lounge day passes, and more at one selected airline.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at more than 50 U.S. airports and stadiums.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more lounge location options than any other credit card on the market as of 9/2021.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.