1. Platinum Card® from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American Express offers maximum rewards on travel, plus some luxury extras. Travelers can earn 5X Membership Rewards points on flights booked directly through the airline or with American Express Travel, and hotels booked through AmexTravel.com. Members also enjoy a $200 annual fee credit and up to $200 in Uber credit each year.
American Express Global Lounge Collection access is included, as is a $100 fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓. Platinum Concierge service, Hilton Honors Gold Status, Starwood Preferred Guest Gold Status and a generous introductory points bonus round out the list of card benefits. But, there is a $550 annual fee to contend with.
2. Chase Sapphire ReserveSM
The Chase Sapphire ReserveSM card features a similar array of valuable benefits. The introductory bonus is slightly lower compared to the Platinum Card but you can get 50% more in travel redemption value when you redeem rewards through Chase Ultimate Rewards. New purchases earn 3X points on travel and dining, along with 1X points per dollar on all other purchases.
Card extras include a $300 annual travel credit and complimentary access to over 1,000 lounges worldwide through Priority Pass™ Select. Like the Platinum Card, rewards can be transferred to partner airline and hotel loyalty programs but the difference is that with the Chase Sapphire ReserveSM card, points always transfer on a 1:1 basis. Another added plus? The annual fee is slightly lower at $450.
The Citi Prestige® card offers 3X points per dollar on airfare and travel, 2X points per dollar on dining and entertainment and 1X point per dollar on all other purchases. There’s no introductory bonus but the card makes up for it with other benefits, like an annual $250 air travel credit, a complimentary fourth night stay at any hotel of your choice after booking a minimum of four nights consecutively through ThankYou.com or Citi Prestige Concierge, a $100 Global Entry fee credit and Priority Pass™ Select membership.
Like the Chase Sapphire ReserveSM card, this one also comes with a $450 annual fee.
Selecting a Premium Travel Rewards Card
When a $450 or $550 annual fee is on the table, it’s important that you make the right choice. As you compare cards, consider the number of rewards you can earn and the introductory bonus, if there is one. Also, remember to analyze your spending and travel habits. Opting for a higher annual fee to enjoy premium benefits and rewards only make sense if you know you’ll use them.
Also, keep in mind that you’ll need a good credit score to be approved for most of these credit cards. Check your credit score before applying.
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