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CHANGE YOUR ALTITUDE

Premium credit cards may come with a hefty price tag – but they can offer great benefits to those who bear them. But for a select few, the benefits can outweigh the out-of-pocket annual fee. Here’s a guide to our favorite premium credit cards that give you the most bang for your buck from every day spending to travel purchases.

 

American Express Platinum

Best Use: Flights, when booking travel on American Express Travel, frequent Uber riders
Annual Fee: $550 
Travel Credit:
$200 statement credit per calendar year on airline fees (airline must be pre-selected prior to incurring charges), $200 annual Uber credit ($15/month, plus $20 bonus in December)
Bonus Points: 5 points per dollar on air ticket purchases booked directly with the airline or on American Express Travel, 5 points per dollar spent on hotel bookings made through American Express Travel.
Redemption Bonus: None for the personal card, 1.5x when spent on purchases via American Express Travel on the business version. Points earned through this program can be used for rewards as part of the Membership Rewards program.
Transfer Options: Transfer to airline and hotel partners (rates vary):

  • Aeromexico Club Premier
  • Air Canada Aeroplan
  • Alitalia Millemiglia
  • ANA Mileage Club
  • Asia Miles
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Delta SkyMiles
  • El Al Matmid
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Etihad Guest
  • Flying Blue  (Air France and KLM)
  • Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles
  • Iberia Plus
  • jetBlueTrueBlue
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Virgin Americ Elevate
  • Virgina Atlantic Flying Club
  • Choice Privileges
  • Hilton HHonors
  • Starwood Preferred Guest
  • Plenti

Other Benefits: Access to Delta lounges and Centurion lounges globally, up to $100 statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, Priority Pass Select membership, Fine Hotel & Resorts Collection benefits, access to the American Express Platinum Concierge, Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status, Hilton HHonors Gold status, no foreign transaction fees.
Great For: People who travel on Delta (but not frequent enough to gain Diamond Status with free lounge access), those partial to Starwood and Hilton hotels (but don’t stay often enough to have Gold status), anyone with tons of flight expenses (and books directly with the airline or through American Express Travel).
Apply Here

 

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Best Use: Travel purchases (airfare, hotels, trains, taxis) and dining, charges abroad
Annual Fee: $450 
Bonus Points: 3 points on travel and dining charges
Redemption Bonus: Points are worth 50% more when redeeming for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Transfer Options: 1:1 transfer to airline and hotel partners:

  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Flying Blue (Air France and KLM)
  • Korean Air SKYPASS
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards®
  • United MileagePlus®
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • Hyatt Gold Passport®
  • IHG® Rewards Club
  • Marriott Rewards®
  • The Ritz-Carlton Rewards®

Other Benefits: Up to $100 statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, Priority Pass Select membership, travel protection, Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection benefits, access to the Visa Infinite Concierge, no foreign transaction fees.
Great For: Travel enthusiasts, people with frequent dining charges (so… everyone). 
Apply Here

 

Citi Prestige

Best Use: Air travel and dining, foreign spend. 
Travel Credit: $250 statement credit per calendar year on travel purchases
Bonus Points: 3 points on travel and 2 points on dining charges
Redemption Bonus: Points are worth 33% more when used to pay for travel through Citi Travel Center (and 60% more when booking on American Airlines)
Transfer Options: transfer to airline and hotel partners (rates vary):

  • Asia Miles
  • EVA Air
  • Etihad Guest
  • Flying Blue (Air France and KLM)
  • Garuda Indonesia
  • Malaysia
  • Qantas
  • Qatar
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Thai Airways
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Hilton HHonors

Other Benefits: Fourth night free program, Up to $100 statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, Priority Pass Select membership, travel protection, access to Citi Concierge, no foreign transaction fees.

Great For: People partial to traveling on American Airlines (great point bonus when paying for AA tickets through Citi’s travel portal, plus complimentary Admirals lounge access through June 20, 2017), travelers who typically stay 4 nights in the same hotel.
Apply Here

 

Ritz-Carlton Rewards Card

Best Use: Pay for nights at Ritz-Carlton or Marriott properties, airline purchases, car rental charges, and dining. 
Travel Credit:
$300 statement credit per calendar year on travel incidentals (baggage fees, lounge fees, etc). Must call Chase to request the credit once the charge has posted.
Bonus Points: 5 points on charges at Ritz-Carlton and Marriott Properties, 2 points on travel (airline and car rental) dining charges
Redemption Bonus: Points are worth 33% more when used to pay for travel through Citi Travel Center (and 60% more when booking on American Airlines)
Transfer Options: transfer to numerous airline partners available (rates vary) – refer to Ritz-Carlton website.
Other Benefits: $100 credit on paid stays of 2 nights or more, $100 credit on purchases of 2 or more airline tickets (domestic economy tickets), Gold Elite status in first year (maintain every year after with minimum $10,000 credit card spend), up to $100 statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, Priority Pass Select membership, no foreign transaction fees.
Great For: Frequent Ritz-Carlton/Marriott travelers, domestic economy travelers (2 or more tickets – ideally you’ll want to purchase these in denominations of 2s for maximum benefit).
Apply Here

 

You’ll see from the cards listed above, each brings a strong suite to the table, particularly if you have an alignment to a specific airline or hotel group. The “right” card for you could be a combination of those listed above – we definitely recommend picking one(s) based on your travel preferences, frequency, and destinations.

 

Other Cards

Of course, paying a $450 annual fee isn’t for everyone. Be sure to check out our guide for