Premium Reward Credit Cards You Should Know – The Ticker
The previous issue of Credit Fundamentals talked about “intermediary” credit cards. This problem will reach the next level for regular consumers – premium credit cards with travel rewards.
To qualify for these cards, a person must have at least one year of credit card history and a score above 700.
These cards come with high annual fees, but if you use the card’s offers diligently, you’ll come out on top. These cards fall into three general categories: general credit cards for travel, airlines and hotels.
An example of a general credit card with travel rewards is the chic Amex Platinum card from American Express Co., which orders a hefty annual fee of $695. Despite the fees, you can withdraw a lot from the card.
Owners can earn tangible value, such as a $200 hotel travel credit, $200 hotel credit, and $189 “CLEAR” credit. CLEAR allows people to avoid queues at the airport using biometrics. The savings would already be worth $589, so the annual fee may be justified.
There is also an intangible value associated with Amex Platinum, which includes to access at American Express Centurion lounges. Airline food courts can be expensive, but with access to a
lounge, you get this food for free, plus perks like drinks, showers, and saunas. There is no specific monetary value tied to food, so the more you travel and enjoy the lounges, the more you can benefit from this card.
Airline credit cards are co-branded with the airline and the issuing bank. Points earned on these cards are usually called “miles”, but they are generally the same as regular credit card points.
A popular card is the Delta SkyMiles Reserve. This card is co-branded with American Express which means Centurion lounges are also included in this card. The $550 annual fee is offset by two companion certificates issued each year, which you can redeem to take two passengers on a first-class flight for free.
The requirements for achieving Delta Medallion status are also reduced. At the highest tier, “Diamond,” these benefits include vouchers, increased point earning on the map, and the ability to gift people medallion status. Additional perks include free upgrades to first class and benefits at lower tiers.
Hotel credit cards offer extra points on hotels in addition to freebies such as free hotel nights. Like airline cards, they are co-branded with an issuing bank.
An example is the Ritz-Carlton credit card from JPMorgan Chase & Co., which come with an annual fee of $450. While the card is closed to new apps, it’s an example of a powerful hotel card.
This hotel credit card offers Marriott Gold elite status, as well as the very powerful Priority Pass program. This card offers free priority certificate membership – worth $429 – and unlimited guests. This means that if you are traveling with a group of 20 people, they will all have access to free food and drink.
Although this is the high end for regular consumers, there are two other categories of credit cards that I will cover: invite-only credit cards and business credit cards.