Things have been changing in the ultra-premium card space! The new Prestige card was just released with it’s new 5X categories and $495 annual fee. And Amex is expected to unveil more details about their Business Platinum card any second now. What exactly are we getting now that the annual fee is $145 more than before (it jumped from $450 to $595)? And, back in October, the Amex Gold and Amex Business Gold cards too got new features and new fees.
So, it was time for me to update the Ultra-Premium Credit Card Value Worksheet. I updated the sheet with new cards (Amex Gold and Amex Business Gold), new fees and features for the Prestige and Business Platinum cards, and new personal estimates. My big surprise was that my Prestige card didn’t fare as well as I had expected.
Introducing version 2.0…
Ultra-premium cards typically offer terrific benefits in exchange for terrifically high fees (typically around $450 per year). Often the value of the benefits far outweigh those fees, but not always.
Most ultra-premium cards are worth signing up for because they have good to excellent signup bonuses that are worth more than the first year’s annual fee. That’s not the question. The question is whether the cards are worth keeping past the first year. When the second year annual fee comes due, do you keep or cancel?
Do the card’s benefits outweigh the annual fee? Each person should conservatively estimate the value of each benefit to them to figure this out. In most cases, I recommend trying to estimate how much you’d be willing to pay for this feature if it was available stand-alone as a subscription. For example, if a card offers free checked bags, you could save hundreds of dollars if you use that benefit often enough. But how much would you pay for an annual subscription to get free checked bags? That answer should be substantially lower than the amount that you think you’ll save. Otherwise, why prepay for that benefit?
The spreadsheet currently includes general estimates of how much each major card benefit may be worth, along with my own personal valuation to give you an idea of how I think about each.
To use the spreadsheet, create a copy of it and then overwrite the values in columns D and E on each tab with your own value estimates.
Tips for using the spreadsheet effectively
Be conservative with your estimates. Enter values that you would pay for a subscription for that benefit rather than the amount you expect to save.
Once you identify cards that you know that you’ll keep year after year (like my CNB card pictured above), make sure to consider that when evaluating overlapping benefits on other cards. For example, I get 12 Gogo internet passes from my CNB card each year (really 48 passes since I get 12 from each CNB card), so I don’t value the same benefit on the Altitude Reserve card.
You’re allowed to make irrational decisions if you can afford it. My personal valuation of the Altitude Reserve card comes out higher than the card’s annual fee. But, even if it came out lower, I would consider keeping the card simply because I like it. I love knowing that I get good value from mobile wallet purchases (Samsung Pay, Apple Pay). And I love getting 1.5 cents value per point through Real Time Mobile Rewards (and no, I do not earn an affiliate commission for this card).
The Card Roundup
At the time of this writing, the spreadsheet includes the following cards…
Earning rate: 5X flights and prepaid hotels at AmexTravel.com ⚬ 1.5X points per dollar on eligible purchases of $5000 or more (on up to $2 million of those purchases per year) ⚬ 1.5x on US construction/hardware stores, US electronic goods, and US shipping ⚬ 1X elsewhere ⚬ Terms apply.
Noteworthy perks: Up to $200 a year in statement credits for airline incidental fees (select one qualifying airline and then receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for qualifying charges) ⚬ Up to $400 a year in statement credits for Dell purchases ($200 Jan-June; $200 July-Dec) ⚬ Up to $120 in wireless services credits per year ($10 per month) ⚬ Up to $360 per year in credit with Indeed (up to $90 per quarter ⚬ Up to $150 per year in purchases with Adobe for annual prepaid plans for eligible Creative Cloud for teams and Acrobat Pro DC with e-sign ⚬ $100 Global Entry fee reimbursement.⚬ Priority Pass membership (Lounges only) with 2 guests and other airport lounge benefits (Centurion and Delta) ⚬ Rental car elite status ⚬ Marriott Gold status ⚬ Hilton Gold status. ⚬ $189 CLEAR fee reimbursement annually (cover the cost of a CLEAR membership with up to $189 in statement credits per calendar year when you charge your CLEAR membership to your Business Platinum card) ⚬ 35% Airline Bonus: Get 35% points back after you Pay With Points for flights with your selected airline (or premium cabin with any airline). Enrollment required for select benefits
Earning rate: 5X points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel ⚬ 5X points for prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel
Noteworthy perks: ⚬ $200 Airline Fee Credit. Up to $200 a year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline ⚬ $200 prepaid hotel credit annually valid on Fine Hotels & Resorts and The Hotel Collection bookings. ⚬ Up to $300 in Equinox credits. ⚬ Up to $20 per month rebate for select digital entertainment services (NY Times, ESPN+, Disney+, Hulu, Peacock, Sirius XM, Audible) ⚬ $189 CLEAR fee reimbursement annually. ⚬ Up to $200 for Uber rides annually. Credit and Uber VIP status for Basic Member only ⚬ $300 credit when buying a SoulCycle bike directly from SoulCycle (up to 15 bikes per year) ⚬ $12.95 monthly credit for Walmart+ monthly membership subscription credit. ⚬ Up to $100 in credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue (up to $50 in credits semi-annually, enrollment required) ⚬ Card members are eligible to receive a statement credit every 4 years for the application fee for Global Entry fee when charged to an aligible card and a statement credit every 4.5 years for the application fee for TSA PreCheck® when charged to an eligible card ⚬ Priority Pass membership (Lounges only) with 2 guests and other airport lounge benefits (Centurion and Delta) ⚬ Rental car elite status ⚬ Marriott Gold status ⚬ Hilton HHonors Gold status ⚬ Free Gold card AUs. Terms Apply. (Rates & Fees)
FM Mini Review: This card offers an awesome return on US supermarket and worldwide dining spend, putting it at or near the top-of-class in both categories. Dining credits and Uber / Uber Eats credits go a long way towards reducing the sting of this card's annual fee.
Earning rate: 3X points for flights booked with airlines or on amextravel.com ⚬ 4x points at US Supermarkets (up to $25K in purchases, then 1x) ⚬ 4x at restaurants worldwide ⚬ 1X points on other purchases. Terms apply. (Rates & Fees)
Noteworthy perks: Up to $10 in statement credits monthly with participating dining partners (Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar, Shake Shack, Seamless/Grubhub, Cheesecake Factory) ⚬ $10 monthly Uber or Uber Eats credit (use it or lose it each month) ⚬ $100 hotel credit on qualifying charges on stays of 2 nights or longer, plus a room upgrade upon arrival, if available with The Hotel Collection at americanexpress.com/hc ⚬ Enrollment required for select benefits.
Earning rate: Earn 4X on the two categories where your business spends the most each billing cycle from the following categories: ⚬ US purchases at restaurants ⚬ Airfare purchased directly from airlines ⚬ U.S. purchases for advertising in select media ⚬ U.S. purchases at gas stations ⚬ U.S. purchases for shipping ⚬ U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers. 4X applies to first $150,000 in combined purchases in your two categories each calendar year, 1X point per dollar thereafter and on other purchases. Terms apply.
Noteworthy perks: 25% Airline Bonus: Get 25% points back after you Pay With Points for flights with your selected airline (or premium cabin with any airline). Terms Apply. (Rates & Fees)
Earning rate: 5X airfare, dining, and travel agencies ⚬ 3X hotels and cruise line ⚬ 1X everywhere else
Noteworthy perks: $250 travel rebate per calendar year ⚬ Free lounge access: Citi Properietary Lounges; and Priority Pass Select with free guests ⚬ $100 Global Entry application fee credit ⚬ 4th night free hotel benefit
Earning rate: ⚬ 3X airline, hotel, taxi, limousine, rental car, train bus, restaurant, fast food and takeout food and dining purchases ⚬ 1X everywhere else
Big spend bonus: Get reimbursed up to $550 for airline lounge club membership after $50K calendar year spend.
Noteworthy perks: Up to $350 a year in statement credits for airline incidental fees (as of 1/1/20) ⚬ 12 Gogo In-Flight Wifi passes per card ⚬ $100 Global Entry fee reimbursement ⚬ Priority Pass lounge membership for 2 cardholders (guests are not free as of 1/1/20)
FM Mini Review: With points worth 1.5 cents each towards travel, this card offers an excellent signup bonus. For ongoing use, this card is a winner for those who spend a lot on mobile payments (at 3X, rewards are worth 4.5%)
Earning rate: 5x prepaid hotel & car rental through Altitude Rewards Center ⚬ 3X travel and mobile wallet payments
Noteworthy perks: $325 in travel/dining credits per membership year ⚬ Points worth 1.5 cents each towards travel ⚬ Real Time Mobile Rewards (redeem points at full value at time of purchase) ⚬ Priority Pass Select airport lounge access (4 per year) ⚬ Primary car rental coverage ⚬ No foreign transaction fees ⚬ Free authorized user cards
Earning rate: 3X Delta ⚬ 1.5X on all spend per calendar year after spending $150K
Big spend bonus: Earn 15K MQMs (towards elite status) after $30K spend up to four times per year ⚬ Medallion Qualifying Dollar waiver (up to Platinum status) with $25K spend across one or more Delta cards (or $250K spend for Diamond status) ⚬ After you spend $150K in a calendar year, earn 1.5X miles per dollar on eligible purchases for the rest of the year (excludes Delta purchases after you meet the $150K requirement) ⚬ Terms and limitations apply.
Noteworthy perks: 15% off when using miles to book an award flight (Delta metal only) ⚬ Domestic economy or first class companion certificate (subject to taxes & fees) after card renewal ⚬ SkyClub access ⚬ 2 Delta SkyClub one-time guest passes ⚬ Centurion Lounge access when you book your Delta flight with your Reserve card ⚬ Complimentary upgrades ⚬ $100 Global Entry fee credit every 4 years (or 4.5 years for TSA Precheck) ⚬ Priority boarding ⚬ First checked bag free on Delta flights. Terms and limitations apply. (Rates & Fees)
Big spend bonus: Earn 15,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $30,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to four times per year ⚬ Complimentary upgrades ⚬ $100 Global Entry fee credit every 4 years (or 4.5 years for TSA Precheck) ⚬ Medallion Qualifying Dollar waiver (up to Platinum status) with $25K
spend across one or more Delta cards (or $250K spend for Diamond status) ⚬ Terms apply.
Noteworthy perks: 15% off when using miles to book an award flight (Delta metal only) ⚬ Domestic economy or first class companion certificate (subject to taxes & fees) after card renewal ⚬ SkyClub access ⚬ 2 Delta SkyClub one-time guest passes ⚬ Centurion Lounge access when flying Delta ⚬ Complimentary upgrades ⚬ One statement credit every 4 years for the $100 Global Entry application fee or one statement credit every 4.5 years for the $85 TSA Precheck application fee ⚬ Priority boarding ⚬ First checked bag free on Delta flights. Terms and limitations apply. (Rates & Fees)
FM Mini Review: Excellent choice for those who need Admirals Club access (included for both the primary member and authorized users). Plus, it offers the usual collection of perks for flying AA (free checked bag, priority boarding, etc.).
Noteworthy perks: ⚬ First Checked Bag Free ⚬ Admirals Club® access for both primary and authorized users ⚬ 25% savings on eligible in-flight purchases on American Airlines flights ⚬ Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit
FM Mini Review: This card is loaded with valuable perks that are more than worth the card's annual fee if you stay in Hilton resorts at least once per year, and other Hilton properties a few times a year..
Earning rate: ⚬ 14X Hilton spend ⚬ 7X US restaurants, flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com, select car rental companies ⚬ 3X on all other eligible purchases ⚬ Terms & Limitations Apply.
Big spend bonus: Second free night award after $60K spend in calendar year
Noteworthy perks: ⚬Annual Weekend Night Reward upon approval and every year upon renewal ⚬ Free Diamond Status ⚬ Priority Pass membership (Lounges only) with 2 guests ⚬ $250 Hilton Resort Credit per membership year ⚬ $250 Airline Incidental Fee Credit per calendar year ⚬ $100 on-property credit w/ Aspire Card package ⚬ Terms Apply. See Rates & Fees
Earning rate: 3X airfare charged by airline; 3X restaurants worldwide, 6X Marriott; 2X on all other eligible purchases
Big spend bonus: Annual Choice Award with $60K calendar year spend
Noteworthy perks: ⚬ 85K Free Night Award each year upon renewal ⚬ $300 dining credit per membership year ($25/mo) ⚬ Platinum Elite status ⚬ 25 elite nights credit ⚬ Priority Pass membership (Lounges only) with 2 guests ⚬ Global Entry fee credit ⚬ Free premium internet at Marriott properties Note: Enrollment required for some benefits.
Earning rate: ⚬ 6X Ritz & Marriott.⚬ 3X airline tickets purchased directly with the airline, at car rental agencies and at restaurants ⚬ 2X everywhere else
Big spend bonus: $75K spend per calendar year for Platinum elite status
Noteworthy perks: ⚬ Annual 85K hotel certificate upon renewal ⚬ 3 club level upgrades. $100 hotel credit for each 2 night or longer stay ⚬ Priority Pass Select with unlimited guests ⚬ $300 annual credit for airline incidentals ⚬ Automatic Gold Status ⚬ $10 monthly GoPuff credit (through 12/31/23)
To understand the above results, keep in mind the following dependencies:
The CNB card is an obvious no-brainer since it offers up to $1,000 per year in airline fee credits for $400. As a result, other cards that offering duplicative benefits were not valued as highly. For example, I don’t value getting Priority Pass from any of the other cards since this one gives me Priority Pass with unlimited guests.
After analyzing both the consumer and business versions of the Amex Platinum card, I realized that the business card was closer to a keeper, so I zeroed out the duplicate benefits on the consumer spreadsheet. For example, there’s no advantage to having two cards that offer Emergency medical evacuation.
Similarly, the values I assigned to the Delta Reserve business card assume one already has the consumer card, so some of the card’s benefits were zeroed out.
Also keep in mind:
I live near a Delta hub (Detroit) and like to use Delta credit cards to manufacture high level elite status for both me and my wife.
I rarely fly AA or United
I’ve gotten very good at getting full value from credit card travel credits, so my net cost on many of these cards is far less than it appears.
Based on the analysis, I should do the following:
Cancel my Schwab Platinum card when the next annual fee comes due
My wife should cancel her Business Platinum card when she gets charged the new $595 annual fee.
I should consider getting the Hilton Aspire if I can ever free up credit card slots in my Amex portfolio.
I should re-evaluate the Prestige card when the next annual fee comes due.
The big surprise for me was that the Prestige card didn’t do better in my estimates. My valuation barely edged out the card’s new $495 annual fee. If I really get charged that much next October, I might drop the card then. We’ll see.
Where can I get the SPG Luxury Card?
Oops. I thought I had fixed that
I see now that I did fix it in the spreadsheet but forgot to update the image in this post.
[…] I last published version 2.0 of the ultra-premium card analysis spreadsheet in February, but things have already changed enough to warrant an update. One critical change was Citi dropping their purchase and travel protections. If you thought the Citi Prestige was worth keeping before, you might want to take a second look. Personally, I’ve retreated back to my Sapphire Reserve card for most travel purchases. […]
Spreadsheet is missing earning rates for Hilton Aspire! 14x, 7x, 3x! This is a big changer in the math!
Can you remind me the rules on Thank You Points? If you cancel the prestige, you lose the points earned on that card, right? Even if you have other Thank You Point earning cards? If that’s the case, and you plan on cancelling, what do you think is the best/easiest way to liquidate the value of your unused Thank You Points? FWIW, I have like 30,000 earned from Prestige right now.
I’m sure Greg will answer this BUT I combined them and got Rid of them (Singapore AL) .So there would be no playing Games by Citi.. I always error on the side of caution I Flip not Spend .
Yes, that’s true that if you cancel the Prestige you’ll lose the points earned on that card. A better solution is to convert to a no-fee ThankYou card in order to keep the points alive. Then, you can convert to airlines as needed in a few ways:
1. combine accounts with your Premier card (if you have one)
2. move points to a friend or family member who can then move points to an airline program and book for you.
3. Upgrade your Preferred card to the Premier or Prestige when you’re ready to use the points.
If you’d rather just cash out your points, that’s a tough call. If you fly Delta non-stop a lot, you might want to go with Virgin Atlantic. If you fly United or other Star Alliance airlines a lot, consider Avianca Lifemiles. Some of the other good choices are problematic since they make it very difficult to keep points alive (Air France, for example), or impossible after 3 years or so (Singapore, for example)
It took 10hrs to transfer my Thank You points to Singapore Airlines now I can cancel my Citi Primer card and Keep the Prestige card .
Game On !!
Now that my Prestige 4NF and $350 AF are going away, that’s an easy cancel. I also wouldn’t consider the Amex Golds as ultra premium, based on your own criteria of $450+ AF, but still not a keeper. No Amex plat is a keeper because you’re always better off recycling the Ameriprise. That leaves for me the only keeper: Hilton Aspire. $250 resort credit + $250 airline credit + free night + Diamond status is a clear win, and allows you to stop wasting time and money chasing status.
UBS Visa Infinite for all the perks: Mandarin Oriental, the Peninsula, Park Hyatt, Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, St Regis, W Hotels. VIP Treatment, free breakfast, upgrades, credits, etc without bothering with gaining elite status with individual hotel chains.
That benefit sounds very similar to the Amex FHR one, or Visa Infinite hotels, though I think the latter has fewer properties. It’s probably nice on the high end, but not super useful when you aren’t at a place with luxury hotels. The airport lounge membership thing is kind of interesting, but not much better than Skyguide Executive Club. If you really like that hotel benefit, maybe it’s better than the Crystal Infinite Visa, but otherwise not all that interesting.
I’m taking a trip to France and Italy this spring and I will save $991.10 with the Citi 4th night free. I expect to save that much next year also as I plan to book some stays before the phase out this fall.
The Ritz Carlton card has to be the biggest sham in the history of cards……….you won’t be able to use the Club certificates or $100 credit UNLESS you are bilking your company at a standard rate way above any rate you find online………
The AMEX Platinum actually does rebate you without calling or jumping thru your ass…………
But I spend a LOT of money at restaurants and that makes the Citi card the hands down winner AND I spend a LOT of money on wine and believe it or not there are quite a few Napa wineries that code as entertainment! Until later this year those dollars are also 2X……….and sporting event tickets 2X…………I’ll be happy to revisit the argument this fall but right now Citi is the beast in the wallet!
Prestige is a keeper only if my AF stays at $350, I’m still CitiGold.
Amex Platinum (Personal/Business)both going down the toilet
Altitude Reserve, CSR, Hilton Aspire and CNB Crystal are keepers.
I don’t have any other premium cards so far.
Yuri, I would love to see the numbers you use to justify how all those cards are keepers. Only one among them is a keeper. Rest aren’t. So would to see your justification.
Just want to point out that your valuations make sense separately (i.e. if you only had one premium card), but the marginal value of these cards gets lower the more cards you have. For example, Delta Reserve gives you skyclub access but so does Amex Platinum. Similarly, Prestige’s 5x on dining is great, but if the alternative is 3x from Sapphire Reserve, then the additional benefit is so much smaller.
True. See the section titled “Tips for using the spreadsheet effectively” where I wrote the following:
“Once you identify cards that you know that you’ll keep year after year (like my CNB card pictured above), make sure to consider that when evaluating overlapping benefits on other cards. For example, I get 12 Gogo internet passes from my CNB card each year (really 48 passes since I get 12 from each CNB card), so I don’t value the same benefit on the Altitude Reserve card.”
The intent is that you should make multiple passes through the sheet to lower your valuations based on the keeper cards that already have overlapping benefits.
Deleted – wrong message
Don’t forget the 12 Gogo passes per year on the CNB is per AU so you actually get 48 per year!
I actually mentioned that in the section titled “Tips for using the spreadsheet effectively” but didn’t spell it out in the spreadsheet. I probably should
Great information! I’m new in the game of collecting travel awards with credit cards, so I read this comprehensive review with great interest. It’s all a little overwhelming, but seeing all this information in one place makes it a bit easier to do the comparisons I’ve been looking for. Thank you.
Glad it was helpful!
You forgot to put best in class travel insurance on the Ritz page. The Ritz is a keeper for me so that zero’s out the value of that on the CSR. Although if the CSR was also a keeper I would put the spend on that card for 3x UR vs 2x Marriot obviously.
To add to this as well, all premium Amex cards come with the same medical and roadside assistance benefits. Since SPG Lux and Hilton Aspire both have out sized value, that diminishes the personal and biz platinum’s in everything except the credits and Centurion/SkyClub/Escape lounge access for me.
Good point. I need to expand the details regarding travel protection and purchase protection. Maybe V3..
Hi Greg. I am Citi Gold and have had the Prestige card for 3+ years. Do you know if Citi Gold clients are grandfathered into the $350 annual fee? If so, I think that it’s definitely a keeper for me.
Yes, we’ve been told that the card costs $350 for Citi Gold clients.
I looked @ ur hoard of points on another post worth $28,000 unreal !!!
If I keep only one it’s the CSR–3x travel, best in class travel insurance, and 1.5x on portal buys (MUCH better now that Expedia is the vendor; even got a national park lodge!) for a total of $150/year is killer value.
Amex Gold for restaurants/groceries and my old Biz Gold Rewards for gas and that’s most of my cats covered.
So the crystal visa infinite. They dropped the sign up bonus recently so not necessarily calling my name. But assuming I got it, I’m not following why the $250 incidental reimbursement keeps getting valued at $250. Right now I use it for upgrading to even more space seats on jetblue and baggage fees. Allegedly can use on gift cards but the terms specifically exclude those right? I also have $300 in incidentals on my other cards already. So basically I would have to use it for a substantial seat upgrade that I value at $250 that may or may not happen every year. Or I would have to buy many small gift cards and hope for the best. Seat upgrades are worth about 60 cents on the dollar for me.
50k spend will never happen and a non priority pass lounge membership doesn’t do it for me anyway. I occasionally have long layovers and delays but not often enough to value the extra lounge access.
I would likely use the $100 companion discount twice a year and I value that at at least $150. I would only have one authorized user so the incidental credit is even less appealing.
After all my math it’s still a good card for me but only barely.
Am I missing something?
You’re missing something. You can buy a $250 AA gift card and get it reimbursed. I’ve also had $54 one-way fares on JetBlue reimbursed (buying separately to keep the $$ amount low per transaction).
Don’t they say in the terms that gift cards don’t work? If it works in practice then that’s great but I don’t think I would count on that remaining the same forever, right? Same thing with one way fares I guess. But then you don’t get the $100 credit by doing it separately right? So your benefits get cannibalized
Edit: I misread the one way part. Nevermind on the cannibal comment.
You don’t get the $100 credit when you book one way, which I had to do in this case. Had it been a round-trip, I would have used the $100 credit instead if it made sense. Many are likely to cancel this card if they take away the $250 AA gift card redemption so take that as you want. Same issue applies to Amex Plat and Aspire $200 fee credit (although a broader range of gift card options still work there). CNB also apparently works for award ticket taxes as well. This card also provides primary rental car insurance (and I don’t have a CSR) so that’s great too.
Very interesting on the award ticket taxes. That could be quite useful this year as I’m sitting on a lot of miles I plan on using. Thanks for the helpful info!
Just check the FT and DOC threads on this because not all airlines work.
What methods do people use to get 2 more people as AUs on the CNB card? Is it just some social engineering within friends/family, or is there a better way? If you go outside the immediate family, are you actually giving them a card (implying a strong level of trust), or just bribing them for their personal info but not giving them a card (e.g. give them 50/50 on the $250 credit)? My spouse passively plays along to make it worth our while to keep the card, but my oldest kid is only 13 and is not carrying his weight yet. So I am “wasting” two slots, i.e. $500/year (I only got the card in July 2018, so I have only missed out on 1 year of that $500 so far).
Personally, I just added my son and niece (after asking her if it was OK). They never saw the cards.
Don’t you feel this reimbursement for AU cards is a obvious loop hole such that it sounds more a trap for me. Maybe I think too much besides even if you get it work once, it may be still well worth it, similar to the MS. Do it while you can. Don’t think about tomorrow as it is out of your control.
I would have missed out on many huge opportunities if I thought that way. My take is that if you think they’re likely to close a loophole, then jump in sooner not later.
Citi Prestige is an easy keeper for me. The $250 travel credit knocks the card down to $245. One 4th night alone will more than X out the $245.
I don’t I will ever get an Amex Platinum. I have 5 u-premium cards. SPG Lux, Hilton Aspire, CSR, RC Rewards, and Citi Prestige. Priority Pass is worthless on every card past 1 that has it so cold hard credits are what saves the day.
SPG Lux – $300 Marriott credit, free $50K night – easy
Hilton Aspire – $250 airline fee credit, $250 Hilton resort credit, almost unrestricted free weekend night – the most no brainer card out there.
RC Rewards – $300 airline fee credit, free $50K night, $100 off airfare for 2 or more – easy
Citi Prestige – see above
CSR – $300 travel credit, best points currency, primary rental insurance (saved me $400 last year) – no longer the best but will keep
Good post $500 TC the first 12 months is a no brainier ,P pass works great for restaurants and I’ll book my Jan. trip before 9/1 ..i think I will get another card before 3rd year and will see what pops up.
If you travel a lot, what you said makes sense. Based on your description. You would at least take 3 multi-day trps EVERY year (unless you play some tricks…):
1. a paid 4-night or more stay (per prestige)
2. A 2 night or more Marriott stay (per SPG Lux: credit+FN and RC FN)
3. A HH resort stay (per Aspire: 250 resort credit+FN)
You may have hyatt, IHG, and other cards. Those could create more “stays”. It may totally work for you but not everyone would personally travel that much.
Also, you may save in term of hotel. But to get that saving, you may have to pay for the airfare. Don’t double count on those airline credits as you already use that to neutralize your hefty annual fee. You get my points. I think one premium card is a good balance. More? They become liability at least for me.