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The information related to Centurion® Card from American Express, Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card, and American Express® Business Gold Card have been collected by Credit Card Insider and have not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of these products.
Better-than-average perks: No need to settle for simple dining credits or cash back. These rewards cards give you luxury-level benefits like enhanced hotel status and free stays, complimentary airport lounge access, and special privileges when making travel reservations.
Point transfer opportunities: Most of these cards won’t lock you into using your rewards in certain ways. Although airline and hotel cards typically provide the best redemption rates at their affiliated brands (which makes sense), the best general travel cards let you transfer your points to a variety of airlines and hotels, where you can use them as you see fit.
Travel-friendly services and features: Premium cards are pretty much all made for travel. The best of them have useful concierge and reservation services that can help you book trips that meet your needs, whether you’re looking for economical flights or plush hotel suites.
High annual fee: Well, we didn’t pick them for this reason, but it’s one common feature of high-end cards. The annual fee is often around $450–$550, though you typically get annual statement credits to help lighten the load.
You might be surprised to learn that a premium travel rewards credit card isn’t out of reach, and could fit your lifestyle pretty well if you travel with any regularity.
One of the first things you’ll probably notice about these cards is the annual fee. It’s usually at least $450, sometimes as high as $550 or more. For many people that’s a deal breaker right off the bat.
But consider this: Most premium cards also have annual travel credits, which can knock down the annual fee by $250 or more, sometimes even completely. Then you’ve got the perks, some of which have definite values (a Global Entry application fee credit is $100) and some that can vary (a free hotel night).
The value you get from your card will depend on how much you use it, and how you feel about the features. How much would you value Amex’s Global Lounge Collection, which provides access to a wide swath of airport lounges? If you fly every month and love to lounge, maybe a lot; if you fly once or twice per year, or don’t care about lounges, maybe not very much.
Although they’re typically designed for people with high credit scores, many people qualify for premium cards with scores in the “good” range. That’s because credit card applications take into account more factors than just your scores, like income. You may have a better shot at approval than you think (see if you’re pre-qualified before you apply).
So, consider your recent travel habits and any upcoming plans. If you’ll get enough out of it, taking advantage of the perks and using your rewards wisely, a premium card could give back far more than you put into it.
When you arrive, your Uber VIP status and monthly credit (more perks of the card) can help you get to your hotel. And there, Hilton Honors Gold or Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status can provide point bonuses, room upgrades, and free breakfast (depending on the hotel brand).
5X Membership Rewards points per dollar (on up to $500,000 spent per calendar year, then 1X) on:
Flights booked directly through airlines or through American Express Travel
Prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel
2X Membership Rewards points per dollar on other eligible travel expenses booked through American Express Travel
1X Membership Rewards point per dollar on all other purchases
75,000 bonus points for spending $5,000 in the first 6 months; 10X points on eligible purchases at U.S. Gas Stations and U.S. Supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, in the first 6 months
Global Lounge Collection: Complimentary access to Priority Pass, Centurion, American Express International, Delta Sky Club, Escape, Airspace, Lufthansa, and Plaza Premium Lounges.
Uber VIP status and $200 annual Uber credit: $15 in statement credits for Uber rides each month, except for December which gets $35.
Up to $200 in annual Uber Cash: Add your Platinum card to the Uber App to get up to $15 in Uber Cash per month, plus a bonus $20 in December; U.S. Eats orders and rides only.
Uber Eats Pass: Get unlimited $0 delivery fees and 5% off orders at eligible restaurants for 12 months; must enroll by 12/31/21. Taxes and service fees may apply and do not count toward the order minimum. Eats Pass will start auto-billing 12 months from enrollment, at then-current monthly rate. Learn more.
Uber VIP status: Add your Platinum card to the Uber App to get Uber VIP status where available.
$100 annual Saks credit: Up to $100 in statement credits each year for Saks Fifth Avenue: $50 from January through June, and $50 from July through December.
Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit: A statement credit for the application fee of either Global Entry ($100 every four years) or TSA PreCheck ($85 once every four and a half years).
The Hotel Collection: A $100 hotel credit and room upgrades when available for every eligible two-night stay.
Fine Hotels & Resorts Program: Daily breakfast for two, room upgrades when available, amenities valued at $100, and more at eligible properties.
Complimentary elite hotel statuses: Hilton Honors Gold status and Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status.
Point transfer: To a selection of airline and hotel loyalty programs.
Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $5,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
Earn 10x points on eligible purchases on your new Card at U.S. Gas Stations and U.S. Supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership. That’s an additional 9 points on top of the 1 point you earn for these purchases.
Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member and Additional Centurion Cards only.
Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. Starting January 1, 2021, earn 5X points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
Enjoy complimentary access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
Receive complimentary benefits through American Express Travel with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts® program at over 1,100 properties . Learn More.
Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. That’s up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
$550 annual fee.
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If you stay in hotels often, you already know that member programs and special deals will offer free nights if you stay a certain number of nights. Well, you can get that perk on demand with the Citi Prestige® Card (Review).
Cardholders get their fourth night free when booking at least four nights in a row through ThankYou.com, which can save a ton of money at high-end hotels. This feature is now capped at twice per year, but just imagine using it for an aspirational trip to the Four Seasons Resort Seychelles, which could cost over $1,500 per night!
That’s the Prestige’s main attraction, but you’ll also get the basics you should expect from a premium card: airport lounge access (Priority Pass), a travel credit ($250), a security screening credit, and point transfer partners.
That comes for an annual fee that’s a bit lower than some other high-end cards, though you won’t get much in the way of shopping and travel protections (Citi cut those recently).
Point transfer: To a variety of airline loyalty programs, including Etihad Guest, JetBlue TrueBlue, and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
Annual $250 travel credit: Good for airline tickets, hotel rooms, car rentals, and other travel expenses
Complimentary 4th Night Stay: Get your fourth night free when booking four nights in a row through ThankYou.com and paying with your card, ThankYou points, or a combination of both. Capped at twice per year.
Complimentary Priority Pass Select membership: Access to over 900 Priority Pass airport lounges and restaurants around the world
Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit: A credit for the application fee of either Global Entry ($100) or TSA PreCheck ($85), once every five years
Citi Prestige Concierge: Call for non-emergency help any time you need it.
World Elite Car Rental Program: Elite memberships at Avis, Silvercar, and National
No foreign transaction fee
Annual fee: $495
5X ThankYou points on Air travel and Restaurants
3X ThankYou points on Hotels and Cruise Lines
No limit to the amount of points you can earn
Rewards never expire
$250 travel credit
Complimentary 4th night free on eligible hotel stays, capped at twice per year
You’ll get a heady selection of benefits every time you book, like Hilton Honors Diamond status so you can earn more points, snag room upgrades, and enjoy free breakfast. There’s a free weekend night each year, $500 in airline/resort statement credits, and a $100 property credit you can use each time you book a qualifying two-night stay at Waldorf Astoria and Conrad properties.
Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card after you use your new Card to make $4,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Plus, enjoy a free Weekend Night Reward within your first year and every year after renewal.
Earn 14X Hilton Bonus Points when you make eligible purchases on your Card at participating hotels or resorts within the Hilton Portfolio.
Earn 7X Bonus Points for eligible purchases: on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com, on car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies & at U.S. restaurants.
Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.
Enjoy up to $250 in Hilton Resort Credits on your Card each anniversary year, when you stay at participating resorts within the Hilton portfolio.
Enjoy complimentary Diamond status with your Hilton Honors Aspire Card.
$450 annual fee.
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The information related to Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.
As soon as you become a cardholder you’ll be bumped up to Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status, which gives a nice point bonus and quality-of-life upgrades like late checkout, enhanced WiFi, and literal room upgrades. There are even 15 Elite Night Credits to help you reach Platinum Elite, the next level.
The other perks are pretty standard for an expensive hotel card: a decent annual credit to help offset the annual fee, a free night each year which could be quite valuable, and airport lounge access to help make your trips more comfortable all around.
If you enjoy the many locations and services at Marriott Bonvoy properties, the Brilliant card might be the perfect way to save a bit of money and have a better time while you’re at it.
Earn 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Plus, earn up to $200 in Statement Credits for eligible purchases at U.S. Restaurants within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
Enjoy up to $300 in statement credits each year of Card Membership for eligible purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels.
Earn 6 Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy Hotels. 3 points at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines. 2 points on all other eligible purchases.
Receive 1 free Night Award every year after your Card account anniversary. Award can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy Points) at a participating hotel. Certain hotels have resort fees.
Enjoy unlimited airport lounge visits when you enroll in Priority Pass™ Select membership.
No Foreign Transaction Fees.
$450 Annual Fee.
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Each authorized user gets his or her own complimentary access to Admirals Club lounges, and that includes two free guests
Authorized users can access the lounges on their own, without being accompanied by the primary cardholder
So you could potentially bring a whole lot of people into an Admirals Club lounge, if you set up authorized users beforehand. Authorized users don’t get full Admirals Club memberships, only access to AA lounges, but it’s still an excellent feature.
High-end airline cards aren’t typically as impressive as their hotel counterparts, but they can still give you a fair bang for your buck if you’ll use them enough.
The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card (Review) is the premium Delta offer, though, like almost all airline cards, it still only offers 2X miles for flights. That’s in addition to the miles you’d normally earn, so it’s a bit of a boost, but not as much as you might expect.
This card offers complimentary access to Delta Sky Clubs, which are regarded pretty highly, but it got even better recently when it started providing access to Amex’s Centurion Lounges as well. That’s not something you’ll get with other airline cards, setting the Delta Reserve at a nice advantage.
The other big perk is the annual companion certificate, which can be pretty valuable as it’s good for Domestic First Class. Overall, it’s still worth checking out all the Delta credit cards before making a decision.
Delta Sky Club and Centurion Lounge access: Get complimentary access to Delta Sky Clubs, with up to two guests at $39 each, plus complimentary access to Centurion Lounges, with up to two guests at $50 each. Includes two free Delta Sky Club one-time guest passes.
Annual Companion Certificate: A certificate for a Domestic First Class, Delta Comfort+, or Main Cabin round-trip flight
Status Boost: Earn 15,000 MQMs for spending $30,000, up to four times per calendar year.
First checked bag free on Delta flights: For you and up to eight traveling companions
Priority Boarding on Delta flights: Get on the plane more quickly with Zone 1 priority boarding
Complimentary upgrades: If you don’t have Medallion status you can still get some upgrades for free.
20% in-flight discount on Delta flights: A 20% discount on eligible in-flight purchases, like food, beverages, movies, and audio headsets
Cardholders get a complimentary lounge membership, with up to two guests for free during each visit. Most expensive airline cards give access to their associated lounge brands, so no big surprise there.
Most of the other benefits are good but no surprise, like priority check-in and security screening, and free first and second checked bags. But you’ll also get some hotel perks to help out once you reach your destination, including World of Hyatt Discoverist status and access to Chase’s Luxury Hotel and Resort Collection. And your Hertz President’s Circle elite status can make sure you always ride in style.
There’s not a lot to recommend the Mastercard® Black Card™ (Review) — it has a relatively high fee for the value it provides, with low rewards and benefits that are decent while not being quite good enough.
But it does have one interesting and rare feature, besides being very heavy: It gives you a Priority Pass Select membership with unlimited guests. If you’ve got the travel bug and a big family, or you tend to travel in groups, this could be a way to save quite a bit of money.
Considering the Priority Pass guest fee is currently $32, and most other premium cards only allow you to bring in two guests for free, you might save hundreds of dollars per trip depending on how many people you have. That may or may not be worth the fee, when considering what you can get from other premium cards; but it might be worth considering.
Patented black-PVD-coated metal card—weighing 22 grams.
2% value for airfare redemptions with no blackout dates or seat restrictions. 1.5% value for cash back redemptions. Earn one point for every one dollar spent.
24/7 Luxury Card Concierge®—available by phone, email and live mobile chat. Around-the-clock service to help you save time and manage tasks big and small.
Exclusive Luxury Card Travel® benefits—average value of $500 per stay (e.g., resort credits, room upgrades, free wifi, breakfast for two and more) at over 3,000 properties.
Annual Airline Credit—up to $100 in statement credits toward flight-related purchases including airline tickets, baggage fees, upgrades and more. Up to a $100 application fee credit for the cost of TSA Pre✓® or Global Entry.
Enrollment in Priority PassTM Select with access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide with no guest limit. Includes credits at select airport restaurants for cardholder and one guest.
Cell phone protection for eligible claims of up to $1,000 each year. Plus additional World Elite Mastercard® benefits.
Annual Fee: $495 ($195 for each Authorized User). Terms and conditions apply.
The rewards are nearly identical, except you’ll also get 1.5X points on big purchases of $5,000 or more, up to 1 million extra points per year. That can be handy if those purchases aren’t covered by another card’s bonus categories.
You’ll get most of the same great benefits, including airport lounge access and elite hotel status. But you won’t get any Uber or Saks credits, and will instead get up to $100 in statement credits semi-annually for U.S. Dell purchases. There’s also a 35% point bonus when redeeming for airfare (you get those points back), and that can be a decent way to use your rewards. But, like the regular consumer card, you can likely find a better value by transferring to an airline or hotel loyalty program.
There are also some invitation-only cards that you probably can’t get your hands on (but hey, maybe one day). The fabled Centurion® Card from American Express (Review) costs $5,000 per year — and that’s after an initiation fee of $10,000! And there are a few other cards in similar (but significantly smaller) boats.
What’s the least expensive premium credit card?
“Premium” is in the eye of the beholder — most high-end cards cost more than $500 per year, but there are a few that are a bit less expensive: