What’s in My Wallet?
Disclaimer: No affiliate links in this post. I just like these cards.
Every now and then, I get asked for a credit card recommendation. Often the cards I suggest comes with an annual fee. People sometimes balk at the annual fees. I understand the reaction because one might ask, “Why would you even pay an annual fee when there are no-fee cards out there?” It’s all about value. I often prefaced my suggestions that the right cards really depend on your needs.
Because I am big on travel, these are 3 cards that I think are worth the annual fees. These are the ones I keep year after year.
1. Chase’s IHG card ($49 annual fee)
Update: 10/23/18: The unrestricted free night cap is no longer. Starting May 1, 2018 any free night certificates issued to Club Select cardholders are capped at IHG properties that cost 40,000 points or less.
I’ve long admitted that I have a love-hate relationship with Chase Bank. Fortunately, the only card where I haven’t had a breach is the IHG card. It’s a good thing because I made it clear that I love the IHG card. For the low annual fee of $49, you get a free night certificate for use at any of the IHG properties. This card is a no-brainer for me, and I am happy to pay the annual fee on this card year after year.
2. Citi’s Prestige card ($450 annual fee)
Update: 10/23/18: Although I’ve never used more than the fourth night free benefit benefit more than once a year, there are upcoming updates that would limit the use to 2x a year.
The Citi Prestige is a premium travel card that comes with a hefty $450 annual fee. I’ve kept it for a few years now, because it made sense for me.
The card benefits comes with a $250 airline credit reimbursement. If you travel often enough and have airline related expenses, that can easily offset the annual fee. You can think of this card as a $200 annual fee card. You have to decide whether the other travel benefits justify the $200 fee. Since I travel often enough and can make use of the 4th night free benefits, the travel benefits are worth its value to me.
While Citi had gotten rid of the AA lounge access earlier this year, I still find the Priority Pass membership to be valuable. Given the high annual fee, I consider whether I want to keep the card at renewal every year.
3. Bank of America’s Premium Rewards Credit Card ($95 annual fee)
This is a new premium travel card that came out just this Fall. Branded as a premium travel card from Bank of America, it currently comes with a good 50,000 sign up offer (valued at $500). I see this card as a keeper card but my reasoning is probably not what most people expect.
I like this card because this is the only Visa Signature branded card I have, and I need a Visa for use at Costco. One might add that there are no-fee Visa cards out there. That is true, but I also like the $100 reimbursement for TSA Pre or Global Entry (once every four years) and the $100 reimbursement for airline incidentals. Again, given how big I am on travel, these benefits will more than offset the annual fee for me.
What’s in your wallet? Which travel cards have you found to be a keeper? Please share below.