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The Credit Cards With Starting Roster Spots in My Wallet in 2024

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Victoria M. Walker
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Victoria M. Walker

Senior Content Contributor

546 Published Articles 1 Edited Article

Countries Visited: 26U.S. States Visited: 27

Victoria holds a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism from the Howard University School of Communications and is an award-winning journalist, travel reporter, and the founder of the “Carrying On with Victoria...
Edited by: Jessica Merritt
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Jessica Merritt

Editor & Content Contributor

82 Published Articles 472 Edited Articles

Countries Visited: 4U.S. States Visited: 23

A long-time points and miles student, Jessica is the former Personal Finance Managing Editor at U.S. News and World Report and is passionate about helping consumers fund their travels for as little ca...
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Juan Ruiz

Senior Editor & Content Contributor

88 Published Articles 653 Edited Articles

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Juan has extensive experience in writing and editing content related to credit cards, loyalty programs, and travel. He has been honing his expertise in this field for over a decade. His work has been ...

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I have 7 credit cards. By the end of the quarter, that number may decrease.

I’m a massive fan of the HBO show “Hard Knocks.” If you aren’t familiar, the show’s premise is to highlight the players’ progress during an NFL training camp. Essentially, characters (the players themselves) are categorized as perennial starters, reliable backups, or players “on the bubble” — those who could either earn a roster spot or be cut.

I’m not a football or sports fan — I like the drama — but the method of determining a football team going into gameday is how I approach my roster of credit cards. There are the clear-cut starters, those who get the most playing time, those who are solid backups, and those who, for whatever reason, may be getting a goodbye.

Here’s my current credit card roster and where they stand going into 2024.

Which Cards Are Staying?

My starting roster consists of the following cards:

  • Amtrak Guest Rewards® Preferred Mastercard®
  • Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
  • The World of Hyatt Credit Card

I’ll break down the perks of these cards below, why they maintain starting spots in my wallet, and how my travel plans have benefited from them.

American football on the field
I’ve approached keeping and canceling credit cards how coaches pick their final rosters. Image Credit: ixinxing on Adobe Stock

Amtrak Guest Rewards Preferred Card

First up is my most-used card: the Amtrak Guest Rewards Preferred card.

I’ve been vocal about why I value Amtrak points over many other points and miles currencies because I frequently travel along the Northeast Corridor line. But the card has plenty of other benefits, such as:

  • 3x points on Amtrak travel, including onboard purchases
  • 2x points on dining and travel, including transit and ride-share
  • 1x points on all other qualifying purchases
  • Round-trip companion coupon upon card anniversary
  • 1-class upgrade upon card anniversary
  • Station lounge pass upon card anniversary
  • 20% rebate on Amtrak onboard food and beverage purchases in the form of a statement credit
  • 5% points rebate when you redeem points for Amtrak reward travel
  • Earn tier status faster with 1,000 Tier Qualifying Points each time you make $5,000 in qualifying purchases.
  • Points don’t expire as long as your account remains open.
  • No limit on how many points you can earn as long as your account remains open
  • No foreign transaction fees

I earned an elevated 50,000-point bonus when I opened the card in 2022. I’m still earning and burning those points at least once a month on trips between New York City and Washington, D.C. While Upgraded Points does not have a valuation for Amtrak Guest Rewards points, the revenue-based currency can range from about 0.8 to 3 cents per point, making that bonus worth between $400 and $1,500.

The Amtrak Guest Rewards Preferred card has seen perhaps the most action of all my cards since I opened it, and I’ve used it exclusively for Amtrak purchases as well as most of my daily spending, including dining and travel. The rebrand with FNBO also saw new perks, such as 2x points on dining and travel (which includes transit and ride-share), so I can maximize this card for everyday purchases.

I’ve also taken advantage of several perks since opening, such as:

  • A companion coupon, which I’ve used for family trips
  • A 1-class upgrade, which came in handy when upgrading from Acela business class to Acela first class
  • A complimentary single-visit Amtrak station lounge pass, which I used to visit the swanky Amtrak Metropolitan Lounge at Moynihan Train Hall at New York Penn Station

In the past 6 months alone, I’ve earned well over 10,000 Amtrak Guest Rewards points — enough to cover numerous round-trip tickets on the Northeast Regional (and even the Acela) between New York and Washington.

Plus, with a $99 annual fee, it’s among the cheapest in my wallet, so it’s a no-brainer to keep for another year.

Capital One Venture X Card

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit CardTerms Apply / Rates & Fees

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

The Capital One Venture X card is an excellent option for travelers looking for an all-in-one premium credit card.

Learn More(at Capital One's secure site)

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Venture X card is an excellent option for travelers looking for an all-in-one premium credit card.
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.
75,000 miles
$1,350
$395
19.99% - 29.99% (Variable)
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Excellent (740-840)

The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is the premium Capital One travel rewards card on the block.

Points and miles fans will be surprised to see that the Capital One Venture X card packs quite the punch when it comes to bookings made through Capital One, all while offering the lowest annual fee among premium credit cards.

Depending on your travel goals and preferences, the Capital One Venture X card could very well end up being your go-to card in your wallet.

 

Pros

  • 10x miles per $1 on hotels and rental cars purchased through Capital One Travel
  • 5x miles per $1 on flights purchased through Capital One Travel
  • 2x miles per $1 on all other purchases
  • $300 annual travel credit on bookings made through Capital One Travel
  • Unlimited complimentary access for cardholder and 2 guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • 10,000 bonus miles awarded on your account anniversary each year
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit
  • Add authorized users for no additional annual fee (rates & fees)
  • No foreign transaction fees (rates & fees)

 

Cons

  • $395 annual fee (rates & fees)
  • Does not offer bonus categories for flights or hotel purchases made directly with the airline or hotel group, the preferred booking method for those looking to earn elite status

 

  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive a $300 annual credit for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Elevate every hotel stay from the Premier or Lifestyle Collections with a suite of cardholder benefits, like an experience credit, room upgrades, and more
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: 19.99% - 29.99% (Variable)
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

Rewards Center

Capital One Miles

 

The Capital One Venture X card is the “it” credit card on the block right now.

I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the card since I opened it. It offers many of the same premium experiences and perks as more expensive credit cards, such as The Platinum Card® from American Express or the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, but with a lower $395 annual fee (rates & fees).

The Capital One Venture X card offers the following benefits:

When I first opened the card, I received the elevated 100,000-mile welcome offer (no longer available) after meeting the minimum spending requirement. Those points were handy for a Singapore Suites first-class flight I booked between Frankfurt (FRA) and New York (JFK). That trip cost over 143,000 points, which I transferred from Capital One over to KrisFlyer.

While this card doesn’t get as much play anymore, I’m still finding some use for it. For starters, I’m still using the Priority Pass benefit for all of my airport lounge needs, and with my Global Entry membership coming up for renewal this year, the statement credit will wipe that charge.

The $300 travel credit is also a big reason I’ve kept the card open, given how easy it is to use. That credit came in handy during a trip to Stockholm last October, covering a 1-night stay at the 5-star Hotel Diplomat. Cash rates during that week hovered around $400 per night, so the credit knocked down the total price to around $120 — a steal for one of the best hotels in Stockholm.

I also used the Hertz President’s Circle benefit a ton last year, so I’m looking forward to taking advantage of it through the end of the year. During a late 2023 trip to Virginia, the status came in handy when there were few cars available at the airport. My President’s Circle benefit allowed me to move to the front of the line, ensure guaranteed availability, and receive a 1-class upgrade to a sports car.

Finally, the competitive unlimited 2x miles on all other purchases means earning hundreds, if not thousands, of miles per month on everyday spending, even though it isn’t my primary card.

Bottom Line:

Capital One offers various transfer partners. Most transfer partners offer a 1:1 rate, including Air Canada, Avianca, and Turkish Airlines. Capital One is also the only program to transfer to ALL – Accor Live Limitless at a ratio of 2:1.

World of Hyatt Card

The World of Hyatt Credit Card

The World of Hyatt Credit Card

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

The World of Hyatt card offers a fast track to Hyatt elite status, an annual free night, and up to 9x points per $1 on Hyatt stays.

The World of Hyatt Credit Card

The World of Hyatt card offers a fast track to Hyatt elite status, an annual free night, and up to 9x points per $1 on Hyatt stays.
Earn 30,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. Plus, up to 30,000 More Bonus Points by earning 2 Bonus Points total per $1 spent in the first 6 months from account opening on purchases that normally earn 1 Bonus Point, on up to $15,000 spent.
Up to 60,000 points
$900
$95
21.49% - 28.49% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The World of Hyatt Credit Card makes your Hyatt stays more rewarding and helps you get coveted World of Hyatt elite status faster. This card is a must-have for any traveler who regularly stays at Hyatt hotels, or even for anyone who’s able to take advantage of the card’s annual free night certificate.

When you factor in all the benefits the World of Hyatt card offers, it’s easy to see why it is one of the best co-branded hotel credit cards on the market.

Pros

  • Up to 9 points total for Hyatt stays: 4 Bonus Points per $1 spent at Hyatt hotels and 5 Base Points per $1 from Hyatt as a World of Hyatt member
  • 2x points per $1 at restaurants, on airline tickets purchased directly from the airline, local transit, rideshares, and fitness clubs/gym memberships
  • 1x point per $1 on all other purchases
  • 1 Free Night Award each cardmember anniversary (Category 1 to 4)
  • A second Free Night Award when you spend $15,000 on the card
  • Hyatt Discoverist status
  • 5 automatic elite night credits each year
  • 2 elite night credits for every $5,000 spent on the card
  • DoorDash DashPass subscription
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Purchase protection
  • Trip cancellation/interruption and luggage insurance

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Earn 30,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. Plus, up to 30,000 More Bonus Points by earning 2 Bonus Points total per $1 spent in the first 6 months from account opening on purchases that normally earn 1 Bonus Point, on up to $15,000 spent.
  • Enjoy complimentary World of Hyatt Discoverist status for as long as your account is open.
  • Get 1 free night each year after your Cardmember anniversary at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel or resort
  • Receive 5 tier qualifying night credits towards status after account opening, and each year after that for as long as your account is open
  • Earn an extra free night at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel if you spend $15,000 in a calendar year
  • Earn 2 qualifying night credits towards tier status every time you spend $5,000 on your card
  • Earn up to 9 points total for Hyatt stays - 4 Bonus Points per $1 spent at Hyatt hotels & 5 Base Points per $1 from Hyatt as a World of Hyatt member
  • Earn 2 Bonus Points per $1 spent at restaurants, on airline tickets purchased directly from the airlines, on local transit and commuting and on fitness club and gym memberships
  • Member FDIC

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: 21.49% - 28.49% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

Rewards Center

World of Hyatt

With a decent $95 annual fee, the World of Hyatt card has been a reliable card for me and one of the easiest ways to earn more than 100,000 World of Hyatt points in a year. Plus, it offers perks, including upgrades and club access.

The World of Hyatt card offers:

  • Up to 9x points total for Hyatt stays: 4x bonus points at Hyatt hotels and 5x base points from Hyatt as a World of Hyatt member
  • 2x points at restaurants, on airline tickets purchased directly from the airline, local transit, ride-shares, and fitness clubs and gym memberships
  • 1x points on all other purchases
  • 1 Free Night Award for each cardmember anniversary (Categories 1 to 4)
  • A second free night award when you spend $15,000 on the card
  • World of Hyatt Discoverist status
  • 5 automatic elite night credits each year
  • 2 elite night credits for every $5,000 spent on the card
  • DoorDash DashPass subscription
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Purchase protection
  • Trip cancellation, interruption, and luggage insurance
Hyatt Regency Orlando World of Hyatt desk
Chasing Globalist status is easier with the World of Hyatt card. Image Credit: Chris Hassan

World of Hyatt’s points are extremely valuable, and with my Explorist status, I focus much of my spending (aside from Amtrak) on the program. Hyatt makes it easy to earn points through its credit card — up to 9x points total for Hyatt stays.

As I’m trying to qualify for top-tier Globalist through February 2025, the 5 automatic elite night credits each year and the 2 elite night credits for every $5,000 spent have come in handy. They have incentivized me to spend on the card over others in my wallet.

And if those perks weren’t enough, the Free Night Awards (up to Category 4) each card anniversary and after spending $15,000 have proven to be extremely valuable. The certificate can be used at any Category 1 through Category 4 Hyatt property in the world, which includes luxury hotels such as:

The World of Hyatt card doesn’t get used as much as my other cards, but I put all of my hotel purchases on this card. However, what keeps this card in my wallet is the frequent promotions Hyatt offers its cardholders.

For instance, Hyatt recently announced its newest Bonus Journeys promo — 3,000 bonus points for every 3 qualifying nights at a Hyatt hotel worldwide. However, cardholders get another bonus on top of that: an additional 1,000 points every 3 nights, up to 7,000 bonus points. That’s enough to keep it in my wallet for another year.

The Reliable Backup Credit Card in My Wallet

You always need a backup. While this card doesn’t get as much play as my starter cards, it provides impeccable coverage (that’s a football term) and is a solid rotational card.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

POPULAR FIRST CARD
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

A fantastic travel card with a huge welcome offer, good benefits, and perks for a moderate annual fee.

Learn More(at Chase's secure site)

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

A fantastic travel card with a huge welcome offer, good benefits, and perks for a moderate annual fee.
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
60,000 points
$1,200
$95
21.49%-28.49% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® card is one of the best travel rewards cards on the market. Its bonus categories include travel, dining, online grocery purchases, and streaming services, which gives you the opportunity to earn lots of bonus points on these purchases.

Additionally, it offers flexible point redemption options, no foreign transaction fees, and excellent travel insurance coverage including primary car rental insurance. With benefits like these, it’s easy to see why this card is an excellent choice for any traveler.

Pros

  • 5x points on all travel booked via the Chase Travel portal
  • 5x points on select Peloton purchases over $150 (through March 31, 2025)
  • 5x points on Lyft purchases (through March 31, 2025)
  • 3x points on dining purchases, online grocery purchases, and select streaming services
  • 2x points on all other travel worldwide
  • $50 annual credit on hotel stays booked through the Chase Travel portal
  • 6 months of complimentary Instacart+ (activate by July 31, 2024), plus up to $15 in statement credits each quarter through July 2024
  • Excellent travel and car rental insurance
  • 10% annual bonus points
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs like United MileagePlus and World of Hyatt

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • No elite benefits like airport lounge access or hotel elite status
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.
  • Enjoy benefits such as 5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases, $50 Annual Chase Travel Hotel Credit, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Travel℠. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.
  • Member FDIC

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: 21.49%-28.49% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

Rewards Center

Chase Ultimate Rewards

I opened the Chase Sapphire Preferred card when I got serious about earning points and miles. It offers many perks for getting started in points and miles and is considered the go-to card for beginners and experts alike.

The card offers:

  • 5x points on all travel booked via Chase Travel
  • 5x points on select Peloton purchases over $150 (through March 31, 2025)
  • 5x points on Lyft purchases (through March 31, 2025)
  • 3x points on dining purchases, online grocery purchases, and select streaming services
  • 2x points on all other travel worldwide
  • $50 annual credit on hotel stays booked through Chase Travel
  • 6 months of complimentary Instacart+ (activate by July 31, 2024), plus up to $15 in statement credits each quarter through July 2024
  • 10% annual bonus points
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 points transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Travel and car rental insurance

My Chase Sapphire Preferred card doesn’t get much daily usage, as I mostly use Ultimate Rewards points for Hyatt, but I still get value from the card. Specifically, as a frequent online shopper, I’ve taken advantage of the card’s 6-month complimentary Instacart+ perk and the $15 quarterly credit, which I used just last week to purchase dog food at PetSmart.

And while the $50 annual Ultimate Rewards hotel credit might not seem like much, it can be used to erase the charges for a cheap hotel stay. With the low annual fee, it’s easy to justify keeping the Chase Sapphire Preferred card around for another year.

The Credit Cards on the Bubble

Finally, the cards most at risk of not making my final roster are the Amex Platinum card and the American Express® Green Card.

Amex Platinum Card

BEST LOUNGE ACCESS
The Platinum Card® from American ExpressTerms Apply / Rates & Fees

The Platinum Card® from American Express

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

The Amex Platinum reigns supreme for luxury travel, offering the best airport lounge access plus generous statement credits, and complimentary elite status.

Learn More(at Amex's secure site)

Apply With Confidence

Know if you're approved with no credit score impact

If you're approved and accept this Card, your credit score may be impacted.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Amex Platinum reigns supreme for luxury travel, offering the best airport lounge access plus generous statement credits, and complimentary elite status.
Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
80,000 points
$1,760
$695
See Pay Over Time APR
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

When it comes to cards that offer top-notch benefits, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better card out there than The Platinum Card® from American Express.

Make no mistake — the Amex Platinum card is a premium card with a premium price tag. With amazing benefits like best-in-class airport lounge access, hotel elite status, and tremendous value in annual statement credits, it can easily prove to be one of the most lucrative cards in your wallet year after year.

Pros

  • The best airport lounge access out of any card (by far) — enjoy access to over 1,400 worldwide lounges, including the luxurious Amex Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass lounges, Plaza Premium Lounges, and many more!
  • 5x points per dollar spent on flights purchased directly with the airline or with AmexTravel.com (up to $500,000 per year)
  • 5x points per dollar spent on prepaid hotels booked with AmexTravel.com
  • Annual and monthly statement credits upon enrollment (airline credit, Uber Cash credit, Saks Fifth Avenue credit, streaming credit, prepaid hotel credit on eligible stays, Walmart+ credit, CLEAR credit, and Equinox credit)
  • TSA PreCheck or Global Entry credit
  • Access to American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts
  • Access to Amex International Airline Program
  • No foreign transaction fees (rates and fees)

Cons

  • $695 annual fee (rates and fees)
  • Airline credit does not cover airfare (only incidentals like checked bags)
  • Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • $200 Hotel Credit: Get up to $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®. The Hotel Collection requires a minimum two-night stay.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back in statement credits each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Disney+, a Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, The New York Times, Peacock, and The Wall Street Journal. Enrollment required.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership (subject to auto-renewal) with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card®. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax. Plus Up Benefits are excluded.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Select one qualifying airline and then receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year when incidental fees are charged by the airline to your Platinum Card®.
  • $200 Uber Cash: 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 only. Terms Apply.
  • $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $300 back in statement credits per calendar year on an Equinox membership, or an Equinox club membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you pay with your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required. Visit https://platinum.equinox.com/ to enroll.
  • $189 CLEAR® Plus Credit: Breeze through security with CLEAR Plus at 100+ airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues nationwide and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your Membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you use your Platinum Card®. Learn more.
  • $100 Global Entry Credit: Receive either a $100 statement credit every 4 years for a Global Entry application fee or a statement credit up to $85 every 4.5 years for a TSA PreCheck® (through a TSA official enrollment provider) application fee, when charged to your Platinum Card®. Card Members approved for Global Entry will also receive access to TSA PreCheck at no additional cost.
  • Shop Saks with Platinum: Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases in Saks Fifth Avenue stores or at saks.com on your Platinum Card®. That's up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
  • $300 SoulCycle At-Home Bike Credit: Get a $300 statement credit for the purchase of a SoulCycle at-home bike with your Platinum Card®. An Equinox+ subscription is required to purchase a SoulCycle at-home bike and access SoulCycle content. Must charge full price of bike in one transaction. Shipping available in the contiguous U.S. only. Enrollment Required.
  • Unlock access to exclusive reservations and special dining experiences with Global Dining Access by Resy when you add your Platinum Card® to your Resy profile.
  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: See Pay Over Time APR
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

Rewards Center

American Express Membership Rewards

First up is the Amex Platinum card. Let me say that this card truly is a beast. It offers:

There’s lots to love about the Amex Platinum card — particularly the lounge access, statement credits, and the hotel elite status.

Having Priority Pass, Centurion Lounge, and Delta Sky Club (when flying Delta) lounge access has been a dream as a frequent traveler. Virtually everywhere on the globe, I have access to a quiet place to eat, lounge, sleep, and shower before a long flight.

The Amex International Airline Program is also one of my favorite perks. The program allows travelers to save on premium international airfare on select airlines when booking through American Express. This feature has allowed me to book flights such as New York (JFK) to Rome (FCO) on KLM for just $1,200 round-trip in business class.

KLM business class
KLM’s business class features reverse herringbone seats in a 1-2-1 configuration on certain planes. Image Credit: KLM

I’ve been on the fence for years about canceling my Amex Platinum card, and I think I’m finally there. While the benefits are fantastic, the exorbitant annual fee has become harder to justify. And that’s primarily because of cards such as the Capital One Venture X card that offer similar perks (particularly lounge access and travel credits) at a lower price.

The Amex Platinum card has been a staple in my wallet for nearly a decade now, but like most things, it may be time to move on.

Amex Green Card

American Express® Green Card

American Express® Green Card

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

This card can provide a great way to accumulate Membership Rewards points on eligible travel, transit, and at restaurants.

All information about American Express® Green Card has been collected independently by Upgraded Points.

Apply With Confidence

Know if you're approved with no credit score impact

If you're approved and accept this Card, your credit score may be impacted.

American Express® Green Card

This card can provide a great way to accumulate Membership Rewards points on eligible travel, transit, and at restaurants.
Earn 40,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on your American Express® Green Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
40,000 points
$880
$150
See Pay Over Time APR
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The American Express® Green Card is an excellent all-around travel rewards card thanks to earning 3x Membership Rewards® points on eligible travel and transit purchases and at restaurants, access to American Express transfer partners, and a reasonable annual fee.

Pros

  • 3x points per $1 spent at restaurants worldwide, on all eligible travel purchases, and transit purchases
  • Up to $189 per calendar year in statement credits after you pay for a CLEAR® Plus membership with the Card.
  • Up to $100 in statement credits annually when you purchase airport lounge access through LoungeBuddy with the Card.
  • Access to American Express transfer partners
  • No foreign transaction fees

Cons

  • $150 annual fee
  • No elite benefits like airport lounge access or hotel elite status
  • Earn 40,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on your American Express® Green Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on travel including airfare, hotels, cruises, tours, car rentals, campgrounds, and vacation rentals.
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® Points on transit purchases including trains, taxicabs, rideshare services, ferries, tolls, parking, buses, and subways.
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery in the US.
  • $189 CLEAR Plus Credit: Receive up to $189 per calendar year in statement credits when you pay for your CLEAR Plus membership (subject to auto-renewal) with the American Express® Green Card.
  • $100 LoungeBuddy: No airport lounge membership? No problem! Purchase lounge access through the LoungeBuddy app using the American Express® Green Card and receive up to $100 in statement credits annually.
  • Payment Flexibility: When it comes to paying your bill, you have options. You can always pay in full. You also have the flexibility to carry a balance with interest or use Plan It® to split up large purchases into monthly payments with a fixed fee, up to your Pay Over Time Limit. You may be able to keep spending beyond your limit – you’ll just need to pay for any new purchases in full when your bill is due.
  • Trip Delay Insurance: If a round-trip is paid for entirely with your Eligible Card and a covered reason delays your trip more than 12 hours, Trip Delay Insurance can help reimburse certain additional expenses purchased on the same Eligible Card, up to $300 per trip, maximum 2 claims per eligible account per 12 consecutive month period. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Coverage is provided by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees: No matter where you’re traveling, when you use your American Express® Green Card there are no foreign transaction fees.
  • $150 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: See Pay Over Time APR
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

Rewards Center

American Express Membership Rewards

The Amex Green card is a decent all-around travel rewards card and is considered my “OG” card, as it was the first rewards card I opened after graduating college. Over the years, Amex has increased its appeal, adding 3x earnings on travel, transit, and dining, statements for lounge credits, and more.

The Amex Green card offers 3x points at restaurants worldwide and on all eligible travel and transit purchases, up to $189 in statement credits per year toward a CLEAR Plus membership, up to $100 in statement credits per year on LoungeBuddy purchases, and no foreign transaction fees (which I value as a frequent international traveler).

I’ve primarily kept this card open for its age history on my credit report, but I don’t get much value out of it. That’s because I receive many of the same benefits (such as the CLEAR Plus membership and lounge access) on other cards.

While the annual fee isn’t the highest at $150, it’s hard to justify keeping the card open when there are others that see much more action in my wallet.

The Replacements

If the above cards don’t make the final roster at the end of the month, there are several cards I’m considering to take their places.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

A top player in the high-end premium travel credit card space that earns 3x points on travel and dining while offering top luxury perks.

Learn More(at Chase's secure site)

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

A top player in the high-end premium travel credit card space that earns 3x points on travel and dining while offering top luxury perks.
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Travel.
60,000 points
$1,200
$550
22.49%-29.49% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Excellent (740-850)

If you’re looking for an all-around excellent travel rewards card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is one of the best options out there.

The card combines elite travel benefits and perks like airport lounge access, with excellent point earning and redemption options.  Plus it offers top-notch travel insurance protections to keep you covered whether you’re at home or on the road.

Don’t forget the $300 annual travel credit which really helps to reduce the annual fee!

Pros

  • 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase TravelSM immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually
  • 10x points on Lyft purchases March 31, 2025
  • 10x points on Peloton equipment and accessory purchases over $250 through March 31, 2025
  • 5x points on airfare booked through Chase TravelSM
  • 3x points on all other travel and dining purchases; 1x point on all other purchases
  • $300 annual travel credit
  • Priority Pass airport lounge access
  • TSA PreCheck, Global Entry, or NEXUS credit
  • Access to Chase Luxury Hotel and Resort Collection
  • Rental car elite status with National and Avis

Cons

  • $550 annual fee
  • Does not offer any sort of hotel elite status
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel℠ immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Travel℠. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel.
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
  • Member FDIC

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: 22.49%-29.49% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

Rewards Center

Chase Ultimate Rewards

I mentioned earlier how I plan to keep the Chase Sapphire Preferred card around for another year. However, if I don’t, it will be for a simple reason — a product change to the Chase Sapphire Reserve card.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card has similar offerings as many premium cards: an annual travel credit, Priority Pass Select membership, TSA PreCheck or Global Entry statement credits, and more. However, what’s enticing about the Chase Sapphire Reserve card is the access to the Chase Sapphire Lounge by The Club lounges. I’m spoiled by airport lounges by being based in New York, but the Chase Sapphire Lounges are in a league of their own.

I toured the New York-LaGuardia (LGA) lounge and was blown away by the offerings: restaurant-worthy dining and drink options, ample seating, wellness rooms — and even reservation-only suites. While the $550 annual fee is steep, it’s less expensive than the Amex Platinum card — and the Chase Sapphire Lounges are completely worth it.

Citi Premier® Card

Citi Premier® Card

Citi Premier® Card

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

Frequent flyers will enjoy 3x ThankYou Points at restaurants, gas stations, supermarkets, air travel, and hotels.

Learn More(at our partner's secure site)

Citi Premier® Card

Frequent flyers will enjoy 3x ThankYou Points at restaurants, gas stations, supermarkets, air travel, and hotels.
Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Plus, for a limited time, earn a total of 10 ThankYou® Points per $1 spent on hotel, car rentals, and attractions (excluding air travel) booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through June 30, 2024.
60,000 points
$960
$95
21.24% - 29.24% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The Citi Premier® Card is an excellent option for anyone looking for an all-around travel rewards credit card. The card helps you earn points fast with great 3x bonus categories such as restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, airfare, and hotels. Plus, it offers access to airline and hotel transfer partners, doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, and has a reasonable annual fee!

Pros

  • 3x points at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, airfare, and hotel purchases
  • Access to Citi transfer partners
  • Annual hotel credit
  • No foreign transaction fees

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Plus, for a limited time, earn a total of 10 ThankYou® Points per $1 spent on hotel, car rentals, and attractions (excluding air travel) booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through June 30, 2024.
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Other Hotels
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 60,000 ThankYou® Points are redeemable for $600 in gift cards redeemable for $600 in gift cards or travel rewards at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: 21.24% - 29.24% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

Rewards Center

Citi ThankYou Rewards

I have transferable points with most of the major points programs — Chase, Amex, and Capital One — but one that has eluded me is Citi ThankYou Rewards. There are compelling reasons to open a credit card that earns ThankYou Points, such as the variety of transfer partners that cover the 3 major airline alliances: Oneworld, SkyTeam, and Star Alliance.

I’ve been eyeing the Citi Premier card. This card offers:

  • 3x points at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel, and hotel purchases
  • Annual hotel savings benefit
  • Access to Citi transfer partners
  • No foreign transaction fees

The 3x points on daily spending, such as dining and travel, could make this card an easy favorite. And with a $95 annual fee, the card wouldn’t incur a big financial hit.

Final Thoughts

Each travel rewards card in my wallet offers something unique, from lounge access to elevated earnings on travel to hotel status. That makes it difficult to say goodbye to certain cards over others or open new cards that could replace existing cards.

There are other ways to keep some cards open if you’re on the fence, such as downgrading to a less expensive one. Those considering bidding farewell to certain cards should be aware of some downsides, such as a potential impact on their credit score.

When considering opening new cards, cardholders should also be aware of the Chase 5/24 rule, where that issuer will not approve you for any of its cards if you have already opened 5 or more credit card accounts in the last 24 months.

If you’re having trouble organizing your wallet, try thinking about your cards the way coaches think about their roster: clear-cut starters, reliable backups, and on-the-bubble cards with potential.


Enrollment required through Capital One website or mobile app. Upon enrollment, eligible cardholders will remain at upgraded status level through December 31, 2024. Please note, enrolling through the normal Hertz Gold Plus Rewards enrollment process (e.g. at Hertz.com) will not automatically detect a cardholder as being eligible for the program and cardholders will not be automatically upgraded to the applicable status tier. Additional terms apply.

For Capital One products listed on this page, some of the above benefits are provided by Visa® or Mastercard® and may vary by product. See the respective Guide to Benefits for details, as terms and exclusions apply.

The information regarding the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding The World of Hyatt Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the American Express® Green Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best travel rewards credit cards?

The best travel rewards cards vary based on what you’re looking for in a credit card, but the Amex Platinum card, Chase Sapphire Preferred card, Chase Sapphire Reserve card, and the Capital One Venture X card are considered among the best travel rewards cards out there.

Which credit cards offer lounge access?

What are the best credit cards for train travel?

Several credit cards earn bonus points for travel purchases, which includes train travel. They include cards such as the Capital One Venture X card, Chase Sapphire Preferred card, and Chase Sapphire Reserve card. The Amtrak Guest Rewards Preferred card also earns 3x points on train travel.

Which credit cards have lower annual fees?

When it comes to choosing a travel rewards card, the annual fee may be a big factor. There are several cards with low annual fees, such as the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, Chase Sapphire Preferred card, Citi Premier card, Amex Green card, and American Express® Gold Card.

Victoria M. Walker's image

About Victoria M. Walker

Victoria holds a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism from the Howard University School of Communications and is an award-winning journalist, travel reporter, and the founder of the “Carrying On with Victoria M. Walker” newsletter.

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