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The Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card: What You Need to Know

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Wells Fargo is officially replacing the Wells Fargo Propel 365 American Express® Credit Card with the new Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card — just in time for folks looking for a new travel rewards card this summer. Applications for the new card have been open since July 16, and existing Wells Fargo Propel 365 American Express® Credit Card cardmembers have already been transferred to the new card.

The biggest change for the new Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card is the expansion of categories where you can earn higher points per $1 spent — all with a $0 annual fee. These higher earning categories happen to be dining, travel and streaming services, all which will likely appeal to the millennial consumer.

Millennials want credit cards that offer rewards in the categories they value the most, along with perks that enhance value, and they want it all on a card with low to no annual fees. Wells Fargo is using the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card to muscle in on a population segment that’s growing so fast, it will soon overtake the Baby Boomer generation. It’s also taking advantage of American Express’s recent brand overhaul that includes millennials as a target audience, using mobile, social platforms, podcasts and video streaming outlets to reach them.

The big question is whether the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card has the right balance of rewards and perks attractive enough to entice millennials (and others) to apply — the points per $1 spent you earn on the card’s expanded definition of travel is better than many competitors in the market, making it a compelling option for anyone who favors this spending category. We’ll look at what this upgraded card offers and see if it stands up to competitors in the rewards category.

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

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on Wells Fargo Bank’s secure website

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

Regular Purchase APR
14.24%-26.74%
Annual fee
$0 For First Year
$0 Ongoing

Card benefits: At a glance

3x categories

What the category includes

Other card benefits

Eating out and ordering in

Restaurants, from fast food to bistros and fine dining.

  • Welcome offer: Earn 30K bonus points when you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months

  • 0% for 12 months variable APR purchase intro rate

  • 0% for 12 months variable APR balance transfer intro rate (after, 14.24%-26.74% (Variable) APR)

  • $0 annual fee

  • No foreign currency conversion fee.


Travel and transit

Airfare, car rentals, hotels and homestays, cruises, gas stations, ride sharing, railways, parking, taxis and tolls.

Online streaming

Apple Music
Hulu
Netflix
Pandora®
Sirius XM Radio Inc.
Spotify Premium

3x points on travel. The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card is appealing not only because of its higher points per $1 on travel, but its broader definition of travel. Most traditional travel-branded cards tend to only cover things like airfare and hotels. This card includes airlines, car rentals, hotels and homestays, cruises, gas stations, ride sharing, railways, parking, taxis and tolls.

3x on dining. The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card’s dining category, which covers everything from fast food to fine dining and food takeout and delivery, targets millennials who tend to eat out more.

3x on streaming. The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card also helps fuel millennials’ enthusiasm for streaming services by targeting more points per $1 spent popular ones like Apple Music, Hulu, Netflix, Pandora®, Sirius XM Radio and Spotify Premium for higher points per $1 spent.

What we like about the card

$0 annual fee. The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card comes packed with a welcome offer that lets cardmembers Earn 30K bonus points when you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months, higher points per $1 spent, along with travel and purchase benefits — all with a $0 annual fee.

Expanded spending categories. The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card has raised the bar on the categories where you earn more points per $1 spent. Earn 3X points for eating out and ordering in, 3X points for gas stations, rideshares and transit, and 3X points for travel including flights, hotels, homestays and car rentals. Earn 1X points on other purchases.

Good purchase and balance transfer intros. The card offers a 0% for 12 months variable APR purchase intro rate, which is hard to find on many no-fee rewards cards these days. It also comes with a 0% for 12 months variable APR balance transfer intro rate (after, 14.24%-26.74% (Variable) APR). The balance transfer fee is 3% Intro for 12 months, then 5%.

Travel perks. The card comes with emergency help covering medical, legal, personal and travel; roadside assistance; rental car loss and damage insurance; lost or damaged baggage insurance; travel accident insurance; retail purchase protection; extended warranty; return protection; and cellular telephone protection. These are pretty generous for a credit card with no annual fee.

What could be better

Pay to play. If you want to book an airline ticket on the Go Far® website, you may end up paying a non-refundable $24 fee for the privilege. And you can only use your rewards to pay for a hotel room and corresponding taxes; you can’t use them to pay for other incidentals.

No way to transfer points. Unlike other American Express cards, you can’t transfer the points you earn on the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card to other airline or hotel loyalty programs.

Fewer cash options for non-Wells Fargo customers. If you want to turn points into cash, you can’t withdraw it from a Wells Fargo ATM unless you have a checking or savings account at the bank.

How to redeem your rewards

There are eight ways to redeem your rewards:

  • Cash back. Go to MyWellsFargoRewards.com or call rewards customer service at (877)-517-1358 to set up a cash redemption option. With that option, the cash can automatically go into your qualified checking or savings account or receive a paper check. You can also take out cash at Wells Fargo ATMs if you’re a bank customer.
  • Statement credit. After setting up your redemption option via MyWellsFargoRewards.com, you can have your points go toward your credit card balance.
  • Online auctions. Go to the auction website and use your points to bid on items including event tickets, experiences and brand-name merchandise. You’ll get updates on your bid status and points are automatically deducted from your account if you win.
  • Travel. Use your points at the Go Far Rewards website to pay for flights, hotels, cruises, car rentals or vacation packages.
  • Merchandise and gift cards. Buy gift cards from dozens of major brands or more than 800,000 merchandise items on the Go Far Rewards website.
  • Digital downloads. Redeem your points at the Go Far Rewards site for music, ebooks, emagazines, games and audiobooks.
  • Pay down a credit card, loan or mortgage. Use your Go Far Rewards points to serve as a credit to Wells Fargo mortgage, credit card, personal or direct loan or home equity loan accounts.
  • Share your rewards. You have three ways to do this — pool your rewards with other Go Far Rewards customers, donate then to charities or give them as a gift to friends or family.

Alternatives to the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card:

While the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card offers generous rewards on travel and dining, it’s not the only option for foodies and frequent travelers.

Here are some other cards to consider:

Uber Visa Card

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Uber Visa Card

Regular Purchase APR
16.74%-25.49%

Variable

Annual fee
$0 For First Year
$0 Ongoing
Rewards
4% back on dining, 3% back on hotel and airfare, 2% back for online purchases, and 1% on everything else

The Uber Visa Card is one of the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card’s closest competitors, since it offers higher rewards in popular categories favored by millennials — 4% back on dining, 3% back on hotel and airfare, 2% back for online purchases, and 1% on everything else. You get all of this with a $0 annual fee. The sign-up bonus allows you to earn $100 after spending $500 on purchases in the first 90 days. You’ll have to do the math to find out which card gives you the most bang for your buck.

There aren’t any travel perks with this card, but you do receive a $50 yearly credit for online subscription services if you spend at least $5,000 a year on your card, which is less generous than the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card. You also get $600 in protection insurance for your mobile phone in case of damage or theft if you pay the bill with your card.

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card - 25,000 Bonus Points Offer

Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card

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on Bank Of America’s secure website

Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card

Regular Purchase APR
16.74% - 24.74% Variable APR
Intro Purchase APR
0% Introductory APR on purchases for 12 billing cycles
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Earn 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

If you’re looking for a simpler cashback rewards card, the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card - 25,000 Bonus Points Offer is an option to consider. It offers 25,000 online bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening, which converts into a $200 statement credit to use toward travel purchases. You Earn 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases and there’s a $0 annual fee.

While you don’t have to register for different categories to get your rewards, the points per $1 spent is lower than the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card, especially in the travel and dining categories. Redeem your points via a statement credit. You can earn bonus points if you have a relationship with Bank of America. The only real perk with this card is access to a free FICO® score.

Discover it® Miles

Discover it® Miles

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on Discover Bank’s secure website

Rates & Fees

Discover it® Miles

Regular APR
13.74% - 24.74% Variable
Intro Purchase APR
0% for 14 Months
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
unlimited 1.5x Miles per dollar on all purchases, every day
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good Credit

Redeeming the miles you earn on this card is easy. You get cash back as an electronic deposit to a bank account or as a credit for travel purchases, including airline tickets, hotel rooms, car rentals, travel agents, online travel sites and commuter transportation. Your miles don’t expire, and there’s no cap on how many you can earn. Again, compared to the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card, there aren’t any travel or purchase benefits, although you do get a free FICO® score.

Our final take

If you’re looking for a new credit card, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card, with its higher points per $1 spent in expanded categories and no annual fee, is a good option. It’s especially appealing when spending regularly on dining, streaming services and the card’s expanded definition of travel. There are cards with more generous welcome offers, but the rewards you can earn with this one balance that out.

You’re offered different options to cash in your points, but most of them are tied to Wells Fargo’s Go Far ® Rewards website, which gives you a little less flexibility. Travel and protection benefits on the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card are not bad when compared with other cards, especially those that charge annual fees.

In the end, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card is a solid option for those who spend in its top categories and want good travel and protection perks — all without paying an annual fee. But you may want more flexibility in how you redeem your points or want the chance to earn more in other categories like gas and supermarkets, so study all your options before making a final commitment.

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

Benét J. Wilson
Benét J. Wilson |

Benét J. Wilson is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Benét J. at benet@magnifymoney.com

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Reviews

Starbucks Rewards™ Visa® Prepaid Card Review

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

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The information related to the Starbucks Rewards™ Visa® Prepaid Card & Starbucks Rewards™ Visa® Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Starbucks released the new Starbucks Rewards™ Visa® Prepaid Card in June, just a few months after the Starbucks Rewards™ Visa® Card was introduced.

This branded prepaid card targets customers who don’t want, or may not be able to obtain, a traditional credit card. It packs similar spending perks for Starbucks fans in a prepaid card that charges no fees. You can use the card anywhere Visa is accepted, not just at Starbucks.

A prepaid card is often used as an alternative or companion to credit cards for myriad reasons, like controlling spending, keeping card debt down, having the flexibility of cash without actually carrying it or as an alternative to a checking account. Many prepaid cards come with card activation and/or monthly maintenance fees, which is why it’s nice to see a no-fee option.

If you’re a big fan of the ubiquitous coffee chain and are in the market for a no-fee prepaid card, then the Starbucks Rewards™ Visa® Prepaid Card is a good option. But if you want a prepaid card to help control your spending, using this card — which incentivizes you to spend to earn rewards — may not be the way to go.

Benefits: At a glance

After becoming a Starbucks Rewards™ member, you apply for the card by giving Chase Bank basic information — name, address, birthday, social security number, ID, email and phone number. After you’re approved, you add money onto the card, either via a debit or credit card or a Chase account, which can be used anywhere Visa cards are accepted.

Earn points.Earn 1 Star for every $10 you spend with your card. Earn 2 Stars per $1 when you spend at participating Starbucks stores with your registered card or via the app.

No fees. Most reloadable prepaid cards have multiple fees — the cost to buy it, monthly maintenance fees and charges to add money to it. However, the Starbucks Rewards™ Visa® Prepaid Card doesn’t charge users any fees. You can reload the card at Starbucks stores, on the Starbucks website or on the Starbucks app.

Free stuff. Once you go through the card’s application process and are approved, you’re awarded 125 points, enough for a free food item or a beverage. Your Starbucks Rewards come with a free drink on your birthday, the ability to order and pay using the Starbucks app on your smartphone, free in-store refills and access to member events and offers.

Earn status. The card comes with automatic gold membership status in Starbucks Rewards, which earns you the chance to get more bang for your buck on monthly double star days, a personalized gold card and a free reward after earning 125 points.

What to watch out for

  • Can’t withdraw money from the card at an ATM.
  • Points expire six months after the calendar month in which you earned them.
  • A replacement card will cost you $5.
  • Can’t add additional users to the card.
  • A foreign transaction fee of 3%.
  • Not every Starbucks store participates in the Starbucks Rewards program, so you may not be able to earn or redeem Stars at locations including kiosks within grocery stores, bookstores or some airports.

Starbucks Rewards™ Visa® Card vs. Starbucks Rewards™ Visa® Prepaid Card

 

Starbucks Rewards™ Visa® Prepaid Card

Starbucks Rewards™ Visa® Card

Annual fee

$0

$49

Rewards

Earn 1 Star for every $10 you spend with your card. Earn 2 Stars per $1 when you spend at participating Starbucks stores with your registered card or via the app.

Earn up to 3 Stars for every $1 you spend at Starbucks® stores and 1 Star per every $4 you spend outside of Starbucks® stores.

Sign-up bonus

Earn 125 Bonus Stars the first time you use your Starbucks Rewards™ Visa® Prepaid Card to load $10 or more to your registered Starbucks Card. That's enough for one food or drink Reward.

Earn 2,500 Stars after you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.


Starbucks unveiled its first co-branded Visa card in February 2018. The key to telling which card is best for you is how you want to use it, how often you frequent your local Starbucks and how much you spend when you’re there.

The Starbucks Rewards™ Visa® Card has a $49 annual fee. The sign-up bonus allows you to earn 2,500 stars after you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That gives you 20 rewards you can use for food or drink after making the required spend.

If your average Starbucks spend each visit is around $5.25, the price of a Venti caramel frappuccino, the Starbucks Rewards™ Visa® Card’s 20 rewards would be valued at around $105, which covers the annual fee for about two years. If you want to cover that fee outside the bonus, you would need to spend at least $4.75 a month on something like a grande caramel macchiato — or $57 a year — to cover it.

The $0 annual fee Starbucks Rewards™ Visa® Prepaid Card comes with a bonus of 125 stars, enough for one beverage or food item. Since the card has no annual fee, you’re already ahead of the game.

The trick to maximizing your Starbucks Rewards with both cards is to use your points to “pay” for higher-priced items, like a Venti iced caramel macchiato or a Chicken caprese sandwich, to get the biggest bang for your buck.

Which card is right for you?

If you’re not a diehard Starbucks fan, the rewards might not be enough to justify the Starbucks Rewards™ Visa® Card‘s $49 annual fee. In that case, the Starbucks Rewards™ Visa® Prepaid Card is probably the way to go.

Just keep in mind you can only redeem the Stars you earn for food/beverage items at the coffeehouse and points expire six months after you earn them. But it’s also a solid prepaid card offer even without the coffee perks, because many prepaid cards charge multiple fees, whereas this card has none.

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

Benét J. Wilson
Benét J. Wilson |

Benét J. Wilson is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Benét J. at benet@magnifymoney.com

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Credit Cards

Chase Freedom Unlimited Review

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication. This site may be compensated through a credit card partnership.

It’s time to get a new credit card and you’ve decided that getting cash back is what’s most important to you. If you’re interested in a simple, no-fee card that doesn’t make you jump through hoops to earn your cash back, and you’re not too concerned about bells and whistles, then you should consider the Chase Freedom Unlimited®.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

The information related to Chase Freedom Unlimited® has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Regular Purchase APR
16.74% - 25.49% Variable
Intro Purchase APR
0% Intro APR for 15 months
Intro BT APR
0% Intro APR for 15 months
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

What we like about this card

Unlimited cashback opportunities. The ability to earn unlimited cash back on purchases can be a benefit if you use the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card regularly. Let’s say you spend the $500 needed to get the $150 new cardmember cash bonus. You would walk away with $157.50. And you can earn another $25 if you add an authorized user and they also make a purchase in the first 3 months of the account opening, for a total of $182.50 in bonus cash. Earn Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase and your rewards don’t expire as long as your account remains open.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is convenient because although the cashback rate is lower than some other cards, it doesn’t have categories that change every quarter, nor do you have to sign up to get your cash back.

Combine cards for more rewards. If you already have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card, you can combine those points with what you earn on the Chase Freedom Unlimited®. They can all be used at the Chase Ultimate Rewards® website, where you can earn 50% more value with the Chase Sapphire Reserve® or 25% more value with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card when you redeem points for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises. You can also transfer those points 1:1 to four hotel or nine airline partners.

If you just want straight cash back, you can get it as an account statement credit or an electronic deposit into an eligible U.S.-based checking or savings account. If you close your Chase Freedom Unlimited® account, you have 30 days to use your cash back.

A few perks to consider. Card perks include purchase protection that covers new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft, up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account; an extended warranty on an eligible U.S. manufacturer’s warranty of three years or less, by another year; and auto rental coverage that includes theft and collision damage for most cars in the U.S. and abroad. Terms & Conditions apply.

What we don’t like about this card

The foreign transaction fee. If you travel outside of the country regularly, the 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars foreign transaction fee charged on the Chase Freedom Unlimited® can really add up.

Lower cash back in popular categories. If you spend more money in specific categories, such as travel or dining, there are other cards that offer larger cashback rewards.

Your points aren’t as valuable in the Ultimate Rewards Portal as some other Chase cards. With the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, every 100 points are only worth $1 in the portal.

You can’t transfer points to airline or hotel loyalty programs. Unlike the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, your Chase Freedom Unlimited® card points can’t be transferred to Chase’s nine airline and four hotel loyalty program partners.

The cashback rate leaves something to be desired. It’s nice to get a flat 1.5% rate for everything, especially if simplicity is your style. But you can certainly find other no-fee rewards cards — like The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express, the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer or the Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card — with better cashback rates in popular categories like travel or dining.

Redeeming points

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® offers unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase and those rewards don’t expire as long as your account is open.

Convert your cash into points that can be used on the Chase Ultimate Rewards website for travel, gift cards and merchandise.

After linking the Chase Freedom Unlimited® to your Amazon.com account, you can instantly redeem your cashback rewards to pay for all or part of your eligible orders at checkout, which includes tax and shipping costs.

Other cards to consider

If you’re looking for alternatives to the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, here are four other cards you might want to consider if you’re looking for better cashback deals.

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express

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Terms Apply

Rates & Fees

Read Full Review

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express

Regular Purchase APR
14.74%-25.74% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
2x points at US supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1x), 1x points on other purchases.
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

If you use this card 20 or more times on purchases in a billing period, you earn 20% extra points.

There are more perks with The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express, including roadside assistance, collision damage coverage for rental cars, 24/7 access to medical, legal, financial or other emergency coordination and assistance services and travel accident insurance. You also get an extended warranty on eligible purchases and purchase protection, limited to $300 per item and $1,000 per calendar year. Terms apply.

Under The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express’s Membership Rewards program, you can use your points with more than 500 leading brands in travel, gift cards, merchandise and entertainment. You can also transfer your points to 16 airline and three hotel loyalty programs. Conditions may apply.

Book your travel via Membership Rewards and you don’t have to worry about blackout dates or seat restrictions. And you can use points for all or part of your flight, hotel, vacation package or cruise. Your points don’t expire as long as the card is active, but there’s a 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars. foreign transaction fee.

Chase Freedom®

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Chase Freedom®

Regular Purchase APR
16.74%-25.49%

Variable

Annual fee
$0 For First Year
$0 Ongoing
Rewards
Earn 5% cash back in bonus categories
Credit required
good-credit

Excellent/Good

Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. The current category offers 5% cash back in grocery stores (excluding Target and Walmart) or when you use PayPal® and Chase Pay®. Earn $100 — up to $500 a year — when you refer friends and they are approved for the card. And cashback rewards don’t expire as long as your account is open.

The perks with the Chase Freedom® aren’t quite as robust as the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, but you still get purchase protection for 120 days against damage or theft, up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account, and extended warranty protection, which adds another year to an eligible U.S. manufacturer’s warranty. Terms apply.

There’s no minimum to redeem for cash back with the Chase Freedom®. You can get it as a statement credit or direct deposit into most U.S. checking and savings accounts. If you link your card to your Amazon.com account, you can instantly redeem your cashback rewards to pay for all or part of your eligible orders at checkout, including tax and shipping.

Like other Chase cards, having the Chase Freedom® card gives you access to the Chase Ultimate Rewards website, where you can do things like book travel.

But you will pay 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars as a foreign transaction fee with the card.

Discover it® Cash Back

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on Discover Bank’s secure website

Rates & Fees

Read Full Review

Discover it® Cash Back

Regular APR
13.74% - 24.74% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. 1% unlimited cash back automatically on all other purchases.
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good Credit

This card allows you to earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. You can redeem your rewards for cash at any time and your cash back never expires.

Unlike the other cards in this category, the Discover it® Cash Back is not big on perks, except for a free FICO® credit score. It also doesn’t charge a  foreign transaction fee.

 Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

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The information related to Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Regular Purchase APR
17.74% - 24.74% Variable
Annual fee
$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95
Rewards Rate
2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide.
Credit required
good-credit

Good/Excellent

When it comes to benefits and perks, this card is more robust than the Chase Freedom Unlimited®. Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card allows you to maximize your points with 25% more value when you redeem them for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through the Chase Ultimate Rewards website. You can do 1:1 transfers of your Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card points over to nine airline or four hotel loyalty programs. There’s a $0 foreign exchange fee.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has all the perks you would expect in its category, including trip cancellation/interruption insurance, auto rental collision damage waiver, baggage delay insurance, trip delay reimbursement and travel and emergency assistance services. You also get purchase protection and extended warranty protection. And you can earn 10,000 points for each friend you recommend for the card who are approved, up to five friends.

The bottom line

If you want a simple card where you don’t have to register for cashback rewards and don’t need a lot of perks, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® is the one for you. There are alternatives that have more perks and better cash back, but you may not want to pay an annual fee to get them. There are no caps on the cash you can get back and the 1.5%, while less than other cards, covers everything — and you don’t have to register to get it.

 

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express

Chase Freedom®

Discover it® Cash Back

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Annual Fee

$0

$0

$0

$0

$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95

Purchase Intro Rate

0% Intro APR for 15 months

intro 0% for 15 Months

0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months

intro 0% for 14 months

N/A

Balance Transfer Intro Rate

0% Intro APR for 15 months

intro 0% for 15 Months

0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months

intro 0% for 14 months

N/A

Balance Transfer Fee

Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater

$0 balance transfer fee.

Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater

3%

Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

Regular Purchase APR

16.74% - 25.49% Variable APR

14.74%-25.74% Variable APR

16.74% - 25.49% Variable APR

13.74% - 24.74% Variable APR

17.74% - 24.74% Variable APR

Rewards

Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase

2x points at US supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1x), 1x points on other purchases.

Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. 1% unlimited cash back automatically on all other purchases.

2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide.

Sign-Up Bonus

Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

10,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.

Earn a $150 Bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Foreign Transaction Fee

3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars

2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.

3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars

None

$0

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

Benét J. Wilson
Benét J. Wilson |

Benét J. Wilson is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Benét J. at benet@magnifymoney.com

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Best Cashback Sign-Up Bonus Offers of August 2018

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

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You’re always looking for the best deals when it comes to credit card bonuses. A popular lure credit cards are using to bring in new customers is cashback sign-up bonuses.

In a recent study, we found that the average introductory bonus in the travel rewards credit card category in 2018 is now 40,556 points, more than double the average bonus in 2008 (16,050 points) and up from 34,327 points five years ago. But these bonuses also come at a steep cost to consumers, with the average annual fee on a card with a bonus offer is $120, up 62% from $74 in 2008, according to the report.

After looking at the available cards, we found three we felt offered the best benefits for those looking specifically for ones with cashback sign-up bonuses. All three cards offer the cashback bonus without having to spend large amounts of money to get it. And they all offer ongoing cashback options and perks once the cashback intro bonus is gone, all with no annual fees.

Cards with the best sign-up bonuses

Capital One® Quicksilver® Card - 0% Intro APR for 15 Months

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on Capital One’s secure website

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Capital One® Quicksilver® Card - 0% Intro APR for 15 Months

Regular Purchase APR
14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)
Intro Purchase APR
0% intro on purchases for 15 months
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
1.5% Cash Back on every purchase, every day
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good
The Capital One® Quicksilver® Card - 0% Intro APR for 15 Months starts with One-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, the highest among the three cards highlighted in this review. Once you spend $500 in three months to get the cashback bonus, it’s applied to your rewards balance within two billing cycles.

Cardmembers get a flat 1.5% Cash Back on every purchase, every day, and you don’t have to register every quarter to get it. You’re also not limited to select categories to get the cash back and there’s a None foreign transaction fee.

Let’s say you spend $2,000 a month on the card. At unlimited 1.5% cash back, you’ll get $360 at the end of the year. Your rewards don’t expire during the life of the account, and you can redeem cash back for any amount.

The perks with the Capital One® Quicksilver® Card - 0% Intro APR for 15 Months are pretty good considering it’s a no-fee credit card. There’s the usual benefits that come with Visa Signature®, including free upgrades and special savings at hotels, resorts and spas, once-in-a-lifetime experiences and fine wine and food events, free 24-hour concierge service, shopping and savings and special offers from retailers. There are also popular benefits like purchase security, roadside dispatch, travel and emergency assistance, auto rental collision damage waiver, lost luggage reimbursement and travel accident insurance.

Other cards may offer more bonus points or miles — for a higher spend — than the Capital One® Quicksilver® Card - 0% Intro APR for 15 Months. They may also more in cashback awards, especially in targeted categories like travel and dining, than what’s offered with this card.

Uber Visa Card

Regular Purchase APR
16.74%-25.49%

Variable

Annual fee
$0 For First Year
$0 Ongoing
Rewards
4% back on dining, 3% back on hotel and airfare, 2% back for online purchases, and 1% on everything else
Rewards
4% back on dining, 3% back on hotel and airfare, 2% back for online purchases, and 1% on everything else
New Uber Visa Card members can Earn $100 after spending $500 on purchases in the first 90 days. The cashback bonus is applied to your card as soon as you make the required purchases within the first 90 days after you open your account. You don’t pay foreign transaction fees on the card.

If you spend around $800 a month on dining, you’ll earn $384 a year in cash back. The cash back in the travel category includes airfare, hotels and home share services like Airbnb. Spend $1,500 a month with the Uber Visa Card on these categories and get $540 back after a year.

After your bonus is credited, there are more perks that come with the Uber Visa Card. Music lovers who spend at least $5,000 a year on it can get up to a $50 credit for online digital subscription services. You get up to $600 for mobile phone damage or theft when you pay your mobile phone bill with your card. The card also gives you access to invitations to exclusive events and offers in select U.S. cities.

You can redeem your Uber Visa Card points for Uber credits, gift cards or cash back, all via the Uber app once your balance hits $5 or 500 points. You must add your Uber Visa Card to your Uber account to take advantage of this feature. As long as the account is active and in good standing, your points never expire.

There are other cards that offer higher cash back for popular categories like airfares, hotels and dining. The cashback balance on your Uber Visa Card must reach $25 before you can use it for gift cards, statement credit or direct deposit. Your cash back redemption is capped at $500 a day. And the card doesn’t have an intro balance transfer rate.

The information related to the Uber Visa Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

TruWest Visa® Signature Card

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on TruWest Credit Union’s secure website

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TruWest Visa® Signature Card

Regular Purchase APR
9.65%-10.65%

Variable

Annual fee
$0 For First Year
$0 Ongoing
With the TruWest Visa Signature Card, you get a $100 introductory bonus when you spend $100 in the first 90 days after being approved. It’s not the most lucrative bonus out there, but we like it for a different reason: This is by far the lowest spend requirement among the three cards in this review.

The best feature of the TruWest Visa Signature Card is that it starts with a generous 0% intro APR for 18 months on all purchases and balance transfers. After 18 months, there’s a very reasonable variable APR.

You automatically earn 1.5% cash back under the card’s TruRewards program, plus you get up to 1 point for every $1 spent. If you spend $1,000 a month on the card, you’ll get $180 back after a year of spending.

The fine print: You must be a member of the TruWest Credit Union, with a minimum deposit of $5 to qualify, before you can apply for the TruWest Visa Signature Card. To become a member, you must either: live, work or own a business in Maricopa, Pinal, Pima or Yavapai counties in Arizona, or Travis or Williamson counties in Texas; attend school in Travis or Williamson, Texas; or be related to a member or be the surviving spouse of a deceased member.

How to use points

You can earn 5,000 bonus points when you add a cardholder to your account, which gives you more ways to boost your point totals. You also earn up to 10 extra points per $1 spent when you use them to make qualifying purchases on the TruRewards website.

You can use your points and cash back in the Get Extra Points program, where you can apply your cash back to your credit card account, buy gift cards from TruWest or retailers, book a flight, hotel or cruise, buy more than 300 different items ranging from electronics to jewelry and donate points to your favorite charities. You can choose the split-pay option, where you can redeem points and pay for items using your TruWest Visa Signature Card.

Like the, Capital One® Quicksilver® Card - 0% Intro APR for 15 Months, the TruWest Visa Signature Card gives you access to all the benefits of the Visa Signature program.

Alternatives to these cards

If these cashback bonus offers aren’t quite showing you the money, you may want to consider cards that offer double cashback benefits — with no annual fee, but also no cashback sign-up bonus — as an alternative.

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

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Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

Regular Purchase APR
15.24% - 25.24%* (Variable)
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Annual fee
$0*
Rewards Rate
Earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent, Good

The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer doesn’t force you to register in order to get cash back. Unlike cards with higher cashback options, almost all of your purchases are covered.

There are no caps on the total amount of cash back you can earn. So if you spend $1,000 a month on the card, that means you’ll get $120 in cashback rewards in a year. And you can get another $30 a year back if you make payments of $250 a month.

Once your cash rewards balance hits $25 or more, you can redeem your cash rewards as a check, a statement credit to your account, a gift card or as credit to a linked Citi savings or checking account or to a checking account where you have paid a Citi credit card bill at least twice.

Benefits that come with the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer aren’t as robust as other cards in this category. And don’t use this card when you travel outside the U.S., since it charges a 3% foreign transaction fee.

If your account is closed, you won’t be able to earn or redeem your cash rewards, and you forfeit any accumulated cash rewards. Your cash rewards balance will expire if you have not earned any cash back from purchases or payments for 12 months.

Discover it® Cash Back

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on Discover Bank’s secure website

Rates & Fees

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Discover it® Cash Back

Regular APR
13.74% - 24.74% Variable
Intro Purchase APR
0% for 14 months
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. 1% unlimited cash back automatically on all other purchases.
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good Credit

The great thing with the Discover it® Cash Back is that it matches all the cash back new cardmembers earn at the end of their first year. So if you earned $1,200 in cash back in your first year, Discover will match that to $2,400 after your first 12 consecutive billing periods. The cash back is then applied to your account in the following one or two billing periods.

Each quarter, you can earn 5% cash on specific categories up to the quarterly maximum. It’s stand-alone grocery stores in the second quarter, restaurants in the third quarter and Amazon.com and wholesale clubs in the fourth quarter.

You must register for the categories each quarter in order to get the cashback reward. The cashback quarterly maximum is $1,500 for the Discover it® Cash Back, but there’s no limit on the overall amount of cash back you can earn.

If you do a balance transfer, you can save money if you pay off the balance before the end of the card’s 14-month term. But you will pay a 3% balance transfer fee.

The Discover it® Cash Back gives you free access to your FICO® Score on monthly statements, online and on the mobile app, and allows you to use the Freeze it® on/off switch feature that stops purchases, cash advances and balance transfers if you misplace your card.

If you want to spend some of your Discover it® Cash Back cashback rewards or go shopping, you can do it on the Discover Deals website. Here you can earn more cashback bonuses when you shop for deals from top brands or get discounts at the Discover Travel Deals site for flights, hotels, rental cars and cruises.

After the first year, the Discover it® Cash Back’s cashback match rewards goes away, and you don’t get the more robust travel and purchase benefits of other cards.

The bottom line

The introductory cashback bonuses for these credit cards can seem appealing when you first sign up. But you need to ask which benefits remain once you spend that initial bonus. And you need to balance whether the card is just as appealing once the more attractive intro purchase and balance transfer rates expire.

Since you don’t have to worry about annual fees, focus on a card with benefits that go beyond the initial intro cashback bonus. You want to get unlimited rewards with at least 1% cash back at a bare minimum.

It’s even better if you get a card that goes above the usual 1% on items in selected categories. You also want to have access to a website that will let you maximize your cashback rewards and get discounts for shopping. And you want a card that offers secondary perks like travel discounts, purchase and travel insurance and car rental collision coverage.

Keep your balances low and pay your card on time because you may end up paying your credit card company for the privilege of getting cashback rewards.

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

Benét J. Wilson
Benét J. Wilson |

Benét J. Wilson is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Benét J. at benet@magnifymoney.com

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Credit Cards

American Express Cash Magnet Card Review: What You Need to Know

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication. This site may be compensated through a credit card partnership.

American Express Cash MagnetTM Card

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on American Express’s secure website

Terms Apply

Rates & Fees

American Express Cash MagnetTM Card

Regular Purchase APR
14.74%-25.74% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Unlimited 1.5% Cash Back on your purchases
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

American Express is plunging further into the cashback rewards credit card segment with its new American Express Cash Magnet™ Card, which hit the market on June 14. This card provides stiff competition for three other popular cashback cards: the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer and the Chase Freedom Unlimited®. All three offer cashback programs and don’t charge an annual fee. But what sets the new American Express Cash Magnet™ Card apart from the pack? We’ll cover that and more in this review.

How the American Express Cash Magnet™ Card stacks up

American Express Cash Magnet™ Card

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Annual Fee

$0

$0

$0*

$0

Regular Purchase APR

14.74%-25.74% Variable

14.74%-25.74% Variable

15.24% - 25.24%* (Variable)

16.74% - 25.49% Variable

Rewards

Unlimited 1.5% Cash Back on your purchases

3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores. 1% cash back on other purchases.

Earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay

Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase

Welcome Offer / New Cardmember Offer

Earn up to $250 back. Here’s how: Earn a $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 or more in purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Plus, earn an additional $100 statement credit after you spend an additional $6,500 in purchases within your first 12 months.

$150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.

No bonus

Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

Foreign Transaction Fee

2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.

2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.

3%

3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars

What we like about the card

The Welcome Offer. Like many rewards cards on the market today, the American Express Cash Magnet™ Card is looking to woo new cardmembers with a Welcome Offer — Earn up to $250 back. Here’s how: Earn a $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 or more in purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Plus, earn an additional $100 statement credit after you spend an additional $6,500 in purchases within your first 12 months.

Simplicity. Earn a straightforward Unlimited 1.5% Cash Back on your purchases Unlike rotating category cards, you don’t have to worry about remembering points in different spending categories, nor do you have to sign up quarterly to get higher rewards.

Good intro offers. The American Express Cash Magnet™ Card comes with an intro 0% on purchases for 15 months on purchases and an intro 0% on balance transfers for 15 months on balance transfers (after, 14.74%-25.74% Variable APR).

Flexible repayment. The card offers access to the Plan ItSM feature, which gives cardmembers flexibility by allowing you to create up to 10 payment plans for purchases costing $100 or more. You’ll have a fixed finance charge each month a plan is active.

Some travel perks. It comes with the familiar rewards and protections you expect from American Express, including auto rental insurance; Global Assist® Hotline; roadside assistance; travel accident insurance; extended warranty; return and purchase protection; and access to presale tickets to events like concert tours and sporting events.

What could be better

You get your cash back as a statement credit. You can’t redeem it on things like airline tickets, hotel stays, gift cards and merchandise. You also can’t transfer it to airline or hotel loyalty programs. However, the card may occasionally offer other ways to redeem reward dollars, like gift cards or merchandise.  Note: cash back cannot be used to pay your minimum due.

You can do better than 1.5% cashback these days. If you’re looking for a higher cashback rate, check out the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer as an alternative, where you Earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay.

Not the best for travel. If you travel regularly, this card doesn’t offer things like trip delay/interruption or baggage insurance like other travel credit cards. And you’ll pay a foreign transaction fee of 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars..

Check out our roundup of the best travel rewards cards.

Alternatives to the American Express Cash Magnet™ Card:

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

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on American Express’s secure website

Terms Apply

Rates & Fees

Read Full Review

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Regular Purchase APR
14.74%-25.74% Variable
Intro Purchase APR
0% for 15 months
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores. 1% cash back on other purchases.
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express: If you’re looking for a flat-rate cashback card for supermarket spending, this is a hard one to beat. It also carries a $0 annual fee and a welcome offer of a $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

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on Citibank’s secure website

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Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

Regular Purchase APR
15.24% - 25.24%* (Variable)
Annual fee
$0*
Rewards Rate
Earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent, Good
Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer: The card doesn’t offer a sign-up bonus, but you have the potential to earn a higher cashback rate. It offers the same cashback rewards simplicity as the American Express Cash Magnet™ Card, but at a better rate. Cash back can be redeemed for statement credits or credited to either your linked Citi savings or checking account, or to a checking account from which you have paid a card bill at least two times, among other options.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

LEARN MORE 

The information related to Chase Freedom Unlimited® has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Regular Purchase APR
16.74% - 25.49% Variable
Intro Purchase APR
0% Intro APR for 15 months
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

Chase Freedom Unlimited®: This card looks quite similar to the American Express Cash Magnet™ Card. Cardmembers can Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. This is a lower spending requirement than the American Express Cash Magnet™ Card and you have the potential to redeem your cash back in more ways. If you use the Chase Freedom Unlimited® in combination with your existing Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve® card, there are opportunities to earn even more cash back.You can do this by combining the cash back on the Chase Freedom Unlimited® with points earned on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve®. You can then use those points in the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal, where you can get 25% to 50% more value when you redeem them for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises. You can also transfer those points to four hotel or nine airline partners.

The information related to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve® has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Our final take

For those who are loyal to American Express-branded cards, the new American Express Cash Magnet™ Card could be a good proposition. It offers simple cashback rewards with a $0 annual fee. It has a limited time welcome offer that can put extra rewards in your pocket if you spend the amount required to get it.

The American Express Cash Magnet™ Card comes with better travel and protection perks than what’s offered by other credit cards in the no-annual-fee, cashback rewards category. And getting flexibility in how you make payments on the card is something not offered by competitors.

So if you want a simple cashback rewards card with good perks, this is a good option. But if you spend more on things like travel and dining, and you don’t need the payment flexibility option, there are more robust card offerings out there.

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

Benét J. Wilson
Benét J. Wilson |

Benét J. Wilson is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Benét J. at benet@magnifymoney.com

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Credit Cards

Scoring the Best Sports Tickets with Your Points and Miles

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

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You’ve used your credit card points or airline miles for trips and hotel stays, but have you considered using them for major sporting events? This summer’s hottest seats can be expensive, so if you’re sitting on a pile of points or miles, they could unlock access to experiences like a view from the 18th hole or meet-and-greets with players.

But attention sports fans: Availability and programs vary widely. For example, Chase is a major sponsor at Madison Square Garden, where most of its sporting events are centered around New York Knicks basketball and New York Rangers hockey games, along with WWE wrestling and championship boxing. Delta Air Lines partners with sports teams around its Atlanta headquarters, along with hub and “focus” cities including New York, Cincinnati, Detroit, Minneapolis, Seattle and Washington, D.C. Marriott Moments tends to pair unique sporting events with its top-of-the-line hotels.

Sussing out the best deals can be tricky — it might be cheaper to buy Major League Baseball seats this summer through your favorite team. But what if you could play catch on the field after the game? We found that points and miles are best used for these one-of-a-kind experiences.

The pros and cons of using points or miles for sporting events

The pros include access to unique experiences not generally available to the public. This includes access to luxury boxes — complete with food and beverages — prime seating and other perks. You could score seats to big-ticket events like the Super Bowl or NBA Finals, especially if your credit card or preferred hotel or airline is a sponsor. Online auctions give cardholders the chance to set their own price for ball games or compete for once-in-a-lifetime experiences like playing in the BMW International Open in Germany.

The cons are that some events are easily available other ways — in that case, save your points or miles for premiere events and unique experiences, not to mention the multiple other ways you redeem them for rewards. Many of these one-of-a-kind experiences are available through online auctions, which will require you to check in frequently to see where you stand.

American Express Membership Rewards

How to redeem: Use your points through a special American Express Ticketmaster website here to buy tickets to sporting events.
Special requirements: You must have at least 2,000 points to redeem for an event.

American Express cardholders can use their points for one of the widest ranges of professional sports including basketball, football, hockey, baseball, mixed martial arts, tennis, NASCAR and golf, thanks to its partnership with Ticketmaster. The buying process is easy, but for things like general admission game seats, you may get a better value by paying for those with your card or cash. That way you can save your points to splurge on premier experiences.

Example: Tennis fans can score tickets to the men’s/women’s quarterfinals of this year’s U.S. Open tournament, which runs from Aug. 25 through Sept. 9. Tickets on Sept. 5 range from $80 to almost $4,000, or between 7,000 and 40,000 points. That’s also more than enough for a two-night stay this fall at the Harrah’s New Orleans Casino & Hotel.

Here’s how to redeem points for sporting events.

On the American Express page, click on Find Tickets.

Next, click on Go To Ticketmaster.

This takes you to the Amex Ticketmaster sports page. Click on the U.S. Open tickets.

On the booking page, choose your tickets, then hit Get Tickets.

Next, you can decide whether to get your tickets via email or mobile app.

At checkout, select the option of “Use all or some Membership Rewards points.” Choose the number of points you would like to redeem and select “Apply.” Then enter your credit card information — in this case, your American Express card — and pay for the tickets. Your American Express card will be charged for your purchase, but your points will be debited and a credit will appear on your account to cover the cost of the tickets.

Chase Ultimate Rewards

How to redeem: Start at the Ultimate Rewards portal here, where you can redeem points for all kind of rewards, including sports events.
Special requirements: None, points don’t expire as long as your account is open.

Most Chase members have access to the Ultimate Rewards program, but the number of sporting events are limited. Some of the best rewards are available to those who have a Chase Sapphire Reserve® in their wallets. If you have a Chase Sapphire Reserve®, use your Chase Ultimate Rewards points at Chase Reserve Experiences, which is offering opportunities to buy special packages to the PGA Championship in August in St. Louis.

Or, of you’ve dreamed of attending the Ryder Cup, use your points to see the 2018 tournament at Le Golf National in Paris from Sept. 25-30. Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardmembers can buy daily grounds passes at the event for 7,000 points. If you want to go big, spend 475,000 points for a grounds tickets and hotel package, which includes four days’ access to the tournament’s championship grounds and five nights’ hotel accommodations. Sapphire members can sometimes flash their card to gain access to the Sapphire cardmember club — at the PGA championship, for example, the club features better views and seating, snacks and, perhaps most important in steamy St. Louis, air conditioning.

Not a Sapphire cardholder? You may be better off redeeming your points for trips or gift cards available through the Ultimate Rewards portal, where each point is worth a penny. Chase Freedom® cardholders, for example, earn 1% cashback on every purchase — 3,491 points equals $34.91 in cashback rewards. A perk for all Chase cardholders who live near one of Madison Square Company’s seven venues is preferred seating at everything from concerts to boxing matches. Cardholders may also be invited to pre-event receptions there and receive discounts on merchandise and food.

Here’s how to redeem points for tickets

Example: MMA fans who want to check out the burgeoning Professional Fighters League can attend PFL2 in Chicago where fighters in the lightweight and heavyweight divisions will compete to be their weight class champion, bringing home $1 million prizes. Chase members get preferred seating — in this case, main floor seats for $75. Make sure “Chase Cardmember Preferred Seating” is checked under “Type” and check out using your Chase card.

Delta SkyMiles

How to redeem: Use your miles at Delta Air Lines’ SkyMiles Experiences.
Special requirements: Auction items have minimum miles bids; must bid in 1,000-mile increments.

Exchanging Delta miles for tickets could be a great option for baseball fans — Delta lets members use their miles mainly for baseball tickets in cities the carrier serves. Games up for auction or “buy-it-now” — you can search by either option — include seats ranging from Atlanta Braves baseball to Seattle Sounders Major League Soccer, although there are also tickets to the Coke Zero 400 NASCAR race in Daytona Beach, Fla., up for grabs, too.

Games versus flights, what’s better? Buy-it-now options range from 20,000 SkyMiles for a pair of lower level tickets to a baseball game to 90,000 miles for four tickets to an Atlanta Braves-Arizona Diamondbacks game, a package that includes four Delta Sky360°Club seats, all-inclusive food and beverage, in-seat food and beverage service and access to a climate-controlled indoor club. By comparison, one round-trip economy class flight from Baltimore to San Francisco in September costs 23,000 miles, while a Delta Comfort seat costs 36,000 miles.

Our recommendation: Save the miles for a unique experience like the NASCAR Quaker State 400 package for two that includes seats in the Kentucky Club on July 13 and 14, a “hot lap” ride around the Kentucky Speedway, VIP parking, Victory Lane passes and passes to the garages and to meet the drivers. This auction ends June 22. (Keep reading for more information on how bidding works.)

Here’s how to use your miles

After logging into your SkyMiles account, go to the top right side of the screen for the “Get To Know SkyMiles” tab.

After touching that tab, move to “SkyMiles Experiences.”

Once you’re on the SkyMiles Experiences page, click on “Bid on once-in-a-lifetime experiences,” then click on ‘Start Bidding.”

You can target your search by category — sports — along with buy-it-now or bid, by a range of miles, location or keywords.

The advantages of bidding. Some bargains may come about by bidding on sports events. Four private suite tickets to the Washington Nationals-Atlanta Braves game on July 21 in Washington are up for auction at 40,000 miles. The package includes four Delta private corporate suite tickets, free catering of food and alcoholic beverages, access to a SkyMiles host and Delta representative and a VIP parking pass. Bidding is open until July 2.

Compare these auctions with booking award travel on Delta between New York and Atlanta. A four-day trip in July booked in coach class on Delta.com runs between 21,000 miles and 71,500 miles.

Hilton HHonors

How to redeem:Hilton HHonors Sports Experiences and, for members who have a Hilton-branded American Express card, here.
Special requirements: Bidding increments depend on the experience, ranging from 5,000 points to 50,000.

Two different sporting experiences — one for HHonors members and one for members who also have a Hilton-branded American Express card — offer a mix of sports events where members may redeem hotel points or use them to bid.

Redeem versus bid. At press time, items available for redemption included a chance to attend the British Touring Car Championship, the country’s premier motorsport series, on Aug. 26. Four packages for two attendees are available, and they include: VIP admission to rounds 22, 23 and 24 of the BTCC; five-star catering in a private hospitality tent that includes lunch and refreshments; a BTC Norlin Racing garage tour; a guided pit lane and grid walk; a Q&A with James Nash and Chris Smiley of BTC Norlin Racing; autograph session with the drivers; and access to watch the support races: Porsche Carrera Cup, F4 British Championship, Ginetta GT5 Championship. A package can be redeemed for 100,000 Honors points. On your own, a pair of VIP tickets for this event — which includes access to a hospitality suite, seated grandstand and bar areas and an exclusive table/seat all day — will set you back about $600.

Redeem or bid? Though point redemption was the only way to buy at press time, it pays to check on “experiences” up for auction as well. A recent auction gave members the chance to play in the pro-am section of the BMW International Open with a star of the European Tour. With an ending bid of 200,000, the winning bidder scored VIP hospitality tickets to the Open, transportation and a three-night stay at the Hilton Cologne, (but not the flight to Germany). On your own, a pair of VIP tickets to the June tournament cost $844 with a three-day hotel stay around $462 for a total of about $1,306. But fans might say there’s no price for playing in the tournament or going home with signed merchandise from Hilton golf ambassadors Chris Wood, Jamie Donaldson and Matteo Manassero.

Maximize your points. If you don’t have enough points for an experience, Hilton allows members to buy up to 80,000 points a year to top off your account.

Unique experiences available through Hilton Honors seem like a good deal, but with so few sports experiences available for bid, it’s hard to say overall if using points is a good way to spend them. When the pickings are slim, you may be better off using your points for hotel stays or even transferring them to one of Hilton’s 40+ global airline partners.

Here’s how you pay or bid with Hilton points

Below is how you can check which experiences are available to pay or bid for with points.

Once on the experiences site, you can filter activities by category, date, points and location.

For Hilton Amex cardholders: Honors members with a Hilton-branded American Express card have access to their own special sporting events. While there weren’t any available at press time, a past item up for bid was attending the final round of the 118th U.S. Open Championship for 200,000 points. The package included access for two to a private American Express hospitality suite complete with complimentary food and beverages, reserved seating and views of the 13th hole at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y., on June 17.

Marriott Rewards

How to redeem: Use your points at Marriott Rewards.
Special requirements: Auction items have minimum bids

Two years after Marriott International acquired Starwood Hotels & Resorts, their two rewards programs will be merged into a new loyalty program starting Aug. 1. But until then, Marriott Rewards members can use points to buy or bid on tickets to sporting events through the Moments program. Redeem 30,000 points for two tickets to Qualifying Day at the Formula 1 Grosser Preis von Deutschland in Germany on July 21 or 90,000 points for a pair of tickets for the San Francisco Giants-Chicago Cubs game at AT&T Park in San Francisco on July 10. Those same 30,000 points can buy you two nights at Courtyard Santa Fe.

Like some of the other programs, Giants fans might be better off saving their points and buying tickets directly through the team’s website where ticket prices range from $165 for field club seats to left field seats at $26.

Bidding may be your best bet. As with other programs, unique experiences available through online auctions may be worth cashing out your points. One experience up for auction, at 155,000 points, is watching the Tour de France from the finish line with professional sports photographer Erin Hogue. Hogue will lead participants in a photography workshop before the race — attendees also are invited to such events as a VIP champagne “moment.”

Such packages may sound pricey, but consider the value: Auctions offer one-of-a-kind experiences such as private dinners with players or a photo with a winning NASCAR driver.

Here’s how to use your points

After logging in, you’ll go to the “Use Points” tab, then scroll down to “Explore Moments.”

That will take you to the Marriott Moments page. On that main page, click on the “Sports” tab.

After clicking on the “Sports” tab, the page shows a list of upcoming sporting events, with the option of searching by points, location, date or bid versus purchase.

Example: Use your points to bid on unique events including the 2018 Ford Championship Weekend Nov. 16-18.

You can also buy suite seats to see the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field for 75,000 points. But again, baseball fans may be better off just buying their tickets directly from their favorite teams.

SPG Moments

How to redeem: Redeem your Starpoints at SPG Moments
Special requirements: Bids are done in 500-point increments.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts’ SPG Moments and Marriott Rewards will be merged into a new loyalty program on Aug. 1, and while the two programs have always had a lot in common, SPG has a more international focus on sports events and experiences. And like some other rewards programs, bidding on unique experiences — seats in fully-stocked luxury boxes, watching batting practice on the field and attending pre and postgame press conferences — may offer the most bang for your buck. Baseball games, for example, include VIP access and experiences like playing catch in the outfield.

Example: Racing fans recently bid on two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Quaker State 400 packages. For 36,000 or 39,000 points, the winner came away with access to the Kentucky Club, with a free buffet, premium views and climate control, along with passes to the Cold Garage and the pit, a “hot lap” ride before the race and the chance to go to Victory Lane to watch the trophy presentation.

Here’s how to use your points

Starwood Preferred Guest® members sign into the SPG Moments portal.

Once inside, you can scroll down and click on sports, where you see a list of events and experiences. After choosing between all events or available events only, click on “View Events” where you’ll see all the sports activities available for points redemption or bidding.

Up for bid, currently at just over 30,000 Starpoints®, is VIP access to the Calgary Stampede in Canada July 13-14. The package includes a Friday evening show in the Lazy S premium seating section for the GMC Rangeland Derby, the Grandstand Show and fireworks. On Saturday, sit in your exclusive infield seating for a close-up view of the Stampede Rodeo. Then see country superstar Luke Bryan perform at the Scotiabank Saddledome plus pick up $500 of western merchandise, $100 in food tickets, WestJet Skyride tickets and more.

Or, for 25,000 Starpoints®, you can watch a Chicago Cubs-St. Louis Cardinals baseball game in the SPG® Luxury Suite at Wrigley Field behind home plate. The suite includes complimentary food and beverages during the game.

United MileagePlus Exclusives

How to redeem: Redeem your miles at United’s MileagePlus Exclusives.
Special requirements: Miles expire if you go 18 months without earning or redeeming miles on United or a partner.

Like other programs we’ve mentioned, you’re better off spending your points on more unique experiences or games that come with extra perks. And like rival Delta, perks are centered around United hub cities including Washington, D.C. and Chicago. Those include the chance to walk inside the ropes at the 2018 John Deere Classic at the TPC Deere Run course in Silvis, Ill., at a current bid of 34,000 miles.

Games versus trips. If you were to use your miles to book roundtrip reward travel on United in coach for a trip between Newark and Atlanta in June, it would range from between 30,000 and 65,000 miles. If you wanted to upgrade to business class, that would range from 70,000 to 100,000 miles.

Here’s how to use your miles

After logging into the MileagePlus page, click on the airline’s MileagePlus Exclusives, which allows you to refine your search by listing type, category or location.

Once there, you’ll see a robust list of sporting events with a mix of redeem or auction bid options, including The National golf tournament or a Chicago White Sox-Minnesota Twins baseball game.

The bottom line

These loyalty programs offer exclusive access to myriad sporting events and special experiences that appeal to fans and non-fans alike. Using your points and miles is a great way to get premium seats for a sporting event or access to a unique experience that may not always be open to the general public or could be expensive if you’re paying by cash or credit card. So remember to check your airline, hotel or credit card websites regularly to see what sports opportunities might be available.

*Tickets may not be available for all events and aren’t guaranteed. All tickets are subject to availability and terms apply.

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

Benét J. Wilson
Benét J. Wilson |

Benét J. Wilson is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Benét J. at benet@magnifymoney.com

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Credit Cards

A review of the IKEA® Visa® credit card

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

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IKEA lovers, rejoice! The Swedish home goods store has unveiled the brand-new IKEA® Visa® credit card that rewards you the most for spending on everything from the popular Billy bookshelf system to its iconic meatballs.

If you’re a regular shopper at IKEA, you’ll get 5% back in rewards on IKEA® purchases, 3% back in rewards on dining, grocery and utility purchases, and 1% back in rewards on all other purchases. That’s pretty appealing, because the higher cashback rate not only includes products, furniture and food but it also applies to companies that can help you assemble furniture for those who can’t make heads or tails of IKEA’s infamous instructions.

But be warned: As generous as the rewards are on this card, you can only spend them at IKEA — in $15 increments. So if you’re not an IKEA fan, consider another card that gives you more flexibility in how you spend your cashback rewards.

IKEA® Visa® credit card

APPLY NOW Secured

on Comenity Capital Bank’s secure website

IKEA® Visa® credit card

Regular Purchase APR
21.99% Fixed
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
5% back in rewards on IKEA® purchases, 3% back in rewards on dining, grocery and utility purchases, and 1% back in rewards on all other purchases.
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

Card benefits at a glance

The IKEA® Visa® credit card benefits

Cashback rewards

  • Get 5% back in rewards on IKEA® purchases, 3% back in rewards on dining, grocery and utility purchases, and 1% back in rewards on all other purchases.
  • Earn rewards when you use the card to pay for  Traemand installation and TaskRabbit assembly services.

Pros

  • The card has a $0 annual fee
  • Get $25 off your first IKEA purchase when you open and use your on the same day.
  • Get free standard shipping and delivery on in-store IKEA purchases made with the IKEA® Visa® credit card through Aug. 31, 2018.
  • Earn a $25 IKEA reward certificate after spending $500 on the card for purchases aside from Traemand and TaskRabbit within 90 days of account opening.

Cons

  • Rewards earned on the IKEA® Visa® credit card are issued certificates that can only be used at IKEA.
  • The card doesn’t offer an intro purchase or balance transfer APR.
  • The card’s sign-up bonus isn’t as robust as other cards in the rewards category.

You have to love a credit card that offers both a $0 annual fee and pretty good rewards in popular categories. If you shop at IKEA regularly, then the rewards it offers can add up, especially since there’s no limit on how much you can accumulate. The rewards for dining and groceries are good, and including utility purchases in this tier is great, since most cards don’t even include this category for higher rewards.

What we like about the IKEA® Visa® credit card

One interesting thing about the IKEA® Visa® credit card is that you earn rewards on utility spending. It includes electric, gas (for home heating only), water, sanitary, telegraph services, television, radio and telecommunication services.

The IKEA® Visa® credit card gives new cardmembers $25 off their first IKEA purchase if you open an account and use it on the same day. You can also get a $25 IKEA reward certificate after spending $500 on the card within 90 days of account opening.

If you don’t want to schlepp your IKEA purchases home, you get free standard shipping and delivery on what you buy with the card from now through Aug. 31, 2018.

The card automatically enrolls you into the IKEA FAMILY loyalty program, which offers exclusive product discounts and special offers, along with free coffee or hot tea at its restaurants, 30 extra minutes in the Småland Time children’s play room and 90-day price protection on your purchases.

You also get access to Visa’s auto rental collision damage waiver when you use the card. You’ll be reimbursed for damage due to collision or theft up to the actual cash value of most rental vehicles.

Another great thing about the IKEA® Visa® credit card is its foreign transaction fee: None.

What we don’t like about the IKEA® Visa® credit card

The rewards you earn on this card comes with a big catch — you only get them as certificates issued in $15 increments, and they can only be redeemed at IKEA.

For those who want to get the $25 credit for opening a new IKEA® Visa® credit card account, you must spend the credit on the same day you’re approved for the card. You have to spend at least $25 pretax to get the credit, and it can’t be used for gift cards, services and independent service providers, including TaskRabbit and Traemand. If you apply for the card online, the credit can only be used online.

While the free shipping offer is nice, delivery areas are limited, depending on the location of the IKEA where the purchases were made. You’re warned that some items may take longer for delivery, and items ordered together may not arrive in the same box. You can’t have food, bistro products or plants delivered. And after Aug. 31, 2018, the offer ends.

New cardmembers must spend at least $500 on the IKEA® Visa® credit card within 90 days in order to get the $25 bonus. You can’t use the bonus on TaskRabbit or Traemand services, and it must be spent at IKEA in store or online.

If you’re not a big IKEA shopper, there are other cards that offer better rewards in the popular travel category than the IKEA® Visa® credit card. These cards also offer better sign-up bonuses, more flexibility in spending your rewards and more travel and purchase perks.

An alternative to the IKEA® Visa® credit card

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

APPLY NOW Secured

on Citibank’s secure website

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Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

Regular Purchase APR
15.24% - 25.24%* (Variable)
Annual fee
$0*
Rewards Rate
Earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent, Good
Not everyone is going to want to get the rewards offered by the IKEA® Visa® credit card, especially because you can only spend the rewards at IKEA. So for those who want to shop at more than just IKEA and get more flexibility in how they use their cashback rewards, the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer is a good option. (You can check out other top cashback credit card picks here.)

It starts with No bonus, so the IKEA® Visa® credit card has the edge there. Your cash back can be redeemed for checks, statement credits or gift cards. There are no caps on the total amount of cash back you can earn with the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer.

The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer comes with perks that are better than the IKEA® Visa® credit card, including purchase protection and auto rental collision damage waiver. You get access to Citi® Private Pass, which offers special access to buy tickets to events and VIP packages to concerts, sporting events and dining experiences, and Citi® Concierge for help with with travel, shopping, dining, entertainment and personalized service.

You also get access to Citi® Price Rewind, which does a 60-day search for a lower price on purchases made with your card. If a lower price is found, you may receive the difference.

There are other cards that offer higher rewards for travel, dining, groceries and gas. You also have to decide if the rewards on the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer are good enough.

So unless you are obsessed with IKEA, shop there regularly and don’t mind redeeming the IKEA® Visa® credit card’s rewards at the store, the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer may be a better option if you for you, since it offers much more flexibility on spending rewards and gives you more travel and protection benefits.

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

Benét J. Wilson
Benét J. Wilson |

Benét J. Wilson is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Benét J. at benet@magnifymoney.com

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News

2018 Summer Flight Delay Study: Best and Worst Airports Ranked

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

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With the start of the summer travel season weeks away, a record number of travelers are again expected to flood airports from coast to coast. U.S. airlines enplaned 201.8 million passengers between June and August 2017, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS).

As airline activity heats up so does the potential for flight delays, which can ruin even the best laid travel plans. In a new study, the MagnifyMoney research team took a look at which airlines have the worst summer delays to help travelers prepare for what’s to come.

To see which airports suffered the most delays during the summer travel season, MagnifyMoney.com analyzed Department of Transportation airport arrival data for the 50 busiest U.S. airports between 2008 and 2017.

Key findings include:

  • Summer is worse than winter for delays. More than half (52%) of airports have more summer than winter delays, although both seasons averaged an on-time rate of 77.1% for the airports we reviewed.
  • Don’t fly in June (if you can help it). June is the worst month for summer airport delays. Three-quarters (76%) of airports reviewed had the most summer delays in June. And the overall on-time rate for June was 76%, compared with the summer average of 77.1%.
  • Summer delays are getting worse. Some 54% of airports had worse summer arrival rates in 2017 than they did in 2016, with an average on-time rate across all airports of 76.1%, versus 76.5%.
  • Expect 3 out of 4 flights to be on time. The average on-time rate across all 50  airports in 2017 was 76.1%, versus 76.6% over the 10-year period between 2007 and 2016.
  • Delays are getting worse at the biggest airports. More than half (56%) of airports had worse on-time arrival rates in 2017 than they did over the previous 10 years.
  • It’s rough on the coasts. The numbers showed that Newark-Liberty, LaGuardia and San Francisco had the worst summer delays of all airports reviewed, while Honolulu, Salt Lake City, and John Wayne Airport in Orange County, Calif., had the least.

 

The worst airports for summer delays

Newark-Liberty International Airport (Newark, N.J.)

Rate of on-time arrivals over 10 years: 67%, down 2.3% from its 10-year average

A major United Airlines hub, an international U.S. gateway airport and an entry into New York City.

LaGuardia (New York City)

Rate of on-time arrivals over 10 years: 68%, up 0.7% from its 10-year average

A popular airport for those living in Manhattan.

San Francisco

Rate of on-time arrivals over 10 years: 69.2%, up 0.4% from its 10-year average

A United Airlines hub, an international U.S. gateway airport and a popular origin-and-destination market.

JFK

Rate of on-time arrivals over 10 years: 70.5%, down 0.2% from its 10-year average

A hub for JetBlue, a major U.S. international gateway airport and a popular origin-and-destination market.

Boston Logan

Rate of on-time arrivals over 10 years: 72.5%, down 3.5% from its 10-year average

A focus city for Delta Air Lines and JetBlue and a U.S. international gateway airport.

Chicago O’Hare

Rate of on-time arrivals over 10 years: 73.3%, up 3.4% from its 10-year average

A United Airlines hub and a major U.S. international gateway airport.

Airports with the fewest delays

Honolulu International, a popular origin-and-destination airport, again has the best summertime arrival rate, at 86.7%. It was followed closely by Delta’s Salt Lake City hub, at 86%. Both airports also have the best year-round arrival rates, at 85.9% and 85.7%, respectively. Out of all four seasons, Salt Lake City outperformed Honolulu in spring and fall.

The winner for most-improved: Los Angeles International Airport had the biggest improvement in summer flights landing on time, up 5.5% between 2016 and 2017, according to MagnifyMoney’s study. The airport is in the middle of a major construction project that included a major relocation of 21 airlines between May 1 and May 17, 2017, as Delta Air Lines moved from terminals 5 and 6 to terminals 2 and 3. These moves helped cut congestion on the airport’s taxiways and runways, leading to the improvement at LAX.

Other airports making the cut for the fewest summer delays include Detroit Metro, California’s Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Oregon’s Portland International, Seattle-Tacoma and Phoenix Sky Harbor.

What’s driving delays?

Struggle in Newark

Only two of three planes landed on time last summer at Newark-Liberty International Airport. The airport had the lowest on-time arrival rate for all seasons of any of the 50 airports we reviewed, and, on average, 30.5% of its arrivals were late in 2017.

It doesn’t help that delays at Newark and LaGuardia, along with JFK, are exacerbated by them being located in one of the most congested airspace corridors in the world  — the Northeast. They’re also hurt by an antiquated air traffic control system that struggles to manage that airspace. Congestion in the New York airspace is responsible for nearly 75% of all air traffic delays in the country every day, according to New York-based advocacy group Global Gateway Alliance.

This could be a problem for travelers this summer, since Newark is one of United Airlines’ busiest hub airports, serving 14.6 million passengers in 2017. When there are delays at Newark, they tend to ripple across the U.S., which could cause inconveniences for passengers this summer.

West Coast woes in San Francisco

San Francisco International Airport is plagued by fog during the summer. When this happens, arriving aircraft can’t do parallel landings on the airport’s two runways due to reduced-visibility conditions. That means one runway is closed, causing delays.

The hurricane effect

The airport where on-time arrivals declined by the most was Houston Hobby, which saw a 6.8% year-over-year drop in summer on-time arrivals. That was likely driven by the aftereffects of Hurricane Harvey, which made landfall in August 2017 and snarled air traffic in the area. For the month of August alone, Hobby’s on-time arrivals dropped 22% year over year, the study found.

How to handle flight delays like a pro

Flight delays have become a normal part of air travel, but there are things you can do to mitigate the damage as much as possible.

Be prepared. This is key when booking your flights. Try to take early-morning flights because these are much less likely to be delayed or even canceled because the plane is usually already parked at the gate.

Know your rights. Every airline is required by the DOT to have a contract of carriage that outlines what they will and won’t do for passengers in case of flight delays or cancellations. In a nutshell, if the flight is delayed by weather or other acts of God, airlines don’t accept liability, as outlined in Delta’s contract of carriage. Similar clauses are followed by the major U.S. airlines.

Check the numbers. You can also check an airline’s on-time statistics and delay causes at the DOT’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics or look at the DOT’s monthly Air Travel Consumer Report, a summary of causes of delay numbers reported by each carrier. The FAA also has flight delay information on its air traffic control System Command Center website. The website has a map of the United States that shows airport delays by color code. It also allows you to search for delays by region, airport or major airport.

There’s an app for that. The FlightView app is a must-have for your travels. The free version offers the following: the ability to track flights by flight number or route; see a real-time map showing an inbound plane’s current position and national radar weather; get notifications on flight status, delays or cancellations; view a map showing a red-yellow-green delay status of airports in the U.S. and in Canada; check the percentage of current arrivals and departures that are on time, late and very late, as well as active FAA delay programs to foresee the direct or trickle-down effect that an airport delay will have on your own flight; and share your flight status via email, text or social media.

Get notified. Sign up for airline flight status notifications on your smartphone. You’ll get flight updates that can sometimes be more accurate that those given at the gate. And these notifications can give you a leg up on being reaccommodated during long delays or cancellations.

Canceled. Now what? If the worst happens, don’t go to a long line at an airline’s customer service desk for reaccommodation. Instead, either go online to a website or a smartphone app and reschedule your own flight. If you need help, call an airline’s customer service desk.

Use your status. One of the many perks of having elite status on an airline is access to a dedicated phone number you can call for flight issues. Airlines put their best agents on these lines because they want to accommodate their best customers.

Whip out your card. If you have a luxury credit cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you have extra protection when things go wrong. If you book a flight with the card and it’s canceled or cut short by things like severe weather, you can be reimbursed up to $10,000 per trip for your pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses, including passenger fares. Or if your air travel is delayed more than six hours or requires an overnight stay, you and your family are covered for unreimbursed expenses, such as meals and lodging, up to $500 per ticket. Other cards with trip delay/cancellation insurance are here.

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

Benét J. Wilson
Benét J. Wilson |

Benét J. Wilson is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Benét J. at benet@magnifymoney.com

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Credit Cards

IHG Rewards Club Premier Card Review

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

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As widely expected, IHG® in early April 2018 unveiled two new products, including the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card. If you have the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card, you will eventually be moved over to the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card. In this review, we’ll take a look at the good and the bad of the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card.

What’s changing: If you previously owned the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card, the biggest change you’ll notice with the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is new restriction placed on the free anniversary night certificate. Now, that certificate can only be used at hotels with a points redemption of 40,000 or less. This eliminates the chance to use it in popular brands like Intercontinental. The news isn’t all bad, though. The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card has doubled the points you can earn per $1 spent on hotels to 10 points. Plus, it has added more travel and purchase perks that puts it in line with higher-end hotel-branded credit cards.

After looking at the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, we feel that if you travel a lot and stay regularly at IHG’s 12 hotel brands, then it should be considered. If not, you may want to shop around for cards that offer more points in the popular travel and dining categories.

We take a look at just what the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is offering and how it matches up with competitors in the same category.

IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card benefits

IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

The information related to IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

Regular Purchase APR
17.74% - 24.74% Variable
Annual fee
$89
Rewards Rate
10 points per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel
Credit required
excellent-credit
Excellent/Good

If you compare the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card with the old IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card, there’s been a definite upgrade despite a higher annual fee ($89) and no more annual fee waiver. This card looks like it wants to compete with more premium hotel cards.

A generous sign-up bonus. The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card hopes to attract new customers to earn 100,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. However, this isn’t as much as the Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card — Earn 75,000 Points after spending $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening with the new Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card! The Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card was cited by MagnifyMoney in the hotel category on its list of best credit card sign-up bonuses for August 2018.

Big points for hotel stays. You can rack up 10 points per $1 spent at more than 5,200 IHG properties and 12 brands in nearly 100 countries. The only other hotel credit cards that offer a similar amount are the Club CarlsonSM Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card (10 points per $1 spent), the Hilton Honors Ascend Card from American Express (12 points per $1 spent) and the Choice Privileges® Visa® Card (15 points per $1 spent).

Earn points beyond hotel stays. You get 2 points per $1 spent at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants, and 1 point per $1 spent on everything else.

More ways to earn bonus points. The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card gives you 10,000 bonus points if you spend $20,000 within your anniversary date and made an additional purchase at least one day after you spent $20,000. You can also earn another 5,000 bonus points after you add your first authorized user and make your first purchase within three months from account opening. You earn 50% bonus points on top of your base points when booking a qualified hotel stay. You can also earn points via IHG® Rewards Club Dining, OpenTable and Grubhub. And you get a 20% discount on points purchases.

Free hotel stays. You get a free night at eligible hotels on your card anniversary and a fourth reward night free when you redeem points for four or more nights.

Instant elite status. The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card gives you instant platinum elite IHG® Rewards Club member status. Platinum members get access to a dedicated customer assistance phone number, free room upgrades when available, priority check-in and extended checkout and free Wi-Fi. Your reward nights count toward elite status, there’s no blackout dates for reward nights and your points don’t expire.

Travel and purchase perks. The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card offers perks including trip cancellation/interruption insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, along with purchase, price and extended warranty protection. It also offers a $100 credit toward your Global Entry or TSA Precheck.

Use it for spending abroad. There’s no foreign transaction fee.

Redeeming rewards

The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card gives you access to the IHG® Rewards Club, where you can do a lot with the points you earn. You can use points to redeem room nights — costing between 10,000 and 70,000 points a night — at more than 5,200 IHG hotel brands around the world. There are no blackout dates for those rooms.

You can transfer your points into miles on 39 global airlines. You can also use your points to book flights, hotels and rental cars at any time. And combine your points with cash to redeem for reward nights.

What we like about the card

Great ways to earn bonus points. To Earn 100,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening
is not only the best current offer among hotel-branded cards, it’s also among the highest across all credit card types. Earn another 5,000 bonus points after adding your first authorized user and making your first purchase within three months from account opening. If you spend $20,000 within your anniversary date, along with one additional purchase, you can earn 10,000 bonus points. Earn between 1,000 and 5,000 elite qualifying bonus points for each hotel night stay under the IHG® Rewards Club Bonus Points Packages program.

High points per $1 spent on hotel stays. 10 points per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel.

Transfer points. The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card allows you to transfer your points to 39 airline partners, which is a great way to boost your loyalty program account. You can also use your points to book travel on any airline, car rental company or virtually any hotel.

Points and cash option. If you don’t have quite enough points to book hotel nights, you can use a combination of points and cash to pay for it.

Easy to redeem. The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card allows you to spend your points on hotel nights at more than 5,200 IHG hotel brands, with no blackout dates.

Instant elite status. You don’t have to jump through hoops to get platinum elite status because it comes with the card. And with that status comes lots of goodies, like your own customer service phone number, free room upgrades when available, free Wi-Fi and priority check-in and extended checkout.

No foreign transaction fees. This can save you money when using the card outside of the United States.

Travel and purchase perks. The up to $100 credit toward your Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fee, along with travel insurance and purchase protections, are all a nice benefit.

What we don’t like about the card

Lower point per $1 spent. This card offers only 2 points per $1 spent in popular categories like gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants. Other cards offer higher points in this category. And outside of hotels, you only earn one point per $1 spent for travel, which is low compared with other cards.

Spending for bonus points. Some might be turned off by the $2,000 in spending required to get the 80,000 points bonus, although that amount is lower than other cards offering fewer sign-up points. And you might not want to spend $20,000 along with the one additional purchase to get 10,000 bonus points on your card anniversary.

Free anniversary night restricted. The IHG® Rewards Club Select Card allowed you to redeem an anniversary night certificate in any IHG-branded hotel. But the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card only allows you to redeem it at IHG hotels with a point redemption level of 40,000 points or less. Hotels no longer available under this program include the popular Intercontinental® and Kimpton brands. And you’re warned that rooms are limited, subject to availability and might not be available during high demand periods.

No more point rebates. The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card no longer offers an automatic 10% point rebate on redemptions, up to 100,000 points each year.

Annual fee. $89 a year and that fee isn’t waived during the first year.

Check that score. You need Excellent credit to apply for this card.

Card alternatives

IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card vs. Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card

 

IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card

Annual Fee

$89

$95

Sign-Up Bonus

Earn 100,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening

Earn 75,000 Points after spending $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening with the new Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card!

Cashback rate

10 points per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel

Earn 6X points for every $1 spent at over 6,500 participating Marriott Rewards and SPG hotels and 2X points everywhere else.

Elite Status

Platinum

Silver

If you’re looking for another option to the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, you may want to consider the Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card. The sign-up bonus is great — Earn 75,000 Points after spending $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening with the new Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card! Plus, this card has a lot of perks similar to the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card that can be beneficial when traveling.

Points:  With the Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card, Earn 6X points for every $1 spent at over 6,500 participating Marriott Rewards and SPG hotels and 2X points everywhere else. The rewards rate for hotel stays is less than the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card‘s 10 points per $1 spent at IHG’s 5,200+ hotels worldwide. However, the everyday rewards rate is higher with the Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card since the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card offers 2 points per $1 spent at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants; and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Elite status: You get automatic silver elite status with the Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card. The benefits that come with it are similar to those of the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card. You don’t get a $100 credit toward your Global Entry or TSA Precheck with the Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card.

Free stays: Similar to the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, the Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card offers a Free Night Award every year after your account anniversary, valid for a one night hotel stay at a property with a redemption level up to 35,000 points.

Extra perks: The Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card has the usual travel card perks, like lost luggage reimbursement, baggage delay insurance and trip delay reimbursement.

There’s also free access to the 24/7 Visa Signature® Concierge Service, which helps you find tickets to top sports and entertainment events, make dinner reservations and offer help with sending gifts.

The information related to the Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

The bottom line

The results are mixed as to whether the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is one you should consider. Its sign-up bonus points for new cardmembers is among the best of current offers, especially considering the lower spend to get them compared with competing cards.

While the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card lets you 10 points per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel, it falls short of competing credit cards in the all-important travel and dining categories when compared with other credit cards. And you only get 1 point per $1 spent at non-IHG hotels. But you have to like a card that allows you to transfer points to 39 airline loyalty programs and to use points to book flights, hotels and rental cars anytime.

If you travel regularly and stay exclusively at IHG’s 12 hotel brands, this card could be a good option. If not, there are cards out there with better points per $1 spent on categories outside of hotels, more robust perks and an annual fee that’s waived during the first year.

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

Benét J. Wilson
Benét J. Wilson |

Benét J. Wilson is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Benét J. at benet@magnifymoney.com

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Advertiser Disclosure

Credit Cards

IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card Review: A New Low-cost Option?

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card

The information related to IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card

Regular Purchase APR
17.49% - 24.49% Variable
Annual fee
$29
Rewards Rate
Earn 5 points per $1 spent at any of our 5,200+ hotels worldwide, 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery store, and restaurants, and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

As widely expected, IHG unveiled in early April 2018 two new products — the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card and the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card. In this review, we’ll take a look at the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card, which will be taking the place of the old IHG® Rewards Club Classic Credit Card.

The biggest change in the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card is the addition of a free anniversary night certificate each year, which was not available on the the old IHG® Rewards Club Classic Credit Card.

But the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card has more than doubled the points per $1 spent on more than 5,200 IHG®-branded hotels from 2 to 5. It also doubled the points per $1 spent on at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants to 2 points per $1 spent — plus, it’s added travel and purchase perks that the old Classic card never had. You also earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

If you stay regularly at IHG®-branded hotels and want a lower cost option to the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card should be considered. If not, you may want to shop around for cards that offer more points in the popular travel and dining categories.

We take a look at what the the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card is offering and how it matches up with competitors in the same category.

IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card benefits

IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card

The information related to IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card

Regular Purchase APR
17.49% - 24.49% Variable
Annual fee
$29
Rewards Rate
Earn 5 points per $1 spent at any of our 5,200+ hotels worldwide, 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery store, and restaurants, and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

If you want to have an IHG®-branded credit card at a lower price point, then the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card could be a good option. The card has more robust benefits and better points per $1 spent than the old IHG® Rewards Club Classic Credit Card it replaced.

The sign-up bonus. Earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months from account opening. You earn 5,000 bonus points after adding your first authorized user and make your first purchase within three months from account opening.

Decent rewards rate at IHG hotels. IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card has an annual fee of $29. You’ll earn 5 points per $1 spent at any of our 5,200+ hotels worldwide, 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery store, and restaurants, and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. Also, save 20% when you buy points with the card.

Bonus bonus hotel nights. You get a fourth reward night free after redeeming points for any stay of four or more nights. Terms apply.

Travel and purchase perks. You’ll get trip cancellation/interruption insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, along with purchase, price and extended warranty protection.

Redeeming rewards

The IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card gives you access to the IHG® Rewards Club, where you can use your points to redeem room nights — costing between 10,000 and 70,000 points — at more than 5,200 IHG® hotel brands around the world. There are no blackout dates for those rooms.

You can transfer your points into miles to around 40 global airlines. You can also use your points to book flights, hotels and rental cars at any time. And combine your points with cash to redeem for reward nights.

What we like

Good bonus points. Earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months from account opening. That is less than the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, but still a pretty good offer. Like the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, you can earn another 5,000 bonus points after adding your first authorized user and making your first purchase within three months from account opening. And you can earn between 1,000 and 5,000 elite qualifying bonus points for each hotel night stay under the IHG® Rewards Club Bonus Points Packages program.

Easy to redeem. The IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card allows you to spend your points on hotel nights at more than 5,200+ IHG® hotel brands with no blackout dates.

Transfer points. The IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card allows you to transfer your points to around 40 airline partners, a great way to boost your account. The number of points needed to transfer for miles varies, depending on the airline. You can also use your points to book travel on any airline, car rental company or virtually any hotel.

Travel and purchase perks. The travel insurance and purchase protections, are all a welcome upgrade from the IHG® Rewards Club Classic Credit Card, which didn’t offer them.

No foreign transaction fees. The card doesn’t charge this fee when using it outside of the United States.

What we don’t like

Lower point per $1 spent. You only earn 5 points per $1 spent at any of our 5,200+ hotels worldwide, 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery store, and restaurants, and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. Other cards offer higher points in this category. And outside of hotels, you only earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases, which is low compared with other cards.

No automatic elite status. The IHG® Rewards Club Classic Credit Card gave you automatic gold status in the Rewards Club. Now you have to spend $10,000 in a calendar year in order to get gold elite status with the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card. If you don’t have gold elite status with the new card, you’re missing out on benefits like free room upgrades when available, priority check-in and extended check-out and free Wi-Fi.

No bonus points. Because you don’t get status with this card, there’s no way for you to earn extra points when you book hotel stays, which is available for gold elite status and above.

One less perk. The IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card doesn’t come with the $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck that the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card offers.

Check that score. You need to have excellent/good credit to apply for this card.

Card Alternatives

IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card vs. IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

 

IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card benefits

IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card benefits

Annual Fee

$29

$89

Sign-Up Bonus

Earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months from account opening.

Earn 100,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening

Cashback rate

Earn 5 points per $1 spent at any of our 5,200+ hotels worldwide, 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery store, and restaurants, and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

10 points per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel

Elite Status

Gold after spending $10,000 on your card each calendar year.

Platinum Elite

Fee vs. rewards. The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card has an annual fee of $89 and you can earn 100,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card allows you to earn 10 points per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel.

Elite status. Unlike the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card, you get automatic platinum elite status every year you have theIHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card. Platinum elite members get access to a dedicated customer assistance phone number, free room upgrades when available, priority check-in and extended checkout and free Wi-Fi.

Perks. The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card offers trip cancellation/interruption insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, along with purchase, price and extended warranty protection. It also offers a $100 credit toward your Global Entry or TSA Precheck enrollment fee. Like the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card, you can transfer your points into miles at around 40 airline loyalty programs. The card doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee when traveling outside the U.S.

The bottom line

The IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card offers a fairly good sign-up bonus paired with a lower spending requirement to get it. While it offers 5 points per $1 spent for IHG®-branded hotel stays, the points it offers in the all-important travel and dining categories isn’t as good as competing credit cards.

The ability to transfer your IHG® Reward Club points to about 40 airline loyalty programs and also use them to book flights, hotels and rental cars anytime is a good benefit.

But not getting automatic elite status on IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card when it was offered on the card it replaced — the IHG® Rewards Club Classic Credit Card — plus having to spend $10,000 in a year to get gold status may not be popular with potential cardmembers.

In the end, this card is really best for those who stay in IHG®-branded hotels regularly on their travels. The 5 points per $1 spent on hotel stays can be leveraged into free nights, airline tickets and rental cars. But if you want more flexibility in what hotels you book or earn more points per $1 spent in the popular travel and dining categories, then one of these travel credit cards may be a better bet for you.

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

Benét J. Wilson
Benét J. Wilson |

Benét J. Wilson is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Benét J. at benet@magnifymoney.com

TAGS: