I’ve by no means had a card with an annual charge of over $100 — here is why that is altering

In any highschool, it is simple to identify the cool youngsters — they’re those sitting collectively and sporting fancy headphones and costly sneakers. At TPG, it is just a little completely different — right here, they’re those who’ve premium bank cards.

Earlier than coming to TPG, I spent 9 years reserving my journey with bank card rewards. I used to be a trainer and on a really restricted price range, so my details and miles objective was to go on as many journeys whereas spending as little out of pocket as attainable.

One among my guidelines to make this attainable was that I solely acquired playing cards with annual charges underneath $100. This technique labored effectively for me so I actually did not get the hype round premium playing cards.

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The way in which I noticed it, the Chase Sapphire Most well-liked® Card did mainly the identical issues because the Chase Sapphire Reserve® however for $455 much less. And the The Platinum Card® from American Categorical was actually only a standing image.

However after a while working at TPG, I am studying there’s extra to the story. Now, I discover myself prepared to drag up a seat on the cool desk and get my first premium card. You could be in an analogous scenario, so I’ll clarify why.

My earlier technique

Once I was a trainer, I wished to cowl as a lot of my journey prices as I may with bank card rewards. This meant that my factors and miles technique nearly all the time concerned three playing cards: an airline card, a lodge card and a cash-back card.

Nothing about my travels was fancy. I had (and nonetheless have) the mindset that I might reasonably use my out there miles to take a number of journeys, even when it meant leaving at 5 a.m. and sitting in a center seat, versus utilizing all my miles for a extra snug journey. I utilized this identical mindset to my lodge factors, opting to stretch my factors for a number of nights at a mid-range lodge as a substitute of 1 or two nights at a way more luxurious one.


I might use my cash-back rewards to cowl what factors and miles did not: issues like meals, Lyft rides and theme park tickets. With this technique, I used to be in a position to journey on nearly each faculty break and a number of instances every summer time throughout my time as a trainer.

My favourite playing cards in my pockets

These are a few of my favourite decrease annual charge playing cards that made my trainer travels attainable:

Airline playing cards

My first flight at age 10 was on Southwest and I’ve been a Southwest loyalist ever since. I’ve had and liked the Southwest Speedy Rewards® Plus Credit score Card and Southwest Speedy Rewards® Premier Credit score Card, each of which got here with welcome bonuses that I used to be in a position to squeeze a number of journeys from.

For the locations I wished to go that Southwest would not take me, I’ve used American AAdvantage miles from my AAdvantage Aviator Mastercard and Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Choose® World Elite Mastercard®. The worth I acquired from these card bonuses greater than justified their low annual charges.

The data for the AAdvantage Aviator Mastercard and Citi AAdvantage Platinum Choose card has been collected independently by The Factors Man. The cardboard particulars on this web page haven’t been reviewed or supplied by the cardboard issuer.

Lodge playing cards

I’ve liked my World of Hyatt Credit score Card from Chase as a result of I can nearly all the time discover a lodge the place I wish to go that is in a comparatively low class to assist me stretch my factors the farthest.

I’ve additionally paid for a number of seaside journeys with the bonuses from my IHG Choose Card (not out there to new candidates) and IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit score Card.

The data for the IHG Choose Card has been collected independently by The Factors Man. The cardboard particulars on this web page haven’t been reviewed or supplied by the cardboard issuer.


Journey playing cards

I acquired my first Chase Sapphire Most well-liked Card early in my factors and miles journey. I really like that I can switch my Chase Final Rewards factors to my Hyatt or Southwest accounts at any time when I must high off my level balances.

Money-back playing cards

My Citi® Double Money Card will all the time maintain a particular place in my coronary heart for its dependable cash-back incomes.

I additionally love the pliability that comes with my Chase Freedom (not out there to new candidates) and Chase Freedom Limitless® playing cards. Earlier than I had my Chase Sapphire Most well-liked, I used my Chase Freedom solely for money again. Now, nonetheless, I switch my factors from these playing cards to my Chase Sapphire Most well-liked account and use them to journey with Chase journey companions.

The data for the Chase Freedom has been collected independently by The Factors Man. The cardboard particulars on this web page haven’t been reviewed or supplied by the cardboard issuer.

My new technique

After so a few years of scoffing on the greater annual charges that premium playing cards carry, I nonetheless really feel some sticker shock once I take a look at them as we speak. Nevertheless, I now know that there are some vital advantages that include these playing cards, making the playing cards value extra to many individuals than their excessive annual charges.

There are a number of the advantages convincing me to get one:

Free airport lounge entry

I’ve by no means earlier than felt that I wanted or wished a card that gave me airport lounge entry. Principally my residence base, Nashville Worldwide Airport (BNA), would not have quite a bit to supply on this space. Plus, I really take pleasure in strolling round my airport. Now we have nice espresso and there is nearly all the time some wonderful stay music someplace close by.

Till now, I used to be largely flying domestically and I e book nonstop flights once I can, so I have not had many lengthy layovers to take care of. Possibly most significantly, I used to be all the time on trip once I traveled as a trainer, so I did not really feel the necessity to go someplace quiet to get work finished whereas I used to be on the airport.


Nevertheless, now that I am touring for work, I realized not too long ago that the stay music at BNA shortly loses its appeal once I’m making an attempt to complete up a challenge earlier than my flight leaves. Plus, I am planning a number of worldwide journeys over the following 12 months, so I am actually beginning to see the enchantment of gaining access to a lounge throughout a layover between lengthy flights.

Straightforward-to-use journey credit

Since I beforehand aimed to pay as little money as attainable for my travels, I had no want for the journey credit these playing cards supply. The $300 journey credit score on the Chase Sapphire Reserve, for instance, would not assist offset the annual charge for me if I wasn’t spending $300 on journey to start with, because of my factors and miles technique.

Now, I am touring extra and subsequently spending extra money out of pocket. Whereas that quantity nonetheless is not a lot, a advantage of working at TPG is that there are many specialists to show me all of the methods I can use these credit. That $300 Sapphire Reserve credit score, for example, can cowl extra than simply airline tickets and resorts. It may also be utilized to airport parking, a cruise reserving or a Lyft journey to the airport. For anybody spending this cash anyway, these journey credit simply assist offset the price of the upper annual charges these playing cards carry.

Further perks

Along with the lounge entry and credit they provide, these playing cards include perks like cellphone safety and International Entry credit. These alone may not justify the elevated annual charges for me, however they do add vital worth. In truth, the particular perks a card affords will finally assist me determine which card to get from my record of issues.

Which premium journey rewards card ought to I get?

There are three contenders within the working for my first premium card:

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Since I already love my Chase Sapphire Most well-liked card, its larger sibling is certainly one I am interested by.

Perks: I like that the Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with a Precedence Go Choose membership and a reasonably versatile $300 annual journey credit score. With its added International Entry charge credit score and three factors per greenback spent on journey, I can extra simply get on board with the cardboard’s greater annual charge.

Welcome Bonus: 60,000 bonus factors after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening.

Annual charge: $550.

Official utility hyperlink: Chase Sapphire Reserve

Capital One Enterprise X Rewards Credit score Card


Capital One’s premium card has plenty of sparkle to it.

Perks: Not solely does the Capital One Enterprise X Rewards Credit score Card include entry to Capital One Lounges, Precedence Go and Plaza Premium Lounges, you may as well convey two visitors in with you totally free. The flexibility for my pals or dad and mom to tag alongside to a lounge is actually interesting to me.

Plus, the Enterprise X additionally comes with a $300 annual journey credit score, 10,000 anniversary miles (value $185 based on TPG valuations), a International Entry charge credit score and cellphone safety. This card packs plenty of worth and has the bottom annual charge of the playing cards I am contemplating.

Welcome Bonus: 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases inside the first three months from account opening.

Annual charge: $395.

Official utility hyperlink: Capital One Enterprise X

The Platinum Card® from American Categorical


Lastly, I’m contemplating The Platinum Card® from American Categorical. It is the horny standing image of the cardboard world and folks like it. As a lot as I attempted to not, I believe I’d turn into a type of folks. And, because it seems, they’ve some actually good causes to like this card.

Perks: First, the cardboard comes with entry to the American Categorical International Lounge assortment. Once I ask my TPG pals about their airport lounge experiences, a dreamy look will come over their faces as they wax poetic about their favourite American Categorical Centurion lounge. In response to them, if I would like airport lounge entry, I would like the superior lounge entry that comes with The Platinum Card.

The Platinum Card additionally comes with a listing of perks that is nearly tiring to write down out. Most attention-grabbing to me are the as much as $200 lodge credit score, as much as $200 airline charge credit score, as much as $155 Walmart+ credit score, as much as $240 digital leisure credit score, as much as $200 Uber money, as much as $100 Saks credit score and cellphone safety.* Should you acquired misplaced doing that math, simply imagine me once I say there’s over $1,000 in worth from these perks alone.

Once I take a look at it this manner, the cardboard’s annual charge appears, dare I say, nearly affordable.

Welcome Bonus: 100,000 Membership Rewards Factors after you spend $6,000 on purchases in your first six months of card membership.

Annual Charge: $695. (See charges & charges)

Official utility hyperlink: The Platinum Card from American Categorical

*Eligibility and profit ranges range by card. Phrases, circumstances and limitations apply. Go to for particulars. Insurance policies are underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance coverage Firm, an AIG Firm.

Backside line

There is no such thing as a one card that is proper for everybody. As your journey wants and habits change, so ought to your card technique. I am dwelling proof that you do not have to have a premium card to do plenty of factors and miles journey.

On the identical time, in the event you’ve written off premium playing cards as not being for you, it’s possible you’ll wish to take a second take a look at your choices. It doesn’t matter what you determine, you are positive to discover a card that provides you plenty of factors and miles bang on your annual charge buck.

For charges and charges of the Amex Platinum please click on right here.

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