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Most of us don’t have the staggering net worth to qualify for the most exclusive credit cards. But you can still qualify for the best luxury credit cards for world-class rewards and benefits. Further, the best part is that you don’t need to wait for an invitation to apply for these top picks.
Firstly, in many cases, these cards have many overlapping benefits as their invite-only counterparts. And these cards may not be diamond-encrusted or be part of the best metal credit cards group. Yet, the best luxury credit cards still have access to some of the best rewards programs and travel benefits available.
Platinum Card from American Express
How The Platinum Card® from American Express packs so many travel benefits into a single card is a mystery sometimes. The annual fee is $550 (See Rates & Fees), which is higher than most cards. But using these benefits can easily be worth a lot more:
- Earn 5x points on flights booked directly through airlines or AmexTravel.com
- Earn 5x points on hotels booked on AmexTravel.com
- 1:1 point transfers to airline and hotel partners
- $200 airline fee credit
- Up to $200 in Uber credits
- Free access to over 1,200 airport lounges in 130+ countries
Other travel benefits include a 20% discount on Delta Private Jets, onboard cruise credits, and on-property credits at Fine Hotels and Resorts. There’s also complementary Hilton Honors Gold status and Marriott Bonvoy Gold status. In addition, you can get a fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.
If you rent vehicles often, know that there are car rental privileges including free upgrades and special discounts. If you shop at Saks Fifth Avenue, you get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases on your card (enrollment required). All of these perks are why it’s one of the best travel credit cards.
Besides all the travel perks, this card lets you earn almost double the points on flights and hotels than most travel credit cards. Your points are redeemable for award travel through AmexTravel.com. However, they are most valuable why you transfer them to 1:1 airline and hotel Membership Rewards travel partners including Delta, Emirates, British Airways, and Singapore Airlines.
Another reason the Amex Platinum is one of the best luxury cards is the possibility to earn 100,000 Membership Rewards points. This bonus can be worth at least $1,000 in award travel.
Learn more: Hotel Rewards Credit Cards
Chase Sapphire Reserve
The best Chase Ultimate Rewards credit card is the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.
It doesn’t have as many perks as the American Express Platinum Card. But, you can still easily leverage the benefits to maximize award travel:
- $300 annual travel credit
- Priority Pass airport lounge membership
- Primary rental car collision damage waiver
- Earn 3x Ultimate Rewards points to travel and dining
- 50% travel redemption bonus
- 1:1 point transfers to airlines and hotels
This card makes it easy to earn and redeem Ultimate Rewards points. Each point is worth 1.5 cents each when booking any travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal. A better option can be transferring them to the 13 airline and hotel transfer partners including Southwest, United, British Airways, Emirates, and Singapore Airlines.
There is also a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit.
The Sapphire Reserve annual fee is $450. However, the benefits and the Chase Sapphire Reserve trip delay perks help offset the cost. The current signup bonus is 50,000 points (worth $750 in award travel) after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months of account opening.
If you happen to have $10 million at J.P. Morgan, you can qualify for the J.P. Morgan Reserve Card. The card benefits are similar to the Sapphire Reserve. However, your card is made from the luxurious palladium metal.
Related article: Check out the other Chase Sapphire Reserve travel benefits.
American Express Gold Card
If you don’t travel enough to maximize the Platinum Card, you might consider the American Express® Gold Card. It doesn’t come with airport lounge access, but it still offers benefits with a smaller $250 annual fee (See Rates & Fees).
- $100 airline fee credit
- $120 dining credit at select restaurants ($10 monthly)
- $100 on-property credit at The Hotel Collection properties
- Premium roadside assistance (Free assistance up to 4 times a year)
- 1:1 Membership Rewards airline and hotel transfers
Cardholders earn 4x points on restaurants worldwide and on the first $25,000 spent at U.S. supermarkets annually. They also earn 3x points on flights booked directly through the airline or on amextravel.com
Your points are still most valuable when transferred to the 1:1 Membership Rewards transfer partners. The Amex Gold does a good job of balancing food and travel spending with its bonus categories.
The welcome offer is 35,000 bonus points by spending $2,000 in the first 3 months of card membership.
Learn more: Travel Rewards Credit Cards
Citi/AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard
The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® provides free access to the Admirals Club lounge. Also, up to 2 travel companions or your immediate family can accompany you.
You also get these air travel benefits:
- Free first checked bag for you and up to 8 companions
- Priority check-in, security, and boarding privileges
- 25% savings on in-flight food and beverage purchases
- Earn 2 miles on American Airlines purchases (1 mile for everything else)
- Earn 10,000 AAdvantage Elite Qualifying Miles by spending $40,000 in a calendar year
Like the other cards listed above, this one also comes with a credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry. These are just some of the reasons why it’s one of the best airlines credit cards. The annual fee is $450.
The signup bonus is 50,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months of account opening.
Learn more: Airline Credit Cards
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
The information for the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected independently by Johnny Jet. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Possibly the most lavish hotel credit card is the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card.
Along with the ability to earn more at Hilton properties, it offers these hotel and air travel benefits:
- One free weekend night reward at account opening and each card renewal
- Second free weekend night by spending $60,000 a year
- Hilton Honors Diamond status
- $250 Hilton Resort statement credit
- $100 Hilton on-property credit
- Earn up to 14x Hilton Honors points on purchases
- $250 airline fee credit for incidental fees after selecting one qualifying airline
- Priority Pass Select membership (for you and up to 2 guests)
Each free weekend night is redeemable at most Hilton properties. Your welcome offer is the ability to earn 150,000 bonus Hilton Honors points by spending $4,000 in the first 3 months. Award nights start at 5,000 points, therefore, the welcome bonus is worth up to 30 free nights.
The annual fee is $450 (See Rates & Fees), but this fee is easily recouped with the free night awards and other travel credits.
Citi Prestige Credit Card
The information for the Citi Prestige Credit Card has been collected independently by Johnny Jet. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
- $250 annual travel credit
- Priority Pass Select lounge access
- 4th hotel night free on 4+ night stays booked on Thankyou.com (up to twice per year)
- 1:1 point transfers
- Earn 5x ThankYou points on air travel and restaurants
- Earn 3x points at hotels and cruise lines
The most valuable benefit for the Citi Prestige is the 4th hotel night free. Citi covers the average nightly rate on the 4th night (you still pay any fees and taxes). But effective September 1, 2019, you can only redeem this benefit twice a year.
However, there still isn’t a nightly rate cap so you can easily save thousands if you stay at high-end hotels and resorts.
Points are worth 1 cent each when redeemed on the Citi ThankYou Travel Center. However, a more valuable option is the 1:1 ThankYou transfer partners including Asia Miles, Etihad, Qantas, and Singapore Airlines.
Plus, you can earn a 50,000 points signup bonus (worth $500 in award travel) by spending $4,000 in the first 3 months of account opening. However, this bonus isn’t available if you earned another Citi ThankYou bonus or closed a Citi ThankYou card (like the Citi Premier) in the past 24 months.
The annual fee is $495.
Summary of the Best Luxury Credit Cards
In conclusion, the most frequent and loyal travelers can enjoy the best travel benefits through the use of luxury credit cards. As a result, perks include things like free nights, airline fee credits, and passes to airport lounges are offered to consumers. Therefore, travel days can be more peaceful and less expensive with one of these credit cards.
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.
For rates and fees of The American Express® Gold Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, please click here.
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