Honest Reviews

Category Archives for Honest Reviews.

Review: 3 Ways the Amex Platinum Card Is Worth the $550 Annual Fee

If you can’t tell, I’ve been thinking about ultra-premium cards a lot lately. Which ones to keep and pick up… and my overall card strategy.

All roads lead back to the Amex Platinum Card (learn more here) – the original, and a current stronghold.

Several years ago, it was my first card that had a big annual fee. Lots has changed in the industry since, but it’s held up remarkably well. It’s still the card to have if you’re seeking lounge access (though admittedly denigrated a bit in the past few years).

Among ultra-premium cards, it holds its own – especially if you can get maximum value from the long list of benefits.

There are three main ways to approach recouping the cost of the $550 annual fee: through lounge access, with statement credits, or from ancillary bennies.

In each case, the card earns its keep – making the rest of the perks gravy. 🤤 Let’s dig in a bit more.

And don’t forget the 60,000-point welcome bonus, worth ~$1,200 by itself!

amex platinum card review

Use the Amex Priority Pass to take a nap in airport Minute Suite locations – and many other lounges around the world

Here’s my expert analysis. 🧐

Amex Platinum Card review – how to make the $550 fee worth it

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Does Your Biz Spend $6,000+ a Month? Get 95,000 Points, $700+ in Credits, Lounge Access, Elite Status…

Who’s never had the small business version of the Amex Platinum Card? *raises hand*

This card doesn’t count against your Chase 5/24 status. But I didn’t include it on my list of 6 best cards if you’re over 5/24 because:

  • It will only appeal to a small segment of people
  • The minimum spending requirement to earn the welcome offer is $20,000 (!) in the first 3 months of account opening

But there are several huge reasons to get this card, namely 75,000 Amex Membership Rewards points as a welcome bonus. Plus it comes with a long list of benefits – like $200 in airline credits, 5x points on flights, and 35% points rebate on an airline of your coach (for coach flights, and any airline for Business or First Class).

You can learn more about the card here.

amex platinum business

I always make sure to eat full meals and enjoy a couple free cocktails at Amex Centurion Lounges

The annual fee is NOT waived the 1st year. But man, if you make good use of the lounge access and annual statement credits… it’s a total GOAT.

Amex Platinum business 75K card offer

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Excellent 3X Categories, $300 Bonus, & No Annual Fee: Wells Fargo Propel Amex Review

All sorts of cards are getting my attention with my impending sub-5/24 status looming near.

After I get the Chase cards I want (Ink Business Preferred and Freedom Unlimited are current frontrunners), I’ll turn to other banks, like Wells Fargo and Capital One.

High on the list: the Wells Fargo Propel Amex (learn more here). This card has:

  • A sign-up bonus of 30,000 bonus points (worth $300 in cash back, travel, gift cards, or other rewards) after completing minimum spending requirements
  • Really good 3X bonus categories
  • NO annual fee
  • Up to $600 in cell phone insurance when you pay your wireless bill with the card

While I usually prefer cards that earn points toward award travel, there’s a lot going for this cashback card – especially considering it’s free to keep long-term. It’s a strong card for active lifestyles, and for peeps who don’t want to pay an annual fee.

Wells Fargo Propel Amex review,

Eat out, order in, travel, unwind… the Wells Fargo Propel Amex earns 3% cashback in some of the best bonus categories and has NO annual fee

Let’s take stock!

Wells Fargo Propel Amex Review – A hidden gem with no annual fee

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$3,000 or 225,000 Airline Miles From ONE Sign-Up Bonus – But They’re Not for Everyone

Update: This offer is no longer available. Check here to see the latest card offers!

Capital One shook things up this week when they announced mondo 200,000-mile sign-up offers on their Spark Miles and Spark Cash cards. And on the Spark Miles card, those rewards will become transferable to 12 airlines starting December 2018, which is stellar. It’s always good to have more options – especially with flexible rewards programs.

In fact, peeps looking for a single-card solution to most points dilemmas finally found their match. You can redeem the points for 1 cent each, and with the Spark miles card, transfer them at a 2:1.5 ratio to useful airlines like Air Canada, Etihad, and Qantas.

They’re excellent deals if you want a rewarding small business card without hassle.  You’ll end up with $3,000 or 225,000 airline miles after the minimum spending is complete.

capital one spark miles

The required spending and opportunity cost are high with this one

But they’re NOT for everyone. I’ll explain why.

$3,000 or 225,000 Airline Miles After a Boatload of Spending

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The Best Offer With the Most Miles for Those Over 5/24 (70,000 AA Miles, Small Biz Card)

Update: This offer is no longer available. Click here for the best current offers!

Lord help me, I just got another new credit card. This one’s too good to pass up if you’re over 5/24 and have small business income.

You can earn 70,000 American Airlines miles with the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® after meeting reasonable minimum spending requirements. I just signed up and got instant approval!

70,000 American Airlines miles is enough to visit:

  • 4 countries in Asia (China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea)
  • Northern South America
  • Literally anywhere in Europe
  • The Caribbean, Mexico, or Central America

And it’s nearly enough for 2 round-trip coach award flights to Hawaii!

citi aa 70k

That fateful moment when you open yet another new credit card

I was running low on AA miles. But now that you can book Air Tahiti Nui and Qatar flights on the AA website (along with other partners), it’s easier than ever to use your miles. You do NOT have to fly on American Airlines – use your miles for partner flights instead!

I’m so close to an around-the-world trip on Cathay Pacific with Alaska miles, and Qatar with American Airlines miles, that I can taste it.

Plus, you can make mortgage payments via Plastiq with this card because it’s a MasterCard, so it’s easy to meet the minimum spending in no time! (That’s how I plan to complete the spending requirements.)

Citi AA 70K miles with the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®

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9 Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards – All With a 2% or Better Return

Everyone should have at least 1 credit card without an annual fee. When a card is free to keep forever, you never have to second-guess it. And the card works its powers on your credit report to increase available limits, decrease utilization, and help boost the average age of all your accounts.

My oldest credit card is from 2002 and has no annual fee. No matter how many new cards I open, I’ll always have a 16-year-old card to raise the average age of my accounts higher and therefore, my credit score.

When a card has a fee, it’s harder to justify keeping it – unless you get outsized value.

But having a card without an annual fee doesn’t mean you have to give up solid returns. All of the cards on this list can get you 2% back or better.

Chase Freedom is one of the best no annual fee cards – up to 30,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per year from 5X earning! I’ll share my top faves

Here’s my list.

9 best no annual fee credit cards

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Get 4% Cashback for Sporting Events, Theme Parks, & More With This Card’s Unusual Category Bonus

Let’s talk about this new Capital One Savor card. It has:

  • A $300 cash sign-up bonus after meeting spending requirements
  • 4% cashback on dining and entertainment
  • 2% cashback at grocery stores
  • 1% cashback everywhere else
  • Learn more here

I dug into that entertainment category and realized how surprisingly broad it really is. It includes:

Buying tickets to a movie, play, concert, sporting event, tourist attraction, theme park, aquarium, zoo, dance club, pool hall or bowling alley. Also, making purchases at record store and video rental locations.

Some of those things are pricey! And saving 4% could add up quick.

capital one savor review

I freaking love Sleigh Bells (look them up!). You can earn 4% on a HUGE number of activities with Capital One Savor

The dining category is wide, too – it includes nearly any place you can get a meal, snack, or drink. But I’ll keep my Chase Sapphire Reserve for those purchases.

If you’re LOL/24, looking for a nice sign-up offer, or spend a lot on entertainment the card easily pays for itself. And could be worth keeping long-term.

Let’s look at some numbers.

Capital One Savor review

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3 Excellent Amex Small Business Card Welcome Offers – Which Is Best for You?

Update: The Starwood small business Amex 35,000 point offer expired as of 3/28/18. It is NO LONGER available. 

Amex is bringing it with their small business cards. There are notable welcome offer increases on a few of them right now.

And they are definitely NOT created equal.

amex business card offers

#spgamex is gonna go the way of the #dodo

Here’s what to consider about each one.

Big welcome offers on Amex small business cards

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Capital One Venture: A Solid 2X Card for Simple Rewards With No BS

I get it. Not everyone spends their Friday nights taking epsom salt baths and pondering the workings of various points programs.

Lots of peeps directly asked about the Capital One Venture Rewards card: is it worth getting?

My answer’s always been: yeah, if you don’t want to deal with points programs.

capital one venture review

The $500 sign-up bonus covers 5 years of the annual fee and is worth ~302,000 Chilean pesos (I drew that bull)

It has a $95 annual fee, though it’s waived the first year. But the ease of redemption and earning might be worth it if you like the Capital One ecosystem.

Capital One Venture Review

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The Best 2X Card for Non-Bonus Spending Now Has a 10,000 Point Welcome Offer

To start, the Blue Business Plus Amex is a small business card. But Amex is known to be generous with small business card approvals, so long as you have a for-profit venture, or are aiming to make a profit.

This card got instant “workhorse” classification. And it’s been a stalwart companion in my wallet since the day I got it.

amex blue business plus 10,000

MVP status, this one

When it launched in Summer 2017, there was a brief welcome offer for 20,000 Amex Membership Rewards points. But when that faded, it went to nothing.

Now a welcome offer of 10,000 Amex Membership Rewards points is available. But I think this card is good enough to get even without a bonus!

About the Blue Business Plus Amex Read More

Is the Chase British Airways Card Worth It for 50,000 Points? Maybe.

Update: This offer is NO longer available. To see the latest credit card deals, click here

The tiered sign-up bonus for the Chase British Airways card ends on October 5th, 2017 – in one week! Until then, you can earn:

  • 50,000 British Airways Avios points after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • An additional 25,000 British Airways Avios points after you spend $10,000 total on purchases within your first year from account opening
  • A further 25,000 British Airways Avios points after you spend $20,000 total on purchases within your first year from account opening for a total of 100,000 bonus Avios

Committing to spend $20,000 on a single card is a lot to ask. And it’s certainly not for most peeps.

chase british airways card

Fly to Amsterdam with British Airways Avios points and ride a bike

But it can be worth it to see this as a 50,000 point sign-up offer to spend $3,000 within the first 3 months – that’s much more reasonable. And forget about the other tiers.

50,000 points for that amount of spending it a respectable sign-up bonus. Especially because this card is NOT subject to the Chase 5/24 rule.

And a thank you to Ben for helping to unravel the numbers of this deal even more!

Pick up 50,000 British Airways Avios points

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Get 6X British Airways Avios Points Everywhere on $20K in Spend – Why I Caved

Update: This offer is NO longer available. To see the latest credit card deals, click here

You might’ve heard a version of the infamous British Airways 100,000 points deal is back.

It’s a beast of a deal – there’s no doubt about that. And I mean that in a good way AND a bad way.

chase british airways 100,000

Maybe I’ll use my British Airways Avios to visit these ragtag streets in Barcelona again

There are many cons to accept with this deal: the minimum spending, the materiality of the points themselves, and a gigantic black hole of opportunity cost. But let’s call a spade a spade here: at this point I’m taking what I can get.

I hated this card. Now I’m crawling back on hands and knees. My, how the winds have shifted

And 100,000 of any kind of points is nothing to sniff at. So I got the Chase British Airways card again – even after I brutally dumped it a little over 2 years ago.

A hard look at this 100K offer, OK

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