AYP List of Top Credit Cards for September 2016

September is here – and more importantly, football is here!

Are you ready for some football!? 

Football Game - AYP

I AM! Credit cards and football, that’s what AYP does!

While my Auburn Tigers (War Eagle!) took a tough loss this past Saturday… at least we have 11 more games this year to roll Toomers Corner!

Toomers Corner - Ayp
Toomer’s Corner in Auburn, Alabama following a Tigers win!

And what is the best thing to get over a tough loss? Credit cards, of course! Specifically – AYP September Top Cards!

Sept Top Cards
What point and mile opportunities will this month bring you!?

Our goal here with Top Cards is to list out the best offers of the month based on our research – so then you can apply for one or two of the sweet offers  and be on your way to [enter destination of your choice] for CHEAP using credit card points and miles!

If you are new to the credit card game, it may be wise to warm up with the AYP Starter Guide before jumping straight in. Everyone else, it’s game time.

Note: Within this post I have included various referral links – some links are my own and some links are from friends of mine – and, as a result, either I or another will receive a referral bonus upon your application and approval. I receive no other commission so thank you in advance for your support of AYP by using these links!

Have a referral link yourself? Email me at accountingyourpoints@yahoo.com and I will mix your link into my posts to share the bonus points! Seriously! Send me your link and I will post it on the blog and offer it to others who ask!

The AYP Top Card List:

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(1) The Chase Sapphire Reserve Released August 21, 2016 – this is THE CARD to get right now! It is #1 Top Card for the month of September and #1 in my wallet (and heart)!  This card is the bee’s knees you guys…

Here is a rundown of the card benefits:

  • Sign-up bonus of 100,000 Chase Ultimate rewards after $4,000 spending after 3 months! (Seriously people… 100,000 points! That is HUGE! I honestly cannot believe that they are offering a point sign-up bonus this good…)
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit automatically applied to your account – includes airfare, hotel stays and more!
  • Lounge Access – Priority Pass Select (includes guest privileges)
  • $100 Global Entry (or TSA Pre-Check) Fee Credit
  • A $450 Annual Fee (Not Waived), $75 for Authorized Users
  • Redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards for a 50% bonus (compared to 25% with the Sapphire Preferred) through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal
  • 1:1 Point Transfer to Chase Transfer Partners
  • 3x Earning on Dining & Travel Expenditures
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • Visa Infinite

My advice? Get this card.

“But Derek, the annual fee is $450!?”

Correct – and it is worth it! I assure you.

A word of caution – the Chase 5/24 Rule has been confirmed and the language is present within the card application. For those over 5/24, there are 2 ways to still get this card – 1) Apply in-branch with a pre-approved offer, and 2) Leverage your Chase Private Client relationship to bypass 5/24. If neither of those options are available to you (and you have opened more than 5 credit cards in the last 24 months), you will be denied… I can almost guarantee it.

CSP Picture

(2) Chase Sapphire Preferred (Chase) Even though I am advising people to apply for the CSR and downgrade the CSP – I remain a part of the CSP fan faithful! There are 2 types of people that I would recommend the CSP to – 1) Those who are new to the credit cards and travel rewards game, and 2) Those that just cannot stomach the high (but totally justifiable) annual fee for my #1 Top Card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

If you are one of those two – then focus your attention to a former AYP #1 Top Card…

The CSP is the best second best card on the market and will provide you a solid rewards earning base, which can then be supplemented with other card applications and bonuses. The current offer for the Chase Sapphire Preferred remains at its highest in almost 5 years and will earn you 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, with an additional 5,000 bonus points awarded after adding an authorized user.

The current bonus has been available for some time now and I have not heard of any changes coming in the near future, but remember – offers can change at any point in time… If this card is not in your wallet then check out why you NEED the Chase Sapphire Preferred! The card comes with $0 fee the first year, then $95 annually.

Own a business? It might also be worth applying for the Chase Ink Business card for 60k points through this link – note the $5,000 minimum spending in 3 months!

 

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(3) The Ritz Carlton Rewards (Chase) If you have ever stayed at a Ritz-Carlton Hotel – you know the high standard that they achieve at each of their properties! That high standard normally doesn’t come cheap… unless you take advantage of the new offer Ritz-Carlton branded credit card! The card offers 3 free nights at a Tier 1-4 Ritz-Carlton property after $5,000 in spending in the first three months. In addition, you will receive 10,000 Marriott points for adding an authorized user!

Penha Longa - Sintra Portugal
The view from Penha Longa Resort in Sintra, Portugal!

Considering that Ritz-Carlton nights can easily exceed $500 per night, this sign-up bonus card can be worth in excess of $1,500! While the annual fee on the card is $450, there are some awesome perks that come with it, including Marriott Gold Status (the first year), an annual $300 airline incidental fee credit (which reportedly can be used to purchase airline gift cards…but you didn’t hear it from me ;)), Priority Pass Select Lounge Membership, (3) complimentary Ritz-Carlton Club Lounge upgrades, and a $100 Global Entry (or TSA PreCheck) reimbursement!

Additionally, the card is a Visa Infinite and one of the included perks is the ability to save $100 each time you purchase domestic coach roundtrip airfare for two people! That’s right, $100 discount each and every time – that can mean significant savings for those that frequently travel with a companion!

I love the Ritz-Carlton, and I love this card! Mallory had it a little while back and I think that I am up for a sign-up next!

 

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(4) Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Visa (Chase)  I LUV Southwest – no frills, free bags, just right! The current sign-up bonus on the Premier Card treks on at an increased 50,000 Rapid Rewards Points – which equates to about $700-$800 in Southwest flights – upon spending $2,000 in the first 3 months. 

This card is a great pickup if you are focused on BOGO Southwest flights with the Companion Pass!  Your quest for 110,000 Rapid Rewards points in a calendar year will seem much easier with that nice 50k boost! Though the annual fee is $99 (not waived the first year), the card provides great upfront value, as well as a 6,000 Rapid Reward Point annual card member bonus (earned following payment of the 2nd year annual fee). Although we typically see this bonus a couple times a year, I suggest taking advantage of it now, just in case history stops repeating itself.

Own a business? Go for the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Business card and for another 50k Rapid Rewards points to bring you even closer to the Companion Pass threshold!

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 (5) American Express Platinum – The American Express Platinum Charge Card comes with a nice sign-up bonus of 40,000 Membership Rewards points after $3k spending in the first 3 months along with a long list of travel perks and benefits, but with a $450 annual fee, it is not for everyone! While $450 is a lot of money to spend to be a credit card holder, IT IS POSSIBLE to justify this fee if you can maximize the cards sign-up bonus and benefits:

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TSA PreCheck will change your life!
  • Lounge Access –Delta SkyClub, American Express Centurion, & Priority Pass
  • Gold Status at Starwood and Hilton

 

And MORE…

(6) Cards not [AS HIGH] on my list –

The Citi Prestige … which I recently (September 4th) downgraded…

This card used to be the #2 in my one-two combo with the Chase Sapphire Preferred, but now it is just #2 (hint: it stinks)! The bonus is down from 50k to 40k ThankYou Points, and the American Airlines Lounge Access, and the extra redemption bonus on American Airlines paid flights will be gone with the wind in July 2017…

If you were thinking that the annual fee might have been reduced given the decrease in benefits… you would be wrong – still a whopping $450 per year!

Ok, so the card is not ALL bad, since they did decide to keep some of the attractive features, including: 

  • Annual $250 Air Travel Credit – can automatically be applied to flight-related expenses charged to your card, including airline tickets, baggage fees, upgrades (that cuts the annual fee to $200 right there!)
  • Lounge Access –VIP lounges through Priority Pass Select
  • Complimentary 4th Night Free at any hotel (though the terms have changed)
  • Free Global Entry/TSA PreCheck (fee reimbursement)

My advice? Pass on this card and go for a different premium card – like the Chase Sapphire Reserve!

Some people are still pushing this card, but $450 is a good chunk of cash that can be better spent on a different annual fee – like my #1 Top Card the CSR!

Note: There are still some 50k Citi Prestige links out there, so if you are interested in applying for this card under the former bonus, head to Flyertalk!

Final Thought

September is here!

Football is here!

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is here – and it has taken the points and miles game by storm! If you can get it – GET IT! This card is the best thing that we have seen in a long time, and it will not last forever! The other cards on the list are all solid, but seriously, 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points… come on!

You CAN travel the world and you can do it for FREE or cheap! The offers above will take you where you want to go, you just have to let them!

Postcards Pic - AYP
See the world using points and miles! And grab me a postcard while you are there!

Keep in mind that all of the offers above are “public offers” and are available to all applicants. There are often higher, more select, offers out there (check your email and mailbox!) – So, if you are targeted for these higher offers, apply for your targeted offer rather than through the links above!

Did I miss one of your favorite current card offerings? Comment below or email me at accountingyourpoints@yahoo.com

Happy Travels!

DW

 


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