Four Underrated Credit Cards To Consider

In the interest of full disclosure, One Mile At A Time earns a referral bonus for anyone that’s approved through some of the below links. These are the best publicly available offers that we have found for each card. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Please check out my advertiser policy for further details about our partners, including American Express, Capital One, Chase, and Citi, and thanks for your support!

Update: These offers for The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express, the Citi Premier℠ Card and the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card have expired. Learn more about the current offers here.


Understandably (and justifiably) there are some cards that have become extremely popular, that just about anyone who is into miles & points has in their wallet. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card come to mind (here’s a post about how to decide which of the two cards makes more sense for you)

However, there are plenty of other great cards out there, so in this post I wanted to share several cards that I think a lot of consumers would get value out of long-term, but that all too often they don’t consider (for reasons I’ll share below).

In no particular order, here are the four cards that I think anyone who wants to maximize their credit card strategy should seriously consider.

Citi Premier℠ Card

There are so many things to love about the Citi Premier℠ Card. At the moment the card has its best ever welcome bonus of 60,000 ThankYou points after spending $4,000 within three months. The card has a $95 annual fee that’s waived for the first year.

Long term this could be a great card to use as well, as it offers triple points on travel and gas, double points on dining and entertainment, and one point per dollar spent otherwise.

Furthermore, I tend to think the relative value of ThankYou points is increasing over time, so this is a card that is even more worthwhile than before.

Why are many people not considering this card? I suspect for a couple of reasons. Probably because they have a Sapphire Card and don’t think it makes sense to have both. Also probably because historically many people have viewed ThankYou as being the weakest of the three transferrable currencies, but they’ve improved lately, so the points are worth considering more than ever before, in my opinion.

You can learn more about this card here.


ThankYou points are great for redemptions on EL AL (by transferring to Qantas)

The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express

The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express is the single best credit card for non-bonused spend. The card has no annual fee and offers double Membership Rewards points for the first $50,000 spent each calendar year.

I value Membership Rewards points at 1.7 cents each, so to me the card offers a return of roughly 3.4%, which is unrivaled.

There are so many other benefits to having an Amex small business card. This card gives you access to Amex Offers, which can save you a lot of money or earn you bonus points for making purchases with select retailers. Further, anecdotally Amex small business cards are easy to be approved for, and applying for them won’t even count as a new card towards Chase’s 5/24 limit.

Why are many people not considering this card? Because it “only” offers a welcome bonus of 10,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $3,000 within three months. That’s actually an improved bonus, because previously the card offered no welcome bonus. But this is a card you get for the value it will provide on spend, rather than the welcome bonus. You’re losing out on points every year by not having this no annual fee card.

You can learn more about this card here.

I just redeemed Amex points for a great redemption in ANA first class

The World of Hyatt Credit Card

The World of Hyatt Credit Card offers the best welcome bonus of any hotel credit card, as far as I’m concerned. The card offers 60,000 World of Hyatt points (which I value at $900) after spending a total of $6,000 within six months ($3,000 of that needs to be spent within the first three months, and the other $3,000 within the first six months).

The card has lots of great long term perks, including Discoverist status for as long as you have the card, five elite nights towards status annually, an anniversary Category 1-4 free night certificate, and much more. Personally I think the free night certificate alone more than justifies the card’s $95 annual fee.

Why are many people not considering this card? Two reasons, probably. First of all, I find that many people are focused either on transferrable cards or airline cards, though hotel credit cards don’t seem to get as much love from the average consumer, despite them being among the most rewarding cards to just hold onto. Second of all, Hyatt has a smaller global footprint than Hilton, IHG, and Marriott, but I still think most people should be able to get significant value out of a Category 1-4 certificate.

You can learn more about this card here.


There are lots of great hotels where you can redeem Category 1-4 certificate

IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is also offering an increased welcome bonus of up to 105,000 IHG Rewards Club points — this includes 100,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening, plus a further 5,000 bonus points after adding an authorized user and having them make a purchase within the same timeframe.

But this $89 annual fee card offers lots of great benefits, including IHG Rewards Club Platinum status for as long as you have the card, a fourth night free on award redemptions, and an anniversary free night certificate valid at a property costing up to 40,000 points.

You can learn more about this card here.


A vast majority of IHG hotels are bookable for less than 40,000 points per night

Bottom line

There are lots of great credit cards out there, and no one is going to have all of them (understandably). However, the above are some of the highest value cards that I think many people don’t have.

The Citi Premier℠ Card has an incredible welcome bonus and is useful for everyday spend, The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express is the single best card for non-bonused spend, and The World of Hyatt Credit Card and IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card offer perks that more than justify the annual fees.

Regarding Comments: The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Comments

  1. I don’t think the IHG card justifies the annual fee any longer. Almost all of the nice hotels for 40k or under are abroad.

  2. Well hey if we’re giving out Hyatt links I’d like to share mine then. I do believe the Hyatt card DOES justify the annual fee (and it’s only $6 more than the IHG card). Also, 60k bonus points from Hyatt is enough to stay at the nicest Hyatt properties in the world for two nights. 100k points from IHG is enough to stay at the nicest properties at IHG for ONE night (and have 37k left over, which is barely half of what would be needed for another night). I think the Hyatt card is definitely the way to go. Plus there are many nice category 1-4 hotels that are eligible for the free night unlike IHG (which mostly gives you the option of a bunch of Crowne Plazas, Holiday Inns and the occasional (and run down) Intercontinental. No Kimpton hotels are eligible for the free night.

    https://www.referyourchasecard.com/205/1CARBWYQKM

  3. “The World of Hyatt Credit Card offers the best welcome bonus of any hotel credit card, as far as I’m concerned. ”

    That is correct only if one does not take into account the minimum spend. Remember that one needs to spend $3K more to earn the $60K WoH bonus points. When one takes that into account the Aspire, again, reigns up suprimo.

    Tale of the Tape:

    WoH Visa — Earn 40,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 + 20,000 bonus points after spending another $3,000 = 60,000 bonus points after spending $6000

    HH Aspire — Earn 150,000 Bonus Points after you spend $4,000

    Time required to meet the minimum spend requirement is unimportant.

    Converting 60K WoH to HH points when taking into account the differences in the minimum spend and using a currency conversion factor of 3HH/WoH (it’s actually 3.2):

    60,000 WoH * 3 HH/WoH * $4000/$6000 = 120,000 HH Points

    Bottom line: When adjusted for the required minimum spend, 60K WoH bonus points are equivalent to 120K HH points, which is less than the 150K HH bonus points that one earns for the Aspire.

    Q.E.D

  4. @JJ sez: “Also, 60k bonus points from Hyatt is enough to stay at the nicest Hyatt properties in the world for two nights. 100k points from IHG is enough to stay at the nicest properties at IHG for ONE night (and have 37k left over, which is barely half of what would be needed for another night)”

    It was to address that type of erroneous claims that I wrote the preceding post. To show what I mean, I will continue with the WoH vs. HH example above, but the conclusion will be general.

    As @JJ correctly stated, “60k bonus points from Hyatt is enough to stay at the nicest Hyatt properties in the world for two nights.”

    On the other hand, 150K HHonors points will be enough for only one award night at a top category Hilton hotel ($95K/night), with 55K HH points left over.

    So, the conclusion, as per @JJ’s thinking, would be that the WoH 60K offer is a better welcome bonus than HH’s 150K offer for the Aspire card.

    However, that claim is utterly bogus because it is based on comparing apples and oranges. An apples vs. apples comparison would go like this:

    1. 60K WoH points earned after spending **$6K** would pay for 2 award nights at top Hyatt hotels.

    2. 150K HH points earned after spending **$4K** would pay for 1 award night at top Hilton hotels, with 55K HH left over. HOWEVER, compared to the WoH offer, one would also have $2,000K more to spend, because one spent $4K to earn the 150K HH points rather than the $6K that it took to earn the 60K WoH points. How many nights would $2K pay for at top Hilton hotels? At least ONE in an over-water bungalow, but generally more than one.

    Therefore the equation for an apples vs. apples comparison is:

    60K WoH points for 2 award nights = 150K HH points for 1 award night + 55K points + $2K

    G’day.

  5. “…have $2,000K more to spend,…” is a lot of money. I meant $2,000 or $2K and that should have been obvious in context…

  6. While holders of the old IHG card can get the new one as well (and earn 100K points + the free night), holders of the old Hyatt card cannot to my knowledge add the new card. Upgrading earns only 2K points so no real incentive. That is my reason for not getting WOH.

  7. Umm DCS you do get that minimum spend buys you an equivalent amount of stuff right? You are not giving $2k to Hyatt.

  8. IMO, my ideal goal is that any non-bonused spend is being put on a card in an attempt to get a signup bonus or some other perk. With its low sign-up bonus, the Blue for Business+ became irrelevant.

    However, with 5/24, that is unrealistic, so I finally did get the Blue for Business+ to maximize my savings. Plus, the extra points often outweigh any of the perks I could get.

  9. @stannis yeah but there is opportunity cost. You can apply that $2k spend to get a bonus on another card.

    I got the Hyatt card about 3 years ago when it was only $2k spend in total and you get 2 nites at any Hyatt.

  10. “Umm DCS you do get that minimum spend buys you an equivalent amount of stuff right? You are not giving $2k to Hyatt.”

    Thanks for pointing that out, I almost couldn’t believe he posted it.

  11. @James — What one buys with the minimum spend is irrelevant, but it would still favor the Aspire card just the same if figured in. It may be why the minimum spend is almost invariably abstracted, while the big payoff, i.e. the signup bonus, is emphasized. It’s nevertheless true that the minimum spend is real money that’s used to purchase something. In this case, to get the WoH card 60K signup bonus, one must spend $6K to buy “something”, whereas to earn the Aspire card 150K signup bonus one must spend $4k also to buy “something”. What the $6K and $4K are spend on is not relevant here. What is relevant is that after they meet the minimum spend requirement purchasing whatever, the person with the Aspire card will have $2K more in the pocket than the person with the WoH card, in the addition to the big signup bonus that each got.

    But let’s play the game your way and assume that the minimum spend for both cards is met exclusively by paying for revenue stays, with the WoH card awarding 4X and the Aspire card 17x.

    $6,000 x 4 = 24,000 WoH points (or about the equivalent of 24,000×3 = 72,000 HH points)
    $4,000 x 17 = 68,000 HH points

    So, for spending $4K, one would earn just 4K (72K-68K) fewer HH points than one who spent $6K on the WoH card. Now assume that instead of $4K one spends $6K on the Aspire card:

    $6,000 * 17 = 102,000 HH points, which is considerably more than the 72,000 HH points earned by spending $6K on the WoH card. It’s why the $2K difference in minimum spend must be taken into account if one is to compare apples and apples.

    So, anyway you cut it, the Aspire comes out ahead, and that should be obvious unless the trivial math confused you.

    G’day.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *