7 Underrated Credit Cards To Consider

Filed Under: American Express, Chase
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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 (and there are a few things to consider when deciding 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 seven cards that I think anyone who wants to maximize their credit card strategy should seriously consider.

1. Alaska Airlines Visa® Credit Card 

The Alaska Airlines Visa® Credit Card is offering an excellent welcome bonus of 40,000 Mileage Plan miles plus a $121+ companion certificate after spending $2,000 within the first 90 days.

Among airline credit cards  I tend to think this is one of the most valuable out there, simply because Mileage Plan miles are so valuable, and because the card offers a companion certificate every year, which I consider to be the most valuable companion certificate offered by any airline credit card. That more than justifies the $75 annual fee on the card, in my opinion.

You can learn more about the Alaska Airlines visa card here.

Get great value from the Alaska companion certificate

2. Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Credit Card

The Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Credit Card is worth getting for many of the same reasons as the personal card, as it offers the same excellent welcome bonus of 40,000 Mileage Plan miles plus a $121+ companion certificate after spending $2,000 within the first 90 days.

The same is true regarding the companion certificate as well.  In addition, the Alaska Visa Business also recently added additional benefits when flying Alaska, such as 20% back on Alaska Airlines inflight purchases, including food, beverages, and wifi, and 50% discounts on Alaska Lounge day passes, bringing down the cost from $50 to a very reasonable $25.

Why do people often overlook these cards? Because Alaska isn’t quite as big as the “big three” US airlines, so people assume that other co-brand airline credit cards are worthwhile. However, there’s not another card that offers as good of a value companion certificate, in my opinion.

You can learn more about the Alaska Airlines business card here.

Redeem 50,000 Alaska miles for a one-way Hainan business class ticket to Asia

3. Citi Premier℠ Card

There are so many things to love about the Citi Premier℠ Card. At the moment the card has a 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 the Citi Premier card here.

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

4. Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

For someone who spends a lot on dining and is looking to earn cash back, the Savor® Rewards from Capital One® is pretty awesome.

The card has a welcome bonus of $300 cash back after spending $3,000 within three months. Then in terms of rewards, the card earns 4% cash back on dining and entertainment.

While the card has a $95 annual fee, it’s waived for the first year.

What really sets the card apart is the other perks it offers, like a Postmates Unlimited membership, and now with new Mastercard perks, you even get $5 off every Postmates order of $25 or more.

You can learn more about the Savor card here.

Earn bonus cash back on dining with the Savor Card

5. 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 unlike many other cards, this one doesn’t have a big welcome bonus to lure people in. 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 the Blue Business Plus card here.

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

6. IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is offering an increased welcome bonus of 125,000 IHG Rewards Club points upon completing minimum spend.

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.

Why do many people not consider this card? Because a lot of people are loyal to Hilton, Marriott, etc., and might not consider getting an IHG card. However, even as a non-IHG loyalist, I find that I get a ton of value from this card.

You can learn more about the IHG card here.

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

7. Citi® Double Cash Card

With airline loyalty programs largely devaluing miles, there’s more value than ever before in a cash back card. While this won’t be for everyone, I do think a simple cash back card like the Citi® Double Cash Card is highly underrated for the average consumer.

The card has no annual fee and offers 1% cash back when you make a purchase, and another 1% cash back when you pay for that purchase. For someone who just wants to earn easy rewards without having to deal with travel loyalty programs, this is an excellent option.

Why do many people not get cards like this? Well, because the lack of a welcome bonus doesn’t lure people in, and many people are into miles, even if they probably shouldn’t be. 😉

You can learn more about the Citi Double cash card here.

Cash back adds up quickly with the Citi Double Cash

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 (by a variety of metrics) that I think many people don’t have.

Are there any other credit cards that you tend to think are underrated?

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  1. AS Visa is a very highly rated card, and quite popular in the frequent-flyer community. BofA is a lot more fussy than they used to be when it comes to approvals, particularly with the business card.

  2. I’ve been looking at the Citi Prestige. 5x Airfare is equal to the AMEX Plat, 5x restaurants, better than AMEX Gold, 3x Hotels, 3x cruises lines. Then 2 4th night free hotels rooms per year and $250 travel credit.

    Wondering why it doesn’t seem to be more talked about.

  3. Here are few of mine

    1) The Amex Delta Platinum Card. For a $195 fee, you get a free bags, priority boarding, the ability to “Pay With Points” via Skymiles (which can be useful for infrequent delta fliers) and a useful companion pass. The companion pass and free bags by themselves pay for the annual fee for for occasional Delta fliers. Serious Delta fliers can get an MQM and Skymiles boost with significant spend ($25,000 annually). One of my most used cards.

    2) Citi AAdvantage Mileup Card. No fee card earning 2x AA miles on grocery spending. An inexpensive option for earning AA miles given none of the transferable currencies transfer into AA. Obviously not a foundational card but a good 10th or 15th card.

    3) PayPal Cashback Mastercard – No annual fee, no foreign transaction fee, 2% cashback card. I believe the Citi Double Cash has a foreign transaction fee, and you earn 1% on spend and 1% on paying down your balance (Paypal is 2% on spend). Also, you can redeem in any increment (not increments of $25).

  4. Dave – Citi Prestige has gotten a ton of press the past few months. It is just a newer option, so fewer people have it (especially compared to the Sapphire cards). I am looking to add the card later this year.

    One more underrated card is the Discover It – 2% cashback on all purchases in year 1, and 10% cashback on the rotating categories in year 1.

  5. I would agree with all but the IHG card. Their redemption availability is much worse than Hilton, Marriott and Hyatt. Couple that with a fairly mediocre portfolio of properties and it’s just not worth it for me.

  6. Wells Fargo American Express Propel – single best card for cellphone coverage, low deductible and no annual fee

  7. @ Matt.

    Generally agree with you on IHG. I think it is a good “supplemental” card for international travel properties such as Intercontinental. I know Lucky has the old IHG card and wants the new one. I upgraded to the new one. Not that in love with the benefits of both cards to want both cards.

  8. The Citi Double Cash card does occasionally offer a sign-up bonus, albeit small. Within the past year, there were a few times when there was a sign-up bonus of $100 for $500 spending in 3 months, and at one point it was $150 bonus for $500 spending.

  9. Did you choose a restaurant image for Savor that is not in US? Does that mean the card is 4% back in restaurants worldwide?

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