A List of Credit Card Airline Transfer Partners


It’s time for yet another list, this time focused on credit cards that permit transfers to airline frequent flyer accounts.

Put simply, these cards allow you to convert your credit card points to airline miles and then book flights, all without flying prior to booking an award flight.

However, you do need to join the frequent flyer program beforehand in order to transfer your points.

Typically, you gather frequent flyer miles by flying throughout the year (or years), but it often takes a lot of flights to earn enough miles to actually make a redemption.

However, credit card companies have made it a lot easier to redeem award flights by offering 1:1 point transfers (or even higher than 1:1).  This, coupled with their massive sign-up bonuses, makes a business class or first class award ticket a reality for most.

What’s nice about these cards is the fact that you don’t have to use your points for miles, but you have the option.  Compare that to airline co-branded cards where you’re often stuck with one airline (or its partners).

Now that we’ve explained some of the background, let’s see which credit cards actually offer this valuable benefit.

American Express Cards That Offer Airline Transfers

Card Issuer Card Name Annual Fee
American Express EveryDay Card $0
American Express EveryDay Preferred Card $95
American Express Green Card $95
American Express Gold Card $175
American Express Premier Rewards Gold $195
American Express Platinum $550

There are a variety of credit cards from American Express that allow points transfers to airlines, including some that don’t even charge an annual fee such as the EveryDay Card. Of course, you might be better off going for a card that offers a higher sign-up bonus and waives the annual fee the first year.

American Express Airline Transfer Partners

AeroMexico British Airways Hawaiian Airlines Virgin Atlantic
Air Canada Delta Iberia
Alitalia El Al Israel Airlines JetBlue
All Nippon Airways Emirates Singapore (KrisFlyer)
Asia Miles Etihad Virgin America

The downside to Amex airline transfers is the fee of $0.0006 per point for conversions into a U.S. frequent flyer program (maximum fee of $99).  You can get around this by converting to foreign airlines instead, some of which may have domestic partners.

Starwood Preferred Guest Airline Partners

This Amex-issued card (and its business version) are in a category of their own because they have a ton of transfer partners.  And by a ton, we mean 35 at last count.

Air Berlin Asiana Airlines GOL Qatar Airways
Air Canada British Airways Hainan Airlines Saudi Arabian
Air China Cathay Pacific Hawaiian Airlines Singapore (KrisFlyer)
Air France China Southern Iberia Southwest
Air New Zealand China Eastern Japan Airlines Sri Lankan
Alaska Air Delta Jet Airways Thai Airways
Alitalia El Al Israel Airlines KLM United
All Nippon Airways Emirates LATAM Virgin Atlantic
American Airlines Etihad Lufthansa

While there is a $95 annual fee, it’s waived the first year.  And you get a 5,000-mile bonus for each 20,000 miles you transfer to airline partners.

The downside is that the sign-up bonus on these cards is usually fairly limited, though a 35,000-point bonus is currently available through April.

The $5,000 minimum spend plus the 35,000 Starpoints equates to 50,000 airline miles if you take advantage of said transfer bonus.

Chase Credit Cards That Offer Airline Transfers

Card Issuer Card Name Annual Fee
Chase Ink Bold $95
Chase Ink Plus $95
Chase Ink Preferred $95
Chase Sapphire Preferred $95
Chase Sapphire Reserve $450

There are only three Chase credit cards currently available for new sign-ups that allow transfers to airline partners.  That includes Chase Ink Preferred, Chase Sapphire Preferred, and Chase Sapphire Reserve.  The rest are legacy offerings that will likely be phased out over time.

Note that the Ultimate Rewards you earn via Chase Ink Cash or Chase Freedom/Freedom Unlimited can be moved to one of the cards above and then onto airline transfer partners.  This is one way to acquire more points, despite the lack of a direct transfer option.

Chase Airline Transfer Partners

Air France KLM Singapore (KrisFlyer) United
British Airways Korean Air Southwest Virgin Atlantic

As you can see, Chase doesn’t have a ton of airline transfer partners, but you can take advantage of alliances.  For example, you can use United miles to book flights on Aer Lingus or transfer Ultimate Rewards to British Airways, then onto Iberia and book American Airlines flights.  There are many possibilities so don’t be discouraged!

Citi Credit Cards That Offer Airline Transfers

Card Issuer Card Name Annual Fee
Citi Chairman $500
Citi ThankYou Premier $95
Citi Prestige $450

Like Chase, Citi only has a few credit cards that allow points transfers, but it’s better than nothing.  Prior to a few years ago this wasn’t an option at all…your cheapest option is the Citi ThankYou Premier and it’s $95 annual fee, waived during year one.

Citi Airline Transfer Partners

Air France Garuda Indonesia Qantas Turkish Airlines
Asia Miles JetBlue Qatar Airways Virgin America
Etihad KLM Singapore (KrisFlyer) Virgin Atlantic
Eva Air Malaysia Airlines Thai Airways

So, there you have it.  The three card issuers above offer a variety of ways to gather a lot of frequent flyer miles in no time at all, even if you’ve never flown before.

However, there are some pitfalls involved with airline points transfers, including lags in transfer time and system glitches that incorrectly display seat availability.

Before you attempt to book an award ticket with credit card points, do your homework to determine the best airline transfer partners and their associated rules.

After all, point transfers are a one-way deal, so once you’ve converted them there’s no going back!

(photo: W&J)

Credit Cards That Waive the Annual Fee the First Year


A very common trick/tactic (whatever you want to call it) in the credit card churning world is to open a card that waives the annual fee the first year and then cancel it before the annual fee is eventually charged.

In short, you get the perks of said credit card for 365 days (maybe a little less) without having to pay the typical annual fee.

Usually these cards offer something special, seeing that they charge you a membership fee to jam the thing in your wallet, so it can be a worthwhile strategy to maximize your point-earning or your cash back. Or your free hotel stays.

Of course, you may not want to anger the credit card gods, aka the card issuers, by doing this all the time, or simply opening and closing cards right after you get the sign-up bonus or whatever else they’re offering.

Credit card issuers aren’t stupid – if they see you exploiting their rewards program they might tell you to take a hike, for good. If you stick around, they may also try to lure you back in with anniversary bonuses, like a free hotel stay every year, or X amount of bonus points if you spend Y in one year.

Credit Cards That Waive the Annual Fee the First Year

Card Issuer Card Name Annual Fee Notes
Alliant Cashback Visa $59 Must be a member
Amex Morgan Stanley Platinum $450 Must maintain Reserved client status
Amex Ameriprise Platinum $450 Must be Ameriprise client
Amex Premier Rewards Gold $195
Amex Starwood Preferred Guest $95
Amex Starwood Biz $95
Amex Gold Delta SkyMiles $95
Amex Green $95
Amex Gold $160
Amex Biz Gold $175
Amex Plum $250
Amex Gold Delta SkyMiles Biz $95
Amex Green Biz $95
Bank of America Spirit Airlines MC $59
Barclaycard Arrival Plus $89 Churnable
Capital One Venture Rewards $59
Capital One Spark Cash Biz $59
Capital One Spark Miles Biz $59
Chase IHG Rewards $49 Maybe keep for free anniversary night
Chase Ink Preferred $95 Might be waived in-branch
Chase Marriott Rewards Premier $85 Only on 120k bonus version
Chase Sapphire Preferred $95 Great bonus
Chase United Mileage Plus Club $450 Targeted offer
Chase United Explorer Biz $95
Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select $95
Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select Biz $95
Citi AAdvantage Gold $50
Citi ThankYou Premier $95
City National Crystal Infinite $400 Must apply in branch
PNC Bank Premier Traveler Visa $85
Santander Bank Bravo Credit Card $49 Have to apply in branch
TD Bank Aeroplan Visa $95
TD Bank First Class Visa $89
US Bank FlexPerks Travel Visa $49
US Bank FlexPerks Business Edge Travel $55
US Bank AeroMexico Visa Signature $80
US Bank AeroMexico Visa $45
US Bank AeroMexico Visa Secured $25
US Bank LANPASS Visa $45
US Bank LANPASS Visa Secured $25
Wells Fargo Propel 365 Amex $45
Wells Fargo Propel World Amex $175 Have to apply in branch


*No matter what card you apply for, whether listed above or not, you should always do a quick web search to determine if there’s a special offer where the annual fee is waived. Sometimes card issuers will waive the annual fee for a limited time, so it doesn’t hurt to double-check before you apply. However, if the deal is better with the fee, it might just make sense to pay it…

Are Credit Cards with Annual Fees Worth It?

In a nutshell, heck yes! You just have to be mindful about how you’re going to recoup that fee. If you have no use for the points or the perks offered by the card, you’re throwing away money.

But if you can clearly benefit from the card, despite the annual fee, it can be a great move.

For example, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card has a $450 annual fee, steep by any measure. But, they offer a $300 travel credit each year, which covers anything from airline tickets to hotels to Uber. If you use any of those things, you’ve already knocked the annual fee down to a  much more reasonable $150.

Factor in the opening bonus (it was 100k, now 50k) and you’ll get at least another $1,000 or $500 in year one, assuming you meet the minimum spending requirement to unlock that sign-up bonus.

If we look at just year one, you’d come up at least $350 ahead, or $850 ahead if you got the 100k bonus. This is assuming you maximize the $300 travel credit, which isn’t hard to do given how flexible it is.

In reality, you can get a lot more value out of the card if you don’t just cash in your points for well, cash. If you transfer the points to airline partners, you could get thousands of dollars in value out of those points.

The same goes for other premium cards such as Amex Platinum, which incidentally just raised their annual fee to a staggering $550. But again, once you factor in annual credits, sign-up bonuses, free lounge access, and more, you start to see the value of paying the annual fee.

This isn’t to say that you have to keep the card year after year and continue to pay the annual fee. It might just make sense for a year, after which point you can cancel the card to avoid another annual fee. That’s for you to decide, but paying an annual fee, at least in year one, can be quite rewarding.

How to Get Your Annual Fee Waived

Even if the credit card issuer doesn’t waive the annual fee, there are ways to get it waived on a case-by-case basis simply by asking.

Just give them a call and tell them to transfer you to the retention department, kind of like what you have to do with your cable TV provider every other month.

Then give them a reason why you want the fee waived, such as:

  • I plan to cancel the card
  • I don’t use the card
  • The fee is just too expensive for me
  • I’ve always paid on time and use the card a lot
  • Ahh come on!
  • I’m active duty military

If those all fail, you can also inquire about downgrading the card to an annual fee-free counterpart, assuming you want to keep that line of credit open (for the sake of your credit score and credit history).

Pro tip: If you’re military, you might be able to get the annual fee waived. It doesn’t hurt to phone up your card issuer and ask, especially if the annual fee is pricey!

(photo: Nan Palermo)

A List of Credit Cards That Offer Free Hotel Stays

lux hotel

People open credit cards for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it’s for 0% APR or to stockpile airline miles, other times it’s simply to get a cash rebate on purchases. Another great benefit is to get free hotel stays.

There are a handful of co-branded hotel credit cards that offer free nights at hotels, handy if you’ve already got the airline miles (and the airline tickets), but need some place to stay. And don’t want to pay for it.

Let’s take a look at the many hotel credit cards you can apply for to determine which offers the best value, based on sign-up bonus, annual fee, and so forth.

In general, hotel credit cards are mostly good for the sign-up bonus, aka the free nights. Beyond that, there are probably better ways to earn points via general purpose rewards credit cards, which can then be transferred to hotel loyalty programs.

However, some do offer an anniversary night for free, which is a compelling reason to keep the card in your wallet year after year, assuming you’ve got somewhere to go.

Also note that some of these cards allow you to earn free hotel stays while avoiding an annual fee, at least for the first year. And the minimum spending requirements are also quite manageable.

If you’re savvy, you might be able to score free hotel stays everywhere you go, even if you take a trip for a week or longer. Combine free nights offers from multiple cards (and with your travel partner) to maximize these benefits.

For example, if you apply for 2-3 of these cards and your spouse does too, you could wind up with nearly two weeks of free nights all over the world!

Pro tip: Use hotel points for lower-tier hotel redemptions in developing countries and other sweet spots, and free night certificates at the most expensive hotels worldwide to maximize your value.

Hotel Credit Card Comparison

Card Issuer Card Name Free Nights Min Spend Hotel Chain Annual Fee
Amex Starwood Preferred Guest 35k points (varies by category, 1-10+ free nights) $3k in 3 months, addt. $2k in first 6 months Aloft, Le Meridien, St. Regis, Westin, W Hotel, Sheraton, Marriott $95 ($0 the first year)
Amex SPG Biz 35k points (varies by category, 1-10+ free nights) $5k in 3 months, addt. $3k in first 6 months Aloft, Le Meridien, St. Regis, Westin, W Hotel, Sheraton, Marriott $95 ($0 the first year)
Amex Hilton HHonors Card 50k points (1-10 free nights) $750 in 3 months Hilton, Conrad, Doubletree, Embassy Suites, Hampton, Waldorf Astoria, etc. $0
Amex Hilton HHonors Surpass 75k points (1-15 free nights) $3k in 3 months Hilton, Conrad, Doubletree, Embassy Suites, Hampton, Waldorf Astoria, etc. $75
Barclaycard Choice Privileges Visa 32k points (up to 4 free nights) $1k in 90 days Comfort Inn & Suites, Clarion, Econolodge, Rodeway Inn $0
Barclaycard Wyndham Rewards Visa with No Annual Fee 15k points (1 free night) First purchase Days Inn, Howard Johnson, Knights Inn, Ramada, Super 8, Wyndham, etc. $0
Barclaycard Wyndham Rewards Visa with Annual Fee 30k points (2 free nights), 6k points on anniversary each year First purchase, addt. 15k after $1k in 90 days Days Inn, Howard Johnson, Knights Inn, Ramada, Super 8, Wyndham, etc. $75
Chase Hyatt Credit Card 2 free nights for $2k spend, 1 free night each anniversary $2k in 3 months Hyatt, Park Hyatt, Andaz, Grand Hyatt, etc. $75 (sometimes waived 1st year)
Chase IHG Rewards Club Select 60k points (1-12 free nights), 1 free anniversary night $1k in 3 months Intercontinental, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, etc. $49 ($0 first year)
Chase Marriott Rewards Premier 80k points worth 2-10 nights, 1 free night each anniversary $3k in 3 months Marriott, JW Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, Renaissance, etc. $85
Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Biz 80k points worth 2-10 nights, 1 free night each anniversary $3k in 3 months Marriott, JW Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, Renaissance, etc. $99
Chase Ritz-Carlton Rewards 2 comp nights in Tier 1-4 (sometimes 3 free nights!) $4k in 3 months Ritz-Carlton $450 ($300 travel credit)
Citi HHonors Visa Signature 75k points (1-15 free nights) $2k in 3 months Hilton brands worldwide $0
Citi HHonors Reserve 2 free weekend nights, free anniversary night when you spend $10k $2,500 in 4 months Hilton brands worldwide $95
First Bankcard Best Western Rewards MasterCard 16k points (one night) First purchase Best Western, GLō, Vīb $0
First Bankcard Best Western Rewards Premier MasterCard 50k points (up to 4 free nights) $1k first 3 billing cycles Best Western, GLō, Vīb $59 ($0 first year)
US Bank Club Carlson Rewards Visa 30k points (up to 3 free nights) $1k in 90 days Country Inns & Suites, Radisson, Quorvus Collection $0
US Bank Club Carlson Rewards Visa Signature 60k points (up to 6 free nights) 50k after first purchase, 10k when spend $1,500 in 90 days Country Inns & Suites, Radisson, Quorvus Collection $50
US Bank Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature 85k points (up to 9 free nights) 50k after first purchase, 35k when spend $2,500 in 90 days Country Inns & Suites, Radisson, Quorvus Collection $75
US Bank Club Carlson Business Rewards Visa 85k points (up to 9 free nights) 50k after first purchase, 35k when spend $2,500 in 90 days Country Inns & Suites, Radisson, Quorvus Collection $60

American Express

The Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) personal and business cards are easily the most popular hotel credit cards out there, and definitely the most popular hotel card offerings from American Express. The reason being that Starpoints can be used for hotel stays in Starwood brands and Marriott brands or transferred to tons of frequent flyer programs. You also get a 5k bonus for every 20k Starpoints you transfer to airlines, making them a very valuable currency. If you use the points for hotel stays, you can get 10+ nights if you stay in low category hotels. Conversely, the top-tier hotels can sap your entire points balance.

The HHonors cards are a lot less exciting, but still offer free hotel stays thanks to their healthy sign-up bonuses. It’s just that the point bonuses may limit you to staying in lower-tier properties. Still, redemptions start at 5,000 points…


The Hyatt Credit Card from Chase is a great hotel rewards card in that you get two free nights at any Hyatt hotel or resort worldwide for simply spending $2k in three months. That’s pretty easy and you can redeem at places like the Park Hyatt in Paris, where rooms often run $800+ per night. In other words, nearly $2,000 in value here. You also get a free night in a category 1-4 room each anniversary year.

There’s also the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card that comes with 80,000 bonus points when you spend $3k in the first three months. That’ll get you 2 free nights in category 8 resorts, such as the Wailea Beach Resort in Maui, or 5 nights in a category 4. There are some decent cat 4 hotels such as JW Marriott in Kuala Lumpur or the one in Mexico City. Note that you get a 5th night free when booking 4 award nights in a row.

Chase also has a Ritz-Carlton card that gives you two free nights in a category 1-4 property, including popular destinations like NYC, Maui, DC, San Francisco, and Barcelona. The downside is the $450 annual fee, offset by a $300 annual travel credit. This card also provides complimentary airport lounge access.

Lastly, there’s the IHG card, which comes with a free anniversary night that can be used anywhere in the world with no category limits, including the InterContinental Bora Bora & Thalasso Spa and the InterContinental London Park Lane. Not too shabby!


The Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card offers two free weekend nights at Hilton properties worldwide, including some spectacular ones in Tahiti, the Maldives, and Thailand, to name a few. What’s nice about this offer is you can get a ton of value out of the free nights as opposed to just earning X amount of points, similar to the Chase Hyatt card.

Meanwhile, the fee-free Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature only affords you 75k points, which limits where you can stay for free. For example, the top tier costs 95,000 points, so you can get 190k points out of the Reserve card versus just 75k in this one.

Everything Else

There are also hotel credit cards for budget brands like Best Western and Club Carlson (Radisson), or the Wyndham Rewards Visa from Barclaycard that offer lots of free nights. These can come in handy for business travel, family travel, and so on. Not luxurious by any means, but free nonetheless. And some even offer no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees!

Keep in mind that there are other credit cards, such as the Virgin Atlantic Card, Citi Prestige, Citi ThankYou Premier, Amex Platinum, Chase Sapphire Reserve, and many others that allow point transfers to hotels as well. Or the Barclaycard Arrival for independent hotels. So there are roundabout ways to rack up free hotel stays without an explicit hotel rewards credit card. And sometimes it’s a much better deal!

(photo: Roderick Eime)

Amex Platinum Card Will Soon Cost $550, Offset by $200 Uber Credit


Some big changes are taking place with the American Express Platinum card, perhaps most importantly an annual fee increase to $550 and a new annual $200 Uber credit.

First the foremost, the $450 annual fee we’ve all come to know and love is being increased by $100 from $450 to $550. This makes it $100 more expensive than rival Chase Sapphire Reserve, which offers similar features.

Amex Platinum Changes Take Place March 30th

The new annual fee will be imposed on new card applicants as of March 30th, with existing card members paying the increased rate on their next annual renewal rate that falls on or after September 1st, 2017.

This applies to the following Amex Platinum cards:

• The Platinum Card from American Express
• The Platinum Card from American Express for Ameriprise
• The Platinum Card from American Express for Charles Schwab
• The Platinum Card from American Express for Goldman Sachs
• The Platinum Card from American Express for Mercedes-Benz
• The Platinum Card from American Express for Morgan Stanley

For the record, the Mercedes version currently charges $475, so it’s unclear if that annual fee is going to be bumped up to $575 or $550.

Also notice that the Amex Biz Platinum isn’t listed here…so it should remain at $450 per year.

Clearly this a blow to those accustomed to paying the $450 annual fee, but there is a silver lining, assuming you didn’t #DeleteUber.

$200 Annual Uber Credit with New Amex Platinum

While the steep annual fee isn’t good news, the $100 increase can more than be offset by the new $200 annual Uber credit tied to the card.

Yep, Platinum cardholders will soon get $200 each year to apply toward Uber rides within the United States, broken down on a monthly basis (which is somewhat annoying).

Put simply, American Express will add $15 in Uber credit to your account each month and $35 in December, for some reason, to round it out at an even $200 over a 12-month period.

In other words, you can take a couple short rides around town each month for free, or potentially use the credit to get some free or discounted UberEATS meals, assuming the purchase qualifies.

The caveat is that you have to add your Amex Platinum as a payment method in the Uber app, though it’s unclear if you actually have to use it for payment.

You also get automatic Uber VIP status, which typically requires a combination of 10 rides and/or UberEATS meals a month to kick in.

With Uber VIP status, you get the highest-rated drivers and the best cars, apparently, along with advance access to Uber promos. In short, you might get a better car and driver.

In any case, if you’re an active user of Uber, your Amex Platinum just got $100 cheaper, and is effectively $350 per year. If you don’t use Uber, you might as well start, or consider ditching the card if $550 isn’t returning the necessary value each year.

Free Gold Cards and 5X on Hotels

Aside from the Uber credit, American Express is also offering Gold Cards free of charge for authorized users. These used to cost $45 for up to five additional cards. Still kind of random to let others have a different card than what the primary cardholder has, but we digress.

The new iteration of Amex Platinum will also offer 5X on hotel purchases made via amextravel.com, which flanks the newish benefit of 5X on airfare booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.

The question is whether the price on the Amex site makes sense to forego possible discounts and promo codes…you’ll have to see case-by-case.

Amex also notes that you’ll get access to its “expanding Global Lounge Collection,” which includes two new Centurion Lounge locations in Hong Kong and Philadelphia that will open later this year. In total, you get access to about 1,000 lounges in 120 countries worldwide.

There’s also a new Global Dining Collection, a better mobile app, and they say cardholders will get access to more global events, if that’s your thing.

Oh, and did we mention that the card is going to be metal…how novel. You can get the metal version by requesting it on March 30th, or simply wait 60 days prior to your current lousy old plastic card’s expiration date.

How to Get Your $550 Back from Amex Platinum

At this point, you might be wondering how you’re going to get your $550 back from this damn card. That’s not cheap by any stretch.

Well, let’s break it down to see if we can make this card close to free, or at least reasonable.

First, you kind of need to use Uber. What sucks about this new feature is how specific it is. It would have been way better if it was for general ride sharing, or local ground transportation, etc.

Instead, you’re confined to Uber, a company not everyone is in love with at the moment. In short, it means Lyft won’t get you anywhere.

You still get your $200 annual airline fee credit, which can be used for incidentals, but is often used for airline gift cards (assuming it works).

Those two features certainly knock down the $550 fee, but still leave you paying a bit of money each year unless you take advantage of the more obscure benefits.

What’s very clear is that this is American Express’s answer to the widely popular Chase Sapphire Reserve card. Let’s see how the two stack up.

Amex Platinum vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Card name Amex Platinum Chase Sapphire
Annual fee $550 $450
Travel credit $200 airline incidentals $300 ALL travel (including Uber, Lyft) and hotels
Uber credit $200 n/a
Global Entry credit $100 or $85 for TSA Pre $100 for either
Lounge access Many programs including proprietary Amex lounges Priority Pass Select
Foreign transaction fees None, but Amex not accepted everywhere None and it’s a Visa
Bonus categories 5X on Amex hotels and airfare booked directly or via Amex 3X on ALL travel and at ALL restaurants worldwide
Authorized user $175 for up to 3 additional cards $75 per card
Redemption options Only good for airline transfers Good for airline transfers and cash value
Card material Metal Metal

Net annual cost

$150 $150

If we ignore all the random perks and authorized user stuff, both cards have a net cost of $150. The big difference, and this is very important, is that the Chase Sapphire Reserve has a lot more flexibility when it comes to getting that $450 annual fee back.

For example, you can use Uber, Lyft, book hotels from any website, book airfare from any website, and generally do all types of stuff to get the $300 travel credit.

With Amex Platinum, you have to designate one airline and use it for incidentals (or gift cards), and you’re stuck with Uber and only Uber for your Uber credit.

The only real upside to Amex Platinum is that the lounge collection is much better and you can earn 5X on air and hotels, but only via select channels.

Seeing that Visa is much more widely accepted worldwide, the CSR is probably the winner here, especially if you travel worldwide and want to avoid foreign transaction fees.

Of course, both offer great sign-up bonuses and can be well utilized for a year or so before canceling to avoid the subsequent annual fee.

However, keeping the CSR year after year is pretty compelling because it’s so easy to get the $300 in credits each year.

(photo: Raido)