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Last night, travel and points/miles/credit card website The Points Guy (an Insider Picks e-commerce partner) held its first annual TPG Awards at the USS Intrepid museum in New York.
The awards show featured a number of presentations and honors — including an award to “Miracle on the Hudson” pilot Chesley Burnett “Sully” Sullenberger III.
Award categories featured credit cards, loyalty programs, hotels, and airlines, and — except for a few awards for the best airline cabins — all the nominees and winners were chosen by TPG readers.
The winners for the various credit card categories were mostly unsurprising, as TPG readers are a savvy bunch who know how to find great value, but there were a few categories in which the winner was likely a tough choice.
Read on to see the best credit cards of 2018, in a few different categories, as picked by The Points Guy’s readers.
You can read more about the airline winners here.
Insider Picks’ take: The Sapphire Reserve is one of our all-around favorites, and our pick for best overall credit card. TPG readers were — unsurprisingly — on the ball with this one.
Insider Picks’ take: The Sapphire Preferred is definitely worthy of best mid-tier card, with rewards and benefits that easily outweigh the card’s $95 annual fee (which is waived the first year). However, another nominee on the list — the recently refreshed American Express® Gold Card— is also worthy of a nod.
Insider Picks’ take: Capping off Chase’s sweep of the personal cards, the Chase Freedom Unlimited is another favorite. It offers 1.5% cash back on all purchases, but that cash technically comes in the form of points (meaning 1.5 points earned per dollar spent). If you have a card like the Sapphire Reserve or Preferred, you can pool your points and potentially get a better redemption value for them.
Best Credit Card Perk of the Year: Sapphire Reserve’s $300 travel benefit
Insider Picks’ take: The annual, no-hassle $300 travel credit is fantastic. It automatically applies to the first $300 of travel purchases you make each card membership year, and “travel” is defined broadly to include things like taxis, parking, and subway tickets, as well as airfare and hotels. The perk brings the card’s effective annual fee down from $450 to $150.
However, another nominated perk — Centurion Lounge access with the Platinum Card® from American Express— shouldn’t be overlooked, especially with several new locations opening next year. In fact, the Platinum Card’s overall lounge access shines above the Sapphire Reserve, so if that’s important to you, you might be better off with the AmEx card.
Insider Picks’ take: We feel this is the all-around best hotel card you can get right now, and several members of our team carry it. The card offers airline fee credits, resort credits, free nights, automatic top-tier elite status, and more.
The award category was open to cards that launched in the 12-month period ending September 14. Had it extended through October, we suspect that the American Express Gold Card would have taken home this prize, since it offers 4x points at US restaurants and supermarkets (for the latter, that’s on up to $25,000 per year — you get 1x point per dollar after that).
Insider Picks’ take: For a while, this has been among the best business cards around, offering some incredible perks to outweigh it’s $450 annual fee.
The day before the TPG Awards, AmEx Business announced a few changes to the Business Platinum Card — including a few new perks but an increased annual fee of $595 — that make the card potentially less useful for sole proprieters and very small businesses, but better for bigger small and mid-size businesses.
Had these changes been announced earlier, when the TPG Awards voting was open, we wonder if the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card from Chase might have won instead.
Best Airline Cobranded Card of the Year: Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
Insider Picks’ take: This has been a good year for cobranded airline cards, as positive changes have come to both the American and United Airlines mid-tier cards. However, the Platinum Delta SkyMiles card is a favorite thanks to its annual companion certificate, which can be an incredibly lucrative benefit.
Insider Picks’ take: There’s no question here, as the Aspire Card offers such an absurdly high value proposition that there’s little reason not to get it — even with its high annual fee, you’ll get way more value back over the course of each year.