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Best Premium Credit Cards of February 2019

Feb. 13, 2019
Credit Cards, Rewards Credit Cards
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Premium credit cards come with outsized perks. Travel credits, high rewards rates on spending and rich redemption options are just a few of the benefits premium cardholders can expect.

Not everyone will qualify for premium cards. They are typically aimed at consumers with good to excellent credit. If your credit is poor or average, you’ll want to first work on improving your credit before applying for a premium card.

The premium perks also come with significant annual fees, starting at $250 and going up to $450 and beyond. That means it’s important to make sure you will extract more value from the card than you pay. The card details below will help you find the best premium card for you.

Our pick for overall premium card: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Apply Now on Chase's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 720
    850
    Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • A large bonus
    • High rewards rate
    • High value benefits
    • Cool factor - metal card
    • No foreign transaction fee

    Cons

    • High annual fee
    • Needs excellent credit

    Annual Fees

    $450

    APR

    • APR: 19.24% - 26.24% Variable APR
    • Cash Advance APR: 27.24%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    Earn 50K bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    Intro APR

    • N/A
  • Additional Information
    • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
    • Named "Best Premium Travel Credit Card" for 2018 by MONEY® Magazine
    • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
    • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
    • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
    • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
    • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
    • Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®

✭ 2019 AWARD WINNER: Best premium credit card

Why we like it

Not only does the Chase Sapphire Reserve® offer a massive sign-up bonus and rich ongoing rewards, but cardholders also have a lot of flexibility in how they redeem those rewards, giving them access to a wide variety of airlines and hotel chains.

Pros and cons

Pros: The Chase Sapphire Reserve® stands out for its large sign-up bonus as well as ongoing rewards: 3 points per dollar spent on travel and dining and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases. Those points can then be redeemed for 1.5 cents each when you book travel through Chase. You might even be able to squeeze more value out of your points by transferring them to the card’s various hotel and airline partners. Other perks and highlights include an annual $300 travel credit, airport lounge access, application-fee credit for TSA Precheck or Global Entry, and no foreign transaction fees.

Cons: The $450 annual fee is a big one, and anyone who pays it should ensure they are getting more value out of the card than they are paying. If you use the $300 annual travel credit, then you’re already most of the way there.

» MORE: Full review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Our pick for premium travel card: The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Apply Now on American Express's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • Luxury travel perks (Uber credit, airline fee credit, lounge access, etc.)
    • High rewards rate in certain categories
    • No foreign transaction fees

    Cons

    • High annual fee
    • Airline fee credit is limited
    • Low rewards rate on most spending

    Annual Fees

    $550

    APR

    • Purchase: N/A

    Bonus Offers

    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months. Terms Apply.

    Intro APR

    • N/A
  • Additional Information
    • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
    • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
    • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
    • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
    • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
    • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
    • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
    • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
    • $550 annual fee.
    • Terms Apply.

Why we like it

The welcome offer, high rewards rates, rich redemption options, perks like lounge access and Uber credits — everything about The Platinum Card® from American Express card screams luxury. Terms apply.

Pros and cons

Pros: The Platinum Card® from American Express is designed for consumers with high-end tastes and spending habits. In addition to the large welcome offer, cardholders earn 5 Membership Rewards points per $1 spent on airfare (as long as you make the purchase through the airlines or American Express Travel); 5 points per $1 spent on hotels booked through amextravel.com; and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. In addition, you get a $200 credit toward airline fees and $200 of annual Uber credits. Cardholders also enjoy access to over 1,000 airport lounges around the world, automatic upgrades at select hotels, and no foreign transaction fees. Terms apply.

Cons: The biggest downside to this card is the $550 annual fee, which stands out as high even among premium cards. Cardholders who are big travel spenders, though, will have no trouble extracting more value than they’re paying. Another negative is that not all merchants accept American Express, especially overseas.

» MORE: Full review of The Platinum Card® from American Express

Our pick for premium airline card: Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®

Citi<sup>®</sup> / AAdvantage<sup>®</sup> Executive World Elite<sup>™</sup> Mastercard<sup>®</sup>

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®

Apply Now on Citibank's secure application
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 720
    850
    Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • Signup benefits
    • Free checked baggage
    • Early boarding group
    • No Foreign Transaction Fees

    Cons

    • Has annual fee
    • Needs excellent credit

    Annual Fees

    $450

    APR

    • APR: 17.99% - 25.99% Variable APR
    • Penalty APR: Up to 29.99%, Variable
    • Cash Advance APR: 27.49%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*

    Intro APR

    • N/A
  • Additional Information
    • Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*
    • Admirals Club® membership for you and access for guests traveling with you*
    • Complimentary Admirals Club® lounge access for authorized users
    • Earn 10,000 AAdvantage® Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) after you spend $40,000 in purchases within the year*
    • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases*
    • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases*
    • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to 8 companions traveling with you on the same reservation*

Why we like it

If you are a frequent American Airlines traveler, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® may be appealing, thanks to perks like Admirals Club airport lounge access, no foreign transaction fees, and a free checked bag for you and up to 8 travel companions.

Pros and cons

Pros: The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® comes with a sizable sign-up bonus: Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*. For ongoing rewards, it offers 2 AAdvantage miles per dollar spent on eligible American Airline purchases and 1 AAdvantage mile per dollar on all other purchases. But the card’s defining feature is the access it grants to Admirals Club lounges, something no other credit card offers.

Cons: As with other premium cards, the annual fee — $450 — is a big one, but it can be worth it for Admirals Club fans. You’d come out ahead by getting this card instead of paying cash for a lounge membership.

» MORE: Full review of the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®

Our pick for premium dining card: American Express® Gold Card

American Express® Gold Card

American Express® Gold Card

Apply Now on American Express's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • High rewards rate in certain categories
    • $100 airline fee credit; hotel upgrades and credits
    • No foreign transaction fees
    • Transfer partners
    • Annual dining credit

    Cons

    • American Express isn’t accepted as widely as Visa or Mastercard internationally
    • No lounge membership

    Annual Fees

    $250

    APR

    • See Rates & Fees

    Bonus Offers

    Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months. Terms Apply.

    Intro APR

    • N/A
  • Additional Information
    • Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months.
    • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. restaurants. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X).
    • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
    • Earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with The Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Shake Shack, and Ruth’s Chris Steak House. This is an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
    • $100 Airline Fee Credit: up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year for incidental fees at one selected qualifying airline.
    • Choose to carry a balance with interest on eligible charges of $100 or more.
    • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
    • Annual Fee is $250.
    • Terms apply.

Why we like it

With rich dining and travel rewards, not to mention valuable credits, the American Express® Gold Card can offset the cost of indulging in a little luxury.

Pros and cons

Pros: With the American Express® Gold Card, you get an impressive welcome offer: Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months. Terms Apply. You also can earn high rewards rates in certain categories, including U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and flights booked with airlines or through amextravel.com. The card also offers $100 a year in airline fee credits and $10 in monthly statement credits when you use the card at eligible merchants, including Grubhub, Seamless, and Shake Shack. Terms apply. The card has no foreign transaction fees. Its annual fee, $250, is also lower than annual fees for other premium cards. Terms apply.

Cons: Unlike many other premium cards, this one doesn’t come with automatic airport lounge access. You might also still run into merchants who don’t accept American Express. And while the card’s credits can help offset most of its annual fee, you’ll want to make sure you can make use of those credits.

» MORE: Full review of the American Express® Gold Card

Our pick for premium business card: The Business Platinum® Card from American Express

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express

Apply Now on American Express's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • High rewards rate on certain travel purchases
    • No foreign transaction fee
    • Bonus offer for new cardholders
    • Lounge access, airline fee credit

    Cons

    • High annual fee
    • Other cards offer a higher rewards rate on non-travel spending
    • Complicated rewards structure
    • Requires good/excellent credit

    Annual Fees

    $595

    APR

    • Purchase: N/A

    Bonus Offers

    Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

    Intro APR

    • N/A
  • Additional Information
    • Welcome Offer: Earn up to 75,000 Membership Rewards® points.
    • Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
    • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com.
    • Get 50% more Membership Rewards® points. That's 1.5 points per dollar, on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more. You can get up to 1 million additional points per year.
    • 35% Airline Bonus: Use Membership Rewards® Pay with Points for all or part of a flight with your selected qualifying airline, and you can get 35% of the points back, up to 500,000 bonus points per calendar year.
    • Enroll to get up to $200 in statement credits annually by getting up to $100 semi-annually for U.S. purchases with Dell. Terms apply.
    • Get one year of Platinum Global Access from WeWork. With this membership, you can access 300+ premium, inspiring workspaces in 75+ cities. To get this exclusive offer, enroll between 2/15/2019 and 12/31/2019.
    • Terms Apply

✭ 2019 AWARD WINNER: Best small-business travel credit card

Why we like it

For frequent business travelers, the perks that come with The Business Platinum® Card from American Express are hard to beat: elevated rewards, access to airport lounges, hotel status, and credits toward airline fees.

Pros and cons

Pros: The Business Platinum® Card from American Express comes with an impressive welcome offer, rich ongoing rewards, including 5X Membership Rewards on flights and prepaid hotels booked through amextravel.com, and additional bonus points opportunities, including 35% points back on first- and business-class flights when you meet certain requirements. Terms apply. The card also gives you access to over 1,000 airport lounges around the world that are part of The American Express Global Lounge Collection and an annual $200 credit toward airline fees. New perks for 2019 include a year of complimentary access to WeWork co-working spaces, an annual $200 Dell shopping credit, and a $100 credit toward eligible hotel expenses. Terms apply.

Cons: The annual fee of $595 is high, but might be worth it if you travel a lot for business. The opportunities to earn bonus points can also get a little complicated.

» MORE: Full review of The Business Platinum® Card from American Express


To view rates and fees of the The Platinum Card® from American Express, please visit this page.

To view rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, please visit this page.

To view rates and fees of the The Business Platinum® Card from American Express, please visit this page.