Nope, Chase Sapphire Preferred is NOT on the list. This topic comes up quite frequently on blogs in the industry. Usually, though, many cards that make the cut have lounge access and other perks I couldn’t care less about.
I’ve said many times that low spenders and infrequent travelers should be very picky when renewing credit cards with an annual fee. I personally only pay it when I get something upfront to offset it. It can be a hotel night, a rebate in miles and so on. This list is tailored to families who participate in this hobby to a certain degree.
So, here are some cards, where in my opinion, the fee could easily pay for itself:
1) Chase IHG Mastercard Currently, it comes with 60,000 points sign-up bonus after spending $1,000 in 3 months. I’ve said before that I will never cancel this card. For a $49 renewal fee, I get a free night anywhere in the IHG chain. We live in Florida and can use it at any beachfront Holiday Inn or Crowne Plaza. I have my eye on using it in Tahiti someday. I hope they don’t cap the redemption category.
2) Citi AAdvantage Visa Pays me commission. The renewal fee is $95. You get a rebate of 10 percent on your miles with each redemption on up to 100,000 miles per year. So, the maximum you’ll get back is 10,000 miles. IMO, it’s only worth it if you have a large redemption in mind or have some AA flights coming up. That’s because you can check your bags for free as a cardholder, as long as you pay for your flights (or taxes on award flights) with AAdvantage Visa.
The same principle applies for other airline co-branded cards, because most give the perk of free checked bags on that specific carrier. So, always take your future travel plans into consideration when debating on whether to keep a specific card.
Otherwise, it makes more sense to cancel Citi AAdvantage Visa after getting the sign-up bonus. You’ll usually qualify for it every 18 months after closing the card, but you never know with Citi bank. It’s like a box of chocolates, and not in a good way.
3) US Bank Club Carlson Signature Visa This card gives 40,000 points after paying a $75 annual fee each year. That amount is almost enough to cover a 1-night stay in an oceanfront room at Raddisson Melbourne in Florida. Thats’a pretty good deal in peak season when rates hover around $175 per night.
The redemption currently runs at 44,000 points per night. You would only need to put $800 in spending on that card to get the remaining 4,000 points, since you earn 5 points per dollar.
This card is no longer a no-brainer after the demise of BOGO benefit, but in my opinion, still a keeper.
4) American Express Blue Cash Preferred Worth it if you prefer cash back and have some non-bonus spending. It could also work if you don’t mind doing some manufactured spending by buying Visa gift cards at a grocery store. I have covered this card many times before and consider it one of my top “keeper” choices for a middle-class family.
It gives 6 percent cash back on groceries on up to $6,000 per year, 3 percent back on gas and department stores and 1 percent back on everything else. The card comes with an annual fee of $75, but it’s worth it for groceries’ bonus alone. Plus, you will likely make up for it through various Amex promotions.
1) Amex Everyday Preferred A bit of a tough call for “bonus chasers” like myself. You would get 4.5 Membership Rewards points on groceries, but would have to make sure you hit 30 transactions in a month. Plus, the annual fee is $95. It probably would be worth it for most “normal” families who don’t get 15 new cards per year like I do.
2) Chase Hyatt Visa The annual fee is $75 and it comes with a “free” night at a category 1-4 Hyatt. It would be a bit of a tough call to make, though. That’s because it would occupy a permanent spot in my Chase portfolio and may make it more difficult to get approved for other bonuses from that bank.
Still, $75 (tax included) for a room at a Hyatt is tough to beat. I like to pick on Hyatt occasionally, but only because I don’t consider it the best Ultimate Rewards transfer choice for most regular families. Otherwise, it’s a good hotel chain that excels in many respects, specifically in customer service.
Well, I think that’s it. I’m curious to know which cards you consider to be “no-brainers” when it comes to renewal time. As I said, I am very picky about annual fees, but I will pay them, especially if I have a shot at a room in Intercontinental Thalasso in Tahiti with my Chase IHG Visa. Darn it, I’m gonna get that overwater bungalow for a $49 renewal fee.
Hey, all of us “riff raff” family points bloggers should have a DO in Bora Bora! I’m thinking specifically, the guys from Miles4More and Pointswithacrew. The last one will need 3 bungalows to accommodate his crew. We’ll be on the patio eating ramen noodles and sipping beer (naturally, brought in a suitcase from US), overlooking a sunset over mount Otemanu. Who is in?
Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.