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I’m a big fan of that one college basketball tournament going on right now whose name I can’t say for fear of violating their trademarks.  Last year, we did a “Top Travel Tool March Mayhem” tournament where we ranked the top miles and points tool, with Award Wallet beating out AutoSlash in the finals.

CardMadness

This year I thought I’d try a similar tournament to pick the “best” miles and points credit card.  While the definition of a “best” credit card is fairly impossible to judge, since there are so many factors that go into that decision, most importantly figuring out where you want to go before you just sign up for cards, but hey, let’s give it a try!

CardMadness bracket

Here is our CardMadness bracket for 2017.

card-madness-2017-bracket-3

You could certainly argue with some of the seeds I’m sure, but I think it’s a fairly reasonable list.

Card Madness Opening Round

The opening round games have now finished, and the results are in!

3 big upsets as the Chase Ink and both versions of the Platinum Card® from American Express go down.  The Chase IHG card winning as a #15 seed was a big shocker for me – to the point of wondering if there were any voting shenanigans.  Or perhaps people just didn’t like the healthy $450 annual fee, preferring other premium cards.

Here is our schedule – all 4 games / votes will close on Monday evening, so you still have time to vote if you haven’t already

#5 Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card vs. #13 Chase Freedom

#5 Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa Signature®Credit Card – Even if you live in the Alaska Airlines “dead zone” (though with a recent flight to Indianapolis they’re getting closer!), Alaska miles can be very valuable.

I used Alaska miles as part of my first class trip around the world, flying in Emirates First Class (since devalued)

emirates-a380-first-class-review-suites-shower-clean

And the best part is that (for now), you are able to repeatedly sign up for Alaska Airlines cards, allowing you to get the bonus on these cards more than once, which makes it one of the last cards of its type.

#13 Chase Freedom card – The Chase Freedom card is a no-fee Chase card that earns 1 Ultimate Reward per $1 spent.  It can be a great way to keep your Ultimate Rewards active if you don’t have a premium Chase card.

chase-freedom-q1-2017-categories-bonus-5

The real benefit of the Chase Freedom card is a rotating set of 5x categories.  The 2017 Q1 categories for the Chase Freedom card are gas stations and local commuter transportation.  So your first $1500 in spend this quarter in that category will earn 5x Ultimate Rewards.  If you maximize your categories for the whole year, that’s an extra 30,000 Ultimate Rewards points!

A note on shenanigans – this contest is meant to be in fun and there are no prizes for winning.  While I don’t mind if you encourage friends, family members and others to vote for a particular tool, please don’t try to rig the system by voting multiple times.  I do reserve the right to disqualify entries and/or just arbitrarily pick a winner if I feel like it.

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